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Western Pleasure 4H level

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  • Western Pleasure 4H level

    Not sure where to pose this question, but.....

    I have a new boarder in my barn and have been asked by the mom to help out the daughter. She wants to be able to compete in 4H in western pleasure.

    What is the current trend that is looked for? I come from a dressage background, but did start out western/huntseat many years ago (as in over 30 years ago).

    I do not allow outside trainers to come to my barn and they do not have a trailer (yet) to trailer out.
    Things Take Time

  • #2
    In our area, the nose on the ground peanut pusher barely shuffling along is no longer a la mode.

    Head carriage may still be a little low, but most are going with a pretty level top line, and the jog and lope actually have some forward motion.

    Originally Posted by JSwan
    I love feral children. They taste like chicken.


    • #3
      Around here the more QH style horses are typically pinned at the top. Tips of ears or Poll level with withers, some forward movement at walk, jog, lope. You see a little of everything around here from kids that show on the breed circuit to backyard horses. Can you talk to a local 4-H leader about what the shows are like?


      • Original Poster

        I probably can get some insight from other kids/parents in the area that I know. I am not sure who the local leaders are but can find out.

        The horse is a QH, seems built for the job, I have yet to see the kid ride, so am not sure how much work we have to do.

        I am glad to hear that "nose to the ground" is not rewarded in your areas. I am not sure I could advocate that type of riding.
        Things Take Time


        • #5
          The nose to the ground bit is "out" in my area but they still shuffle along at what looks like a lame horse gait at the jog and lope. Pretty painful to watch.

          I'm planning to ride my Morgan western this year....ha! She does not shuffle along!


          • #6
            Originally posted by vtdobes View Post
            The nose to the ground bit is "out" in my area but they still shuffle along at what looks like a lame horse gait at the jog and lope. Pretty painful to watch.

            I'm planning to ride my Morgan western this year....ha! She does not shuffle along!
            The "trope" is pretty heavily penalized in my neck of the woods, thank God!

            Originally Posted by JSwan
            I love feral children. They taste like chicken.


            • #7
              Still "trantering" out here, sadly. Low head, no visible cues, painfully, horrifically slow gaits, zero animation or expression by horse. At least that is the goal...many 4-H/ self-trained kids/horses can't quite achieve it, though.
              Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


              • Original Poster

                I will make sure that we do NOT achieve the trantering and painful to watch gaits.

                Maybe the kid will just convert to dressage when she watches others at my barn??
                Things Take Time


                • #9
                  I used to show huntseat in SE Wisconsin - last time I got out to a 4-h show was 2007, but I saw a lot of the painfully slow shuffling in the WP classes. Hopefully it has changed since then - but the best thing you can probably do is go out and watch. At least the head position, in my experience, was at the withers rather than the peanut rollers.

                  Having said that, I'd do the same as it sounds like you will - aim for correct movement of the body rather than the walk, shuffle, and stumble gaits that I used to see. You might brainwash her into switching to dressage, as my trainer did to me.


                  • #10
                    I am in WI too, and my DD did 4-H and Open shows a few years ago. Unfortunately judges were still rewarding the peanut rollers, shuffling, lame-looking QH in the WP classes in our county and state fairs. Our last year in 4-H was 2008, don't know if things changed dramatically since then, but the fact that your new boarder has a QH is already a plus. We showed our Arabian who could never place against the QH in WP, so DD focused on the English classes instead. She did very well in Western showmanship though, and to a lesser extend, Western Horsemanship.

                    I don't mean to say you can't do a good job with your new boarder, but our experience has been that kids who had a very experienced 4-H or Western trainer did a lot better than those who didn't. We had an excellent, experienced 4-H trainer for both Western and English disciplines, and her students were/are in the top placings at state level. DD had this trainer, a dressage and a jumping trainers, and she learned all the important stuff from each discipline from the different trainers, and did well in each discipline (except for WP, but it was breed biased, nothing to do with the trainer). What each instructor taught clearly didn't translate across the disciplines.

                    Maybe you can convince her to do dressage instead, I know my DD fell in love with dressage once she found a good instructor.
                    Last edited by clm08; Jan. 31, 2011, 05:43 PM. Reason: typo
                    "Another member of the Barefoot Eventers Clique"


                    • Original Poster

                      My own daughter, who is only one year older than this girl, rides dressage. The girls are already talking about riding the bus home together in the afternoons, so maybe my DD will rub off.

                      I have no problem with western pleasure as a discipline, but would like to see proper gaits. I know there are much more qualified trainers out there and would be glad to turn her over if they find one.

                      I was actually the dressage judge for several years of County Fair and didn't really pay attention to the other classes that were going on. But, I don't recall the really painful movement. Although, I did comment an awful lot on the dressage tests "needs more forward!"
                      Things Take Time


                      • #12
                        The last 4-H show we went to went by QH rules because the Texas barrels was run differently than DD was used to and we watched a few of the pleasure classes. I about fell out of the chair when they announced "Lope, everybody go lope with a forward motion". WHAT!!! When you lope your horse you don't go forward, what do you do, go backward? Everyone around here is head-dragging, broken-legged loping sad looking horses. Our cow ponies go in level-headed with a steady slow lope and pin middle of the class. So the question you pose to your young rider is do you want to win and hurt your horse or ride correctly and wait for others to see the light and stop hurting their horses. That's just my opinion, okay off my soapbox for now.
                        I'm so busy.....I don't know if I found a rope or lost my horse.

                        Alright put your big girl panties on and deal with it!


                        • #13
                          My suggestion for what it's worth (smile) is go watch some youtube, see what is placing ... THEN ... teach her proper horsemanship with a balanced seat and quiet hands. Even a Western Pleasure horse needs to collect!
                          "Gypsy gold does not chink and glitter, it gleams in the sun and neighs in the dark"


                          • #14
                            The judges will place consitency over movement, always. Keep the head level and consistent and the speed consistent, and you'll do fine, even if the horse doesn't move that well for WP. The reason why the trolopin horses place over the others is because they're consistent, and that's what the judge is looking for. If your horse moves better (even a little faster) but is just as consistent she'll place just as high. (Not saying its right, just telling you how it is!) If the horse is under 5 in most places you can show her two-hand in a snaffle, too.


                            • Original Poster

                              Thank you for all the replies.

                              I agree that consistency is going to be our best angle. I remember as a late teen/early 20's I was riding an Arab/QH gelding in dressage and eventing. He was not a great mover by any means, but we usually placed fairly high in dressage due to being very consistent.

                              I never thought about having to use a curb bit...hmmm, gonna have to ask if it is required (horse is over 5, I believe she is 8). I wont get to see her go until later this week due to other activities.
                              Things Take Time


                              • #16
                                Yes, a curb bit/riding one-handed is required for horses 6 and over.