Judging Western Pleasure

horse judging

What the Judges Are Looking For

There are a lot of things that horse performance judges look for when judging a western pleasure competition. The aspect of Western pleasure that sets it apart from other equestrian competitions, there is no real winner. Riders are placed in an order of who performed the best to the worst, but the difference between first and second could be astronomical. How would you judge between a horse that doesn’t perform all three required gaits and one that tries to buck or run off with its rider? Which one should place over the other? It would be easier to judge a group of dressage performers than one without any real winner.

You will be judged on how true your horse’s gait is. Horse gaits are the various ways in which a horse can move, either naturally or as a result of specialized training by humans. To test your horse’s performance, ask yourself these questions when practicing. Is you horse exhibiting ‘lift’ in its shoulders? Is the performance consistent? Every stride that your horse takes should be the same as the one before and the one after. Does your horse have an easy, collected manner? Does the horse appear to present a pleasant picture? To present a good picture, your horse should have a consistent frame and natural head carriage.

Knowing the rules is important, but it isn’t enough to produce a win. One of the best things you can do it to remember to have fun. Do you want to become a Western pleasure judge? Go to a few practice shows, before trying to peruse a career. Offer to be a ring steward for an incumbent judge at a local open show. For more information on the nuances of Western Pleasure, read Colorado Western Pleasure. For help in finding Colorado horse property for sale, contact Colorado Horse Property and speak with a horse-person realtor today.

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