So lately I've been learning more about halter shows and how they work. First I've got to say, I don't compete in anything - so how horse shows work is beyond me. But I'm finding more and more that in halter shows judges are no longer looking for the "best" portrayal of the breed, but rather the most extreme portrayal. Rather than wanting something that shows off all it's best qualities in a balanced and appropriate way - I'm seeing more and more extremes, to the point where the horses are being bred or trained to look in ways that are detrimental to their health and well-being once they're no longer competing in halter classes.
For example, HYPP quater horses still being bred for halter shows, on purpose. At Arabian halter shows, some videos I've seen the horses are being intentionally spooked and startled, to the point where the handlers can hardly hold them, in order for them to look their most extreme.
I'm not making a blanket statement that all halter shows for all breeds are like this, but it's frustrating how much I'm seeing of it. Can anyone explain to me how this helps to better the breeds? Or what other use there could be for this?
winning acclaim, so you can put that on your breeding resume, so you can sell horses , who can win more, and put more on the breeding resume , so you can sell more, . . . .
not saying all breeders do this. NO. only that some may think this way and bring about that extreme behavior you are talking about.
It doesn't. It just helps reinforce breed stereotypes like "all arabians are hot headed seahorse looking crazys!" And "all QH breeders just don't are about genetic disorders and breed horses that look like they're on steroids with toothpick legs."
Some people will do anything for money or fame, at the cost of a great breed, or specific animal.
When halter classes get to depressing to watch for me, I'll watch speed events, or cow classes, or ranch horse classes. It's nice to see practical horses being used. :-)
/not saying halter horses are useless, or trying to offend anyone
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This problem is caused by the very nature of halter showing. Producing a correct horse is not all that hard, and if every horse in the ring is virtually the same, the judges have to find some other way of picking the winner. So they choose one particular trait they like and rank the horses based on that. If they do this often enough, competitors notice it and try to breed horses with that trait. Then, once most breeders have succeeded in breeding horses with that particular trait, all the horses in the ring are virtually the same again and the judge has to find yet another way of ranking them. It's a vicious cycle.
I don't think this is anybody's fault, it's the nature of how showing works. That's why I would never participate in it.
At least in Arabians, TYPE means so much more than extreme. Yes, it's the dishy face which they've taken to extremes but true type is so much more than that. It's tiny tippy ears, a flagged tail carriage, the sashay in the walk, just an overall Arabian attitude. You can have a face that's so dished that the horse looks more like a seahorse and still miss the TYPE boat completely. TYPE is what makes an Arabian obvious at 50 yards.
This horse is very typey and she's not at all exotic, yet when you saw her in life, there was NEVER a question about her breed.
This mare throws gorgeous babies yet is not terribly exotic either, but she's still very typey and obviously an Arab.
Too many people just see the extreme head and think of type and that's really leading the Arabian breed down a mistaken path.
I don't think it would even be possible for me to spook my Arabs enough to get them all psychotic looking for the halter ring. I'd probably have to bring a cattle prod and zap them to get some sort of reaction. LOL
But yeah, I get what you're saying. I expect my horse to trot along side me, not drag me around the arena with it's head in the air attached to a chain digging into them.
I had an Impressive bred gelding that was gorgeous, but bred like a halter horse. Built like a brick house but with little itty bitty feet on him and upright pasterns so he was never sound as a riding horse for very long. Which was a shame, because when he wasn't loco, he was a beautiful horse to ride. LOL
Like others have said previously, not trying to offend, but do big wig halter horses even have a purpose? They aren't built to last and it seems they are just made to stand a look pretty (long stretch for the word pretty).
I've seen a few National Champs in halter go well under performance - KM Bugatti is one.
I went to one stable that shows well up the National level and had their three year old stallion there (who went Reserve National Halter Champ that year) and I asked what discipline they were planning to show him under. "Well, we probably won't get him going under saddle". I was "Oh..." and moved on. Gorgeous face, teeny little legs - I bought the other stallion.
And a lot of halter breeders have that same attitude. Big money if you can win Nationals halter class, I guess they don't need anything else?
Probably why a lot of big halter barns cull most of their foal crops - even though they have no chance of being a NC Halter horse, they could still be a fabulous performance horse, but that's not their market so - most often they get sold as grades.
I think to say that halter horses are judged to be "the most extreme portrayal" is kind of a fair blanket statement for certain breed shows, such as QH. I am a huge fan of quarter horses but I will admit that I've learned this industry certainly does take a great thing and turn it into Godzilla. I mean, really, more isn't always better....
The use of the word "Typey" isn't really a halter thing in my opinion but it may be what the word is really meant for. I use it when talking about a specific discipline...
My horse is actually more halter than anything else and that is the look and feel that I adore. If you get one that is built like Arnold Schwartzenhorse though, you don't get any movement at all really... Not a great ride.
As for HYPP, that is changing but as with anything, change takes a while, look at peanut rolling for instance, it came in like a bang and took over the first time a horse one a championship but it took years to get it out of the show ring. Same with the four-beat trope. And now they are trying to get the horses moving forward again. It always takes time to change things...
Sorry... got off subject. I actually do like the look of a big massively built horse. (not an HYPP horse per say - but a muscle man)....
No genetic flaw wouldn't really take long to get rid of. A year, if everyone just stopped breeding HYPP carriers. Same with CA in Arabians.
The thing is - do you risk losing that bloodline and the potential of the great carriers (Let's say Impressive and *Ecaho) to the breeding gene pool for the sake of totally eradicating that dysfunctional gene, or do we practice good breeding practice by breeding proven carriers to non-carriers?
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