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I'm going to do my best to stay out of trouble....

As with any showing, the winners set the bar. The rulebook is one thing. The perception of "correct" from a judge is another. All it takes is a judge at a big show to prefer the "war wounded" lope or some other characteristic for it to be the new standard.

Arabian Western Pleasure is a good example of this. While some of the gaits look a bit more natural to my eye, the current trend is to have a horse's head on upside down, their chin is pulled so far towards their chest. Serious Open level competitors seem to care about nothing except how much of an arch and how hard their horse is tucking the chin.

In general, in any discipline it just ruins it.

Ranch Pleasure is worded in a way that makes it seem like they want to see horses act and move like horses. We'll see how long that lasts.

At the end of the day, after all the money is spent people want to win. If the horses that win look like their hocks are locked up and they are way over extending at the poll.. that is what everyone will go home and train for. I have a strong distaste for that in the show world.

Whew, hopefully I avoided that minefield while making my point.
 

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Thing is, people who are competing (in anything) almost never step back and take a hard look at what they are actually doing. The reason is that it is a game, and games don't make any logical sense outside the game itself. No game does. Why do people get so excited about watching a bunch of other people throwing or kicking or hitting a ball around in extremely prescribed ways? Why do chicken breeders become irate when someone tries to introduce a new feather pattern?
Why do people get honestly upset when they land on Go To Jail just after they used their Get Out Of Jail Free card?

Why do people so love to play games with rules anyway? Why isn't it all Calvin Ball? That's a really interesting question I don't know the answer to and bet no one else does either.

What exhausts me though, is when people feel the need to make up and then defend reasons why their made-up rules aren't, in fact, almost completely arbitrary, by bringing in arguments like Preserving Our Heritage, and Real Work, often having to contort themselves into pretzels in the process. Give me a break. It's 100% about making the rules ever more exaggerated and more difficult and more and more fine-grained, as people get better and better at that particular game. So that there's a way to pick a winner. Whether the rules make any inherent sense or not is very much to one side of any game.

I can see discussing whether a game is unusually cruel to an animal. But that's about it. If you think it's stupid looking, don't look. Unless you are in search of recreational outrage, a game anybody can play.

And that there is all I'm going to say on the subject (exciting the gratitude of thousands no doubt).
 

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Can I get an amen?

Those horses would be completely useless as a working horse, in the western sense, anyways. It would be painful to try to use one of those horses to do a job.
My guess is that they would quickly revert to normal well-trained horse behavior when out of the arena and not cued for those gaits.
 

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Examples:

Lots of pleasure folks will swear up and down to you that the horses naturally move a certain way, and are naturally slow legged.

This is my favorite video to show in threads like this.

Now that horse would be a real pleasure to ride.
 

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^ Ranch Pleasure is pretty new still. The emphasis is heavy on real stock horses that could go work a cow doing a pleasure type class. I like it, I am actually thinking about trying this out next year.

Texas has SHOT, which the pleasure class in that is pretty similar. The basic goal of a nice stock horse that can turn and burn, but also be a pleasure to ride.
 
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