Wednesday, November 11, 2009

General Rule for Judging Western Pleasure

Since I've been talking about the standard rules from which most open shows are defined, I thought I should quote the rules here.
Western Pleasure AQHA Rules
"465B Western Pleasure (a) A good pleasure horse has a free-flowing stride of reasonable length in keeping with his conformation. He should cover a reasonable amount of ground with little effort. Ideally, he should have a blanaced, flowing motion, while exhibiting correct gaits that are of the proper cadence. The quality of the movement and the consistency of the gaits is a major consideration. He should carry his head and neck in a relaxed natural position, with his poll level with or slightly above the level of the withers. He should not carry his head behind the vertical, giving the appearance of intimidation, or be excessively nosed out, giving a resistant appearance. His head should be level with his nose slightly in front of the vertical, having a bright experession with his ears alert. He should be shown on a reasonably loose rein, but with light contact and control. He should be responsive, yet smooth, in transitions when called for. When asked to extend he should movee out with the same flowing motion. Maximum credit should be given to the flowing, blanaced and willing horse that gives the appearance of being fit and a pleasure to ride.
465B (e) This class will be judged on the performance, condition and conformation of the horse.
465B (l) Faults that will be cause for disqualification, except in novice amateur or novice youth classes, which shall be faults scored according to severity:
  1. Head carried too low (tip of ear below the withers consistently)
  2. Overflexing or straining neck in head carriage so the nose is carried behind the vertical consistently."

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I am just one judge with one judge's opinion. Almost all of the classes I judge are based on the rules of USEF & AQHA. Judging a horse show is very subjective to the interpretation of the rules. Please keep this in mind when commenting.