Seems like a lot of you agree with me. I am not discounting the hard work and training that goes into getting a horse to do flying lead changes, sliding stops, piaffes, or whatever their discipline requires. I know that the rider must also be a good rider to show well in the areana.
I am quite new to riding--started riding less than 2 years ago and up until I bought my current horse in late Feb. I really wasn't doing much as my first horse had some issues beyond a beginning rider.
My new guy is a 15 year old 15hh QH (likely some Arab too) gelding that is a great trail horse. He does NOT like arena work at all. Sometimes we do some areana lessons as I need to work on my seat, hands, cues, etc. in a more controlled environment---hard for my riding instructor to help me as I am flying past her at a lope on the 2 track when we are out on the trails
I am considering trying a judged trail ride where they have various obstacles for you to go over, around, through, etc. I don't think we would place but I think it would be fun to see how he does and expose him to more things.