Push "Play." That's what AQHA judges want to see in a western pleasure horse at the 2013 Built Ford Tough AQHYA World Championship Show. "If you would put a DVD in a DVD player and push 'Play,' you would not watch it in slow motion or on fast forward," AQHA Executive Director of Judges Alex Ross told Nutrena Ride the Pattern Western Pleasure clinic attendees on August 3.
"You wouldn't hit 'Play,' then 'Pause,' then 'Play' again. You would watch it on 'Play.' With that analogy in mind, all AQHA and its judges wants is to see western pleasure horses to hit 'Play.' We don't want them on 'Fast Forward' or 'Slow Motion.' "
That analogy flowed right into Alex's discussion on what he will tell the judges when he preps them prior to the western pleasure finals on August 8.
"I will review with the judges the positive and negatives characteristics that they need to look for," Alex said. "We want to reward horses that demonstrate self-carriage and have the correct cadence at all three gaits. We want to reward the consistent performers that have expression, are quiet with their mouths, good with their ears, have a steady top line and that demonstrate some flow with that self carriage.
"The negative characteristics we'll be telling judges to be aware of are horses that lose their cadence at any of the three gaits, horses that are inconsistent in their performance – they're head-bobbing or over-canted."
Alex pointed out to exhibitors that the "horse they have is the horse they have; there's no changing that at this point. Show your horse to the best of your abilities. Show to win."
By Becky Newell of The American Quarter Horse Journal