TWH 123 Western Pleasure Classes

(UPWHA Lite Shod Western) The Western Pleasure horse works quietly exhibiting an exceptionally smooth, free and easy gait. The horse is ground covering, consistent and steady at all gaits. The horse exhibits a good attitude and is very calm, responsive and obedient to the rider. The Western Pleasure horse is not held in frame, but works quietly in a semi-collected frame that is slightly more collected that that of a Ranch horse. Possessing a lower head-set, the shoulder and neck are relaxed. The horse may possess shorter coupling with a muscular build and may have a shorter stride.

Performance and way of going of the Western Pleasure Horse

  • Western Pleasure horses are consistent in all gaits displaying timing, head nod, reach, stride and overstride appropriate to a Western style horse.
  • The horse exhibits true four beat, consistent walking gaits and a controlled three beat lope.
  • There is an observable difference in speed and stride between the flat walk and the running walk.
  • Western Pleasure horses are relaxed at all gaits. The gaits are free and easy.
  • Western Pleasure horses provide an exceptionally smooth ride without action or animation. All movement and energy is channeled into forward motion.
  • The horse exhibits reach and overstride but a balanced appearance is important.
  • The headset is relaxed and natural, between 45 to 90 degrees and not behind the vertical.
  • The frame is semi-collected
  • Western Pleasure horses are willingly guided or controlled with no apparent resistance on a reasonably loose rein (one that has visible slack or a shallow ‘U”) without undue restraint. The rein is used when necessary to direct the horse not to check it into frame or gait.
  • Western Pleasure horses exhibit true pleasure qualities.
  • Western Pleasure horses stand quietly in the lineup.
  • They back readily, straight and without resistance.
  • The judge may request the Western Pleasure horse to:
    • halt on the rail from any gait
    • extend the lope
    • <li hand gallop

    • demonstrate a 360 degree (neck rein) turn on the haunches in either direction The 360 degree turn is mandatory in Championship classes.
    • In the event that there are no Western Pleasure championship classes offered at a show, the 360 degree turn is mandatory in each Western Pleasure class.


  • A horse not demonstrating the described characteristics of an ideal Western Pleasure Horse will be severely penalized, and will not be placed above a horse that both exhibits the described characteristics and performs the correct gaits in the class.
  • Deviation from the correct walking gaits will be severely penalized.
  • Hitting the horse with the rein (if seen by the judge) will result in disqualification.
  • Cueing the horse in front of the cinch will be severely penalized.
  • Bumping, pumping or snatching of the reins (if seen by the judge) will be severely penalized.
  • Horses not holding a three beat lope will be severely penalized.
  • Horses traveling with an open mouth at any gait, or with evidence of tongue distress will be severely penalized.
  • Two hands on the reins (except with a snaffle bit on a junior horse) will be severely penalized.
  • Fingers between romal reins or more than one finger between split reins will be severely penalized.
  • Horses on the wrong lead will be penalized.
  • Horses that travel too fast at the lope will be penalized.
  • Horses that fail to stand quietly will be penalized.
  • Horses that fail to back willingly or show resistance while backing will be

Call of the Class for Western Pleasure Horses: enter at the flat walk.
Two gait classes: – flat walk, running walk, flat walk, reverse, flat walk, running walk, flat walk and proceed to the line up.
Three gait classes: flat walk, running walk, flat walk, lope, flat walk, reverse, flat walk, running walk, flat walk, lope, flat walk and proceed to the line up. If the hand gallop is requested it will be called after the lope and then followed by the lope. If requested a halt on the rail may be called from any gait. After the halt on the rail, the horse may be asked to reverse or to continue at the flat walk.

Western Pleasure classes are not defined by shoe size but by way of going. The lite shod shoe is the maximum shoe allowed but horses may compete with keg shoes or barefoot if the way of going is appropriate for the class.

Tack and Attire: Western Tack, Equipment and Attire are required for Western Pleasure classes. For complete description refer to 645 Western Tack, Equipment and Attire and 608 Prohibited Tack, Equipment and Attire. Refer to 609, 610, 611, 612, 614 and 615 for Allowable bits.

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