Who said it would be acceptable to "long trot and canter quick on a tight rein"
for a western pleasure class?
From the 4H rulebook (since we are talking about 4H): Western Pleasure - A good pleasure equine has a stride of reasonable length in keeping with his conformation. He has enough cushion to his pastern to give the rider a pleasant, smooth ride. He carries his head in a natural position, not high and over flexed at the poll or low with the nose out. The equine should be relaxed but alert and ready to respond to the rider's commands without excessive cueing. When asked to extend the jog, he moves out with the same smooth way of going. 1.Scoring -Emphasis in this class will be placed on the equine's suitability as a pleasure mount as evidenced by both the performance in the class and its general type, conformation, and soundness. Scoring will be based on performance and on conformation. 2.Class Routine a)Gaits 1)The walk is a natural, flat-footed four-beat gait. The equine must move straight and true at the walk. The walk must be alert, with a stride of reasonable length in keeping with the size of the equine. 2)The jog is a smooth ground-covering two-beat diagonalgait. The equine works from one pair of diagonals to the other pair. The jog should be square, balanced and with as straight, forward movement of the feet. Equines walking with their back feet and trotting on the front are not considered performing the required gait. 3)The lope is an easy, rhythmical three-beat gait. Equines moving to the left should lope on the left lead. Equines moving to the right should lope on the right lead. Equines traveling at a four-beat gait are not considered to be performing at a proper lope. The equine should lope with a natural stride and appear relaxed and smooth. He should be ridden at a speed that is natural in way of going. b) All equines will enter the ring in a counterclockwise direction at the walk until they are otherwise directed by the judge. They will then go at least once around the entire ring at each of the three gaits - walk, jog and lope. All equines will then be asked to reverse and work the same way in that direction. The reverse shall be done by turning away from the rail. c) After all equines have been worked, the judge may then excuse equines not to be considered further in the class. d)The judge may ask for additional work from any of the remaining equines. e) All equines being considered for an award shall be asked to back in a straight line a minimum of 3 steps. f)Only one hand is to be used for reining. The hand chosen (either right or left) shall not be changed during the class. If a rope is carried on the saddle, it must be attached to the side opposite the reining hand. One finger is allowed between the reins except when romal reins are used. The rider may hold the romal or ends of the split reins provided it is held at least 16" from the reining hand.
If you want to get nit-picky about descriptions in rule books, the 4H rules say nothing about how fast or slow each gait should be. But only that the gaits needs to be natural
for the individual horse, and in a stride length that is suitable for the horse. I'd much rather see a horse traveling a little faster at the lope and have it look natural and smooth and a pleasure
to ride, than see a horse be forced into a lope that is too slow for them to physically carry and it looks hideous and uncomfortable.
By that definition, why can't ANY horse be taught to travel straight, relaxed, smooth, and on a loose rein, and do well at a small local show like 4H? Why is that doing it wrong
Anyway, I'm glad to hear that I've been doing western pleasure WRONG all these years just because I don't have a horse that is capable of doing this:
And on that thought, any show that is low-level local (and for fun) is doing all their events WRONG because the horse's aren't world-caliber and "doing it right"
as you call it.