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AQHA Hunter Under Saddle (and now Reining!!). Update - AQHA Statement Pg. 5

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  • #21
    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by ponyice:.
    I'd love to do some AQHA shows- but never can find any locally! <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    I have friends who do PQHA shows, and love the circuit. They said the shows are all fun and well run.


    • Original Poster

      I agree. I and some of you have heard the "we are going to change it" tune for the last 20 years. HOWEVER, the western Pleasure class HAS gotten better in the last couple of years and definately better since they are calling for "lope with increased forward motion" (If you don't think it is better, you didn't see how really, really bad it was 15 years ago). Alex Ross was primarily responsible for the improvement in WP and I believe he can do the same for HUS. There are two main considerations: 1. Exhibitors are punished for not following the rules - judges should follow the rules also. 2. The class rules are written for Hunter under Saddle, not English Pleasure. Judges who have never seen a real USEF HUS class are judging it as English Pleasure (a western pleasure horse under english tack). The pendulum has swung too far and is ready to swing back - change just might really happen this time!
      Comprehensive Equestrian Site Planning and Facility Design


      • #23
        hhmmmmmmmmm..maybe I can get back on the pleasurehorse.com site after being booted for pointing out the "end of the trail" quality of the HUS and Western pleasure horses (NOT!!! )...they told me they are BRED THAT WAY!!!!!!!! hahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahah I have NEVER ever ever NEVER seen a foal gallop across a field with his head below his withers!!!!!! Heads up, tails up and off they all go!
        The thing about smart people, is they look like crazy people, to dumb people.


        • #24
          Something I have heard, and please no one yell at me for this....but because the low head set has become so popular.....trainers have started to tie their horses in their stalls over night....with their heads straight up in the air with their feet barely touching the ground, so that during the show, the horse has to hold its head so low because the horse is in pain and is tired....Like I said, it is something I have heard....
          *Mirage*Malachi*BlueBlaze*Avondale Bay*



          • #25
            <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by BarnSlave24/7:
            Something I have heard, and please no one yell at me for this....but because the low head set has become so popular.....trainers have started to tie their horses in their stalls over night....with their heads straight up in the air with their feet barely touching the ground, so that during the show, the horse has to hold its head so low because the horse is in pain and is tired....Like I said, it is something I have heard.... <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


            Oh, honey, this has been going on since I started showing in 1967..and I'd bet it was nothing new then. they also withold feed and water to dehydrate them and get them "quiet"..and it doesn't test so nobody gets kicked out.
            Hell of a world.
            When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

            The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


            • #26
              <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by KellyS:
              Hey RumoursFollow, when did you do AQHA in Georgia? I actively showed as a youth in '95, '96, & '97, and I was wondering if our paths ever crossed?

              I showed from 89-92. I did Youth HH, HUS, HSE, Showmanship, WP, and I tried Trail once but my horse wandered off when I had to walk around him so I never did it again.
              Teneriffe Enterprises- NW Indiana


              • #27
                BarnSlave, I use one of the top 3 hunter under saddle trainers in the QH world. Rest assured, that she NEVER, EVER "ties heads straight up in the air with their feet barely touching the ground, so that during the show, the horse has to hold its head so low because the horse is in pain and is tired"!!! I specifically sent my horses to her because she actually likes her horses and treats them accordingly.
                I do agree we could get their heads up some. At the World Show, they pin it like it should be but it's the regional shows that they don't.


                • #28
                  Please dont think this contentious but how do you get to the worlds if you dont get points regionally? THe politics in QH make the hunters/equitation look almost on the up and up! I used to show QH but couldnt take the "training methods" and the rail horses could NOT jump and the jumping horses were blown out of the rail for lack of head set AND inability to follow the leader around the ring (no passing no big strides etc). How are they supposed to jump with their heads dragging on the ground??? Let alone the "damage" it does to the ability to move their shoulders!
                  The thing about smart people, is they look like crazy people, to dumb people.


                  • #29
                    I took my greenie TB to his second show last weekend. It was a VQHA show but they had some open classes. He won his class and I'm pretty sure I was the only non-QH in the ring out of like 15 horses, but he didn't carry his head low, he carries it about parrallel most of the time.
                    I\'m still under the impression today that there is nothing alive quite as beautiful as a horse.
                    ~ john galsworthy


                    • #30
                      For gosh's sakes, I don't mean to single you out, Barnslave, but why does every thread on this BB regarding attempts by various governing bodies/breed organizations to enact some modicum of reform have to devolve into a dramatic hash-out of abusive training practices?

                      Yes, Barnslave, one of the oft-rumoured (never personally seen by me but likely seen by more experienced folks here) 'techniques' used by abusive cheaters in the AQHA (and h/j world, I might add) to 'tire' a horse to create a 'headset' is tying it up.

                      It's a fact, it's bad, it's horrible. I'm not denying that. Animal abusers in any discipline need to be punished and eliminated from the sport.

                      But the point of this thread was to announce the great work being done by the AQHA and Mr. Ross in bringing judging standards up to par and away from a stylized artificial 'look.'

                      And I applaud them for that. ROME WAS NOT BUILT IN A DAY.

                      And for yall who have been involved in the AQHA for a long time and have seen a lot of bad stuff: first of all, I'm sorry for your bad experiences. It stinks that good horsepeople felt they had to leave a discipline because of the power of the rotten apples.

                      I also know how easy it is to become jaded and cynical about these types of 'reforms.' I guess (to use findeight's experience) after 20+ years of seeing attempts at change and seeing them resisted, I'd get tired and cynical too.

                      But I think we need to resist being so cynical about the outcomes. Again, Rome was not built in a day. You have to start somewhere. And I applaud the folks who are willing to stick their necks out, do the 'right' thing, and try again.

                      Just a call for a bit more optimism I suppose. And BTW, I just own a QH, and I am not currently an AQHA member - let my membership lapse a couple of years ago.


                      • #31
                        "They".... Who are all these "they"s who do this horrible stuff to HUS horses?? I suppose some would assume I do because I have an AQHA HUS horse. Well just for the record, I DON'T, wouldn't and never have.

                        I'm all for the judges not picking "peanut rollers" that are behind the vertical. BUT, it's not a USEF under saddle class either, so keeping the neck level and face at or a little in front of the vertical is acceptable. The horses need to keep their shoulders and backs up and reach way up with their hocks. The placement of their head and neck shouldn't be too low or too high in order to move the way they are supposed to. And, if you look at HUS horses' conformation, their necks tie in to the shoulder at an angle that allows the neck to naturally be carried level.

                        I happen to think a good HUS horse is awesome to watch. It's obvious that's not a poplular opinion here, but I'll take that risk. I think alot of the hatred is due to having seen a bad example and no good ones. And also, the rumors that spread about all the horrible methods....I think that people tend to believe every bad thing they hear and assume that everyone involved does it & every horse goes through it, which is not true. And if they've seen it once, well then of course everyone does it. Well we all know that NO discipline is a form of sainthood, so one would think that people would stop bashing everything but their own discipline. But whatever.

                        AQHA and Alex Ross are addressing issues and attempting to correct problems. Things change. Thirty to 40 years ago, the headsets were high and horses moved fairly quick. I'm wondering how many were tying horses' heads up with their feet almost off the ground back then....and for that matter how many actually do this now...

                        But don't worry, I won't bring up ANY of the "BAD" things in the "H/J World". Because I KNOW they exist, BUT I don't believe that everyone does it just because I know that SOME do or that it's a reason to be condescending and snotty about it.

                        I have faith in AQHA doing the right thing. Changes may not be immediate, but they will happen. And of course, some people still won't be satisfied. That's typical.

                        BTW, the over fences horses that are ridden by anyone who knows anything ARE ridden forward with their necks and heads above and in front of the vertical. I guess the name Shane George is one that most will recognize as a good example. It seems sometimes people forget the association wasn't created as a H/J-only group. And that's part of the allure of it for me.

                        I'm sitting here looking at a picture of my mare trotting in a HUS class and her neck is level and her face is exactly vertical (it's lined up with a fence post). She's reaching with a flat knee up front and a quiet hock behind. And guess what??? She wasn't lunged to death, tied up to strangle, deprived of food or water or ridden with a big bad bit with a curb chain.

                        I LOFF HER


                        • #32
                          Well, sounds like an encouraging move, but I'll believe it when I see it. This was supposed to have been addressed some time ago, and at ONE show (California), I saw the judge(s) eliminate the peanut rollers.... but only that once and never again. This also most probably affects ApHC, since they slavishly emulate AQHA in everything. Still.... ApHC HAD "dressage suitability" and briefly used (then) AHSA dressage/sporthorse judges. When "the usual suspects" (i.e., WP moving QH-types) did not win under the AHSA judges..... they got rid of the judges! Then they changed it to "hunter in hand", which they judge no more correctly than they did "dressage suitability." Now, I board with an "S" level dressage judge, and for HER to be qualified to judge sporthorse classes, she would have to take several seminars and be tested - but ApHC thinks their judges can attend a lecture and be prepared to judge such clases correctly.... I hope AQHA is more stringent THIS time and that a real change occurs, but I won't hold my breath.


                          • #33
                            Oh, thank you, thank you, cookie monster! You pretty much said everything I wanted to say. I have a deep affection for HUS QHs and in my state, Florida, the competition is pretty deep. My QH show mare passed away in March of this year and I regret not having the chance to show her HUS because she was a fantastic mover. Had a trainer that wanted to push the WP issue (which I enjoy riding a true and natural WP QH as well).

                            Anyways, after reading this thread I cannot wait until I find that special horse, "the one" for me, because I miss it so. To me there is nothing like riding those sweepy strided, flat kneed, deep hocked and quiet HUS QHs.


                            • Original Poster

                              Re tying heads up overnight: AQHA has 6 regional "Reps" that travel around and moniter the shows. They have been known to go through the barns in the wee hours of the morning. Several BNTs, and some Small NTs have been suspended over the years as a result, one very recently. When winning horses sell for several hundred thousand dollars, some people will do anything to win. Not requiring heads to be so low will help that situation greatly.
                              Comprehensive Equestrian Site Planning and Facility Design


                              • #35
                                I have a student who does the Q.H shows w/ another trainer as I dont travel to them, but I was happy to see that chase no longer needs to be in training for the peanut pusher reward...

                                It was getting hard to take him from that and do the h/j shows.. I think it is better for everyone, and besides it was so un natural..
                                Let the horse go, get out of its way, it knows what to do...Stop pulling and keep kicking!!!!!!


                                • #36

                                  I was really starting to think I might be the only one!! I'm not much into cliques, but I'm wondering if there needs to be a HUS QH one?!

                                  Some people just don't understand.


                                  • #37
                                    AMEN, cookie-monster! I just saw this topic now and I couldn't have said it any better myself.

                                    Do you have any pictures online of your mare? I, too, love a nice HUS horse.


                                    • #38
                                      <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by cookie-monster:
                                      I happen to think a good HUS horse is awesome to watch. It's obvious that's not a poplular opinion here, but I'll take that risk. I think alot of the hatred is due to having seen a bad example and no good ones. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

                                      You really think we hate AQHA HUS? I don't hate it...I don't like watching and usually think that I would like to take some of the HUS horses and get them carrying themselves like regular Hunters, but hate? My biggest problem is that it isn't HUNTER under saddle...and yes, I feel that's an important distinction. The people who do Hunters should be able to have an opinion on whether what someone else is calling HUS really is or not.

                                      I don't mind the differences (for the most part) but call it something else, because it isn't Hunter Under Saddle. It's AQHA's version. QH's are versatile little horses...if you really wanna prove how versatile they are...emulate the namesake Hunter and then switch to western tack and go in whatever way the horse should there. Don't change the "look" to fit the horse...that's not true versatility.
                                      Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
                                      Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"


                                      • Original Poster

                                        Actually, the rulebook is written for HUS to be true HUNTER style under saddle. The judges are judging English Pleasure - so the exhibitors who want to win are giving the judges what they want.

                                        To paraphrase the rulebook: " Hunters under saddle should be suitable to purpose...long, low strides reaching forward with ease and smoothness...able to lengthen stride and cover ground...relaxed and free flowing...obedient, bright expression, alert ears, ...respond willinhgly with light leg and rein contact...move into hand gallop with same flowing motion...poll level or slightly above withers to allow impulsion behind, nose on or slightly in front of the vertical". Sounds like the horses I see at the A Circuit shows.

                                        This is why I am lobbying to effect change - the rulebook is correct, the judges are the problem.
                                        Comprehensive Equestrian Site Planning and Facility Design


                                        • Original Poster

                                          I should add that I do realize that AQHA judges have to be knowlegable about an incredible range of highly technical events from cutting to roping to reining to western pleasure to working hunter. But, if they put themselves out as judges, they should work very hard to understand the classes they have no background in.
                                          Comprehensive Equestrian Site Planning and Facility Design