Lets take this blog to the next level

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



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






Saturday, July 31, 2010

Transitions are important, but you need to actually change speed in order to make one...

I did one of my least favorite things tonight and that was watch WP videos on youtube. Seriously, the only thing that pisses me off worse is watching old MASH re-runs while tied to a chair. I found the "official" AQHA video to show how a WP horse should move.




Evidently my definitions of the terms "softness, cadence, and collection" are wildly different from the AQHA. While watching this video I could only think that the AQHA needs to re-label their gaits to trip, stumble, and stagger instead of walk, trot and canter. I'm mortified that this "professional" stood there and tried to bluff his way through the fact that the horse moved like shit. And WP is absolutely *NOT* the foundation of a working western horse. Modern WP goes against every standard a good working horse needs to meet. I almost spit out my tongue when he said English Pleasure is the foundation for working hunter and hunter hack. What fricking planet are you on Mister? I've never seen a horse jump a fence with his head at his knees and a two foot stride. Every single horse in the video looked sore, tired and unhappy. Is this really what the AQHA wants to promote? I thought the registry was named because Qhs were the fastest at a quarter mile, not because they move slower than a snail with an anchor on his ass. ( Assuming snails have asses)

And what about that rule in the AQHA handook that says the horse is penalized if his ears are below wither level for three strides? Every horse in the class should have had the gate for breaking that rule! The riding is terrible too. What is with the leaning back, forward feet and crappy arms. It looked like a class full of drunken floppy stick figures. Like Barbie and Ken Western Pleasure without the cool outfits and long manes on the horses. I am like so totally grossed out! <----- sarcasm

It's obvious that AQHA has no intention of "fixing" western pleasure, because if they did a lot of incompetant trainers and poorly conformed horses would be out of jobs. But they really shouldn't advertise their stupidity with videos like the one above. It's like an infomercial for how not to ride, train your horse or produce a long term, sound animal.

So let's hear some assessments, and make them good! We have to keep this blog as the number one most hated on the Delphi Pleasure forum and with the Equine Chronicle.

37 comments:

Aelfleah Farm said...

Can't speak to WP as the foundation of working western, but I can very well speak to "english pleasure" as being the basis of working hunter. Hogwash.

The perfect canter stride in a show hunter is 12'. This is perfect because this is what the stride lines to the fences are set for. A horse that cannot make a 12' stride, and make it look effortless, is NOT a show hunter. Period. No need to look any farther. I have never seen a "pleasure" hunter in an AQHA show (or one in an AHA show) that can actually cross over into the real discipline of show hunter. The strides are simply too short.

Valerie said...

Gag... these horses look so sore... Ill put it this way. If I put my horse under saddle and she moved liked that? Id be calling the vet!

cattypex said...

Oh, I've watched this before.

It starts out OK, I have a glimmer of hope, then it just devolves into the same old thing.

Although - the WP crap is SO bad, with the heads SO down, the gaits SO stilted, and the HQ canted in, maybe this is a "baby steps" approach. I'm not holding my breath, though.

I was brought up to think of a hunt seat horse as a critter who looked like he could jump a course, should one magically appear in front of him.

Somehow the Arab people and the stock horse people missed that memo.

I must give props to the Arab people for at least creating the Sport HOrse classes. The AQHA has no such equivalent. Like I posted somewhere else: I can't WAIT to see the videos of their Dressage championships at the World show.

And if the horses actually look like honest to goodness dressage horses (Rugged Lark doesn't really count as anything credible), how long will it take the AQHA to screw THAT up??

I wrote an email to the AQHA marketing dept. expressing my concern about WP crap. I appreciate greatly that they responded to me, I really do, but... this is what they sent me as evidence of "progress":
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDcV_U5VhM0

Again, it started out sort of promising, though why people like those stick-horse necks is beyond me... and I appreciate the info. that more Western Riding horses are competing in WP, but....

NO
NO
NO

cattypex said...

(I want to run behind her, clucking)

Articubone said...

All those horses look ridiculously stilted and half-asleep (including those in the video cattypex linked). The best of the lot was the grey demonstrating the canter, at least you could see that he was putting a little jump between each stride instead of the tranter that every other horse was doing.

If a horse I was riding was dragging its feet along the ground like that, I'd be giving it a damn good nudging to get its hindquarters under itself and actually WORK. But then, I'm over here in Australia, where Western is pretty much non-existent, and I'm a showjumper primarily.

Even accepting that that's the discipline standard *gag*, what I really don't understand is the appeal. When I get on a horse, whether it's to do dressage, jump, or just fang around, the point of riding is to be in a partnership with the horse and to do cool stuff and have fun, as well as exercises that will make both myself and the horse better athletes (so further down the track we can have MORE fun, yay!). What I see in those videos isn't riding, it's sitting on a very slowly moving couch. In which case, why not just do this?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-LHiHO7xnf8

cattypex said...

That's hilarious!

The more I see of Australian stock horses, the more I want one...

Most of the horse people in my town/county are into Western Pleasure, primarily with paints and quarter horses. It's odd, because if you drive 5 - 10 miles east of me, you get a lot more breed diversity, as well as more folks participating in other disciplines.

It's so bad here that they have many different divisions of Western Pleasure for the QuarterHorse/Paint/Appaloosas (always full classes) and one tiny little class for "Saddle Type" Western Pleasure, for the Arabs, Saddlebreds, and gaited horses. Oh, someone was showing a Cob-cross once, no one knew what it was. I went over and asked her because it was such a cool horse. Went even better hunt seat, and of course didn't place because the judge was a Paint judge and wouldn't know a real hunter or jumper if it jumped over him.

roanhorse said...

I've been watching/showing AQHA WP for a lot of years although I will say I haven't participated in AQHA WP recently and if I did I'd never admit to it for the abomination in movement of the horses that are currently being shown in AQHA WP. What's worse I say....watching one of these horrific classes of horses struggling down the wall or listening to the moronic exhibitors/owners and their trainers promulgating the "hype" of how "wonderfully" these horses are moving.....none of them, not the trainers, not the owners nor the exhibitors or judges have a clue as to what is representative of truly wonderful free flowing movement....I have little hope for the AQHA and their WP horses as no one either participating in these classes or training these horses knows what great movement is. They're clueless. If you suggested to them to observe a Grand Prix level dressage horse to gain some knowlege and appreciation of beautiful movement I seriously doubt there would be any takers...those individuals, trainers, owners, exhibitors, judges live like mushrooms, in the darkness, oblivious and covered in horse manure.

cattypex said...

Oh I know....

I was playing Ring Steward at the Mini 4H show, and the judge was a very nice young woman who'd been on a prestigious university judging team. We were talking, and I mentioned that the college where I worked (and she almost attended) had a total H/J/Dressage focus for its equestrian team. She was like, "Oh I am sooo glad I didn't go there, I would have no idea what to do, with those high heads and all...."

I was at an open show and there was a token TB in the HUS class. I made a comment to the 4H girls to the effect that THAT is how a hunter should really look.

They were horrified: "What? WIth that high head? UGH!!!!"

This generation has been completely and utterly brainwashed.

Articubone said...

To be honest, roanhorse, much high-level dressage isn't pretty these days either. Overbent, hurting horses with jaws pulled shut by crank nosebands, that have to bounce instead of using their hindquarters because they're forced out of balance, isn't something I'd use as examples of beautiful movement. :(

roanhorse said...

I'll still take a Grand Prix level dressage horse, including their "defects", over a WP horse any day of the week; there is NO comparison...I sincerely doubt you'd find your "perfect" performance horse ANYWHERE these days as long as there is a human to muck it up....that's your reality "bite" of the week.

Morgan_Horse_Queen said...

OK, I'll be the skunk at the party and say that the WP horses in this video (didn't watch the English ones) are a VAST improvement over what you will see at Congress or any local show. AT LEAST the horses are moving at the actual cadence of the gait and they have their ears up and look alive. I'm no fan of WP but this is a helluva lot better than what you'll see at an actual show. If people would even move toward this standard it would be huge. No yanking and cranking either.

We took some friends from Germany to Congress last year - I thought my friend, who has ridden dressage, was going to have a coronary when she saw the hunt seat classes. She thought it was a travesty and I had to agree.

cattypex said...

It's true... the actual show horses - the ones who win - are WORSE than the horses in this video.

Wouldn't it be fun if some BNT who's been in the business long enough to have experienced a lot of different stuff got all vaquero in the show ring?

Or the Cowboy Dressage people....
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpGIL6EKNGo

It'll neverevereverever happen......

horsndogluvr said...

Welcome back, Ms. Maus! I've been missing you...

Oh, that video is wonn der fulll.

“As you can tell, this mare moved forward with very little visible cue from the rider.” Except for putting his heels in 5 or 6 times. For the lope, he only did it 3 times. Wow; that’s good cueing, ain’t it? (retch) Oh, well, at least it wasn’t a spur stop.

“Because of the engagement behind…” I don’t call it “engagement,” when the forehand is carrying 90 percent of the horse’s weight. But of course, without that “balance,” they couldn’t get that low, short shuffle they seem to love so well.

“…the horse is able to lift his shoulder, and place his front foot out in front of him…” That fat horse’s off hoof never got ahead of the point of its shoulder.

“…how effortlessly she moves forward…” Funny, I don’t see that. I see a horse wasting energy on lifting her withers with no support from her rear. And Mr. Douche’s definition of “front end out in front of her” is widely different from mine.

“One thing that hasn’t changed is movement. A good movement years ago is a good movement today.” M-hmm yeah. I must be a lot older than him.

And people are commenting on his Youtube site on how much better this is than the peanut rollers. Sorry, WP has a long way to go before it looks like a pleasure to me.

Ruthie

roanhorse said...

"No yanking or cranking"...I'd pay to see that one; also no injecting hocks or backs, I'd pay to see that too.... A very successful three day trainer friend of mine has observed the WP horses for a number of years both those showing AQHA and those shown in the "AHSA" (old name) open WP classes and she cringed at those and she CANNOT look at their hunt seat classes, neither can I..I've been involved with AQHA since the early'60's and have watched this mess of WP going on for this length of time....the last "free moving" WP horses of AQHA, as I recall, could be seen in the very early '70's....their heads were up, ears were forward, and they, for the most part, had pleasant expressions...and moved "forward"....."forward", now THAT's a foreign word to most of the participants in WP these days....

If all the horses in an AQHA WP class are moving in a similar manner then it's up to the judge to pick the less odoriferous of the group for his top three and he might do so in a fairly intelligent manner if it weren't for "politics" entering the picture.

I could go on...as you can see I'm NO fan of WP anymore...it sucks for lack of better word. I'll stick with my stock horses and the Vaquero tradition...thanks.

” That fat horse’s off hoof never got ahead of the point of its shoulder".

AMEN

cattypex said...

Is it just me, or do their skinny, straight little sweated necks and stuck-out heads just look tacked onto their big ol' bodies?

Like bad photoshop or something?

roanhorse said...

They're breeding for "that" look now...since many, not all now are appendix registered....

banagade said...

*sigh* and this is why my very lovely Standardbred won't get looked at twice in the western pleasure ring at the open shows. He bridles up, has high knee action, moves at a medium speed and is an absolute BLAST to ride... the open classes go by the AQHA rule book. :(

Actually it's why none of my horses will ever place in western pleasure... I refuse to train them to look like this. Though I will admit, my late Quarter Horse mare had a jog like that but if you posted, she had an extremely fast trot and was an amazingly fast little barrel horse... she just LIKED to jog that slow which won us points in pleasure... her lope however... hahah we'd lap those pleasure horses...

cattypex said...

Haha, when I was a know-it-all teen in the mid or late 80s, I took my hunter mare, who was incidentally AQHA, in Western Pleasure. Just for fun, I'd worked at collecting...collecting...collecting.... into a lovely little floaty jog and easy little lope, though she didn't put her head down (and I didn't ask her to). Instead, she had this cute arched neck and was probably nicely on the bit.
Anyway, the judge had us pinned 2nd in a pretty big class, but in the lineup all of a sudden he took another look, frowned, and asked me accusingly, "Wait, is that a Quarter Horse???" I should've lied, maybe, but I didn't. So he moved us back to 6th, but I could see he felt bamboozled.

roanhorse said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OaemHdSSkn0&feature=related


Here's a Western Rider.....have some fun and critique his "go"....

banagade said...

OH I just remembered... where was it... it was one of the higher up QH horse shows here... during a WP class the judge had the NERVE to ask for an EXTENDED TROT... meaning the horses had to move out of that broken shuffle and actually stretch out and GO... my mare and I actually placed in that class. The big wig Wp riders, all they did was post on their horses but no change in their pace at all... after the class you should have heard those people complain "How DARE he ask for an extended trot, WP horses don't move fast! who does he think he is?!?!" hahaha it was hilarious! that was a judge I liked!

SFTS said...

I love it when a judge throws his/her competitors for a loop, banagade. Great story!

cattypex said...

I worked at an open show this summer where the judge kept things MOVING.

She asked for an extended jog in EVERY Western class, and a lope-to-jog transition, too. That weeded 'em out quick. Her horsemanship pattern was smart, too.

She was cool. That show was over by 4:00.

HorseCommonSense said...

They "Stand 'Em Up"
The front hoof degrees are ridiculously Tooooo High, and they keep the backs at an average degree. Hence the "Sore Look & Movement" Not every horse should be at the "Same" degree. Period.

Most leave on Toooo much sole to fill in for the "Stand "Em Up", which also leads to a Soreness in the hoof.

I don't get it. But that's what some customers want in this discipline, for they as the Big Lick have been brainwashed this is the "Proper Show Movement". I won't do it, I suggest they find another farrier. I don't need,nor want the money that bad.

I'm getting ready to post an entry on calling bullshit farriers and trimmers. I've had enough of these people posting on sites and blogs who have NO business holding a rasp or nippers.

Tuffy Horse said...

Cattypex,

I judge a lot of 4 H and open shows and I'm the judge that mixes gaits up. I call for canter departs from a walk, canter transitions down to a walk, extended trots, backing on the rail and all kinds of other stuff to make people RIDE their horses. I've had a few big trainers pack up and go home after getting their butts beat by kids that knew how to ride. Makes my day!

Tracy Meisenbach
www.trinityapp.com

cattypex said...

Good for you, Tracy!!

Keep 'em guessing... also makes classes a little less boring. ;-)

cattypex said...

Dangit... I just got to my August issue of Equus, and there's a GREAT Deb Bennett article on the mechanics of true collection and flexion at the poll, and the various ways humans screw that up in different disciplines.

She calls it "breaking" the neck, and lumps WP in with Rollkur.

Very informative.

roanhorse said...

Saw the article in Equus...a great read!

Amy said...

That cowboy dressage is total WIN. Some of the videos I've seen are not so good- that was awesome. :)

WTF was the "western riding" video? I don't even know what "western riding" is but that horse was SO on his forehand he looked like he was dragging his broken-ass back legs behind him!

As for the WP video... some of the example horses weren't too bad, the first horse looked fine to me and the stocky grey cantering was actually nice... that, to me, is a lope. But the WP class???? And especially that sorrel horse that kept stopping because... well, he had it walking so slow it probably thought it was supposed to... and then let's SPUR the pony to walk its crippling ass walk... ugh I wanted to punch that guy in his face.

My trainer is helping me learn, and my horse to learn, WP. That's because my horse LIKES to jog slowly, the horse basically picked her discipline. But since my goal is to only have fun at local shows and become a decent rider in the process, I don't plan on ever making my horse do that crippled-looking shit... and I have a lovely trainer who used to show saddleseat (she doesn't believe in tailsets of the ridiculously padded shoes, btw) and showed arabs in WP for a long time as well... so she's used to horses that actually move and refuses to do that shit to a horse. So I think (hope) I'm learning the right way!

paint_horse_milo said...

holy crap roanhorse does that guy not know how to balance without his hands? and that horse has no self carriage, that stop and back was pitiful to say the best.

in the beginning I was pleased to see some more forward than in the winning WP classes, but idk, something about those lead changes looked mechanical and stiff....

roanhorse said...

Paint Horse...just as the article was designed to do....for your critique and opinion......

cattypex said...

I love how Western Pleasure people pretend that their horses are collected. The more I learn about collection, the more I see how their claims are BUNK.

Slow, yes, and afraid of the bit, yes, but collected?

Um, no.

On the contrary, they're usually kind of strung out and ALWAYS heavy on the forehand.

roanhorse said...

The WP people would love to think that their horses are "collected" when in fact they're not. Hard to be collected when the WP horse's spine is flat and not rounded. I still believe that every horseback rider who aspires to compete in any of the classes offered at a show or just general riding should have some basic understanding of dressage, as should their horse....sadly, many do not.

Lots of "talk" (gas) about impulsion, collection and striding deep underneath yet the finished product in the pen is anything but.........

roanhorse said...

I would also say that for the talk about AQHA horses being heavy on the forehand....look at their basic conformation on these horses minus their tack and you'll see a commonality amongst some of their bloodlines of horses standing hip tall (hips taller than their withers)....; makes it a little difficult to get their front ends out of the dirt when they're basically built this way from the get go...
It's my understanding that this was a "desirable" trait in the early years (the '40's)of the racing Quarter Horse....kind of like a modified dragster that you'd see at a track.....

Darcy on a Diet said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gina said...

The chesnut, that he's picking on, looks extremely unhappy, and like it's dying. The horses are sooooooo far from natural it's unbelievable... Their necks have no muscle mass and aren't even suppose to be that low, completely unatural. I agree, the gaits are a combination of a limp, trip, and stumble. Can the horses even see where there going? Or is the reason why they move so sadly?
They don't even look like horses, they're more like robots with miserable expressions.

Stacie said...

I think I love you!! No one wants change because they have all trained their shit horses to move just like that.

RiderWriter said...

If you even see this... I just found this blog today. I am laughing at this video because as I'm SURE you know, five years later WP is about 10,000x WORSE than in this video. The horses are far, far slower and the lope is sideways, crab-like travesty. While the horses are yanked and spurred half to death, of course.

The horses in this video are moving out smartly in comparison and at least their ears are forward. All of them today look like miserable zombies.

I hate it with a passion but still not as much as Big Lick. THAT hasn't improved much, either!