"What drew me to the western division is my love of riding collected horses. I like going slow. And the challenge. Western is so challenging! And I always thought the outfits and tack were so stunning. So as a teenager, I showed 4-H all in stock seat equitation with patterns (what is basically horsemanship), and I figured that one day I would ride a very fancy horse and get a top five at a regional. That was my goal.
The classes that are taking off in popularity are the ranch riding, horsemanship and showmanship, amongst others. Why? Because it doesn't take a pricey horse to win, and most people are on limited budgets these days. And the can often keep their horses at home and work with them themselves. Not that the pleasure riders can't do that, I coach one who does an amazing job herself from home. But it is less common, I think.
The biggest issue I see in the western division... none. I love the description of western pleasure that is in the rulebook. And I believe the horses that are winning are a fine example of the standard.
The market that the western divisions could capitalize on and develop is horses that have halter bloodlines getting a chance to compete in the western (and hunter) divisions. I think most can do it! I have had success with them and I will be training even more as we have many up-and-coming horses that look to be incredible."
Appeared in the July 2018 issue of Arabian Horse World - Western Division Profiles.