Video: AQHA Western Pleasure Judging


Learn what western pleasure judges are looking for and see some of the common faults of gait that you should avoid with your western pleasure horse.


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For more information
Western Perception
American Quarter Horse Association



  1. This video was very easy to understand, follow, and grasp exactly what the judges were saying. i mysef wish to one day be a accomplished judge, and this video gave mme some helpfu insight to judging in the future. Thankyou

  2. Excuse me. Do these judges even read? NATURAL GAITS Check out the descriptions contained in the rules for WP and you will find that these presentations violate the rules. Such violations inflict pain and distress upon the horses.

  3. Thank you for posting this video! I now better understand how I should be riding. With all of the not so pleasant stuff in the past of WP, I was a little confused about what they wanted to see now. Thanks!

  4. OMG, you’re still making your horses move like cripples. They’re TRANSPORTATION, not DECORATION. Learn from the TWHA and fix your obscene judging before someone fixes it for you!!!

  5. Well this is some peoples talent just like your talent and don’t think they just hopped on these horses and did this. At this level it probably took years to train these horses. These horses are amazing and they don’t take that for granted.

  6. Those horses look like they are limping when they perform those ‘gaits’. Extremely unattractive way to present a horse. They all look beaten down with no light in their eyes. But maybe that’s how those cowboys/girls like their horses?

  7. I coach youth judging teams, and I also ride western pleasure. This is such a great video to show in order to understand how to judge and how to show western pleasure. To everyone that feels the need to criticize the western pleasure horse, let me just say that every riding discipline has an ugly side – English, Dressage, Saddleseat and so on. It is the few in each discipline who choose to train or make their horse perform in such a terrible way that create a bad reputation for their riding discipline. Don’t make comments about a discipline you have not even tried riding or judging before you open your mouth to criticize it.

  8. Your negative comment shows your ignorance and lack of appreciation for horses and horse lovers. We are all one family no matter what style you ride!

  9. This is a great example of Western Pleasure! The jog is slow without being zombie-like. There is also a little bit of energy “bounce” at the jog. The lope actually looks like a slow canter, and not like the weird lope-trot things that are often seen in Western Pleasure. The horse’s heads are aligned with the withers and not sniffing the ground. These horses also don’t look dead, unlike many other Western Pleasure horses. AQHA Western Pleasure is making a great comeback!

  10. This is a great video. I love western pleasure, but it can be ugly sometimes. My horse has much more natural gaits than some wp horses. I hope that this comes back. When looking at the older clips shown in this video, it is much more pleasing to watch. The horse’s movements are more natural. Western Pleasure needs to go back to its roots.

  11. This is a very good video; most importantly it is coming from AQHA judges. However, I still do not understand why we go to the Western Pleasure videos and shows and are still consistently seeing horses barely walking, jogging with their noses sticking out and loping like they are crippled and going sidesway down the rail. The horses themselves have no roundness and above all, no expression. They look dull and lifeless. When is this all going to change back to wanting to see the horse at his true gates? I thought this video is saying just that? The “trainers” are not listening and the judges are still rewarding this ugliness.

  12. This is a good article BUT when one watches the present videos on Western Pleasure event at Congress or most high end shows the horses look terrible. The jog is too slow, their ears are to be level with their withers and they are far from it; at the lope their heads are not to bobble yet they must because they are moving at such an artificial gate. The gaits look ridiculous and far from natural movements. The rule book says what the gates should be like yet these same judges are picking horses that are traveling far from normal and natural gaits. About time they revert back to normal head position and leg movements. AQHA Western Pleasure is the laughing stock event!

  13. I love this video too and agree that that’s not what we always see in the show pen. However, if we all commit to training our horses to move properly we can set the trend. Horses deserve to move comfortably and with balance. I implore all WP riders to train for the horse’s sake and not for what will win them points on any particular day.


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