Your model Horse shown
in Western pleasure class

A successful Western Pleasure model horse must appear relaxed with a head carried lower than it would be naturally carried out of the arena.

The horse should be moving in a walk, jog or canter. A horse shown turning at a canter is not usable.

If you're making tack for this class, take a look at our pinterest board.


What is it?

 In this class, the horse is being judged. The horse  should appear to be a pleasure to ride.

  Horses are shown at a walk, jog, and lope, in both directions.

What should the horse look like?

Pleasure horses are usually Quarter Horses, Paints, and Appaloosas. Their manes are pulled short and even. Their tails are long and loose.
Impress Me Shanon is a good model to show in Western Pleasure.

What tack do I need?

A pleasure horse wears a western saddle and bridle. The saddle has one cinch and is usually covered in big silver plates. The saddle blanket generally matches the rider's shirt.

Tack that is covered in silver and crystals is very common, but does not help the rider earn any points. Good, clean working tack is allowed, and will work just as well.



Horses 5 years old and younger may be shown in a curb bit, hackamore or snaffle bit. Horses 6 years and older must wear a curb bit.


What does the rider wear?

 Pleasure riders wear Western hats, colorful Western shirts covered in crystals or glitter, belts with large buckles, and Western boots. The clothing does not help the rider earn any points however.

Hints for Western Pleasure

What should the model horse be doing?

The horse can be walking, jogging or loping in either direction. Excessive speed at any gait will be penalized (no Secretariat models in this class). Horses will not be asked to reverse at a lope.

The horse must be on the correct lead.

The horse's head should be carried about horizontal with the withers at a natural angle.

This is Western Pleasure. A horse that rears, bucks, or throws its head is not a pleasure to ride (No Fighting Stallions).

What should the rider be doing?

The rider should be sitting straight, looking ahead, and smiling. Her heels should be down with her knees slightly bent.

The rider maintains light contact with the horse's mouth (long, loose reins).

The rider may not touch the horse or saddle with their free hand (lay her free hand on her thigh) or spur the horse in front of the cinch.

Extra Details

  • Know which type of reins should be used in the class, either split or romal. Make sure your rider is holding them in her hand correctly.
  • The rider's number should be on the saddle blanket or her back.
  • The rider must sit in the saddle.
  • The reins shouldn't be so tight that it looks like the rider is fighting the horse. The reins shouldn't be so loose that they look droopy.

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