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What is considered a good mover in a western horse?

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  • #41
    Originally posted by tradewind View Post
    .... The horses that I rode did not resemble the ones in the video in movement, carriage, presentation etc. I would have to say that I would not aspire to that style in my horses. However it is evidently what is considered proper movement in this era of WP and Horsemanship. Could someone who is much more in the know than I explain why this is what is looked for today. It would seem to me, that even if you were riding strictly for pleasure purposes that you would like to reach your destination before the turn of the next decade. I am really not trying to be smart, but collected does not to my minds eye mean practically stationary...
    As someone who showed WP horses in the 60's, this is what happened from my West Coast-then-Colorado perspective:

    In Calif, we showed "bridle horses" in the 60s and they did the western plesure class. They were collected up, eye level with the wither, gentle arch to neck, nose slightly out, and a very slight drape in the rein, so that you could still rock the bit in their mouth (usually some sort of modified spade or covered roller). They were shown fresh, between hand and leg, which took some skill, and were 15-2 to 16 hands, and often race bred with some TB.

    Then two things happened: (1)the new requirement for AQHA judges to only judge 2 shows per year per state meant west coasters started getting out of state judges who pinned more like what they were used to in Tx and points east - full drape split reins (vs reins and romal) and head/neck straight out/no arch, with very slow lope. This was the cutting horse warm-up lope look, which some thought was the epitome of the true western plesure horse. I moved to Colo then, and found out that the slow lope/rein draped to knees was generally a result of horses being ridden all night. This worked with the 14-2 - 15.2 cutting-bred horses, as their strong and compact bodies could just roll along when tired. It did not work with the taller stretchier TB crosses. (2) Tommy Manion started importing the big fancy Calif horses back east for his youth riders, who cleaned up, as they were riding the very best ones ( the West Coast Open Show Circuit Champions like Alisa Lark) that could adjust to the slower gait. This led to a general desire for larger, fancier horses, but not all had that champion horse great conformation, and they fell apart when very tired from riding all night and forced to go so slow. This lead to the drugs, incredible gimmicks, and bleeding of the 80s-90s, so they did not have to ride horses all night, but the horses then sort of drooped down into glazed-eyed peanut rollers, which somehow became acceptable. Many of today's trainers grew up in that shameful era.

    It took AQHA 25 years to get back half way, to where it is today. One of the reasons it got better was specialization - the WP horses only do a few closely related events these days, and are smaller again, with more body strength.

    In answer to why people want these gaits, that is easy: It is the same as the plodding WB hunter vs the former hotter TB hunter - way easier to ride for people who want to win NOW, and skip that pesky learning curve. If you can write a big check, you can sit on one of these modern WP horses and win, without needing to know how to balance and collect a horse.
    Last edited by Plumcreek; Jun. 30, 2012, 04:48 PM.
    Comprehensive Equestrian Site Planning and Facility Design
    www.lynnlongplanninganddesign.com

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    • #42
      I agree with what Plumcreek said.
      Only two emotions belong in the saddle: One is a sense of humor. The other is patience.

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      • #43
        Yikes! I thought all the horses in the videos looked crippled as well. I did like the stallion at liberty quite a nice mover, under tack though looked crippled.

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        • #44
          My friend grew up on a ranch on the back of her cow pony. She has been away from horses for a long time. We went to the horse expo & and when she saw a WP horse in a warmup pen she 1) thought he was lame & 2) couldn't believe anyone would bring their obviously unsound horse to be on display.

          Eventually the conversation ended with her stating if they saw a horse moving like that on the ranch they might have tried bute, but would probably ended up burying him in the back 40.

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          • #45
            Plumcreek, what a wonderful explanation. I also grew up riding western in that era. Do you remember Betty Greene, Blenda Lewis, Dwayne Pettibone, Bobbie Ingersoll, David James and Frank Haywood. Those were my trainers and the ones I competed against in pleasure and trail in northern California.

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            • #46
              Originally posted by Beverley View Post
              '90s? As one who showed pleasure and reining and other disciplines in the 60s and 70s, have to say, I agree with Zipperfoot's assessment- but it isn't a new thing, been coming for decades. Not meant to be a 'slam' but 'constructive criticism' is not something AQHA seems to welcome. The 'accomplishments' of Vino and others winning out there are, sadly, accomplishments based on a horse's ability to be tweaked to freakish horse show fads- really, truly, no basis there in real horsemanship, or in what really is 'a pleasure' to ride.

              I can tell you a funny story- I entered, and won, the hunter hack at an AQHA show at the Utah State Fair back in the 90s- somewhere around '95 or '96. I was showing my qh gelding that I foxhunted on before (and after, actually) moving from Virginia, and wearing a blue coat I occasionally used during cubhunting on hot days back east. I was approached by, I don't know, AQHA 'reps' or technical delegates or some such after the class who chided and lectured me as to just how lucky I was that the judge didn't disqualify me because my blue coat did NOT meet the requirements as per the rule book. When I was done laughing, I said, let me get this straight...in a HUNTER hack class, you'd dq a FOXHUNTING horse because the coat his owner uses for FOXHUNTING doesn't meet AQHA HUNTER rules? These officials were not amused. But I haven't bothered to go to a quarter horse show since. Life is too short for such a high BS factor. Particularly agents for the breed registry who are absolutely clueless about, say, hunters, other than what they read in the rule book.

              But whenever I want entertaining reading, being still a member of the AQHA, I can always read the rule book and laugh- I mean, really, halter becoming such a freakish disconnect from the reality of correct conformation for a RIDING horse- they had to go with 'performance halter?'

              Sorry, digressing, I'll quit now....

              Hmm.... thats odd - I show AQHA and own 3 different blue coats as do many of the other competitors.

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              • #47
                Something has happened over the last 20 to 30 years in the wp world. IMO it just keeps going downhill. No pun intended. The original reason for wp in the ring was to have a flat moving horse flat knee no suspension to make it a pleasure to ride if riding long distances. All western riding just like hunters orginates from the old days. Wp is from the days of ranch work. You wanted a horse that was easy to ride on a loose rein that was very easy going for the rider. A horse that moved in a way that was comfortable to ride for long hours across the ranch checking fences checking cattle etc. A horse that properly used itself so it could then cut a calf if need be or rope a cow that needed help etc. Some how wp has been brought to peanut rolling troping that I don't really understand. Most of these horses are going on the forehand peanut rolling. The vino horse I don't think is peanut rolled. He just holds his head very low but he does trope which is somewhere between a lope and and jog. It makes no since because the original ranch horse had to cover distance comfortably and at the pace these horses go it'd take a week to cover 50 acres lol. I can't stand to watch them trope around and this is why I don't watch wp anymore. It's gone somewhere that I dont understand nor like it just looks painful. All horse sports go through their phases though. Just like hunters got a long way away from the original hunters. Ones that made it more like out on a hunt where it originated from to now days pretty fences with inside outside lines. Hunter derbys coming back are nice to see. Maybe one day wp will come full circle back to a nice moving forward horse.
                Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole

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                • #48
                  Originally posted by I Winglish AQHA View Post
                  Hmm.... thats odd - I show AQHA and own 3 different blue coats as do many of the other competitors.
                  You must be special.

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                  • #49
                    Originally posted by rabicon View Post
                    Something has happened over the last 20 to 30 years in the wp world. IMO it just keeps going downhill. No pun intended. The original reason for wp in the ring was to have a flat moving horse flat knee no suspension to make it a pleasure to ride if riding long distances. All western riding just like hunters orginates from the old days. Wp is from the days of ranch work. You wanted a horse that was easy to ride on a loose rein that was very easy going for the rider. A horse that moved in a way that was comfortable to ride for long hours across the ranch checking fences checking cattle etc. A horse that properly used itself so it could then cut a calf if need be or rope a cow that needed help etc. Some how wp has been brought to peanut rolling troping that I don't really understand. Most of these horses are going on the forehand peanut rolling. The vino horse I don't think is peanut rolled. He just holds his head very low but he does trope which is somewhere between a lope and and jog. It makes no since because the original ranch horse had to cover distance comfortably and at the pace these horses go it'd take a week to cover 50 acres lol. I can't stand to watch them trope around and this is why I don't watch wp anymore. It's gone somewhere that I dont understand nor like it just looks painful. All horse sports go through their phases though. Just like hunters got a long way away from the original hunters. Ones that made it more like out on a hunt where it originated from to now days pretty fences with inside outside lines. Hunter derbys coming back are nice to see. Maybe one day wp will come full circle back to a nice moving forward horse.
                    I SO agree with you - especially your comments on Hunter classes today. I'd LOVE to see any of the hunter brats of today pin over an actual outside hunter course like they used to have when I was a youth, instead of the pretty & tightly choreographed ring courses of today. Hunters? Uh - I don't think so. . . .

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                    • #50
                      AQHA has introduced the "Ranch Horse Pleasure" class. No bling, moving out with natural, uphill frame. My best friend has a mare that could not buy a point in the wogging/troping rail classes last year, but is currently leading the nation in this new class. There is an article about her, Lavish Love, in a current AQHA Journal publication. Most importantly, while the average WP class now has around 8-10 entries, the Ranch Horse Pleasure has been averaging 20 - 40 entries every time.

                      49'er - I know half those names. I loved showing WP back then in Calif, and drooled over the winners like Cynthia Cantleberry on Silk Sails.
                      Comprehensive Equestrian Site Planning and Facility Design
                      www.lynnlongplanninganddesign.com

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                      • #51
                        Well it's sad they have to bring in a new class for the way wp is suppose to be instead of getting on their judges for rewarding the way these horses are going now in wp. But guess that's the way the world works now. It would be nice to see this new class though. I may have to YouTube some later
                        Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole

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                        • #52
                          I had read the article about Lavish Love. I remembered a beautiful image of a lovely, forward, but level horse. Just went back and checked out the image again. I'm sure someone will be critical of her movement because the tip of her ear is just the height of her withers.
                          In the videos posted here I probably just see those strides that are at or above level (and block out the below ones), so I see many of the videos as fine. Others see only the other half of the strides and see bad movement. Likewise, I see this image of a great horse in this article, but others would say she is too low.
                          Ya know, that is why there are many breeds of horses, many styles of riding, and many skill levels of riders and horses within those styles. Not many riders really abuse their horses.
                          I'll shut up now.
                          Never argue with a fool. Noone can tell who is who.

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                          • #53
                            Originally posted by rabicon View Post
                            Well it's sad they have to bring in a new class for the way wp is suppose to be instead of getting on their judges for rewarding the way these horses are going now in wp. But guess that's the way the world works now. It would be nice to see this new class though. I may have to YouTube some later
                            If NOTHING in the class is moving right, no judge is going to give the entire class the gate. It just doesn't work that way.

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                            • #54
                              And that is the sad aspect of our sport. Not just wp but walking horse classes or the wonderful hunters perch in hunter classes or rollkur in dressage classes etc. These thing are rewarded in some aspects of the show world. May it make some people mad if they are called out or the whole class is called out? Yes ma'am but it doesn't mean that judge is wrong. There is something and someone that started each of these fads and were rewarded for it and people caught on to oh well we need to do that to. Inot just picking on wp here there are many examples in just about each horse sport there is today.
                              Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole

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                              • #55
                                I will say it is what It is. I still show and I'm very happy with my orse and how he is trained and he will start his show career soon and we will go do our thing and let others do theirs. We sometimes win we sometimes lose but I like classic riding and training so that's how I do it
                                Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole

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                                • #56
                                  Originally posted by rabicon View Post
                                  And that is the sad aspect of our sport. Not just wp but walking horse classes or the wonderful hunters perch in hunter classes or rollkur in dressage classes etc. These thing are rewarded in some aspects of the show world. May it make some people mad if they are called out or the whole class is called out? Yes ma'am but it doesn't mean that judge is wrong. There is something and someone that started each of these fads and were rewarded for it and people caught on to oh well we need to do that to. Inot just picking on wp here there are many examples in just about each horse sport there is today.
                                  And that judge never gets hired again.

                                  Go get your judges card and make it happen

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                                  • #57
                                    If I had the time I would. I would to. But again this is IMHO what's rewarded will flourish. The way it goes.
                                    Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole

                                    Comment


                                    • #58
                                      Originally posted by potteryshop View Post
                                      I had read the article about Lavish Love. I remembered a beautiful image of a lovely, forward, but level horse. Just went back and checked out the image again. I'm sure someone will be critical of her movement because the tip of her ear is just the height of her withers.........
                                      Photos are difficult to judge by. Here is a not-great-quality video of Lavish Love winning a Ranch Horse Pleasure class. This is about the way she normally goes, maybe a bit 'up' here (cattle were being loaded and friend said some horses didn't make it through the class).
                                      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8gfx58iK8ss&feature=plcp
                                      Comprehensive Equestrian Site Planning and Facility Design
                                      www.lynnlongplanninganddesign.com

                                      Comment


                                      • #59
                                        Originally posted by Plumcreek View Post
                                        Photos are difficult to judge by. Here is a not-great-quality video of Lavish Love winning a Ranch Horse Pleasure class. This is about the way she normally goes, maybe a bit 'up' here (cattle were being loaded and friend said some horses didn't make it through the class).
                                        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8gfx58iK8ss&feature=plcp
                                        She looks a bit happier and more free in that video that this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uyqnS...=1&safe=active

                                        To be fair I only watched a short bit of it before clicking away from disappointment. Her canter still looks crippled. Maybe a faster version of the typical WP canter.

                                        And what's up with the jerk-jerk-jerk with the hands these riders are doing? I only watched a few snippets of the videos posted on this thread and saw that multiple times. Is that a Thing?

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                                        • #60
                                          Nice horse.

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