Friday, August 17, 2007

Welcome to the NFQHA - Riders not required!

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!)
For those of you who keep asking what "nest" is, it's when the neck runs into the chest with no definition between the two. Like you see right here on your left!

Most QH breeders realized these things were problems, and started crossing these horses on Thoroughbreds and taller, more elegant Quarter Horses to get today's modern and more athletic Quarter Horse.

This appalled some folks, who think it's just not a Quarter Horse if it doesn't look more musclebound that Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime and move like a fat girl wearing a too-tight miniskirt. So they up and started the NFQHA to "preserve" everything about Quarter Horses that most of the world was saying good riddance to. And I have to say, they have succeeded. Witness these lovely examples of "foundation" breeding.

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!
The palomino is a stallion. Are you scared? I am!
It doesn't stop there, though. Now they have their own horse shows. They have a page on their site talking about how their shows are "different." Well, that is one word for it.

ONLY THE HORSE IS JUDGED - Our judges are instructed to judge only the horse, and not the handler, or rider.

We don't need no stinkin' riding lessons!

NO SILVER - In the interest of equality for competitors, no silver plate is allowed.

OMG political correctness hits the show ring - fight silverism!

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!

NO BANDED MANES, NO HOOF POLISH, NO SHAVING OF EARS - To promote versatility, NFQHA expects the conformation horse to look like the performance horse, and vice versa. Also, NFQHA cannot condone practices which limit the horse's natural protection against dust and insects, such as shaving the inside of the ears, and nostrils. Horses are required to be shown with natural length tails. A bridle path the length of the ear is acceptable, as is clipping excessive facial hair, hair outside the ears, and excessive leg hair.

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.

I do agree with this. I wish this was the rule everywhere.

BREED AND COLOR CLASSES - New in 2006 are classes celebrating the various colors of the Foundation Quarter Horse and the Bulldog breed standard. The color classes for Duns/Grullos, Palominos, and Roans judge not only the color but also the horse's conformation. The Breed classes judge the Bulldog traits and working condition. Horses must also enter a performance 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.)

This only makes sense. If you are going to have a show ring full of people who cannot ride, you are less likely to have wrecks if you let them direct rein.

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.

Um, if you guys set the conformation standard and you don't want to place the overfed okapi types, why is it necessary to ban the showing of weanlings? It seems to me that you're missing your great opportunity here to give a championship trophy to someone's shaggy weanling with a bite mark on his ear from his buddy and make a point!

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 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."
Yes, come show with the NFQHA - the lazy man's horseshow association!