I have been complaining for years about the bad riding I see at many stock breed shows. The hunt seat looks like western with posting, with stirrups too long, loose legs and "puppy paw" hands all too common. A step in the right direction would have been a QH show association that put more emphasis on riding and let the hunters move and carry their heads like hunters. Instead, we got a QH show association where, if you can hang on to the horn and stay upright, you can apparently win a class.
I'm talking, of course, about the National Foundation Quarter Horse Association. I like to rip on the NFQHA anyway, because when I think of "foundation" Quarter Horses, I think of 1300 lbs on eentsy little size 00 feet, thick short necks, and a crappy little knee popping trot stride. (See illustration, at left!)
No, I do not know what is going on with the sorrel mare's hocks, either. Suffice it to say we've taken "cowhocked" to a whole new level!
ONLY THE HORSE IS JUDGED - Our judges are instructed to judge only the horse, and not the handler, or rider.
NO SILVER - In the interest of equality for competitors, no silver plate is allowed.
WORKING WESTERN WEAR FOR EXHIBITORS - Exhibitors are encouraged to dress in plain, neat, western clothing suitable for working, or riding. Hats, boots, jeans, and long sleeve shirts are required. Sequins, glitter, and other "fancy" dress are to be avoided.
Well, hell, that just removes the only reason I EVER wanted to show in western pleasure...the clothes!
OK, none of this really bothers me although I am not sure how banded manes are a problem? But then again, it's good to know there is a show out there willing to welcome my mare whose mane grows on both sides. Oops, she's half Thoroughbred so she's not allowed...another hope dashed.
EXCESSIVELY SLOW GAITS TO BE PENALIZED - Horses are to be shown at natural gaits, suitable for a working horse. Excessively slow gaits, depression or dejected expression, and poll lower than withers, will disqualify the horse from the class.
Dear God, let's just encourage the color breeders even more! And WTF is the Bulldog standard? I guess we are back to muscles like Schwarzenegger and moves like a fat girl in a too tight skirt again...
SNAFFLE OR RAWHIDE BOSAL - Horses of any age may be ridden in a snaffle, or rawhide bosal. Some restrictions will apply as to when one or two hands can be used. (No twisted wire snaffles.)
NO WEANLING CONFORMATION, NO HORSEMANSHIP, NO ENGLISH EVENTS - In-hand trail classes will be offered for yearlings and two year olds. NFQHA encourages members to let their babies be babies to develop important social skills. We greatly discourage isolation and overfeeding of babies.
As for no horsemanship, well, I think we've already established the NFQHA is going its part not to discriminate against people whose riding sucks. In fact, you have thrown the doors open wide to those people...and that is fine with me...as that way they will not come out to try to buy any of my or my friends' horses. We prefer our horses not be traumatized by flapping, bouncing sacks of potatoes, if at all avoidable.
As for no English...what happened to you goal of promoting versatility? Maybe that should read "versatility as long as it does not involve doing somethin' hard like postin' or ridin' in one of them saddles that ain't got no horn to hang on to."