Seven years ago we published an article (below) that seems as relevant today as it did then and yet sad that the same issues keep coming up. I will be bold and say things have improved even more now with the value of these pleasure horses who are being being transitioned to exceptional all around horses for long and happy careers.
Today’s pleasure horse is the future trail world champion, as the quality of movement in the pattern classes has progressed to catch up with pleasure movement. If you don’t like a western pleasure show lope, we will bet you like them kicked forward a notch in the Western Riding, which many great pleasure horses are now excelling in while also winning in the pleasure.
We asked for change and the industry has responded by moving a lot of money and prestige away from showing two year olds and on to the maiden three year olds and even now the non pro and pattern classes. The Pleasure Versatility classes showcase these great young horses doing more than going down the rail. NSBA is even studying the trueness of movement to protect the horse.
Great strides have been made, indeed.
Will it ever be perfect? Likely not, there will always be issues and those without the horse’s best interest at heart. But the majority of owners, trainers and breeders have worked hard to make it easier and better for the horses.
We will continue to celebrate these incredible horses, and look for even more ways to improve the future of Western Pleasure.