In this event, all competitors proceed around the arena at the direction of the judge and are judged on how well the horse has been trained for enjoying western riding.
Basically, the one best able to give the judge the impression that your horse is obedient, heeding your commands without resistance, and seems very easy to ride will receive the highest score. If the horse carries his head in a western obedient manner, that is, parallel to the ground that is a good position.
It would be great if every horse was that easy to handle, but the reality is not that kind. Therefore, the rider must posses the proper techniques to control the horse to make it appear they are doing very little. Calming an exited horse without the judge noticing, or controlling a resistant horses in manner to make it seem effortless for example.
Now, horses are a herd animal, so they naturally will fallow the horse in front of them. However, in western pleasure the judge is looking to see how well your horse obeys your commands and not following other horses. But, of course, the horses will follow one another, so as you are riding along and another comes near, it takes a lot of self control to make your self seem calm and collected. Gaining a good position is very important to try and stay apart from the other horses.
This event may seem unexciting to the casual observer, but under those calm cowboy faces, a heated battle is being raged.
All competitors mount, and walk along the fence of the arena at the direction of the judge, as they call out the movements such as;
- "Walk, please."
- "Jog, please."
- "Lope, please."
- "Reverse, please."
- "Stop, please."
- "Line up, please."
In conclusion, the competitors form a line, perform backing-up, and are finished.
You need not execute the command as soon as it is given, but perform it in accordance with your horses' pace. Thus making it seem natural, which is what is being looked for in this competition. Unlike the British, you are not required to stay in a line, and may overtake a rider in front of you if you want, but you may interfere with them, by say, moving directly in front of them for example.
There is no Green/Rookie class in western pleasure.
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