OPENING UP A CAN OF WORMS (halter horses)
Ok I'm a quarter horse man. Or anything that has QH influence whether it's a paint or whatever. And I like a big stout horse as much as the next guy.....But haven't we gone too far?
Years ago in the old QH shows, they used to ride halter horses. YES, REALLY THEY USED TO RIDE THEM! Most (not all) of the modern day halter horses are laughable under saddle. They no longer are the model of what a riding horse should look like. They're overly-muscled, not flexible or athletic, and we've succeeded in breeding most of the good trainable minds out also. I'm not talking out of my butt here. I've been involved with some very successful horses and their breeders. I've ridden some that were good enough to make it to the Congress, etc. in halter. Kudos to the people for having good halter horses ridden! They brought pretty good money as dual purpose horses too. But they're the exception. Trying to talk the owners into breeding more usability into them is pointless. They know they won't win a halter class. Too specialized.
In my opinion, a halter horse should be required to perform in at least 1 performance event. I know they won't be successful but maybe it would shame the breeders back into reality.
I doubt I'm the only one who sees this problem and halter horses aren't the only specialized ones. Hunters don't even resemble QHs anymore, but I do think Halter horses are the most detrimental to the breed. What do you guys think?
Jester, our stud, is the model of the preferable halter horse to me. He is small, yes, about 14.2hh. But I've had judges come up to me and go "Dang....He's kinda perfect isn't he?"
And Jester has an ROM in Reining, I've been doing Gymkhana on him since I was a tiny girl, cutting, some english work even.
There was a horse in the area who looked almost exactly like him, but it also exactly what you're tlaking about....a big clodhopper with over muscles frame, thre times the size of what a normal cowhorse should be. Everyone got mad because Jester would always beat him out.
I feel so fortunate to have owned such an amazing horse. I can only pray that more halter horses will turn out like him one day, and maybe his babies can do something too.
My hat's off to the judges for recognizing what a good halter horse should be! I owned a stud for a while that was halter bred. He was sold to me by a top 50 breeder because(in their opinion)he had undesirable characteristics such as too much foot and leg (0 shoe on a 1270lb horse) and too much wither. Which to me meant he was better suited for a saddle horse.
I don't know where the change will have to come from. Maybe judges? They're the ones rewarding them
Couldnt agree more. The breeding of Quarter Horses solely for the Halter class has in many ways divided the breed. On the other hand several performance horses have shown halter and done quite well and then gone on to ride. It is a shame that we cant do both at the same time.
We had a stallion in the 80's sired by Impressive Tommy out of a old foundation bred mare that we haltered lightly here in Canada but there was never enough horses in his class to get the points with AQHA. We raised him from yearling, showed him and broke him ourselves and he placed at Quarterama in Halter and in the 3 year old snaffle bit (11th) with about 50 horses and 3 cuts at the time. We never did breed alot of mares because we sold him to Germany but it was fun doing both and he was an awesome horse that did well in Germany.
I agree 100%!
The essence of good conformation is based on functionality and that in turn should mean ability and soundness under saddle. I've seen the qh halter world go through a lot of changes, not a fan of today's halter horse by a long stretch. Our oldest stud has quite a few AQHA halter pts & was IQHA Gr. Champion Stallion for the state 3 different years while also earning pts in multiple riding events. But alas this was 25 years ago when halter horses were riding horses also. I know mine wouldn't even get looked at in today's aqha halter ring as they aren't 16+ hands of the incredible hulk on legs that look about as sturdy as toothpicks.
I have a very good friend who raises halter horses, owns both AQHA & APHA World Champion halter stallions, but neither has ever had a saddle on their back. I've discussed my feelings on that with him many times, amazingly he does somewhat agree with me. His take on it is - for him its business and money to be made where it can be and as long as that's the direction it can be made in that's where he will be. I think in general that's where today's halter world is. Its all about money and not enough about the horse. It won't change until halter standards and judging of them change.
I love the idea of a mandatory riding class for halter horses. What great possibilities that has!
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Yes! I totally agree!
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I love a big stocky quarter horse. I ride my horse in several disciplines but we never come out with a blue because my horse is too narrow for halter, although his feet are tiny enough. He's too short and stocky for english and he's too tall and lanky for western. To me, he's perfect.
PS - MHF, everytime I see your Avatar I think it's my Beauty (just for a second). We should introduce them sometime. I could get a great western pleasure horse!
No arguement here, I totally agree!
Very much agreed!
Back a few years ago we were on the market for a horse to add to our herd for lessons, and we were offered a QH gelding that had been in the Top Ten National Halter quarterhorses a few years back. Excited, we went to see him. The gelding was 16 hh, nearly 1,400 pounds, and so fat and overmuscled that he looked like someone had just dumped him in oil. Not wanting to discriminate though, I went ahead and tacked up.
For one, my saddle didn't even fit him properly. I had to go borrow a girth from a fried with DRAFT horses, and my girth generally even fits our 17.3hh thoroughbred! Once I slip-slided up on his back, I asked for a walk. Sure, no problem. Then a trot. His trot was one of the most uncomfortable things I've ever had to sit. His legs were so small that he seemed to forget where they were, making his trot sort of...'lumpy.' I asked for a simple, large circle. When I did that, he slid off balance, tripped, regained his footing, then proceeded to do a very lopsided circle with his head as high as it could get (not very high, his neck was super short!) and his body in no way round. I worked him for about 30 minutes, in that time I absolutely could not get him to contact me through the reins or round himself. When I got off, he was puffing and sweating like I'd run him four hours, when we'd never even gone past a slow canter.
To say the least, I was dissapointed! He was pretty, sure, but that gelding would never make a lesson horse, much less a reiner, roper, racer, or anything else that QHs were originally bred to do.
We ended up buying this girl- Jasmine, a 15 hh QH mare. A bit funnier looking than him maybe, but muscled RIGHT (a bit thin...but muscular all the same) and a very capable (and marish xD) lesson horse.
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