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☛ ”Pleasure” horses at the Congress??? 10-21-15



By Glory Ann Kurtz
October 21, 2015


With the All-American Quarter Horse Congress, America’s largest Quarter Horse Show, being held Oct. 1-25 in Columbus, Ohio, some of the industry’s best Quarter Horses are “showing their stuff” in the arena.


However, there has been a national outrage over the way the AQHA Pleasure horse is moving! Not that this is anything new, as even though the rules have changed, many members are saying that today’s Pleasure horses are traveling in the most unnatural way possible – and the judges are allowing it and placing them, even though the AQHA Handbook instructs them to not place horses that travel in an unnatural position.


A video posted on Facebook shows how the Pleasure horses looked during a class at this year’s Congress, and even though the AQHA membership is just under 185,000 (according to the Statement of Ownership published in the October issue of “America’s Horse,” which is mailed to every AQHA member), the video had over 1 million views, with many commenting with disgust. There were mentions that no owners or kids in the classes could possibly train their own horses to do this horrible gate, which is unnatural for the horse. They felt that trainers had to be responsible for this new trend. One of the comments was, “It’s pretty sad when my lesson parents see this crippled up movement with noses on the ground and ask me what’s wrong with that horse! Even they, knowing nothing about horses see that it’s ridiculous, ugly and wrong. WP has become the laughing stock of the rest of the horse world and what is even sader is that there is a whole generation of young riders who were taught that this is what you do with a horse!” Click on following link and scroll down.

Click for video of Pleasure horses at the Congress>>

Click to go directly to horses rather than website>>


Also posted on Facebook was a video of “Pleasure horses” in the practice pen prior to their exhibition of their Quarter Horses. Many comments called them disgusting to say the least. There was mention that the “Pleasure” horse surely didn’t think it was a “pleasure” when they were being trained. But you can check it out for yourself and see what you think.


There were a lot of comments; however, this one took my eye: “The Buck starts with the Trainers and Exhibitors and the Buck stops with the Judges and AQHA. Until the Buck stops being passed, it will not change! How very sad for the integrity and welfare of the American Quarter Horse, that AQHA “claims” to protect. Click on following link and scroll down.

Click for Pleasure horses in the practice pen>>


Also on the site:, is a video put out by the AQHA on the ideal Pleasure Horse.  It’s not surprising that this video does not resemble the horses shown at this year’s All-American Quarter Horse Congress. Click on following link and scroll down.

Click for AQHA Pleasure video>> 

From many of the comments on the website, it is obvious that several of the members have contacted the AQHA, with one response being, “I have been in contact with AQHA leadership, who assured me that they were aware of our concerns and are not ignoring the issue. In fact, they have already considered a lot of our input on the matter and will begin a process of actively involving the membership in conversations about these concerns. Another said, “All it would take is a few top judges to DQ the whole and every pleasure class at a noted show. The judges say they don’t like what they see. The judge has the power of the pen! Step up judges and use your power………. DQ. What is not right, correct, and seen as abuse by many!”


Another said, “It’s not only WP, look at HUS!! Back in the early 80’s my 15.3 Red Dun was hard to beat in any English discipline! Until they wanted the heads between the legs! I miss the older version of the true Versatile QH.”


One responder who called the AQHA said they were told, “they were looking into it.” One Executive Committee member said that it needed to be brought up at next year’s AQHA Convention, but with membership falling daily, that could be too late. Another member said she was told they were even thinking of eliminating the Western Pleasure class altogether.


Also, more than likely as a result of all of the malcontent of members regarding the Western Pleasure horse, one member said she sold some beautiful, well-trained Western Pleasure horses at this year’s Congress Sale and only got $2,500 for one and $3,500 for another. She said these were horses that a few years ago would have brought $25,000 or more.


Following is a letter from Carol Harris to Craig Huffines, the Executive Vice President of the AQHA, regarding today’s Pleasure horse and their exhibition in the above video taken at this year’s All-American Quarter Horse Congress.

Click for letter from Carol Harris to AQHA>>

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  1. Scuse me but this debate has been going on for YEARS. Pleasure and related desciplines are atrocious. I am so sick and disgusted with the performance horse world. None of these classes have anything to do with the horse, what they are, what they are bred to represent. It is absolutely disgusting. Is up there with the poor walking horses. NOTHING short of anise and nothing,, no one is doing anything about it, obviously, to me, the governing associations should stop this evil but judges, trainers, owners are just as culpable. Since those involved, above, won’t stop this disgusting abuse then unfortunately, others should. IE: Humane Associations, and as much as I hate to say it, the government and even PETA. What is happening to our society that winning is all that matters at the expense of living creatures? Most sad it that if people, judges, etc. Would judge horses, ALL performance horses, on their natural, God given talents, abilities the results would be valid. The same. It would just that a human being wouldn’t be creating this fake, unnatural awful aberration. None of these beautiful creatures are winning on their own volition. Only what some sicko trainer, judge, owner wants. I personally have quit showing, will never let anyone in my family,show, am resigning from all associations, will NEVER attend nor support anything in the performance industry. Tired of all the talk. NO ONE with any influence in the horse industry has the fortitude to stop this, YES, abuse.

  2. We had a heyday on I Oppose Horse Slaughter in the USA with those videos. Over 100 comments decrying AQHA. Pathetic.

  3. i have allowed my AQHA membership to lapse. I will not renew until real changes are made which benefit the horse.

  4. Absolutely disgusting what these people do to those poor horses?.
    The AAHA are just as bad as the FEI in English riding. Fully ignorant and completely unconcerned for animal welfare.
    Anyone competing, riding, training or allowing to be competed on, trained or allowing, horse to be treated this way is no more than criminal.
    I understand that horses are also bled in the early hours before a competition so they are so weak they can’t do anything but act like

  5. I find it unwatchable and have for years…seems like the peanut rolling headset and indistinguishable gaits were to be changed MANY years ago…looks same if not worse.
    What a shame as well as methods to force these unnatural movements on any horse. I recall talk of change when I was 40 and now, 25 years later, status quo.

  6. It is time to go forward by going back where the horse is fully utilized in the ability to move naturally with a level topline and a minimum of support. That said, the riders of these horses must be willing to put in the time to learn HOW to ride, not just show up and sit like a stick on them.

    Also, allow the trainers to make a living training these horses in this style.

  7. Amen, we were totally outraged while watching the Congress video. As long time owners and breeders, over 40 years of raising these versatile, beautiful AQHA horses, lets hope the trainers, judges, and AQHA gets their thinking caps on before they completely ruin the reputation of AQHA industry for us all. Thanks, for posting . Sincerely, Prairie Breeze QH, Fairfield, MT.

  8. It is my humble, personal opinion that what is going on in WP is pure animal abuse. If AQHA allows it, then they are a partner to it. The judges must step up.

    More AQHA show folks should move towards the Foundation shows where horses are still Quarter Horses. When ready, that’s where mine are going.

    Kindest regards,

    Mary E. Keeler

  9. Do you have a video of these horses loping?
    Ann Hurst

  10. Watched the video. That is obscene.
    Bill Snider

  11. You Brera such good horses in the US – and Theo the Trainers destoying their movement like this. It is so terrible to watch !
    Petra RL

  12. Thank you for saying this! I have been saying this for a long time!
    Nancy Buzzinotti Teer

  13. Trolloping along we go….bobbing my head to the music. The glittery person on my back kinda bounces a lot cos I throw my head down to help myself thrust forward…. we don’t go anywhere much but it’s a pleasure…..:-(
    Karen Rogers Smillie

  14. I have commented in several places that I am disgusted, on average, by these videos. Thank you for bringing this front and center. Every discipline has issues, but this is a travesty. What is the purpose of the “western pleasure” class? I believe that is where we all need to take a big step back and reflect.
    Nena Winand

  15. I have posted twice on the All American Quarter Horse Congress page asking for a response to Mr. Stewart and Mrs. Susan Chrysler’s videos. Both were deleted, How come with over 1.5 million views mainstream media is ignoring?

  16. any abusive riding and training practice in any discipline needs to be pointed out. What also should be looked at how the horses hold up physically over time… vet tech mentioned in one FB thread that they keep seeing 6 – 7 year old WP horses line up at the clinic she works at for diagnostics due to front leg/hoof issues. The way they are trained and ridden is clearly NOT in their best interest!

  17. It’s very simple. Get a group of horse crazy youngsters together, and let them watch the video. If they are appalled (as most of us are!), THERE IS A PROBLEM.

    The top level of any discipline should inspire the next generation. Watching Blue Hors Matinee in Freestyle renewed my resolution to get to the barn more often. Going to the World Equestrian Games was inspiring and made me long to spend more time with my horse.

    Wathing those videos made me cry. And not in a good way.

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