|Honeysuga ||02-08-2010 05:35 AM |
Western Pleasure from the judges POV.
Found this nice little Q&A article and thought I would share. Hopefully it speaks a little better about the improvements in the WP and what is really looked for...
These were the top questions sent in by our readers. PleasureHorse.com is facilitating a teaching/learning center, whereby the public may ask Judges questions on a regular basis. This week's topic is Western Pleasure. (Answers in mixed order.)
- Question 1: When you judge a WP class, do you penalize a smaller horse who has a longer smooth stride over a 16h+ horse who has a choppy, short stride which as obviously been "manufactured" so he can manage not to pass anyone? It seems fairly common to see... 1. I think we have moved away from the manufactured Western Pleasure horse we had a few years ago! No, I do not penalize the small horse with a long stride or the 16 hand horse with a short stride unless it has been intimidated to do that gait.
2.I believe the Western Pleasure horses have improved greatly. Go watch the Western Riding and see all those great moving Western Pleasure horses out there doing lead changes that make your arms hairs stand up and take notice! Western horses have evolved to another level of greatness as well as most of the Western trainers who are out there changing leads!
Any false or "man made" movement will be penalized regardless of the horse's size. A big horse is very capable of being a great Western Pleaure horse...I have known many! Also, most horses will not be penalized for passing others... it totally depends also on the situation in the arena at the time of that class.
3.Anything "manufactured" to me looks forced, anything that is forced does not allow for the horse to keep it's flow looking as natural as possible. So, for me the smaller horse that has flow will win over the taller horse that does not. The taller horse for me would do better by showing that horse at a speed that compliments the horse and pass smaller horses when called for.
3.The best legged, brokest horse will win on my card regardless of how tall or short it is.
I am going to take the liberty here to re-phrase this question... Which do you prefer the least, a small, long-strided horse or a big 16+ hand choppy-strided horse? I prefer neither, but on any given weekend, you will see these horses competing and they will be the best horses in the class, so as judges, now we haev to say " this horse is my winner" even though we cannot stand the way it goes, but some horse had to win, its a no win situation for a judge. There is no right way to answer your question, there are no guidlines for judging a poor class, what it comes down to , is which horse I prefer the least and usually that is the horse that looks the safest and does its job willingly.
- Question 2: Person A is having a great ride. Person B is also having a great ride but passes Person A and cuts into their horse's nose causing him to raise his head and break gait for a stride, but Persons B's horse just keeps on going. Who gets penalized; A, B, or Both?
1.If the break of gait was done because the horse has a high regard for themselves then I say smart horse no penality in this situation for the horse that was cut-off. The rider who caused the the other horse to break because of poor piloting skills gets the penality. Keep in mind we can only judge something like this when we see the whole episode more times then not we see the end, rider B back on the rail fairly close to rider A, rider A asking horse to lope again after breaking. Penality then goes to rider A for the break of gait.
If I see the whole thing, I don't penalize either one if I don't think the cut off is intentional. If I see it half way through, I may not penalize either one if it looks like a cut off but have no proof of who to punish. If I just catch a glimse at the end, all I would have seen is the break of gait on person A and would have to alter my line up depending on what else the class offers me for a final placing. If the whole thing looks like poor sportmanship I would penalize Person B. A break of gait for a stride at the World Show, big deal; a break of gait for a stride at a weekend show, not as big of a deal depending on the how good the horse is and what is in the class.
- 2.If I saw this happen, I would probably hurt Rider 'A' a placing or two for poor showmanship, and not hurt the horse that was affected negatively. As a judge I can't say this is something I've seen often.
3.I think you are asking; ' What if rider B cuts off Rider A, who will I penalize?' Rider B will go to the bottom of the class, and if Rider A and Horse A can maintain their ride, they will not be penalized.
4.There are lot of factors that could play into this scenario, but if I were to play it out as you describe it here and the judge sees the entire happenings from start to finish, I believe that Horse A will not be penalized from my viewpoint. Horse B would be held liable for causing Horse A to throw his head, etc.
- Question 3: When a change in gait is called for, what do you consider correct: 1. Wait till the horse in front of you moves out, or 2. Forget the rest of the horses in the class, cue your horse and take the gait. (Even if this means coming off the rail and having to hang out there for as long as it takes to find a spot on the rail to show your horse at its best to the judge? 1. I would rather see a rider pick up the gait and then work their way back to the rail. I am not offended by horses showing off the rail, a great moving horse, that is showing well off the rail can just as easily be the winner as a horse on the rail.
2.When a gait change is called, I expect the riders to check their position, make their visible and non-visible cues, and move out. Yes, horses that will lope off, pass other horses quietly, stay in the passing lane until an open spot comes up will earn plus points. I am not saying the first to lope off is the winner, but if you know your horse is going lope off and do it well, then it is kudos to you.
3.A experienced showmen will know when to wait and take their turn and when to lope around. If the judge is not watching your side of the arena and the lope is asked for and there is 4 to 5 horses tight in front of you I would wait. If you take off in this situation when called you may never get back on the rail. If you have only one or two horses in front of you same situation most likey the horses in front of you are going to delay to give them more rail because the judge is not watching. You lope right off when called for and take the open rail that they were trying to get for themselves. I look for the showmen that has so much confidence in their horse that they can show it on the rail, off the rail whatever is needed at the time. Each class is different and it may not always work out the way you plan. When your plan back fires just show like that is exactly what you were trying to do.
4.The rider can have 5 or 6 seconds to wait for the horse in front of him/her to go. However, if no one is in front of a horse I do expect him to take the gait after it is called for. There is no penalty for coming off the rail to be correct and if you have a great moving horse it gives me more time to watch it and enjoy it while everyone else is walking/stopping on the rail. There is nothing better in my mind than standing in the middle and getting 5 extra seconds out of the 15 you get per horse/per class to watch a great one lope by me!