Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: An hour north of Dallas, Texas in Texas Horse Country!
• Horses: 0
Western pleasure, at a competitive level, is a challenge for any horse not created for that event. Our pleasure horses are all bred to do just that, but even those horses are all not ultimately suited for the event. The event is so competitive, that if we try to make a pleasure horse, instead of breed him, it ultimately shows in the arena. Sure, we can eventually get any horse to lope slow, but it'll look completely different than when he's made for the event, and he won't be as happy with ears up and eager to go at those gates, and when compared side by side, the natural pleasure horse will win most of the time.
The same goes for reining. When you can look out in the pasture, and see a reining/working cow bred horse just chase a little steer down the fence, just for fun, it's wonderful. When you see an elegant pleasure yearling, slowly loping or jogging in the pasture, with his head level and balanced, just for fun, that's just as great. They key is to be a talented enough trainer that you can ascertain which event the horse loves and is naturally talented at, and then develop them without getting in their way.
Though we love the experience of riding reiners, the magic of a natural, slow lope or jog, that you could ride for hours is just as magical, though in a different way. While I don't ride all events, the most enjoyable horses are those who do well at what they like to do. I'm not a barrel racer, but to see a horse that's gifted and enjoying that event, is just as nice.
And never think that a western pleasure horse doesn't have to be EXTREMELY athletic, and built naturally to move that way, because it's an extraodinary feat for a horse to naturally lift his withers and bring the hind legs underneath him in a collected, balanced way. We've had 'bred' pleasure horses that just had to work too hard to do that, and for them, it was unpleasant and too much work.
But for some of us, the slow, balanced gaits of a true pleasure horse are hard to beat. :)
Last edited by TXHorseLaw; 12-01-2008 at 02:25 PM.