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!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Let's talk terminology...

So let’s discuss some screwed up stuff:

I apologize for the delay in posting, the real world has intruded into my online life in an annoying way and I had to boot reality out the door in order to get back to wasting time on the internet.

I received some suggestions via email that led to research, which made my hair stand on end. I’ve developed a rather jaded view of the horse industry, after 30 years the sparkle is off the sequins and the leather is starting to crack, but even I’m shocked at some of the new fangled ways to torture a horse that people are coming up with. There were also a few that made me whack my forehead and feel shame that I hadn’t covered them already. I’m going to start with some of those and then develop the others for later blogs.

Let’s look at how the show ring makes us think and talk. I don’t think horse people realize how odd we sound until a non-horse person points it out to us. My life is compartmentalized into horse and non-horse people. The non-horse people are more prone to giving me odd looks and asking “What do you mean?” And I don’t think we realize that some times terminology gets misused to a huge degree and propagates the misuse of equipment and training methods.

I’ll start with a simple one that has endured massive misuse, both as an equine term, and a training method.

I’m talking about the dread SPUR STOP. A Spur Stop is just that, it’s stopping your horse by applying your heel or spur to his side. It’s a cue used to avoid touching the horse’s face. Now generally I’m all in favor of a cue that means there is less pressure on the mouth. The problem is that this little cue creates all kinds of other problems when you try to use a horse in other disciplines. Touch a Spur Stop trained horse with your heel going over a fence and you’ll find yourself flying through the air like Peter Pan. Hit a barrel horse with a Spur Stop and you’ll lose time, and money. Outside of western/english pleasure it serves no purpose and most good judges will mark you down for it.

This leads to another problem. People use, or rather misuse, the term Spur Stop and don’t know what it means. It’s a simple concept, made harder by ignorance. I once argued for several posts about Spur Stops with a woman that was describing a regular stop. She engaged her seat, then her upper leg and finally lightly touched the reins. Well fucking duh, that’s how you stop a horse. That’s not a Spur Stop, that’s a regular stop. She was arguing in favor of a term, yet she didn’t know what the term actually meant. Most good WP horses I’ve seen are not trained to actually Spur Stop. Instead they work mainly off a shift of the seat and upper leg. Well hello people, classical riding as been doing that for centuries. A true Spur Stop means you poke the horse with your foot and he stops. End of story! No seat, no upper leg, no bit. Even the illustrious Pleasure Horse Forum argues the merit of this ultimately stupid cue, and half the people arguing in favor of it don’t know that what they’re describing isn’t a Spur Stop. If you’re going to fight about something then at least know what you’re arguing about.

Let’s look at another term: Headset
I fricking hate this word. I hate what it implies and I hate how people abuse the hell out of horses to get it. Headset seems to mean that your horse sets his head in one spot and never moves it again. I’ve seen people with draw reins, rubber reins, martingales, and every other gadget on the planet, struggling to create a headset. If you want to know what your horse’s headset is then wait until he’s in a relaxed trot, on loose rein and see where his head goes. That’s his natural headset and one you should not be struggling to alter.

Back when horsemen actually trained horses for longer than 90 days and made sure a horse was solid on each gait and maneuver before moving on to the next one, it was accepted for a horse to reposition his head at different levels when changing gaits or maneuvers. Anyone that has ever ridden a big jumper or good cowhorse knows that an athletic animal is going to re-adjust his body for the optimum range of motion and the most efficient way to get the job done. This will involve moving his fricking head, up and down, side to side. I am so sick of seeing pleasure horses whose heads never move even as they change speeds, stop and turn. I say “never move” in the context of they don’t go up at the shoulder to actually collect, since they can’t collect because the rider is constantly plucking and twanging on the reins in order to maintain the “headset”.

This brings us to our next word of the day: Collection
I don’t hate collection; I hate the fact that even big name trainers don’t know what the fuck it is. In simplistic terms collection is when the rear end of the horse is engaged, the neck lifts from the shoulder and the horse is rounded. A flat top-lined horse is not collected. A drop headed, behind the vertical horse is not collected. A horse may be heeding your every cue. He may be slow, cadenced and quiet but he is not collected if his back is convex and his rear isn’t engaged. And you cannot engage the rear and shoulders if the head is dragging in the dirt. It is physically impossible. Simply yielding to the bit is not collection, it’s giving to pressure. And knowing some of the mouthpieces the BNTs use I’d yield too, rather than get my palate torn to shreds. So all of the little show monkeys sitting on their head dragging horses at the Reichert have no clue what collection is. This term has been so abused by the pleasure horse industry that the government should fine them a dime for each misuse of the term and they could build sanctuary to care for used up old pleasure horses.

After collection comes another term that just sets my teeth to grinding: Frame

I’m sure the first trainer to use the term frame had a clear vision of a flexible, freely striding horse that stayed in a nice rounded, collected form, moving lightly and well within its physical abilities. Then some other less talented, and more gimmick driven, trainer got a hold of the term and used it to mean a stiff, robotic moving horse, over-flexed and frustrated by heavy hands and a leaden seat.

The term frame now implies a rigid, square, heavy, over-gilded form, much like the average pleasure horse with his flat back, stiff movement and silver encrusted saddle. Let’s banish that term to a softer, and more visually pleasing one.

Here’s another term that just makes me want to force my head to meet my desk: Lope with a forward motion.

The AQHA came up with this little ditty because they were too chickenshit to tell their judges to only place horses to could actually canter with the proper number of beats. How the hell else do you canter? Is there a canter with backward motion? Canter with upside down motion? Come on people! When an organization as big as the AQHA makes this kind of statement, showing the equine world that their judges and exhibiters have to be told how to properly canter a horse, it tells you have far down the slippery slope of stupidity we’ve gone. Lope with a forward motion? Pleeeaaassseeee! And to add to the morass of stupidity the ApHC and APHA both adopted the term for their own rulebooks. Hmmm lets tell the whole world the entire stock horse industry can’t figure out how to canter their horses.

Okay share the terms that piss you off. I know I can’t be the only one frustrated with this crap.


Vectormom said...

I'm probably the only western pleasure rider that ever tells her QH to pick her head up and move forward! LOL! I hate the breed shows and turned in my AQHA judges' card because of the way things have gone down hill in the show ring. What really pisses me off is the western horses in english tack calling them hunter under saddle or hunter eq horses. The constant spurring to open the stride to fit their distorted version of hunters with no rein contact, open fingers, puppy paw hand carriage and of course with all that spurring comes heels up. It's ridiculous and you can't judge those shows as a hunter rider and walk to your car without an escort. People go apes@#t over your placings if you don't reward the best western horse in english tack for their attempt at hunters. It's outrageous!! Another term that pisses me off is hunter-jumper. WTF??? Hunters are completely different from jumpers and most hunters cannot effectively do jumpers and most jumpers cannot effectively do hunters. Why hunter jumper? Should I call my QH western pleasure mare who likes to jump a western hunter? That's what they look like at the breed shows in hunters! Is my one eyed TB jumper who can hack out a 3' medal course and make you look like it was effortless be called an equitation jumper? People who use the term hunter jumper for their horse, haven't a clue what either a hunter or jumper is. People who use their western pleasure horses for hunters don't know what a hunter is and those who are looking for a headset & frame have no clue how to get it. Engage your horse' hocks and teach him to move forward, not suck back and you'll get your horse' 'headset & frame' and if that isn't dead, rigid, square, robotic movement, then you're getting closer to a natural movement from your horse. If your horse' way of going doesn't fit a particular discipline that you want to do, get a new horse not more gadgets! Don't fit a round peg into a square hole and call it a winner!!

GoLightly said...

Sorry, too busy applauding.

Great post!

horsndogluvr said...

Oh goodie! I've been checking the blog every day for this one!

I thought "spur stop" was that thing silly girls do, where they kick and pull the reins at the same time, so the horse stops with its head up. Oh, that's right, "head up" is anathema in Western Pleasure! ... No, thanks, when I wrap my legs around a horse, I want speed.

Come to think of it, "Western Pleasure" is another misuse of words! I can't think of any *pleasure* associated with making a horse move as if it's seriously depressed. Or about a "lope" that gets you nowhere. Or about having to spend $4000 to get the silver saddle and fancy clothes. Or about necks carried so low that if the horse shies or stops suddenly, off you go.

I wrote in my comment to the last blog about what headset means to me. Like you said, it's NOT having the horse's head glued in one place! Argh!

I didn't realize "collection" had lost its meaning. I got my idea of it from watching dressage. 'Nuff said. Every rider and trainer in any discipline should be made to watch film of some of the great dressage horses and riders collecting and extending. Maybe they'd catch on.

The English prof's daughter sez "frame" means something designed to hold something still. Our Mouse said, "rigid, square, heavy, over-gilded form," which puts it nicely! So I don't think the so-called trainers are using the term wrong. Yech. Poor horses.

Hey I could be a popular WP judge today! I'd just give the blue to the most depressed looking horse, and the rider with the longest reins. Piece of cake!

But what I'd *like* to do is announce, "Since this is a pleasure class, I'll be rewarding tho horse and rider that are having the most fun!" How's that? (Of course, I'll be carrying my sidearm...)

Want to see some good riding? Watch the version of "Stagecoach" with John Wayne. At one point, they're galloping hell bent for leather, and one guy is sitting still on his all-out horse, reloading his shotgun. Now that's riding. I'm trying to find it on Youtube; if I do, I'll post the URL.

horsndogluvr said...

I must have made my point about headset in a PM to our Queen. So I'll say it again.

Properly used, headset means the horse is carrying his head in the position that makes for the best use of the reins for communication. As TM said, it is a different position for different horses, different gaits, and different disciplines.

It involves more than the head, too. It affects the whole topline, since it involves being ready for instant communication and response.

Gack! Lemme at the AQHA rulebook. I'd make a few changes, I would!

I used to ride an old school horse who was trained both English and Western. In a curb, he went Western with a nice sitting trot, and an easy lope; in a snaffle, he went with a big posting trot and a more collected canter. (He jumped, too - but I don't!)

It *can* be done right - but not in 30 or 90 days. Someone put a lot of work into him. I wish we could see that in AQHA, but I doubt it will happen in my lifetime.

I rode a TW that was similar. Ride him with a crop, and he picked his feet up and did the Walk nicely; without it, he relaxed and would even trot now and then. Just carrying the crop made the difference - never had to use it.

But nobody wants to spend the time for that kind of training - it reduces the income. "The love of money is the root of all evil."

Gosh, I'm talkative today. Hope you had the patience to read through it all!

Morgan_Horse_Queen said...

Hair coat - for a horse's outer covering.

What else could it be? A wool coat?

Trivial, but annoying.

Smurfette said...

I know a number of high level QHs that rein, barrel race, western ride and yes, jump over fences, but have a spur stop on them also. Just like dressge, the leg pressure in different places, with diffent cadance or rhythum, and at different levels of pressure means different things. I my "spur stop" is just like you mentioned, with the back, seat, leg and then spur engaged, I just don't to go to the rein anymore. My horse is in the process of learning to shoulder-in and -out, leg yeild and half pass without rein pressure, depending on what I do with my seat, back and where each of my legs is placed. He is actually learning to do them much better than he did when I was first teaching him, and was using my reins.

Were the videos posted supposed to be positive or negitive?

Anonymous said...


Good on you for turning in your judge's card. I wish judges in all breeds and disciplines would choose to do that and send a message!


You crack me up! Good stuff!

I find that collection has a different wrong meaning in the gaited horse world. The horse will have a round neck and will be soft in the mouth, but their back is completely hollow. A lot of times they're behind the bit because they are anticipating being pushed up into the bridle and a shanked bit. The horse is gaiting but he's not performing the gait correct to the breed. Plus we all know a hollow back can lead to all kinds of back problems later in life. Reteaching a horse like that to round completely throughout his body is not easy--it takes more work than getting a strung out horse to round.

On the vein of what MHQ said, I can't stand it when people call a sabino a roan. This is a sabino:
http://agdirect.com/scripts/hrsdetl.exe?1244564788&0 This is a roan: http://agdirect.com/scripts/hrsdetl.exe?1207273619&0 And then in the TWH discipline, they have this new definition called "roan sabino". GEEZ.

whisper_the_wind said...

This may be a little off topic, but in the video of One Hot Chrymsun (or however the hell you spell his name), his penis is flopping. That is a dead giveaway for a horse that is drugged too often. It can lead to permanent problems and in some cases lead to penile amputation. If I can see it in a video, why can't/don't the judges see it.

Other than that, the modern 'lope' looks so pained and dull, I'll stick to my working horses rather than the 'Western Pained' class.

Kinda like the last AQHA show I was at where the winning weanling colt had an overbite of at least an inch and a half. Three judges and only one 'noticed' it. She commented on it to the other judges but they waved it off laughingly. The owner had money and a reputation (big time breeder).

Cut-N-Jump said...

Wahoo! A new post!

And what a post it is. Standing O from here.

Vectormom- I believe the word you seek is Wenglish. Yeah, not many folks in favor of that here. As for hunter/jumper, I guess anything that can jump qualifies as either or both. You're right, there is a difference and not a lot of people *get it*.

I see no reason for the two classes- HUS and HP. The hunter is under saddle and should be a pleasure to ride.

As far as "collection" being misused, I prefer the term gathered. The horse is 'gathered' beneath you. A gathered horse can perform collected and extended versions of the different gaits.

Too often though, the folks speaking of collection are merely talking of going slow. Slow like a snails pace. The collected trot, working trot and strong trot are three seperate rates of speed within the same gait.

Yet some dumbfuck ringside will say how nicely collected horse A looks, merely because they are going slooooooowwwwww... The horse of their observation is neither collected, nor gathered.

Saying a horse "Halters" irritates the piss out of me. "Halters really nice, he will halter all day long, he can halter too..." So what? Is the horse wearing a halter 24/7 in your world? Is that the be all end all?

Own son of... Well no shit. Maybe 'sired by' is a better choice? How about Super Dooper is my horses Stallion Daddy. That would be suitable for todays txtspk crowd.

For fuck sake the correct term is *driving* when a horse is pulling a buggy or cart. It is not 'carting' unless the poor critter is carting your lazy ass around. No the Amish do not place their wife or children in harms way by seating them on the left- closer to traffic. The correct place for the driver to sit, is on the right side of the cart.

(TJM- please do a post on stock horse driving classes!)

"Ho!" Did you mean prostitute or garden tool? Either way you're spelling it wrong and neither has anything to do with getting a horse to stop. That word is "whoa". See. It's spelled and pronounced differently.

I can't think of anything else at the moment and everyone probably thinks I'm in the far reaches if idiot land. When people start saying things like this around me, I swear I am.

Cut-N-Jump said...

Vectormom- If you hadn't turned in your card, you might have started the *change* we all seek.

Trot your horses please, trot.

When they all pick up the shuffle/jog, ask again for a trot.

Keep asking until some of them cop a clue. Same with the canter.

Pin those who do it correctly. If you have to verbally scold everyone in the lineup- do it.

So what if they don't ask you back? People talk and something like that is not likely to be forgotten for some time.

Besides, some of us would approach you in the parking lot and sing your praises. The others? Well they would be pissed either way, so that's their problem. Fuck them! They can go show somewhere else.

Cut-N-Jump said...

Just thought of another one- the Lynn Palm version of dressage.

Yep she screwed that one up for a lot of people. Behind the motion, uber slow movements, jerky transitions. Is that why we never see her on a WB with lightness through the shoulders and BIG gaits.

And jumping. The way she throws the horse over and flops down on their back on the other side? My mare would ditch her ass in a flash, doing a dance on her once she is off her back.

I guess smooth isn't in her vocabulary.

I'll shut up now.

CCH said...

I thought I would mention that the spur stop has been making an appearance of sorts in the cutting pen. I'm not for it, but I will say that all my horses are trained to "park" their butts based on a weight shift and a touch to the neck just in front of the wither.

Tuffy Horse said...

Oh goodness, terms that make me mad.... hmmmm such a list!

1) Stud colt. Drives me insane. Your horse is a colt until it is four and after that it is either a stallion, if intact, or a stud, if intact and breeding. All studs are stallions, but not all stallions are studs. If you breed your colt, and he's under four then, he becomes a stud and he's no longer considered a colt, just like breeding a filly makes her a broodmare, regardless of her age.

I'm with CNJ on the 2) Hunter Under Saddle crap. What other kind of hunter is there? Is there a Hunter Over Saddle, or Hunter Without a Saddle? The proper terminology would be Hunter On The Flat, or Hunter Over Fences.

3) Extended trot/canter being just another term for going faster. Extension means to EXTEND the trot. A true extended trot or canter doesn't increase the speed more than a small increment. Instead it increases the stride, hence the term "extended". If it just meant go quicker then it would be called a "faster trot/canter". As a judge it just frosts me to call for an extended trot or canter and suddenly the ring looks like the Ben Hur Chariot race without the cute leather skirts and horse hair plumed helmets. A good extended trots is like shifting the gears on a work truck. You feel the horse sink lower and the rear end engages. The stride flattens and extends, making the ride smoother and more fluid. The fricking egg beater crap that most people call an extended trot should be banished.

4) Stockseat Equitation. This would imply that at some point the person in their sequins, silver saddle, and $300.00 chaps is going to work some stock. However their fake tail dragging horse with his nose level with his knees and his snail speed choppy stride couldn't out run a hamburger, much less a real live cow. Call it what it is: Show ring on the rail equitation that never has any intention of even going near a cow.

5) On the Bit. This one makes me grind my teeth in aggravation. The bit is held in the horse's mouth, of course he's on the damn thing. However if he is working correctly he is really not on the bit, he's on the rear and engaged at the shoulder and carrying himself naturally so the bit doesn't really fricking matter does it? To me "on the bit" implies the horse is constantly needing to be held up, and that is not a horse I want to ride.

Tracy M

cattypex said...

Hmmm... in defense of "Ho" it's a regional variation, I guess, and is normal around here.

OK Let's just say that "Headset" (SHOULD simply pertain to a horse's natural carriage - not a "training" goal) and "Frame" (ditto) are totally bankrupt terms, since they've just become so obnoxious.

"Collection"? I dunno, but I, too, suspect that unfortunately all correct meaning has been sucked out of it.

Why is it that people... TRAINERS and JUDGES, even .... are so FRICKIN' IGNORANT of simple equine body mechanics!??!?! The sole criteria in a lot of disciplines seem to be a) the horse can hold his head & neck in a proscribed position and b) trit trot around at the proscribed pace.

There's no room for individuality, no room to show off something dazzlingly different. "Oh wow, I LOVE that mare, she has such a brisk, engaged walk" or "Man, that gelding is DOPE: look how proudly he carries himself and laps everyone, yet his rider is obviously having a smooooth ride."
NOPE, we've got to force horses into these little molds.

OK, I never thought about Hunter/Jumper as a negative - I mainly use that term to differentiate between Wenglish and for-real Hunter Seat Equitation (you know what I mean). But I totally get your point!!

Saddle Seat has its own weird terms that don't seem to have obvious meanings.
"Park Horse" should be a horse you'd like to ride through the park - though I suspect the term originated to describe a snappy fiery horse that a dandy would ride to impress girls - much like ricer boys' cars today.
"Country English Pleasure" sounds like it should be ridden in more casual attire, at a leisurely pace, and designate a solid citizen kind of horse.

And then there's all the Hunter show jargon.
Short Stirrup, Children's Hunter, etc. Talk about a secret code! ; )

Vectormom, you need to write an essay "Why I Turned In my Judge's Card" for the QH Journal or some other horse magazine.

I'm so ashamed of the AQHA. They're one of the most sorry excuses for a breed organization (besides the TWHBEA (or whatever), I think they've so much perverted what a good QH is all about. And... they don't see it. They think that all that spur stop, Wenglish, incorrect gait shit is JUST FINE.

Lynn Palm? Gag me with a spoon. She might be a nice lady and all, but ... everything she does is just a tricksy front-end-only parody of the Real Thing.

Kind of like a lot of horse stuff anymore.

Hey, maybe because most cars are front-wheel-drive, people think that their horses should be too!!

Sorry for the long post. You know how I get. And I'm getting all worked up because I'm gonna see a lot to make me ill this weekend at the Fair....

Khazar-khum said...

Those "pleasure" horses look dead. Zombified, really. The floppy penis, dead tail, flat ears--the poor thing has been drugged.

Lythinae said...

Khazar-khum said...

Those "pleasure" horses look dead. Zombified, really. The floppy penis, dead tail, flat ears--the poor thing has been drugged.

The tails creep me out ... hanging there like dead things.

And that horse in the first video just looks really constipated.

cattypex said...

Oh, and as a person with an English degree, I get really SICK of all the weird and tortured spellings people use when naming their registered horses!!

Whenever I see one of those Arabian "Psynister" - type names, I think of psyllium. It's psilly! And all the other tortured names... I guess I prefer real words/names that show off a horse's origins, i.e. a real Egyptian name, Polish, Russian, Spanish etc.

"Magnum Psyche" sounds like a brand of condom.

And the AQHA names with Heza, Sheza, etc. The horse in the demo video "One Hot Krymsun." UGH!!! The poor downtrodden horse isn't even a RED color like sorrel or red roan!!!!! One Hot Mess, if you ask me.

HUS vs HP: if you wanna get technical, HUS should showcase everything a real hunter does without the jumps. Brilliance and a workmanlike attitude should definitely be factors. It's why they throw a hand gallop in there. HP, on the other hand, should be a lot more laid back and showcase a good HS horse, yes, but in a less... intense ... way. You can successfully show the same horse in both - just ramp it up for the HUS.

Unless, of course, you're doing that QH thing.

"Brilliance" is used there to describe the shiny crap that the silver fairy puked onto your beige saddle...

horsndogluvr said...

Cut-n-jump said: ‘As far as "collection" being misused, I prefer the term gathered.’

I learned to ride from an authentic (retired) Cavalry Colonel. Before we did anything, from starting to walk, to changing gaits, to going over jumps, he’d call out, “Gather your horses… Ho-oh!” So, to me, “gather” means “let the horse know you’re going to ask for something.”

And: “Yet some [fool] ringside will say how nicely collected horse A looks, merely because they are going slooooooowwwwww... The horse of their observation is neither collected, nor gathered.”

I completely agree!

“Lynn Palm version of dressage…” I tried to find her doing dressage on Youtube, but only found this example of flat work. I think I’ll send it to the “Bad riding” blog.

Cattypex, You’re right. “Park Horse” means “riding to impress.” "Country English Pleasure," I believe, allows for flat-shod horses. But don’t take my word for it.

Catty, you had me ROFL with this one:
'"Brilliance" is used there to describe the shiny crap that the silver fairy puked onto your beige saddle...'
Bwaaa haa ha!

It’s just like the dog show world. Both exhibitors and (most) judges think, “If a little is good, more must be better!” And the non-pro exhibitors imitate everything the big name pros do, whether or not it helped them win. (I could start a blog called “shame in the dog show ring” …)

I hope for the days when the class title matches the critters in the class, KWIM?

Cut-N-Jump said...

H&DLVR- Once in a while I would catch the scratchy voiced Palm Frond on RFD. It always opened with video of her riding Rugged Lark and doing various things- dressage movements, jumping a small crossrail or straight pole, a few reining moves, i.e. a spin or sliding stop...

None of them difficult moves, but then none of them performed as they should be either. Her jumping was as described above. The dressage was not freeflowing movement. The spins were decent but not completely correct. The slides were rather short and choppy.

Yet people in the QH world practicly pee their pants to emmulate that. WHY? Good question.

I know I could have changed the channel, but it's definately trainwreck material and I had to look to see the extent of the carnage.

Tuffy Horse- On the bit as opposed to 'In the Bridle' perhaps? You and I and several others know what a horse traveling correctly and 'in the bridle' with a natural head carriage looks like, but I hear this one being slowly tortured to a miserable and painful death too.

And carrying on the trend- In the bridle as opposed to out of it? Wouldn't that be bridleless? Or their head is 'nekkid'? ROFL!

Cut-N-Jump said...

Under saddle, in the bridle as opposed to...

Reminds me of the newscasters reporting on a story where:

"The victim was shot dead."

As opposed to what? Being shot back to life? Is that possible?

Shoot him again Steve, it'll bring him back. Then ya won't be fixin' ta go ta jayl 'r nuthin'.

cattypex said...

Heh, here are some quotes that appeared on here I think... and I keep 'em handy to refresh myself:

"A horse 'held in shape' by his rider is only posturing in a seemingly correct form, usually for the benefit of inexperienced observers."

~Charles de Kunffy 

"...there are more and more peole who have no access to classical equestrian education or lack the will to purue it, riders who are intellectually lazy, are physically incompetent, and will gladly promote the notion that there is a new kind of dressage akin to technology."

~Charles de Kunffy

I saw Rugged Lark's farewell performance at Congress. He was kinda pretty, and much loved, and seemed like a good guy, but... not correct.

Anonymous said...

Cattypex and horsendoglvr,

Coming from the saddle seat world :) In the sound TWH world, Country Pleasure are keg-shod horses (not allowed a lite or plantation shoe) that are not necessarily performing a perfect show gait, but they are showing a smooth gait that is well balanced and they are calm and quiet. They are the kind of horse you can ride down a country road just for fun. That's what we are trying to encourage, anyway. I have no idea what it's like in the sore-horse world.

CP, you CRACK ME UP with the English references! I too have an English degree, and I hate the stupid names people come up with. I hate the letsgetasmanylettersinaswecan names, like ZipposTripleRockstar, or whatever. Good Lord, if the name is too long for the length of characters, just shorten it!

Gathering: I learned to "gather my reins" before asking the horse for a faster speed, in the context of the horse is going to change his body, so be ready to help him out.

I like "in the bridle." That is a good term to use. I'll remember that one.

Anonymous said...

CP - LOVE your new avatar! I'm an lolcats/icanhascheezburger fan, too!

Reddunappy said...

Will it ever stop! The 4 beater peanut roller brokan looking poor horses! I hate hate to say it, but I even seen it in High School Equestrian team here in Washington this year! sick. No money involved to win there so WTF???

Vectormom said...

Actually there is no such thing as a four beat canter. When a horse 'four beats', they are cantering in front and trotting in back. That's considered a broken gait, whether it's broken trotting or broken loping, it's an impure or broken gait and is a major fault. I also do not understand how other QH judges continue to reward the horse with it's poll below the withers. QH rulebook says to penalize a horse that carries the poll below the withers. The poll should be no lower than the withers and depending on conformation, the poll may be slightly above the withers. It is also incorrect for a horse to be behind the bit or behind the vertical. Correct is on the vertical or slightly forward. I love to judge but it just got to be too artificial and I couldn't do it anymore. People don't care what the rules state as correct. I also cannot fathom why the AQHA has formed a research committee to consider the registering of clones. I think they should have quit registering any QH with Impressive on the papers as soon as HYPP was discovered. I do own a QH mare and she has no 'Impressive' blood in her. I do not show at QH shows either although I love showing. We just go to open shows. As far as me turning in my QH judges' card and stating to the AQHA why, I actually did that. But they are a big association with lots of high dollar backers. I'm one crappy little peon judge to them and there are a gazillion more out there to take my place so they really didn't care. Oh and I apologize if my english is not so correct. LOL! I'm NOT an english major ..... LOL! Oh and yes, I use the term 'wenglish' often. There are so many things wrong with hunter classes at breed shows, it's phenominal and very annoying.
Another point.... about hunter pleasure versus hunter under saddle. Hunter under saddle is a stupid term and yes, it's hunter on the flat but it's a working class. A horse should move freely from the shoulder with little animation in his way of going in order to cover the most ground with the least amount of effort. This is in order to keep up with the hunt regardless of how long it takes to tree the fox. Pleasure would be more akin to a hilltopping horse that usually doesn't require jumping, and must have impeccable manners in order to parallel the hunt and not become excited with the whips, horn calls, dogs barking, etc. The worst part of explaining that is breed show riders don't usually know the origins of show hunters and most have no clue about foxhunting or hilltopping.

cattypex said...

Vertical Schmertical.... I HATE all the emphasis placed on where the horse's damn head is!!!!!

If you want a good picture of movement, impulsion (explain THAT to a Wenglish rider), collection, and all the other hallmarks of a good riding horse, look att all the stuff BEHIND the withers.

If you MUST, I think that the poll level about with the saddle horn is QUITE low enough to demonstrate how quiet your horse is. Anything lower, and you don't get much representation of how he REALLY moves.

Light contact. Not nonexistent contact, and not leaning on the bit. But I want to see those Huntseat reins with some delicate tension in 'em.

And getcher hands out of your crotch. You look like you need Monistat.

Straighten your back. You can pitch a little forward to go with your horse's forward motion (if he has any), but do it with a straight back.

There were some good illustrations in School for Young Riders, I think, showing how hunter seat posture is balancing over your feet like a skier or a swimmer about to dive.

And now I'm off to go help at Western Day at the fair. I'll probly be back later to decompress. ; )

GoLightly said...

"tree the fox".

Foxes don't climb trees.
They "go to ground".
Just sayin.


I can't believe what I just read.
Will you please say something?

horsndogluvr said...

The proper term, for any kind of hunting with scent hounds, is "bring to bay." That covers treeing, going to ground, cornering, whatever. The critter stops, the dogs bay. the only thing it doesn't cover is if they catch it and kill it while trailing.

Yeah, I've done some coonhunting. Fun!

cattypex said...

Helped out at the fair today.

Was highly moved by the blind girl and her ingenious instructor and parents (instructor stood behind judge with a clicker for showmanship and halter, and 4 volunteers rode in the ring with her for Pleasure so that she could keep her bearings. Instructor stood in the center with a clicker. Horse was an awesome SAINT.)

And... really honked off that a LAME horse kept placing in WP. And of course the usual crap.

Thankfully we also have "Saddle-Type" WP, which means Arab, SB, TWH etc. Some girl on a fabulous Connemara/Welsh Cob cross got 2nd.

And Saddle-Type is a stupid term, too.

OzArab said...

I see no reason for the two classes- HUS and HP. The hunter is under saddle and should be a pleasure to ride.

That always seemed a little odd to me too.
Here in Australia in the non-QH show circuit there are 2 classes for hunters. Show Hunter and Working Hunter. The Working Hunter classes do jumps. Regardless of the class the horse has to show good paces with the "working" aspect in mind. Personally, I think that is a better system than the HUS and HP. It is rather sad to see the QH folks here doing the same stuff as the USA.... :( I would have liked to have thought they had more sense. But maybe that is to be found in the Australian Stockhorse classes. *sigh*

Re extension. It is amazing how many think that just going faster = an extended trot. (My first Arab mare started powering along after I got her back from the breakers and I didn't have a CLUE - way back when - what it was! LOL I then found out it was an extended trot. She could really move and it was amazing to ride.)

horsndogluvr said...

"Saddle-Type"? Makes me LOL, too. Sounds like they're judging the saddles!

But what are you gonna call it? Saddle Seat Western Pleasure? (Is that an oxymoron?) The real truth would be too long to fit in a program: "Western Pleasure for Saddle Seat Breeds." Not to mention that I didn't know Welsh or Connemaras were SS breeds.

Of course, loving a high head carraige like I do, that would be real "western pleasure" for me.

"Saddle Seat Western Pleasure" makes me think of delicately decorated (no slab-o-silver), very light Western saddles, with long, narrow tapaderos; graceful, not clunky. They'd have to have very, very high cantles.

Of course, if the rider began to come off forward, they'd probably be bounced right back into the saddle, with internal injuries!

JohnieRotten said...

I hate the spur stop with a passion.Just that term pisses me off!

And the mere fact that someone would teach horse to stop by cuing them with an instrument that we use to ask them to go with just says to me they are idiots.

You will never see a reiner or anyone that really knows how to get a stop out of a horse.

I hate the way the pleasure horse industry has changed the real meaning of collection.

Four beating is not collection!

Look at a horse that is four beating and you can clearly see that horse is strung out behind and heavy on the forehand. Just because he is going slow does not mean he is collected!

The lunacy in the showring never ceases!

cattypex said...

Heh... ran into my old hairdresser at the Western show... her daughter was showing, and seriously, Tammy Wynette getup and all.

So ... mom & were chitchatting, catching up, while I inwardly groaned at the poor tortured horse hobbling around the ring. Well, it was lope time, and the daughter came close, and mom yelled, "Get his butt in!!" and I had to suddenly have business elsewhere *sigh*

I originally thought the Connemara cross was some kind of Morgan or Friesian combo. SO CUTE. I actually thought it was brilliant of them to enter that class instead of regular WP, because the horse had a very upward dressagey gait.

A very pretty Arab from our club won. I loves him dearly. He loves himself, too. ; )

I totally GET what "Saddle Type" WP means... but didn't it used to be called California Style? - at least it did in the books I had as a kid...

Ironically, back then I thought that Arab/Morgan/ASB "California" pleasure was soooo much more glamourous since AQHA pleasure was still in jeans and plain old Western shirts....

Maybe in Open Shows there could be... I dunno... Zombie Pleasure, Pretty Pleasure and Fun Pleasure....

Let's see, more silly terms....... I guess a lot of terms would come off as REALLY WEIRD to the layman. Frog, rainrot, ergot, wolf teeth, gaskin, sheath... all must sound hopelessly medieval.

I remember from OLD British horse books as a kid seeing terms like Sweeney and Sweet Itch, and thinking how very odd horsemen were. ; )

cattypex said...

Oh, and some folks around here refer to a flake of hay as a "bat" of hay.

When I was in 4H, if in showmanship the judge asked you a part of the horse you were unfamiliar with, we were told to point vaguely at the leg....

I hatehatehate when announcers say "walk/jog/lope" in English classes!!!!

A friend was showing her NSH at an open show, in a "saddle-type pleasure" class. He was the only huntseat horse in a sea of Western TWHs, Rocky Mtn. Horses, MFTs....

So at the usual "jog/trot" time, the announcer said "Favorite Gait!" and my friend kept walking, since that was her favorite gait. ; )

Morgan_Horse_Queen said...

I hit the bi-fecta, I have a sabino Arab who's named in the Psy...tradition! His registered name is really stupid, so we call him Monty. He doesn't seem to mind!

"Saddle" type does have an opposite - it's "stock" type. Have no idea where the terms originated, but they've been in use for a long time. Those two extremes are now complicated with "sport horse" - which is interpreted pretty broadly as well. (That's based on one, count it, *one* visit to a sport horse show - so I guess I'm an expert now! Ha!)

horsndogluvr said...

Another term that's losing its meaning is "warmblood." Nowadays, *anything* crossed with a draft breed is a "warmblood." Bleah.

Lessee what kind of warmblood it is when they use AI to cross a Percheron with a mini!

Cut-N-Jump said...

H&Dluver- surely there is someone who has gone that route on YouTube. Only skipping the AI part... and thinking it is/was funny, maybe. *facepalm*

Yep, Saddle type is *supposed to mean* the more English type horses. SS, hunters and fine harness even. Flashy and bold with big movement. Stock type, refering to the stock type breeds...

Try reading through the Pinto Horse discriptions sometime. My pony really doesn't fit into any of them. Even with 5 to choose from.

WB is a diluted term anymore. Draft cross doesn't equal WB. Yet there are also people using WB to describe what turns out to be a mostly TB, they bred their Arab mare(s) to and called the foals WB crosses. ??? Um, no. That's an Anglo Arab.

MHQ- I gotta agree on Sport Horse too. SH includes driving, yet many of the SH shows- have no driving classes. I still haven't figured that one out yet.

The horrid names- don't get me started. They arent so kyoot when nobody else can pronounce them.

Anonymous said...

"Actually there is no such thing as a four beat canter."

There is the gaited horse world. Our horses will do both three- and four-beat canters. Depends on their conformation.

I think one of the stupidest classes in the world are WP classes at Saddlebred shows. The horses look so stupid. They are NOT western horses!

GoLightly said...

This pisses me off the most about horse people..

Looking at conformation/movement, and not seeing what it's good for, and what it physically canNot do, and labeling it incorrect.
Like a straight-hind legged QH for example. Just an example.

Comparing a "normal" QH to a "normal" Clyde, another example.

Form follows function.

Correctness? It's your own definition. I love the Irish Sport Horse. That's my definition of correct. But their form won't make them function very well at cutting.

Not every horse fits your idea of the perfect mold.

Not their problem.
Correct is in the eye of the beholder. Not the horse's.

Morgan_Horse_Queen said...


After my visit to the *one* local Arab sport horse show, I still wonder how one type of class (sport horse) can be judged when the working subtypes are so different. For example - could you judge an endurance horse against a dressage horse? But then, if I understand it right, the horses aren't being judged against each other - they are scored separately.

I guess I'm just going to have to try it once and see how ol' Monty does.

Cut-N-Jump said...

MHQ- Contact Ahna any time for all things sport horse. She is my 'go to' when I question things.

When showing SHIH at the Arab shows, they used to ask you the horses age, H/A & A/A they asked the breed cross and what yo intended to use the horse for. Hunters, Dressage, Jumping, Driving...

The horse was then assessed for their conformation and movement and how well it might do in that given discipline. Dressage horses may have a higher set neck, where on a hunter, it might come out a bit lower. These things are acceptable within their disciplines.

Even in the SHUS classes they are to be judged as to how well they do for the discipline they are being shown in. It is not uncommon to see horses in SHUS in close contact saddles as well as dressage saddles and both will have a different way of going. The dressage horse may be a bit more uphill and forward in their movement, where the hunter will be more long, low and ground covering in theirs, even though both are driving from behind and light in the shoulders.

Does any of that make sense? I can picture them in my head, but it is sometimes difficult to explain.

GL- You just haaaAAAaaad to go there, didn't ya? Picking on those Irish horses and cutting. LOL! I <3 those big RID's.

GoLightly said...

CNJ, I always have to go there.

Nobody else will:)

Anonymous said...


I agree with you about correctness to a degree. Correctness is important when it comes to general longevity of the horse. For example, correct pasterns for any horse is important. Too long or too upright can cause physical problems later in life. All horses need a certain bone structure and length of pasterns to stay sound over their lives.

Also, correctness is not in the eye of the beholder according to breed standards. For example, about 70% of the TWHs that I know do not have correct conformation for the breed. Therefore, they can't perform the right gait for the breed. The TWH flat walk was cultivated to maximize efficiency and longevity so riders can go all day without the rider or the horse getting overly tired. It's frustrating not to see the natural gait in the horse in the pasture or on the flat--we have to work to bring it out of them.

horsndogluvr said...

We have a saying in the dog fancy that the only thing registration papers mean is that you know who the dog's parents are.

I've certainly seen some Saddlebreds completely lacking in breed type. Wrong neck set, wrong head carriage, wrong croup, wrong leg proportions. They just look like generic horses. Nice looking horses, but fugly Saddlebreds.

At least we dog people have a chance. It's not as hard to earn a title - the system is very different - and the titles go on the papers. My one show dog, for instance: her parents and grandparents were all champions. If I wanted an obedience-bred dog, I could look for that in the pedigree, too.

Oh, well. There's a lot of shame in the dog ring, too.

Cut-N-Jump said...


Good one on the papers comment! That is sooooo true.

I have seen some damn ugly Arabs with plain flat heads and you bet they were registered as well as a few of them being stallions.

There are some that follow the breed standard to the letter and others that look like Frankenhorse, the science experiment gone horribly wrong.

On the note of registration papers, not all puppies or ponies coming from champion stock will themselves go on to be champions. I had to explain that to my brother who thought an AKC reg'd dog would
a) never wind up in a rescue, yeah, you bet.
b) was automaticly a show worthy dog because it had papers with Ch. on them...

Um, not all puppies within the same litter are show quality, even if both parents were champions in their own right.

Anonymous said...

hndl & CNJ,

That dog papers comment is absoutely the best thing I've heard when it comes to papers in a long time. Which in a way goes with the terminology thing--just because your horse is the great grandson of Pride's Gold Coin (which my husband's is) doesn't automatically make him an amazing horse. I wish I could convince the entire horse world that names on a page mean nothing--it's the horse itself that matters.

I know a BYB woman who won't buy a TWH unless it has Ebony Masterpiece in its papers. It can be 5th generation back and she doesn't care. She says all her horses are so well behaved (NOT!) because they have EM in them (DOUBLE NOT!). Yeah, her Kool-Aid is LOADED with all kinds of fun stuff.

Anonymous said...


So are the "saddle-type" TWHs at your show performing a TRUE flat walk with a real up-and-down head nod from the withers and overstride in the back? I will bet you dollars to donuts they're not!

I have been struggling with my farrier's wife. He passed away a few weeks ago leaving behind a large herd of Arabians. She gave away a bunch of the horses and is now trying to sell most of the rest. However, she's got 20 yo broodmares that have no saddle training and hardly any in hand training for $2500. She said it's because their bloodlines are so amazing. I swear, who is going to want an untrained 20 yo broodmare for that cost? I just saw a 20 yo Arab riding mare that is kid safe and has been bred before for $500 on Craig's List. So we're working on gently helping her change her prices and get serious about cutting back.

What does THAT term mean, anyway: dollars to donuts?

Khazar-khum said...

TWH are a fun case. I've seen drop-dead gorgeous ones that have no gait whatsoever, and pretty miserable pieces of horseflesh that gait up a storm. And we're talking natural, not trained--simply loose in a field.

My lovely older mare has superb conformation and fantastic natural gaits. She passed her high head carriage and gait to her foals.

Now the trick is finding an outcross for her. So many people linebred Generator, Gold Coin and Pride of Midnight that there's real problems surfacing with inbreeding. And there are little pockets of odd breeding out there, where the fad breedings never took; but unfortunately many of these lines have problems, too.

I'm looking at a Pusher grandson, who is a good match in terms of size, temperament & gait. It's tough.

horsndogluvr said...

It's easier with dogs, since you usually get more than one puppy in a litter. You can linebreed, and cull the ones that don't work out. You can breed a carrier to a clear, and s/n the carriers in the litter. You can try a total outcross, ditto. It's much easier to experiment when each breeding results in multiple puppies.

Then there's the "stud du jour" problem, in both worlds, I imagine. Everybody and his brother wants to breed to the big winning stud, whether the bloodlines are compatible or not, whether he's a carrier or not. So other equally good studs, studs that could improve the breed, studs that are clear of genetic problems, are underused, and the gene pool shrinks.

People need to wise up! If we don't know how to research a pedigree, we need to get with someone who does!

*Ruthie climbs off her soapbox*

Cut-N-Jump said...

Kat- I got an email from Crazy 3 Dayer. Someone in her barn bought a double registered, TWH & Racking horse. Of course it has spots- didn't you guess? And there they are called "horses of color". Allrighty then...

Anyways, neither of us had heard of such things, figured anything's possible and with people deeming 'flaws' as suddenly new, rare things and selling for big money- who knows anymore?

Your thoughts? Anyone else care to share with the class?

GoLightly said...

The analogy with dogs is right on.
The conformational defects will become normal.
Wait, they already Have!!
Not as extreme as in dogs, of course.
Can you imagine a horse with floppy ears, for example?
A horse with soooper short legs? Curly tails?
What crazy genes are horses capable of expressing, if they are in-bred enough??
Oh, that's a scary thought.

Kat, I don't even mean leg sound. I mean what are you using the horse for sound.
A horse that is "perfectly built" for one function, isn't, for another.

horsndogluvr said...

We've already done it with horses... compare almost any breed to the true wild horses and you'll see.

And the mini world has certainly seen some basset horses. *urk*

As for the popularity of things that are actually defects - teacup poodles, anyone? White Dobermans?

Anyone seen that Mini board where people pay tribute to their dead dwarves? Think they wouldn't breed them, if they survived? Argh.

GoLightly said...

I do see.
That's what I'm saying.
I wouldn't want to own Eohippus, or a tapir, thanks.

Why indeed haven't we gone as far as we have in dogs?

Dogs have probably been domesticated longer, and have had a wider range of uses, haven't they...

Wry nose..

(gives head a shake)

ditzily incoherent out.

Cut-N-Jump said...

Add to that "Bostons" or "Mantles" in the Dane world.

Boxers- white is not to be more than a percentage of the coat. (30% I think) Yet I see them being offered up for equal prices in ads all the time- "From Championship lineage!" *eyeroll/sigh*

I am sure there are plenty of others and people familiar with their breed of choice could certainly chime in, turning this into a non-horsey takeover...

What we have mutated the horses into in each respective breed is also far from their origination.

While most horses might not resemble their true 'wild horse' ancestors, some have in fact been improved for particular uses. Drafts for pulling heavy loads and farming, lighter breeds for fine harness and riding, etc. Walking through the rows of pens at any of the BLM 'Adoption Days' events might give us all reason to be thankful, some of them have been improved. But if we were able to ask the horse how they felt about the 'improvements' some of them might not view it as such.

Equus said...

I have to admit, I giggled my a** off pretty hard, seeing those WP horses "canter" - they looked like toys horses being moved about.

I don't understand the spur stop, either. I mean, don't you use your legs to...y'know...have your horse go forward...not stop?

I would comment on the tail procedures, but it'll be in an upcoming blog of my own - I was researching tail procedures (etc) when I ran across your blog.

Great blog btw - I have to admit I've spent the last few years away from the show industry because I was sick of all the abuse out there. I'm finally gearing up to kick a** in jumping - where we're only judged on how many rails we can keep up. I don't have to compete against others lipo-suctioning the fat out of their horse's croup, blocking their horses' tails, or tying their horses' heads in the stall for hours so that they carry them lower.

Great blog!!


cattypex said...

Man... I borrowed a nice little horse for the silly Adult Showmanship class tonight, and he's an awesome guy for his young rider!

Sadly, apparently someone blocked his tail somewhere in the past and it's permanently damaged - he can't move it all the way out of the way of his own poop.

I just posted somewhere else that what passes for an "arena" with horsepeople ain't really what the layman visualizes.... I mean, you couldn't even fit all of the roadies for Metallica into a regulation dressage arena!!

Anonymous said...

Khazar-khum, if you want a really awesome stallion to breed to with a REAL flat walk, I suggest the following:

Papa's Royal Delight - Howe They Walk Farm: www.howetheywalk.com

The Eternal Flame - Walking the Dog Ranch: www.blessyourhorse.com

Champagne Watchout - Walkin On Ranch: www.walkinonranch.com

He's Got the Blues - Carvins Cove Stables: www.carvinscovestables.com

I have never seen better moving stallions with a better temperament than these guys. Well, He's Got the Blues could use work on his gait, but he does throw true flat-walkin' foals. Papa and Flame are both barefoot and are the most natural moving horses I've ever seen. Their foals come out 100% walkin' and noddin'. Honestly, I don't even look at bloodlines anymore--I just look at quality of gait and temperament.

You are absolutely right: horses that have the purity of gait and temperament that we should be striving for in our TWHs are very rare. They have been ruined by the soring and using heavy shoes and bits to "train" for gait.

Good luck to you in finding a quality stallion!

Anonymous said...

CNJ, per your post about spotted TWH/Racking horses. She has nothing rare or new there.

1. Spots in TWHs were developed by crossing TWHs with spotted quarter horses and mustangs, and then the gaited offspring were then bred further. MOST of the TWHs today that are spotted (Marshall Dillon and Wonder Liz being the most prominent) have falsified papers. Their sires and dams are registered TWHs, but they are not spotted. Both of Marshall Dillon's parents are solid. We all know that genetically, you can't get a tobiano out of a solid horse. There was a mare named Sandy Sun's Sally, which was the original gaited spotted TWH. She was one of the foundation TWHs. So you want to find horses that trace back to her for true spotted TWHs.

Of course, that doesn't mean that horses that are far removed from the "false" spotted TWHs can't gait--the mare I was breeding for my dream horse has a phenomenal flat walk and she is built like an old school TWH. It's just that some of them can be pure crap when it comes to gait.

2. Many TWHs are double registered as Racking horses. The Racking horse association is supposed to be a registration for horses that rack, no matter what the breed. But it's mostly used by TWH owners who haven't registered their horses TWHBEA. They aren't any better than the BL horse population, however, as far as showing and respect for the horse.

So, honestly, she has nothing new or rare. She might think it is just because she has a new horse. Double registered TWH/Racking horses are common back east, and the spotted gaited horses have their own market. I've owned some SSHs (Spotted Saddle Horses) myself. Nothing wrong with what she has, but it's nothing unusual.

Anonymous said...

Equus said:

"I have to admit, I giggled my a** off pretty hard, seeing those WP horses "canter" - they looked like toys horses being moved about."

OMG! That is SO hilarious! You are so right! That's how I would "make" my Breyer and Barbie horses run. That really cracked me up!

Khazar-khum said...

katphoti, I've had TWH for over 30 years. If you think soring is bad now, you missed the 70s when it was grisly.

I do not know most of the stallions you list, but I have seen Watchout many times. He has a nice disposition and is a pretty color, but he does not have the way of going I look for. He tends to be choppy, with more hock elevation than I want. I like a looser stride behind, ideally one with what we call skating rear ends & the Tennessee folk call slip & slide. My mare does this naturally as do her foals.

I am really liking a blue roan tobiano Pusher grandson, who also has the loose stride. He's big, which is good as she is 17h barefoot.

The breedings that concern me the most are the ones going endlessly back to Generator. I want to stay as far from that cross as possible.

Cut-N-Jump said...

Thanks Kat for clearing things up. I knew there were Walkers with spots (SSH) as my friend was looking into them after retiring her one horse. But sometime's others don't know.

The Walker/Racking thing was what I was unclear on. Wasn't familiar with TWH's doing both. Thanks for clearing it up.

Anonymous said...


"Why indeed haven't we gone as far as we have in dogs?

Probably because dogs are easier to breed, have a a shorter gestation time, and you get more than one baby out of the breeding. I imagine that if horses were that easy to breed, we'd see a lot worse things than what is going on now.


"katphoti, I've had TWH for over 30 years. If you think soring is bad now, you missed the 70s when it was grisly."

It's actually worse now because of the advent of pressure shoeing. The horses aren't just sored when in "training" or before going in the ring--they are in pain 24/7 because of pressure shoeing. The horses may not be bleeding anymore like they used to, but it doesn't matter--the problem is just as bad and the horses are still suffering.

I understand what you mean about the loose stride behind. I just don't like it because breeding for too much of it leads to cow hocks and twisting hocks. It is not a useful movement over the long-term for the animal itself. The greats back in the days before soring didn't have the skating stride and were just as smooth--that long stride is only beneficial to the sore horse people and the ugly BL. My in-laws own a mare with that same crouching back end and skating stride--she has serious hock, knee and back problems because of it. It's not something I think should be endorsed. But to each his own. Good luck in your search.

Tina said...

That is just so horrible to watch. How can you even call it pleasure? I like to go for a ride and see the alert expression, pretty face and moving ears of my horse as she too enjoys the ride, looking from side to side and carrying her head in a place that is comfortable for her. Those people can only see the saddle horn. It is like riding a robot. All the life has been beaten out of them. Makes me sad for humanity.

I showed western pleasure way back when it was just turning from a natural head position to a tucked in nose and even that annoyed me. The paces were natural and comfortable, actually enjoyable to ride on the trail and you actually got somewhere. :) A four beat canter was a definite no no. Twenty years later I go with a new friend who wanted to get into QHs to watch a western show, and was truly horrified to see how they have changed the way the horses go.

Oh, and the false tails they now put on that are so thick and heavy they keep tangling in the horse's back legs because they can't lift them make me sick too. How unnatural does a false tail have to be before it becomes unnacceptable?

cattypex said...

Fake tails are SO SILLY.

Hey, what's wrong with a horse moving like THIS:


OK, more terminology to drive us nuts....

All the superexotic color terms!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I know, for the sake of genetic correctness, we do need them, blahblahblah

But I for one will have to continue with simple terminology like "brown pinto over there" or if it's obviously a registered Paint, "big lame paint horse"

I can't stand it when people get all show-offy with their color/spot terminology, but couldn't spot a ewe neck or sickle hock if their lives depended on it.

Cut-N-Jump said...

I have to agree on the soring issue because it has changed with the times as new and different things are being used as they become available.

Just like everything else- the latest in technology allows for 'new' products which are advertised as 'won't test'. Sometimes the substances don't test, because the testing has't caught up or the officials haven't caught on yet. It's a game of cat & mouse. You test for this, we switch to that.

Even the pressure shoeing has become an industry 'norm' and exerts a constant state of pain for the horse. Undetectable to the unskilled eye, but still there, just the same.

While I don't write off the use of a fake tail completely, I am glad some breeds still don't allow them. They can enhance the overall picture of the horse, but a ring full of thick tails all lopped off at the same length? Yeah, pretty unlikely.

Fake tails combined with tail blocking though... Whole other can of crap.

Anyone much for a tail that drags the ground? Not after having to care for a barn full of them. Always having to keep it up and out of the way, up to stay clean, horses stepping on them while backing or spinning- not fun.

Not a fan of long thick makes either for some of those same reasons. Besides I know my own hair retains some amount of heat underneath it in the summer. Manes do the same on horses. With our heat- off they go.

cattypex said...

I remember when QHs were supposed to have short tails - just a little below the hocks. And you PULLED them. Anything whacked straight across was a big fat faux pas!

Same with manes, but I see a lot of banded manes that look like they were evened up with a friggin T-square.

I think long manes can be pretty, but not the silly Gypsy Vanner kind of long. Long enough for an Andalusian Roll or the lattice braid thing.

An Andalusian Roll is SOOOO much easier than hunter braids!!! damn, maybe I AM destined for an Arab/Morgan future. ; )

Also the halfway down the neck bridle path looks silly.

Doncha love how "post legs" somehow became a SELLING POINT in WP horses?

hmmm... to be on topic, another term that gets tossed around loosely is "natural horsemanship." For good or ill.

Anonymous said...

You are RIGHT ON, cp, with the natural horsemanship comment.

My John Lyons certified trainer told me there is nothing natural about what we do with horses. We are RIDING them, for crying out loud--how natural is that? I always liked that she recognized that.

While I do things as "natural" as I can with horses, I do my best NOT to use the term. It's hard though!

Anonymous said...

Have to say I'm a sucker for LONG FLOWING manes and tails. It's one reason why I love showing TWHs--manes and tails are supposed to be long and flowing. A tail that drags the ground is envied! The stallion I bred my TWH mare to had a 6 foot long mane at its longest point. I will take care of a long tail and mane anyday--it does not bother me in the least!

horsndogluvr said...

Is an "Andalusian roll" like a french braid down the neck?

Yes, tails have gone too far in western horses, and so have tail bags! My favorite Saddlebred caught his on something, panicked, and tore his tail out or off, completely! It was only about 18 in. when I groomed on him.

I used to trim "my" appy by holding his tail bone out straight, and cutting it straight across. When dropped, there was a nice taper that lookd natural.

NATURAL. I hate the way it's been hijacked. I used to call myself a natural rider (as in, born with a good seat and hands), until all this Parelli nonsense started. Pah.

Cut-N-Jump said...

CP- I can't stand the extremely long bridle path either. Funny for a breed like Arabs where a long mane & tail are also sought, they shave half or more of the damn thing off. WTH people?

But then I thought banding looked like you forgot to take it out from the night before and the whole 3 step 'showmanship dance' looked like overpresentation... Halter is about the horse- standing still and out of the way lets the judge maintain their focus on the horse. But then with the post legs, big hip and babydoll head as so often advertised- maybe they don't want the judge focusing ANY attention on the horse.

Natural as far as the horsemanship and then the herbal part of it all too, can bring it's fair share of Kooks to the mix. While I prefer natural remedies for some things, science has offered us alternatives for others. Depending on the horse and the issue, whatever works the best is what I use.

sonnys mom said...

The movement on the horse in the first video clip is painfull looking. If I was the judge I would tell the rider to remove the horse because it appears to be lame! The right rear hoof drags the ground. The poor animal looks like an equine version of the Huntchback of Notre Dame! I have not shown AQHA since the late 80's when all this crap was starting. The beautiful, long, steady gaits of the breed have been replaced by weird looking artificial movements. Some BNT (that was also a judge)probably had a horse with bad hocks or navicular and passed this BS off as the new way for QH's to move.
It's all BS. I'll wait on the side lines and see if this sh*t burns itself out. In the mean time...reining, cutting and roping are alot of fun!

cattypex said...

I don't mind the 3 step showmanship dance. I think it's a good way to keep everything crisp, contained & soldierly. I always tell kids to hold their hands like they're carrying a cookie tray.... and keep one eye on the horse, one eye on the judge.

And you have to WORK at it - gotta TRAIN your horse.

But not with that horrid thing featured on Tackytack the other day.

cattypex said...

Yep, an Andalusian Roll is that French Braid all the way down the neck. Very classical and elegant - and takes just a few minutes!

I still can NOT for the life of me figure out how anyone approves of QH western pleasure. It's SO sad. Almost right up there with Big Lick in terms of unnatural, abusively trained and just plain UGLY to watch.

I stand by my assertion that these people have no taste. There should be a few universals in this world, and a nice range of good horse movement should be one of them.

Cut-N-Jump said...

Yep, an Andalusian Roll is that French Braid all the way down the neck. Very classical and elegant - and takes just a few minutes!

And in Arabs it is called a 'running braid'. Just so we all stay on the same page...

My issue with the 3 step is it appears as overpresentation which reflects poorly as you seem to be trying to hide something by doing the 'flashy dance' around your horse. It's just my opinion.

But then when I see people 'jogging' the horse with straight, stiff arms, and sorta leaning forward to compensate, it makes them move just as poorly as the horse.

I'm trying to find a pic that demonstrates what I speak of.

Cut-N-Jump said...

I guess my dislike for the 3 step comes from starting out with Arabs, where you stand in front of the horse and just off to the side so as not to obstruct the judges view of the front of the horse. You stay put and somewhat 'quiet' and present your horse.

The 3 step and 'boxing' reminds me of the salesman in a store, lurking just behind you as if in distrust, waiting to pounce and make the sale in order to collect the commission. I hate that!

horsndogluvr said...

I think the terminology problem starts here:

Different disciplines originate terms for effects that are desirable *in a specific way* to that discipline. Then people, both within and without the discipline, pick up the term - but not its specific meaning - and misuse it.

Within the discipline, the ignoramuses exaggerate that characteristic to an extreme. (Dished faces and low head carriage come to mind. There are many more.)

As these folks move up to judging, they reward people that meet their badly formed ideal, and the extreme becomes the norm, even when it contradicts the rule book. (WP, anyone?)

Outside the specific discipline, people make their own decisions as to what the terms mean.

For instance, in dressage circles, "behind the bit" means avoiding the bit by contracting. A horse can do that without its head going beyond the vertical. (Yeah, I've been looking up dressage terms. Please don't take me for an expert on it!)

What do you all think? What terms specific to your discipline have "gotten away" and been transmogrified?

Anonymous said...


I LOVE your take on the terms. I would say in the TWH and ASB world, is the parking out of the horses. I believe that parking a horse out for the model (that's halter to you non-gaited folks) classes was supposed to accentuate the lines of the horse and the quality of the back end to show the kind of stride the horse can have. Now, it's become so exaggerated that I think it's used to hide conformation flaws, and as the trainers/owners who don't know good conformation became judges, then they also excuse it. Parking out has become really ridiculous--the horses are so stretched that they can't even move. Plus I don't like stretching a horse when you're on it's back--you can't tell me it's not hard on their back.

Some people use parking out to get on the horse, and I discourage it with my students. If the horse's legs aren't under him, how can he support his back while you're getting on?

Luckily, in FOSH and NWHA, they no longer allow people to park out their horses in the model classes so the judge will see the horse's real conformation.

I have to say I've always been weirded out by showmanship. I hate judging it because I think the horse should be judged, not the person. Does anyone know why it was developed? I imagine it came about to give the exhibitor something to "do." Or perhaps as cp said, so the youth exhibitors have to follow a pattern that they get judged on as well.

We don't have showmanship classes in the sound TWH world. Our model classes are the horse standing and looking pretty, and they're judged on conformation only. The exhibitor can ask the horse to perk his ears and can get a "bright" expression on the horse's face without letting them move. Then our halter classes are horses at movement--they are asked to go down and back while the judge watches the gait to see quality of gait. The human has nothing to do with it.

But that's just me. :)

horsndogluvr said...

Katphoti, I like your take on things! Yes, parking way out there can disguise a downhill build, for one thing. I've seen pix of ASBs with level backs and their hind feet waaaay back there. (Maybe that's the next thing we'll see in QH halter, who knows?) Here's what it looked like in my day. (I groomed on this boy and loved him very much!)

Nowadays, from what I can see in pictures, they camp them way out both in front and in back. Silly. (I haven't seen a Saddlebred show for years.)

I wonder if there's anything like the NWHA in the Saddlebred world. I mean, they were bred for comfort, too! ... Does FOSH admit them? When I found out about Gaited Dressage I got all excited!

Anonymous said...


That's a great picture! What a beautiful horse. That's what I always think of when I think of a quality Saddlebred.

Yes,they do park the ASBs out in front and behind, so it makes it look like they're going to fold up in the middle. It is stupid. And I'm tired of them always riding with their hands and not with their seat and legs. Half the time the young kids look like they're hanging on for dear life by their hands. It just looks awful.

I didn't know about FOSH and ASBs, so I looked up the rulebook. They don't have a section specific to ASBs. They have a specific section for racking horses, but they have a statement that seems to be against ASBs.

"In the Saddlebred the rack is considered a manmade gait that is part of the five gaited repertoire.
"In the Racking Horse the rack is the signature gait and a natural one for the breed."

Plus, FOSH does not allow long toes, pads or bands in the show ring, so there's no way the majority of ASBs would be able to get in with the current methods they use to train. Unless someone out there is getting ASBs to rack without all the manmade crap--then I bet they could go to FOSH to find out if they could get in. FOSH is open to that kind of stuff. Man, that would be something to see--an ASB rack without all the crap on it!

You can read about their rulebook at http://www.fosh.info/pdf/2009IJARulebookwithRMHAAddendum.pdf. It's called the IJA (International Judging Association) rulebook so that it can be used independently of FOSH. You can use the rulebook without being affiliated with FOSH at your show. That's what the small gaited shows out here in AZ use. They affiliate with FOSH for their big shows. We have a show coming up on Labor Day weekend, which is the exact same weekend as Clinton Anderson is coming to Arizona. MAN, it's such a tossup!

horsndogluvr said...

Katp, I wish I didn't have such a $$ problem. We just lost our first hay cutting to rain, so not only do we have to buy more, but we still have to pay for the work. My beloved niece and grand-nevvys (plus more family) live in PHX, and a FOSH show thrown in would just make my day!

The long feet on Saddys is to get a higher stride; it has nothing to do with racking. Same with "stretchies." And I'm appalled to see Big Lick style pads showing up on them. (They can "big lick" my nasty... manure pile!)

I just checked the USEF rules, and there are 3 ASB classes where they *must* show in normal feet! All under "country pleasure:" english, western, and hunter. Perhaps FOSH could adopt them?

cattypex said...

OK... Showmanship....

I like the 3 step thing because done right, it keeps the presenter unobtrusive and out of the way, instead of scrambling around with "busy feet." When you're short with short legs, it really does help.

Showmanship should be all about demonstrating that you have worked on groundwork with your horse, which is a great way to deepen your rapport with him.

It should demonstrate that you know how to properly groom, clean and present your horse according to your chosen discipline. I love judges who check under tails, udders, etc. So many kids just don't get that "white-glove" clean that I was taught was NECESSARY to show, period.

It should demonstrate that you care enough about showing your horse that you have taken the time to learn all these things.

It should demonstrate that you can keep track of your horse, the judge and the rest of the ring simultaneously.

It should demonstrate that you are PROUD of your horse and yourself, because you've worked very hard on things that aren't necessarily "fun" but extremely important: groundwork, fitting/turnout, grooming and situational awareness.

THOSE are what showmanship should be all about, Charlie Brown.

; )

Khazar-khum said...

Most of us agree, I think, that all breed organizations need to do a better job of ensuring the care & safety of the horse. There is no excuse, absolutely no reason at all, that we should be discussing soring, tail blocking, pressure shoeing, HYPP, and crooked judging. It's the 21 century. We should be past that by now.

Instead we're still fighting the 'good fight', still trying to be good people who love our horses enough to take the very best care of them that we can.

At what point do the various groups which claim to represent our horses get the message? When registrations drop? When shows go under? When people break off into new groups? Personal experience with TWHBEA suggests that having other groups doesn't seem to have the desired effect.

So what will it take?

cattypex said...

KK... that's an excellent question.

The sad thing is, in terms of business, convenience, credibility... it's a GOOD thing to have big unifying organizations. It's why they consolidate in the first place.

Unfortunately, when the big group's leadership is bad...


Soring, peanut roller crap, plastic surgery on halter champions are all counterintuitive to "normal" pro-horse people.

All the bad stuff that happens reminds me of the surreal horror that is the toddler beauty pageant.

NONE of it makes sense. And yet it's self-perpetuating, until SOMEday it's all gonna implode. I dunno, I was kind of hoping (yeah, I know) that the shitty economy would help this country rebuild more of a sense of sensible simplicity, or something like that, and that would trickle down somehow into the show ring.

Then again, I guess in this country, nothing succeeds like excess....

horsndogluvr said...

KK, I had an idea. Let's organize a horse lovers' group with a single purpose: to raise money to place full-page ads in both breed and general horse magazines.

The ads would be organization specific, and discipline specific. They would ask questions. For example:


Why isn't HYPP/HERDA/OLWS status on the papers, when there are cheap DNA tests available?

Why are affected horses allowed to register without being made infertile?

(Followed by a small-print section w/ references for the diseases)



Why do Western Pleasure judges still reward 4-beat lopes (prohibited by rule#xx) and heads lower that rule #xx allows?


Gosh, I'm brilliant today.

I'll work up a concept...

Anonymous said...

cp, okay, NOW I understand showmanship. That makes sense! It's too bad it's not followed anymore.

hndl, wouldn't it be AWESOME to use the WEG as a platform for your idea? Like put ads in their programs, post around the grounds, etc? Or perhaps that would be just rude.

You're right, kk--what will it take. I've been asking myself that question for quite a while. I posted a letter on my blog http://forthetnwalkinghorse.blogspot.com that I wrote to the Sound Horse Conference about ideas they need to start considering for ending soring. I sent it to the USDA reps and Keith Dane, the president of the HSUS as well. My thoughts are that things need to start changing now, and we need to force it to happen.

*SIGH* Nothing like a lazy country to keep us from making real changes.

cattypex said...

I *like* the idea of taking out ads.

Use a photo of a really good-looking WP winner of the past, and contrast it with one from today.

Run a strip across the top of thumbnails of training injuries resulting from cruelty a la Slo Lopin Scotch, and Xrays of what happens inside of those teeny tiny feet.

See if you could get permission to use a Robert Miller quote or two. Something like that.

Khazar-khum said...

An ad sounds good, but it's doomed.

AQHA didn't get where it is overnight. There's been years of breeding to get that tiny head, post legs and horrible neck. Generations have gone into that, and so have millions of dollars. It will not go away unless and until outside judges force the issue by refusing to place them.

I'm surprised that AQHA permits showing under family members. That's one of the few things TWHBEA does properly, although as long as it is trainers doing the majority of the judging it will be political.

Katphoti, I hate to tell you this, but the people in Tennessee know that soring is wrong. There's not enough time to go into all the reasons why they won't change. I know it doesn't seem like it's better, either, which is frustrating to people actively making the change. They tend to feel their efforts are unappreciated.

There are people who bring clean horses to shows. They wait to be inspected like everyone else. And when the inspection process is run by people who know what they are doing, everything is fine.

But when it is run by people with a vendetta, it goes downhill fast. For some years the USDA inspector for TWH insisted that a horse nodding its head was lame. Nodding is in the breed description! It's required! And yet he insisted that such horses be turned away. It took a very long time, far longer than it should have, to get him to finally relent.

We won't even go into the Scar Rule fiasco, which in some cases has dissolved into paranoia.

cattypex said...

"Katphoti, I hate to tell you this, but the people in Tennessee know that soring is wrong. There's not enough time to go into all the reasons why they won't change."

Human nature is so f-ed up. Because I totally understand what you mean.

It will never make sense, though, that people who show horses AS A HOBBY... an EXPENSIVE HOBBY ... continue to do "whatever it takes" to win.

And then they'll tell you that they looooooove horses.

I guess it will take a helluva lot more outside pressure....

At least as a knowledgeable horse person, when an acquaintance tries to show you the ropes of THEIR messed-up discipline/training practice, you can credibly keep asking them "WHY" until you either

a) reach some sort of unsatisfactory conclusion that might (MIGHT) make them uneasy


b) (much rarer) make them ask their OWN questions of their trainers/breeders/judges.

Yeah, kind of weak... but humans are not usually rational beings unless you beat them over the head with evidence, and even THEN... good luck.

Cut-N-Jump said...

Kat- showmanship is basicly Eqitation for the halter world. Like CP said, It shows how well you can handle and present your horse- you have worked with them and can set them up for judging.

The stock breeds as well as 4H have patterns they want to see the handlers navigate correctly. Walk to this cone, jog to that one, stop, pivot and present your horse are the basic elements of the patterns.

Admittedly I haven't watched any showmanship classes at the Arab shows, as they are mixed in with or right after halter. Many of us would rather watch paint dry, grass grow or subject ourselves to some sort of torture than be present for what has become: Lead 'em & beat 'em- governed by politics. He with the most money wins.

While the ads suggested by hndl are something that might attract attention, I have to agree with kk. Not likely to happen, not likely to have any effect on the industry. While yes you are paying to run the ad, they do not have to take your money or run the ad. They reserve that right and in a case like this would likely exercise it.

Things didn't go this route overnight and they won't change back as quickly either. As long as those with money, prestige and any degree of 'power' have their hand in the pot- politics will be here to stay.

I'm not sure what it will take to start the tides of change, I just hope I live long enough to see it happen.

cattypex said...

There was a recent article in Western Horseman called "Futurity Fallout" where they interviewed some trainers.

I was looking forward to a bit more strong language, but I came away with it feeling like a certain population of trainers would be MORE than happy to let young horses grow up, but the owners had spent sooo much $$, so "whaddya gonna do." Making the best of a bad situation.

I think the whole futurity system is kind of dumb - an obvious money making ploy for the organizations. I know, I know, they're popular showcases for young talent etc., but...

One trainer said he'd sold his daughters' horse's spot because it wasn't ready. I liked that.

cattypex said...

What I was going to say is, it will probably take a lot of interviews with a lot of old-time horsemen (not just "trainers") and a BIG hoo-ha from a small but powerful cadre of insider judges to get shit done.

Will it ever happen?

Don't hold your breath, but if enough of the right people get enough press, the seeds of change might be planted....

horsndogluvr said...

The point of the ad campaign would be to plant seeds:

To get owners and exhibitors to ask themselves, and their trainers and breeders, the questions.

To publicize the problems to those who are unaware of them.

To let those who see the problems, but think they're alone in wanting to change that they have company.

And to cause those who have been participating in the abuse to realize that they are being watched.

Last but not least, to cause and/or support a groundswell of protest.

Do you have any idea how many exhibitors have never even read the rules? They rely on what their friends and trainers tell them. If they ask why, the answers are, "Everybody does it" and "You have to do it to win."

And the bad and/or ignorant judges make (or seem to make) that last statement true.

Yeah, I know it would be hard to get the breed orgs to publish them. If the general mags, like "The Horse" and others, will publish them, then we "might could" shame the breed orgs to do so.

Hey, I can hope, can't I?

cattypex said...

Actually, I like "Everybody does it" and "You have to do it to win" as taglines.

I know it'd never fly in a breed mag. but Practical Horseman, Horse Illustrated, Equus etc. have a wide general readership.

I guess I go back and forth on the concept, but I feel more hopeful this eve. I guess.

I feel like it'd work better as a real article, though. THAT would give it credibility. Of course, that's a whole nuther ball of wax... I'm sure most mags. are planned over 6-10 mos. in advance...

Actually I bet most Equus readers are already anti-headset, soring, rolkur etc.

Anonymous said...


No no, I'm not looking to change hearts or minds as far as the bad guys who continue to sore their horses. I do not believe in the flowers-and-rainbows-time-for-change-let's-all-get-along-PETA-ish stuff. I know these are people who truly believe they are doing nothing wrong and are proud of their achievements at thwarting the USDA and fighting to be one step ahead of them at every turn.

What I do believe in is getting rid of pads, chains, bands, anything that covers the bottom of the horse's hoof (to keep away the acrylic/rocks/doorstops/golf balls hidden under pads on the lite shod and plantation horses) and anything bigger than a 1 1/2" shoe. Get rid of the Big Lick all together. There should also be specific weight restrictions. Sure, there will still be folks that will do different kinds of shoeing to try to pressure shoe the horse, or the barefoot people will road founder their horses to get them painful. But those are the kinds of issues that can be caught with thermography and digital hoof testers. Then you pull shoes and weigh them after each class--USDA appointed farriers who are outside the TWH industry can be onsite to do this and put the shoes back on. If we get rid of the gadgets, then we will start to make things REALLY difficult for them to continue to sore the horses. The Big Lick is a grotesque characture of the TWH anyway, and those outside of the BL circle are quick to be disgusted by it, whether they know about soring or not. It is outdated and needs to go away because it creates a bad image for the TWH overall. I feel the same way about peanut roller QHs, Saddlebreds with swaybacks and unnaturally cranked up head carriage, scotch-bottom shoes, and anything else that creates a picture that is not what the breed was originally intended to be presented as. Sure, times change, but my problem is that horse breeds were designed for specific purposes and most of them are no longer represented as that. QHs for speed in the quarter mile or as ranch horses. TWHs as smooth riding pleasure horses that could go all day while you worked your farm or ranch, then pull the wagon to take the family to town on Saturday and church on Sunday. THAT'S what we should be rewarding.

Anonymous said...


"humans are not usually rational beings unless you beat them over the head with evidence, and even THEN... good luck."

AMEN to that.

I agree with you, hndl, that the ads would be there to make people think. I liken it to the Oscar ads that I've seen before, were they show an actor and put "For Your Consideration: Hugh Jackman for Best Actor." The film's producers put together the ad to encourage voters in the AAS to think about that person. I think it would be the same kind of campaign for changing the show ring.

Even if it doesn't work on a large scale, if it can start small and then bloom out...like how the truth behind soring has started small and now most everyone knows these horses are abused behind the scenes. Then you get a trickle up kind of effect, where suddenly associations loose spectators at shows, sponsorships, exhibitors, memberships, and registrations, all because the little people are boycotting what they know is the truth. TWHBEA and other sore-horse supporters have FINALLY admitted that there is a problem, but it took them losing money right and left to decide to do something. That is a step in the right direction (although not a big enough step for me, since they've had 39 years to clean up their act and STILL can't do it).

I bet you're right, cp, that Equus already has tons of readers that are anti-crap. I get both Equus and HI, and their articles and ads are much more geared toward using humane and "natural" training methods for the regular horse owner and amateur showperson. Both HI and Equus had HUGE spreads about soring in their magazines several years ago and keep the BL out of their breed showcase articles. It's really refreshing to see it.

Anyway, hndl, I'm on the same page with you. It's too bad I don't know any multi-millionaries who are willing to put their money in on a small cause to save horses! :)

Anonymous said...

Oops, I meant to add this.

hndl said: "Do you have any idea how many exhibitors have never even read the rules? They rely on what their friends and trainers tell them."

It is so funny that you said that. It reminds me of when a known gadgets TWH trainer out here in AZ had a student who was showing at our first sound horse Carousel Charity HOrse Show in 2006. This trainer is one I used to work with and stopped because I was tired of the gadgets and gimmicks. She has also lost other students for the same reasons. The Carousel now affilates with FOSH, and at the time, the rulebook specifically stated the toe length of the hoof cannot be longer than 5". (They've since changed it to 4.5".) This lady thought her and her student's horse were THE SHIT and that they'd win everything. When the DQP pulled out the measuring tape and told her the horse had a 5.5" toe, she flipped. It came down to the fact that she had not read the rulebook. The show people were SO good--even the president of FOSH came up to her and apologized nicely and handed her a "free" (it's free on the website) rulebook so she would know in the future. So the onsite farrier whacked off the horse's toes, and guess what? He couldn't gait a lick and did not place in any class. Although he couldn't gait to begin with--he was so stiff from crappy riding and handling he hardly had a head nod. Needless to say, that "team" no longer shows out here.

horsndogluvr said...

Mind you, I'm not *entirely* against gadgets and gimmicks - but they have to be humane, and *not* a "quick fix."

Example: the Saddlebred trainer I used to work for had a set of bell straps he would use to get them to pick up their feet more. Smooth, soft leather on the inside, and only used in the arena. And I never saw him use them twice in a row on the same horse. Good psychology to teach them the arena is where to pick up your feet. And one horse in particular seemed to enjoy wearing them!

He wasn't the best; he gingered the horses before they went in the show ring, and sometimes lost his temper with the horses. But he totally scorned soring and that cr*p. He was the one who told me what to look for, from the stands, to guess a horse had been sored.

***Does anybody know whether the registries get any $ out of spectators at shows? I want to know if losing spectators hurts them.


Khazar-khum said...

Ruthie, you ask a good question that I can only partially answer. Maybe someone else will know the rest.

The TWHBEA doesn't get anything from the show spectators. The biggest show, the Celebration, is an entity unto itself. While there is some cross-pollination there is no financial link outside of some class sponsorships, and the sales of some souvenirs.

When it was created in the 1930s it was decided that local groups, clubs, etc should handle all concessions. Virtually all the concession stands are still run by and for local organizations, like the Scouts or Lions. Even the program book, the "Blue Ribbon", is produced by a service organization which collects all the profits.

All other TWH shows that I have ever been involved with over the last 30+ years have been benefit/charity shows, with all proceeds going to the named charity.

They do collect a fee to cover the cost of the inspectors, but that doesn't go to TWHBEA.

I suspect that the TWHBEA isn't unique in this regard.

Cut-N-Jump said...

***Does anybody know whether the registries get any $ out of spectators at shows? I want to know if losing spectators hurts them.

With the exception of the Scottsdale show- that would be a huge no from the Arabs in AZ. They are just happy to have someone come watch.

Usually the only spectators- even for Regionals, are people who are showing, family or friends of the exhibitors or the farm, staff, etc.

The Scottsdale Circus charges around $10 per person for the chance to come watch the horses and hopefully you'll drop a large amount of cash shopping while you are there. Why else would there be furniture, fine jewelery, life sized scultures and all sorts of other pretentious stuff at a horse show?

Cut-N-Jump said...

I forgot to add- usually the shows are presented or sponsored by a club. They are the ones who would make the money, if they were to charge admission.

Anonymous said...

To Ruthie's question about if associations get money,

I thought that AQHA and other associations that have their own rulebooks DO get money from shows. You have to pay to affiliate with them and use their rulebook and judges. That's the way it is with NWHA and FOSH. AQHA people--can you answer this?

Does anyone know how the USDF and USEF work?

With NWHA and FOSH, you can use their rulebooks without using their judges. But legally, with any TWH show, if you plan to have Big Lick horses, you MUST have DQPs to inspect the horses, and therefore you MUST affiliate with a group that provides a rulebook and inspectors.

TWHBEA doesn't get money off of shows, but if they were smart, they'd take back the rulebook from NHSC/SHOW (same entity to me - see my TWH blog) and start charging to affiliate with them for shows like everyone else does. That would really show they're serious about ending soring, too, instead of pretending THEY NO NUTTING/WE'RE JUST A REGISTRY and continuing to have known HPA violators on their board and as officers.

Gosh, can anyone tell I'm against TWHBEA? Anyone? Man, I hope it's not too obvious.

horsndogluvr said...

Y'know what, Katphoti? I get the feeling you don't like TWHBEA! (wink)

Maybe we can organize a claque to cheer the TWs with natural feet, and boo the big likkers! (evil grin)

Happy birthday to me, and I'm 9 lbs closer to get-on-a-horse weight!


Anonymous said...


I know people who do that now, but the BL'ers used to come after people who did that. Literally. I have known people who have been followed to their cars in their parking lots, and others who have had tires slashed or received threatening phone calls. I don't know if they do it so much anymore, though.

Actually, one tactic I know a woman used was laughing. She would laugh and say things really loud like "Look at how stupid those horses look"! Or "Look at how horrible that man is riding that horse!" That actually got more attention than booing and made the people riding the horses feel foolish.

At the Carousel Horse Show in 2007, when they started going sound again, the announcer did an awesome presentation before the Sat Night classes where he walked around in the stands and asked people what they thought of the TWHs. So many people said finally they look normal and it's about time they go sound. There was rousing cheering and applause for that.

CONGRATULATIONS on your weight loss! That is so exciting and inspiring! I myself am on Weight Watchers and have lost 18 lbs so far. I can ALMOST get up on a horse without a mounting block. I'm getting close--if someone holds the stirrup on the other side I can get on off the ground! So now we can commiserate and celebrate together on our weight loss!


Anonymous said...

Oops--meant to say "LOok at how horrible that man sits when he rides that horse!" (Referring to the cockroach perch that so many TWH male riders make when riding the horses.)

Cut-N-Jump said...

I was staying off the blogs today, but...

Kat- that is correct. Not so much sure about the breed registries, but USEF charges a fee and has strict guidelines and rules for shows seeking affiliation and recognition under the organization.

I imagine USDF, NSBFA, NRHA, AHJA, and some of the others would be similar in their set up and structuring.

I know for a fact though, the Arabian Horse Association charges a fee for Exhibitor status, allowing you to show your horse at their shows. This is in addition to your membership fee. You can also join as an affiliated member of a local club.

So AHA membership + local club membership (EVAHA, AAHA, SAAHA are a couple around here) + Exhibitor fee = around $60 or $70 so you can show your horse at an 'A' rated Arabian horse show for the year.

You also must have your USEF membership.

Add in your USDF membership if you wish to show in any dressage classes.

I believe the Arab shows also require NCHA membership for the cutting classes.


Now you can start looking at the premiums-

$100 or more for any jumping classes. This pays for the jumps, flower boxes and jump crew to set the course and reset downed poles during the classes.

$$$ for 'ticket rounds' in the warm ups to school over fences. Usually around $40 or so per horse for 2-3 minutes of arena use all to yourself.

$100 or more for cattle fees for cutting and working cow classes.

(Not sure if they offer ticket rounds too or the pricing of which if they do.)


Our one neighbor wanted to show her horse at Regionals in April. I told her figure $300-$500 for Carousel to qualify, then they offer ASHO4U right before Regionals as one last shot to qualify. Figure another $500-$800 for those two shows.

That doesn't include any tack, clothing, grooming, hauling, food, per diem fees or anything extra.

Her husband about shit a brick about the Carousel show. Needless to say the horse stayed home.

Anonymous said...


Fees for the Carousel: is that insane amount just for Arab classes? Because my students didn't pay NEARLY that for the TWH classes. We did show out of their trailer because it was their first time to show in Arizona and natural, but the grounds fee to do that was the same price as a tack stall.

Overall, though, I think her husband has to know that if she wants to show competatively and seriously, she has to pay some money. Showing isn't free or cheap. But you definitely have to work your way up to the big shows--start small first.

horsndogluvr said...

Wow. I know the club needs to cover their costs, but that's really excessive. Not even the Westminster Kennel Club costs that much, and they've got to pay for the Garden! And all you need to qualify is a CH - not points earned at a specific show.

I'll say it again, the horse world could take a few pointers from the dog world.

My local kennel club exists for the sole purpose of putting on shows. You don't have to be a member of either your local or national breed club, or our kennel club.

A professional show secretary outfit is hired, and they provide all the equipment, set-up, and tear-down. The club provides trophies, ring stewards, and judges. Judges are paid enough to cover their travel expenses and lodging.

Entries cost the same, no matter what class one enters. Showing, with no equipment needed, is the same price as obedience, rally, and agility.

Man, why don't AHA folks vote with their wallets? Since you have to be a member of the USEF and the dressage, cutting, etc clubs, show at *their* shows!

Or are they just as bad?

cattypex said...

It blows my mind how much $$$ it costs.

I know a couple of folks who do (or have done) the AHA thing, the Buckeye, Region V, Scottsdale... and they are of somewhat modest means.

One is a dairy farmer's wife, one is a cop's wife, another is a teacher (I dunno what her husband does). SHE takes a second job in the summer, though (like all teachers I know anyway).

If you also volunteer at the show, or for another show, do they give you a break on fees?

I've never shown beyond local open shows and H/J shows... HA HA I remember when my parents about crapped at my first lil' ol' hunter show, and classes cost like $10/each.

Funny, because they didn't shrink from paying for lessons almost EVERY DAY at a decent stable one summer.... and I know they weren't in the best financial place that year.

They had friends whose daughters did the big Arab & QH shows in the mid-80s - they should've known better. ; )

Cut-N-Jump said...

Kat- Yep, that's just for the Arab part.

There were the typical, office fee, drug fee, stall / haul in fee, and such, but she also needed her AHA & USEF memberships if I were to show the horse just hunters and sport horse and USDF membership if she wanted him shown in any of the dressage classes. (I already had my memberships, but as the horse owner, she needed to have hers.) If she wanted to show her own horse, she would have had an AHA Exhibitor status fee as well.

I would have to go back and look, but $300-$500 was not far off as a ballpark amount, just to show up... not including any tack, clothing, feed, our food, training, handling fees or anything else.


Scottsdale- We priced it for showing the Arab mare. $1000 in fees- memberships, stall, tack/grooming stall, office fees, etc.

Classes- PB Arabian Hunter Open & Ch., SHIH mares & Ch, SHUS Open & Ch. (She may have qualified for Jr. horse or the maturity classes at that point so that class & Ch too) It rounded out to around $2000 for the class entries alone. We would have shown just about every session, every day so a stall was a definate necessity...


Cut-N-Jump said...

TJM- Maybe that could be another post-

The cost of showing.

Anonymous said...


GOOD. EFFING. GOD. That is NUTS. To show the TWH classes at the Carousel, you don't have to be a member of anything and there are no qualifier shows, just qualifying classes to get into the stakes classes. Here's what hers came out to be:

4 regular classes: $140 ($35/class)
1 $100 stakes class: $40
2 days' grounds fees (not using a stall): $70
office fee per horse: $20
DQP fee per TWH: $20
Total: $290

Plus my trainer's fee, which brings her close to $400. That's our "big" show out here, so we pay a lot less for smaller shows. I think that's MUCH better than what the Arabs pay! GEEZ!

Have you looked at the AZ ASB club's small Southwest Classic shows they're doing? They have open breed classes that Arabs can show in. www.americansaddlebredassociationofarizona.com (Dumbest club website name EVA.)

Anonymous said...

Even showing at the NWHA Nationals only costs around $600 for the full week of showing, and that's even with several classes thrown in.

Texas Cattlewoman said...

I've found the comments very interesting especially the changes in showing AHA. It's been 14 years since I walk or rode into the ring with an Arabian. With the changes that were quote un quote fixed for the English Pleasure classes in the late '80's and the Country Pleasure classes for the less elevated gait, I'm so disgusted with the shoeing practices of the breed I love so much. I can remember it would cost us $400-$1000 depending on travel and number of classes when we were with the McNair's in the late '80's and early 90's. I so wish Tom were here today, he would be furious.

I remember my dressage instructor putting me on her Level 3 horse. It then dawned on me what she meant by communicating with the horse.

My daughter didn't want to do Horse Judging in FFA. Her teacher finally talked her into going to a judging clinic at Texas A&M, year 2002. She came home mortified. She placed the performance classes correctly, the instructor for the clinic didn't. Then some dimwit asked the question, 'Do we have to show in Hunter with the correct diagonal.' The response of the instructor was, 'Unfortunately yes.' Then she expounded on it. My daughter told her teacher she refused to participate in such a hypocrisy. He was stunned. I was so proud of her.

As for entries, I'm glad it only cost $280 to walk in with seven entries into the Houston Livestock show for our cattle. But make no mistake when I saw the reigning two year National Champion Bull of one of our breeds he sure didn't look like the breed he was. His whole back end looked as if it had been altered. A whole other world where there is just as bad ethics running around. To the judges who are reading this blog, judge breeding classes on their ability to pass on their genetics. A National Champion Bull should last and last in the pasture. He shouldn't be so sore on his hindquarter that he wouldn't make it two years servicing cows. Nice profiles don't make great bulls if they don't have four legs underneath them to travel and service.

My pet peeve in the horse and cattle world is leg structure.

Great post to a blog!


Cut-N-Jump said...

Kat- I am looking up the next upcoming 'A' rated Arab show. For comparison sakes.

In the meanwhile, my daughter showed her pony several years back at the Copper State Classic in December, sponsored by the ASB or one of the gaited breed clubs. (Can't remember who?)

Anyways- 1 class, Walk/Trot 13 & under I believe... $55 total. Class fee, office fees, grounds fee, everything. That was it. $55

Most expensive 5th place ribbon she ever earned, but I had a friend video the class- priceless!

Cut-N-Jump said...

Kat- The Fall Classic is the next one I can think of, should be in November. Looking online for the premium...

'Scottsdale' (February) although one of the big 3 shows in the Arabian world, is still only considered a 'qualifier' for Regionals. We are in Region 7.

That's why the halter people were pissed and boycotted when AHAA (the sponsoring club) pres- Bill Flood opted not to use the new scoring system for the classes.

That move excluded halter as qualifying classes for Regionals. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot! So anyone wishing to show halter and qualify for Regionals had to do so at another show- paying the fees for that one instead or in addition to Scottsdale.

Since 'Scottsdale' is a big show, a class win, TT, Res or CH can put your horse, trainer or farm 'on the map'. Accordingly- if you wish to show there, you are going to pay for it!

Scottdale Premium Classes and fees for each start on page 5.

Dressage classes range from $40, $65 and $90 per class, stakes classes $115.

Carousel (March) is also an Arab qualifier, as is ASHO4U (April)which is the few days before Regionals. It's a last chance to qualify if you haven't already.

If you do well at Regionals and qualify for Nationals (October) I don't even want to go near what that show costs you.

Then of course there is Sport Horse Nationals, Youth Nationals and Canadian Nationals- the third biggy.

Quite the outlay of cash for each.

SH Nat. alternates between Idaho one year and Virgina the next.

US Nat, alternated between Albequerque and Kentucky but I believe is going to just Tulsa from here on out...

Cut-N-Jump said...

Late entries and post entries note the upper left corner of page 19 in the link.

Other fees- lower right corner in the box.

Also if you wish for premium barn 'placement' you must decorate and you pay extra to be 'ringside', which is the barns nearest the Equidome facing the warmup arenas.

Did I also mention the fine for not scratching from a class with the show office the night before? Yep, they can get ya there too.

Anonymous said...


Man, that crap just isn't there with the TWHs. Not even at the NWHA Nationals or the FOSH Championships. No wonder you have to be rich to show Arabs and QHs! ;)

Our next show with TWHs is the Fall Classic on Labor Day weekend (same weekend Clinton Anderson is going to be here - ARGH! But my students want to show, so I must be tere for them and the show). Then we wont' have any TWH classes in the October Futurity because most of our local TWHs will be at the FOSH Championships in Missouri. Then it's the December Southwest Classic for the TWHs. Hppefully I'll have my new horse by then!

Texas Cattlewoman said...

I thought I would leave a comment here about an email I received from the Texas Animal Health Commission this evening. I receive these emails from TAHC spokeswomen Carla Everett as she sends out emails to animal producers about potential health issues or problems occurring in the state. My horses are vaccinated and we adopted "Donkey" from a friend of my daughter's so I have to check on him. I was waiting until I do Fall Vaccines on him but not now. Click on my name to get to my blog and read the new release if you live in Texas. Two horses who have died of EEE (Eastern Equine Encephalitis) in East Texas. One in Jasper County and one in Newton County. Four other states have reported cases of EEE. As a child I remember the VEE outbreak in Texas in 1971. It was horrible! If your in one of the five states get your horses vaccinated. It can be contracted via mosquitoes only to humans, too. If a horse has EEE he/she CAN NOT pass EEE to us.


Cut-N-Jump said...

Kat- add in the whackadoodloons of the owners and you'll have an idea why JR wants no part of that crazy.

Also partly the reason the only Arabian residing on our property is the stallion. He's just barely going back to work and showing may or may not be in his future. Who knows?

The H/J schooling shows are $15 a class, maybe a $10 arena fee, bring your lunch, have a great time, cheer for your friends. Usually held monthly. I am working back towards that, for both myself and my mare need to get into shape.

The neighboring dressage barn has scooling shows- I'd have to check their fees for such, but surely nothing to break the bank.

The cutters- they do get a bit pricey, as you need cattle to practice on and you can potentially win it back. Our retired mare has $10K in 'weekend money' earnings.

Showing cutters though- Green horse classes were $45 for your 2.5 minutes in the ring. $90 for some classes... others are more, but you should be riding better and on a better horse by that point and one of you Should have earnings. Just need your AQHA and NCHA memberships, amatuer card if you're eligible and showing in the ammy classes.

We showed just about every weekend for a year or two- cutters, jumpers, Arabs or schooling shows. If we weren't in the ring, we were there on the rail. We took a year off and enjoyed the lack of stress and go, Go, GO! I think part of my memory lapsed with the memberships. LOL!

I have to admit it has been kind of nice not always packing or unpacking everything, every weekend. But I do miss showing and can't wait to get back in the ring.

Anonymous said...

"In the meanwhile, my daughter showed her pony several years back at the Copper State Classic in December, sponsored by the ASB or one of the gaited breed clubs. (Can't remember who?)"

It was the sore horse club of AZ, aka the Tennessee Walking Horse Enthusiasts of Arizona. Thank God THAT club doesn't exist anymore.

I hear you about getting back into showing. I miss it, too. It's hard to watch my student show and coach her when I can't do it myself! Would it be considered bad sportsmanship if I shoved her in a 55-gal drum before the show, told her parents that she must be in the bathroom or something, and then rode her horse for her?

Cut-N-Jump said...

Kat- Actually I think it was one of the Paso clubs that sponsored it. There were Peruvians, Paso Finos, ASB, Morgans, TWH, NSH maybe a few Arabs and one of my favorite classes Roadster to Bike, with the Hackney ponies! Love that class!

I would have to find the program. It was hella fun even though she failed to post on the correct diagonal, cantered the entire length of the Equidome in front of the judges in a walk/trot class and basicly just stayed on and bounced around the ring.

Her pony nearly set off one of the big saddleseat horses, just because of size. That got sorta interesting...

Cut-N-Jump said...

Ooooops! That show was about 10 years ago. She (daughter) was about 5 years old.

We also endured a man wanting to buy the pony for a "Name your price, I have a checkbook!" kind of thing for his twin girls, as well as countless people swearing to the sun, stars and bluest of moons that said pony was grey.

It was December, she was clipped and the only part of her normally 'Golden' coat that showed was the tips of her ears, her muzzle, around her eyes and her girly bits.

Anonymous said...

CNJ, hmmm, could've been the Copper State Peruvian Paso Club, then. Those are the only two clubs I know of that were around 10 years ago for gaited horses in AZ.

That's hilarious about the saddleseat horses. I'm so glad I've exposed all my horses to ponies and minis for that very reason--I don't feel like getting laughed at!

Psychotic Raccoon said...

Hey you got a blogging award on my blog. Check it out!

Sara Otterstätter said...

Okay, This was the first time, I saw videos of a professional pleasure riding contest. Here in Germany is a western riding scene, too. But not so big like in the U.S. And I knew western riding as a riding style, where the horses appeared very relaxed and natural in their movements. I myself has always ridden english style and only sometimes tried western stlye. It was realy fine. So I am no expert in riding western style.

But when I watched the videos I thought: "Oh my god, the horses look like they are ill, in pain or under trancquilizers." When I would see a horse moving that way, I would immediatly call a doctor.

But maybe, I have a different defintion of "natural movement".

Kowgirl76 said...

ran across this page for the 1st time and I LOVE IT!!!!
we have always called the gait of these peanut rollers the "lame a lope". That's all I've got tonight. I have so much I could say but you've just about covered all of my feelings on the subjects!! Bravo!!!

cynthia said...

hey new here and i toadaly agree i stopped riding in the western pleasure classes because i was tired of all the crap. watching what people did behind the arena (tying a horses head up high all night so hes to tired to keep it up the next day, triming a horse so short that it puts him in pain if he goes to fast.) it all sickens me i was in a english class one time did better than the girl who won but she had shiner tack and silver on her horse and got the blue im not the only one who said i did better everyone watching said so as well. i got into barrel racing because no one judges you its just the timer. as far as frase's that tick me off theres "horse colt" meaning stud colt. as if my mare had a different type of animal or something and the term "colt" meaning a baby horse what happened to the word foal? the one class i have seen that i really enjoy watching is ranch riding its what i think wp should be. a relaxed ride that can easily move you to check your fences with no fighting or arguing but its a quick kinda pace.

cynthia said...

just found a video of it its the trail class but it shows you a lot http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhgrDTtwA6U

Amanda said...

I don't know if this is a contradiction of terms or not, but hearing announcers call for one of the 3 main gaits (w/t/c or lope), and not being able to tell the difference in the gaits. Some of the shows, it seems that just calling for the walk would suffice, and whichever horse performed best at the walk would be pinned 1st. You could sure speed up some of these shows, breed and open alike.

izzypie said...

My rule of thumb is... if the horse doesn't move like that naturally (I mean in the paddock, at liberty etc.) then odds are, he doesn't like it.

If I saw my horse 'canter' like that in the field, I would think he's lame and call the emergency vet. Just my two cents, but they have taken good horses and wrung all the horse out of them!