Here's the thing to me. There are a few horses that are the breed ideal for western pleasure. To me, these would be Vital Signs are Good, Sweet Talkin' Jeanie, VS Code Red, One Hot Krymsun, A Certain Vino. The problem comes when people try to make horses that can't physically move that way go that way. That's how you end up with horses that look lame/sore/unhappy.
Sometimes this class is a class all on its own, but even today there are multiple horses that go on from being a top western pleasure horse to being an all-around horse. Vital Signs are Good and Sweet talkin' jeanie have competed very successfully in western riding, horsemanship and trail. And The Krymsun Kruzer placed in the top 10 at the AQHA world show in 2yr old WP, the class that many people seem to think ruins good horses. Last year, this horse went on to be the Superhorse at the World Show, mainly in ENGLISH and OVER FENCE classes. They are true all-around horses that had their basics in highly competitive WP and went on to successful careers in other events.