Lets take this blog to the next level

If you have a photo of crappy show riding, know of a jerkwad trainer or judge, or someone in the show world that is an abusive piece of shit then send the info to me. This blog is not anti-showing, it's anti-abuse. So there is no truth to the claims from the TWH, ASB, western pleasure and dressage zombies that I'm trying to shut showing down. Instead I'm trying to make showing more honest and to get abusive practices out of the showring! Email me at shameinthehorseshowring@gmail.com

I have a request for my readers: If you have successfully rehabbed a show horse, or gotten a rescue and taken it on to a show career then let me know, I'd love to feature you here!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Western pleasure or torture, you be the judge..

I've tried to come up with something good to say about Western Pleasure and I just can't. I don't like the age of the horses being ridden, it don't like the stiff movement, canted posture, low heads, dead tails or miserable faces.
I deplore the lack of equitation that the trainers seem to promote. When did this stupid leaning back posture come into being? It looks ridiculous and makes the trainer look like he's being blown off the horse. I don't see it in non-stock breeds, so it has to be something the Qh/App/Paint people came up with.

Ok people, tell me your WP stories, past and present, and maybe we can track down why this sport is the joke of the stock horse industry.


Magna Cum Mule Trainer said...

Eh- I hated it pretty much until Jas decided she liked her head down there, and got to go as slow as she wants but keep a 3 beat lope.
I swear, she does it naturally. Compared to reining or horsemanship where she has to really think, she likes WP.
It's kinda fun to go out there in the mega silver saddles with all the glitzy show clothes, you do a few circuits and get a ribbon.

Here's the thing: I still hate standard stock breed WP because 99% of those horses do NOT do those gaits naturally. The warmup ring right before WP is terrible. They haul out the horses that were tied with their heads up or worked for 4 hours and then saw and jab at them for another hour, then go into the ring. No one gets thrown out for crap like that!
Some bigwig rode a poor horse all day sawing and jabbing at him- his chin was on his sternum and with every loppity lope stride she popped on his mouth, twice, hard.
She rode that horse so that he went from liver chestnut to roan with sweat.

I will never, ever force a mule horse to carry their head the way they don't want to. The high-headed ones that step out will go in equitation, speed events, jumping, etc. and the low-headers might be huntseat or WP, and the ones who can't.sit.still are definitely for speed events and gaming.

I see that AQHA is now calling for "lope with forward motion/extension" in their classes but I sure as hell don't see anyone doing it. I wonder if the higher up levels of WP are just beyond help.

Anonymous said...

It would be nice to have more pictures of what you mean. I'm kind of a novice at all of this and words like 'canted posture' and 'dead tails' mean little to me. None the less, I plan to keep reading! <3

Magna Cum Mule Trainer said...

I'll get you some Youtube videos.
This one shows the tails that never move:
Some of them are loping with butt-in.

This one's even worse, definitely quarters-in here. Geez, that lope stride has to be about 4 ft.
This video is pretty much all that's monsterously jacked up about western pleasure.

(and I can't believe people are commenting on the "balanced movement" there!)
If that's great movement I'm seriously screwed.

Jasmine goes pretty slow but not like that! She also wiggles her ears and tail all over the place to let the judge know she's alive.

OzArab said...

Thanks for those example video links.
As someone not in this area of the horse industry this type of "showing" kind of blows my mind. At the lope and even the jog they look *lame*. I was fascinated in the first video that when the commentator asked for lope that the transition required fiddling/jerking of the bit!
And the comments on the video were thanking the person for the education "now I know this is normal and desirable" !!
It's a whole different world out there :(

carriegl said...

For me, the key words are "Western Pleasure",,,,,,,,,,meaning the horse and rider should look "pleasurable", not strained, fiddled with, spurred, harried, worried or downright lame!

What I see when and if I watch a WP class is just disgusting, what they must do to get those poor horses to move that way......just ain't natural!

Carrie Giannandrea
Dances with Horses
Formula One Farms

Anonymous said...

I like how some 4-H shows are bringing in "Pasture Pleasure" or something similar for the kids who don't have those half dead horses. I think that's awesome, and wish that WP could just be phased out and that take it's place.

Anonymous said...

Everytime I watch a WP class I can think of nothing but how lame all the horses look. The ones I would pick as winners never place, and the ones that look totally miserable win. I give up. I am new to horse showing and have to say that if I were in the industry and all this people who have nothing to do with horses keep saying,"What is wrong with those horses? They look lame!" Like all my non horse friends say, I would probably along the line somewhere get it in my brain that gee maybe things need to change people think our horses are f'd up.

cattypex said...

GAH... WP is SOOOOOOO awful!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And the "Hunt Seat" classes at a QH show are pretty horrid, too. They're just Western Pleasure, slightly faster, and the riders have their hands in their crotches.

In WP, The girls all look skanky and the horses are just sad. I just don't get how that's suposed to be fun.

Anyone out there successfully rehab a former WP horse into something remotely useful?? All that spur-training and mouth yanking and and and......


ZTIG said...

Anymore I can't stomach any type of competition. The more I learn the more I wish I could stick my head back in the sand. Every sport has it bad and good sides but I have not seen any good in anything except endurance for so long that I am beginning to doubt in its existence. My sister (who was an avid 3day eventer) can no longer attend any event. She breaks down crying every time she sees a horse in pain which is everywhere. And there is no escape from @SShole trainers and owners.
The sad thing is I think competition is fun and the sports are fun...WHEN done properly. It is just so upsetting to see horses tortured to create false images and results that no where near resemble a true collected movement. This more than includes modern dressage riders rolkur or not. The "driving" seat and the constant jabbing of spurs/heels, which always follows with a slight jerk of the reins not in time with the horses movement...oh I need to stop I am getting carried away

cattypex said...


WTF is THAT!?!?!? I guess it's been a loooooong time since I've seen an Arabian WP horse.... they used to move so nicely, looking through the bridle like they were *going* somewhere.....

Did AQHA trainers infiltrate or something?

ShiverMeTimbers said...

I have never seen horses do anything like that! They all look lame, stumbling and so sad it breaks my heart.

In what world should this ever be desirable??!?!?

The "trainers" and other "people" in this industry should be shot!

gotadream said...

You may think that is so bad, well if you had any idea of the amount of work and hours that go into a WP horse you would or should change your tune... There is nothing un natural about the WP gates, if you watch these horses are great athletes and the lift that they can get in thier shoulder would make any jumper fail. Don't knock a mounted event unless you know what your talking about. As for the dropped head that has changed we now maintain a level top line...Like all equine events there are god and bad, I feel far more for the jumper that is hit over and over again to make them jump... each event has it's pros and cons, don't paint the whole group with the same brush... I work hard with yes I said with my horses to get that slow lifted canter, they also shine at hunter in both AQHA shows and open as well.

elaina said...

there is nothing wrong with western pleasure. you just know nothing about it at all. so get over yourself! fuck you!

roanhorse said...

There's NOTHING wrong with WP????? There's EVERYTHING wrong with WP...Have been watching and formerly exhibiting in WP for the better part of 48 years and I can no longer stomach watching these horses stagger down the rail; miserable looking head bobbers from moving too slowly and they CANNOT maintain a frame; so, we get the "head bob" and "skip". There is NOTHING natural about this; don't kid me...hips canted to the center and and heads near the wall with crappy spur stops put on a good number of these horses....Bob Avila has NOTHING good to say about a spur stop....he should know..,.he used to exhibit WP horses here on the West Coast and has NO use for that stop ...

So what do you do to keep these horses moving and abusing their hips, hocks and lumbar area with this "movement"...you inject these areas to keep them showing....file that under BULLSHIT. What happened to great herdsmanship and horsemanship....It disappeared down the train along with common sense and humane treatment of horses.

For the current enthusiasts of WP...align yourselves with a dressage instructor and watch their horses being schooled at training level all the way thru Prix St. Georges...you just may discover what a "great mover" and movement truly is...until then, spare those of us who have in fact been there and done it and know what correct movement is...we do not delude ourselves about what constitutes a poor mover..there are presently a load of them in the majority of AQHA WP classes and until judges, trainers and exhibitors wake up to what is going on out there we'll continue to see horses moving the way they are at present.....truly pathetic. Trainers are the worst at promoting this and making "believers" out of their customers that this is just the way to show your horse.....total nonsense.

mismatchedsocks said...

Go watch Alexander Nevzorov work his horses. THAT is natural, free movement. THAT is true, unaided collection. WP, most competition in general, I find completely revolting.

Kalin said...

My horse used to be a Western Pleasure horse and he naturally keeps his head low. It's all natural. I ride him on trails and he automatically acts like we're in a show ring for WP. You can check out my blog if you want to see it for yourself. Yes, there is abuse in WP, but there is abuse everywhere. There isn't anything wrong with WP itself, but some owners.

Marly McElwee said...
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Marly McElwee said...

Personally I'm fine with western Pleasure, I think it's beautiful. When you get to higher shows such as World, Congress, and Nationals there are some unethical to things done. But my friend has a horse that natural puts her head down like that, who has a real natural show jog that looks beautiful, not like she's limping. I guess it's all in the training and breeding, some have to force while others are much more natural. The natural looking ones are the ones I think are beautiful and I'm okay with.

Marly McElwee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.