The Arabian English Performance Association English Pleasure Manifesto
|The system of judging English Performance horses described in this manuscript is designed to produce, in any given competition, a predictable and accountable outcome.The purpose of this manifesto is two-fold. The first objective is to establish a verbal description of the ideal English Pleasure horse, in order to set the standard that all entrants are to be judged against. The second objective is to provide definitions for all of the segments of the scorecard so that each individual will utilize the same frame of reference during the scoring process.
The nature of any competitive sport is that the winner must do more, or better than the competition, in order to win. The history of the English Pleasure division has been one of constant change, with the standard being set by outstanding individuals that have become National Champions. As history has shown, the first improvements that led to victory were head and neck carriage changes. Those horses that developed relatively more upright necks with the plane of the forehead being more or less vertical evolved to be the winners. The differentiation between first and second places was the grace and ease that each horse displayed while wearing the bridle in this manner. The winner was lighter in the bridle and brighter. The class was simply a saddle seat class that was defined by manners and presentation.
Within a few years, more than just one or two horses started carrying and maintaining the higher frame and motion started to become a factor. As well, the style of that motion became important and controversial. The flatter, stiffer, foot flinging motion that was defined as “Arabian” style gave way to rounder, more graceful motion.
Presently, the class has evolved to the point that, while the frame and style are very important, the elite of the English Pleasure competitors are producing even more motion, sometimes at the expense of lightness in the bridle, exquisite timing and finesse. More importantly, the elite are setting a standard that has become difficult, if not impossible, for lesser gifted horses to emulate without falling apart and abandoning the signature criteria that defines English Pleasure and separates the class from Park.
Hence, the introduction of this specific scoring system for this Arabian English Pleasure Futurity class. Instead of possibly penalizing a great horse for having extravagant motion, this system should aid the decision making process by challenging the judge to notice all of the other facets of the performance that are correct as well. Additionally, the pressure on the trainer/riders to produce huge motion with those horses that are not as gifted, in order to appear “competitive” should be reduced. The fact that the scoring system accounts for cadence, delivery, responsiveness, expression, manners, quality and Arabian English type, should give trainers and riders the courage to display elegance rather than “hustle” and know that they will be rewarded for it.
The format for this system of judging an Arabian English Pleasure Horse is unique, as is the performance class that it is intended for. Within the entire concept, including the design of the elimination round, the final class, and the weighting the categories, the premise is that the actual talent and potential of the horse is being judged, and not the training they received. This is not a “training” class. It is a futurity to reward the breeding and athletic ability of fine horses suitable for this division. It is conceivable, however, that this structure of presentation and scoring system will impact the training for this division as the future unfolds.
The elements to be scored are grouped into 4 main categories. They are Movement, Carriage, Mental Aptitude, and Quality. As you look at the scorecard, you will see, at the top, the Judging Scale for the numerical values. Next you will see the Movement and Carriage categories further segmented into scoring boxes for front movement, hind movement, cadence/overall delivery (under movement), and head and neck, and body (under carriage). Directly underneath are 5 segments that, for descriptive purposes, are grouped differently. The first 3 segments of, Responsiveness, Expression, and Manners should be grouped together under the category of “Mental Aptitude”, as they all are directly related to the mentality and emotional nature of the horse. The next 2 segments of Quality, and Arabian English Type, are simply grouped together as “Quality”. The highest possible scores in each category are as follows:
Movement and Carriage are the strongest, most defining elements of an English Pleasure horse and thus are weighted more heavily than the other categories. The motion is what separates the English horse from western or hunter in the distinct style of movement that is ideal for a saddle seat mount. Carriage describes the frame of the horse, and how well they “carry” it. There are different frame styles that are ideal for different riding disciplines, western, hunt, etc. Carriage creates the first impression and may be the most telling element about the discipline being ridden.
Attitude could also be called Mental Aptitude. While a horse may have physical traits that make them appear as though they could be good English horses, it is their mental aptitude that can make them willing, confident partners that are able to reach their physical potential, or, under achievers that never measure up to what their physical abilities would indicate. A horse with a good mental aptitude will be able to stay relaxed, learn at a good rate, retain lessons, and exhibit what they know (not less) and do it generously.
Quality is a separating element. All things being equal, we would all rather ride the beautiful one. This is the Arabian English Futurity, and we want the horses to reflect that.
As a foreword to the actual Standard, it must be noted that the description that follows is written for the mature English Pleasure competitor, as the ideal example of the discipline. The Arabian English Pleasure Futurity is for horses that are four years old, and as such, they are not expected to achieve this standard. This is, however, the standard that all entrants in this class will be compared to for scoring purposes
The Arabian English Pleasure Standard
|The ideal English Pleasure horse competes under a saddle seat style and carries himself in an uphill manner with a high degree of collection and elevation throughout the walk, trot and the canter.At the walk, the horse should demonstrate his ability to achieve the four beat gait while striding to the bridle with deliberate confidence and acceptance. His neck should be upright, with the base well raised, flowing vertically upward into a softly folded poll. This neck carriage enables the horse to carry his head in a comfortable, yet near vertical position. He should be attentive in the bridle with his ears pricked forward in interest, his mouth quiet, and his neck and body remaining supple while he continues to walk, and listen, for his next cue from the rider.
His transition to the trot should be one of deliberate engagement of the hindquarters from a subtle cue from the rider. Rounding his back as he pushes off with his hind leg, he should stride under himself while fluidly lifting his shoulders and forearm, and addressing the bridle with ease and poise.
The trot should be a flawlessly timed and cadenced two beat gait, exhibiting uphill body carriage with his hindquarters being lower than his withers. His head and neck carriage should be high with his tall, graceful, neck held vertically, and his poll well flexed and soft. He should look through the bridle excitedly with bright eyes, his ears held perfectly forward, and his tail slightly elevated with excitement, creating a brilliant expression. His motion should be powerful yet loose jointed in front, with his forearm raised high at the knee as he gracefully completes his stride with beautiful, round, rolling motion, exhibiting full use of his shoulders. His hindquarters should be dropped through engagement and his hind leg motion should show good flexion of all joints as he pushes off with authority. At the end of his stride, he should return the hind leg well underneath himself by deeply flexing both the hock and stifle joints producing a crisp return, with the rear cannon well raised, as the horse reaches to purchase the ground. The trot is a ground covering gait, however, speed and motion created at the expense of balance, impacting the responsiveness and the desirable fluid and graceful delivery, should be penalized in the appropriate scoring segments. The canter is a three beat gait and should be delivered in the same uphill frame as the trot. The horse should canter with an elastic, supple delivery showing engagement of the hindquarters, a rounded back, and loose shoulders with the forearm raising moderately high before reaching and completing the round stride with a soft foot fall. He should have a bright expressive look as he moves flawlessly to the bridle with graceful, upright carriage through the neck and poll. Again, the canter is a ground covering gait, however, excessive speed causing the appearance of a loss of rate, finesse, and self carriage should be penalized in the Responsiveness and Delivery segments.
During the entire performance, the goal of this horse and rider is to capture the essence of the English Pleasure division. The horse that performs with fluid power, ultimate balance, and moves to the bridle with grace and poise, all with subtle cues from the rider, portrays the essence of this division. This horse, being in a state of total commitment to the rider, will exhibit the suppleness, mobility, and lightness in the bridle that is characterized by self carriage. This perfection of carriage enables him to take any corner, go up the middle, and command the arena while remaining in balance, with each step in perfect cadence. His transitions will be smooth, with his hindquarters deeply engaged, providing the platform for the balance that enables him to either speed up or slow down at will, all while effortlessly lifting his shoulders to maintain perfect balance and connection within his frame. The effect of this kind of balance creates a lofty and “soft” footfall in both the trot and the canter that is never stiffened by being hurried, rushed, or miss-timed.
Descriptions and Definitions – Movement
|Movement has been split into 3 subcategories, which are: Front Leg Movement, Hind Leg Movement, and Cadence & Overall Delivery.|
Descriptions and Definitions – Front Leg Movement at the Trot
|The ideal front leg movement for the English Pleasure horse is such that the forearm rises high in the air, with the knee being at least as high as the elbow, at the peak of the stride. The horse producing this motion should have an expanded range of motion in the shoulder producing an open stride capable of covering more ground without laboring to do so. This horse will show good flexion of all joints in the leg, forming a fluid “curl” from his hoof, pastern, ankle, and cannon bone into the upraised knee, at the peak of his stride. (During the extension phase, the forelimb should not be so extended as to cause the hoof to appear to come to the end of the leg and flip the toe forward.) As this horse strikes the ground with his front leg, the pastern should be long and sloped enough to provide extra flexion, and leverage during the loading phase in order to impact the release during the forward phase of the stride with extra energy. This “energized” release aids the shoulder in the mechanics of raising the knee and helps to create the “bounce” and “loft” that gives the entire range of motion the appearance of being soft and light.The following descriptions are written as guidelines for scoring purposes.
Examples of poor motion that warrants a score of 1-3 would be, limping with a head nod, little or no knee (knee 3 to 4 inches below the elbow), exaggerated extension with little knee height, consistent failure to follow through and complete the stride with one leg high and one leg low (loss of symmetry and cadence).
Examples of a medium score of 4-6 could be below level motion with some unevenness, below level (knee 2 to 3 inches below the elbow) and even motion, and level motion with some unevenness or a loss of range of motion (trappy).
The score of a 7 or 8 would require motion that is at least level and perfectly even with a good range of motion.
The gifted horse, which moves well above level, with excellent range of motion, would receive a 9 or a 10.
All horses differ in their ability to do the same things, and performance at the trot is no exception. Some will trot higher, some lower. Some will trot with more extension; some will trot more under themselves. What we want to see and reward with a high score is high, round, fluid and balanced motion that appears soft and with some bounce. Exaggerated motion will come with a penalty, most likely with a low score in cadence/overall delivery in the form of laborious, stressed, or frantic motion.
Descriptions and Definitions – Hind Leg Movement at the Trot
|The hind leg and hindquarters are the propulsive “unit” of the horse, and as such, propel the horse over the ground. How the horse does this is to reach up and forward with one hind leg as the other drives into the ground, both lifting the horse up and propelling it forward, all the while supporting the weight of the horse. The quality of the gait is determined, largely, by the rounding of the back and by the “tuck” of the croup, or the “engagement” of the entire hindquarter, which augments the hind leg’s ability to produce lift and reach. This kind of motion is called progressively forward hind leg motion. It is the opposite of a horse that pushes hard with his hind leg excessively behind him, and, on the return, fails to land the leg well underneath his body. In this example, the results are a hollowing of the back, and no engagement of the hindquarters (croup “tuck”) both of which prevent self-carriage. Or, in another example, the horse that picks his hind foot up before it has actually pushed the horse forward, jerks the hock up excessively high and returns the foot not far from where he lifted it. In this scenario, the horse merely moved his hind leg up and down (possibly with impressive hock action) but with little reach in the stride producing unimpressive forward motion. In both cases, the hindquarters were never engaged.It is important to understand that hindquarter engagement comes from a different group of muscles than the propulsive group of muscles that propel the horse forward. The group of muscles that are responsible for engagement underlie the pelvis and, when contracted, cause the lumbosacral joint to flex. This tips the entire pelvis down, like a Reiner during a slide. Hock motion is not responsible for engagement, but aids the maintenance of it when the proper muscles have come into play to “tuck” the croup down. The dynamics of great looking and efficient hind leg motion are correct hind leg conformation, engagement, and energy sufficient to produce a spring like motion where the hock flex is maximized as the hind leg strides under and the hoof grabs at the dirt.
The following descriptions are written as guidelines for scoring purposes.
Examples of poor hind leg motion warranting a score of 1-3 would be weak motion where the hind leg doesn’t have much flex and the hooves appear to drag. As well, motion that is uneven, and out of time and cadence would merit a low score.
Hind leg motion that would be scored a 4-6 could be symmetrical motion that trails out behind. An opposite example would be symmetrical movement with some engagement, but with a shorter stride than possible, lacking a crisp and clean look.
A score of 7-8 would demand that the hindquarters be engaged with the hind leg underneath the horse developing strong push off, with good flexion and excellent cadence. The overall look of the hind leg should be “clean” or “crisp” and well timed.
The exceptional score of 9-10 would be reserved for the horse that exhibits a well engaged hindquarter, with hind legs that deliver strong, perfectly timed strides. The stride will be elastic in nature with great flexion of all joints. The return of the stride will be the decision maker for this score. The hind leg, on it’s return, will exhibit deliberate, extremely flexed hock motion, causing the rear cannon to reach high as it moves forward, with the fetlock flexed, and the hoof held as if to “cup” or grab the dirt in order to maximize the impending push off that will thrust the horse up and forward.
Descriptions and Definitions – Cadence – Overall Delivery at the Trot
|The third section under the category of Movement is Cadence and Overall delivery. The front leg and hind leg are already judged separately in their own categories. This category judges how well the front and hind limbs are “connected”, if they are working in perfect unison, and how the motion that is achieved is dynamically presented.The trot is a two beat gait, and as such, the front and rear diagonal legs move in unison. They should lift and land at exactly the same moment. Cadence is the timing of the strides.
Examples of a horse miss-timing his strides, or, being un-cadenced, are: Of the diagonal pairs, the front limbs are always slightly quicker than the rear limbs, or, a particular limb may always or inconsistently move with an inhibited range of motion causing a short stridedness that may be consistent or inconsistent. In extreme examples, there may not be two connected strides in unison during the time the horse is being presented at the trot.
Overall delivery is very different, and is considered at the trot and canter, and in specific ways, speaks towards the “essence” of what the English Pleasure division is all about. How the movement is delivered is as important as what the movement is. At the trot, two horses could receive the same scores for the movement of the front and hind legs, but receive very different scores for the delivery. While the determination of cadence is a relatively objective decision, determining overall delivery is more subjective. Understanding the term, “delivery” is critical in assessing the English Pleasure performance.
Overall delivery describes how the horse is mentally and physically organized to produce the motion that occurs during his performance. Examples of types of delivery are: A “trappy” or “choppy” delivery would be quick footed motion with the horse using his knees but moving underneath himself with little shoulder extension and with the rear end being equally quick, moving up and down, with little or no reach. This example includes the catch phrases of “going to their elbows”, or being a “ground pounder”. Beyond conformational inadequacies, this type of motion can be associated with tension within the horse causing the appearance to lack fluidity and grace. It can also be the sign of a weak horse that doesn’t have the strength or ability to achieve any extension.
The opposite example is the horse that moves stiffly, over extending in front, with little or no fold to the knee. Frequently, this type of horse will “flip his toes”. The rear end on this type of horse is frequently just as stiff. This horse could be too tense and stiff and traveling too fast for his frame, or simply lethargic and unwilling to go forward. These two examples (again, ignoring conformational inadequacies) characterize extremes, not just in motion, but also in mentalities, and the ability to stay soft, light, and connected in the bridle, as well.
A stressed delivery will be characterized by movements that are too rapid, tight, and possibly uneven, and a rigid neck and poll. As well, the horse may exhibit an un-natural amount of thin sweat, indicating mental as well as physical stress. A slow and sluggish delivery giving the appearance that the horse is having a hard time picking up his feet could be called labored or simply dull, and lifeless. Delivery will be influenced by the physical, mental, and conformational tendencies of each horse.
The following descriptions are written as guidelines for scoring purposes.
From the judges perspective, in determining what kind of cadence/overall delivery a horse has, descriptive words and phrases may come to mind such as, “weak, uneven, out of time and cadence, stressed, tense, tight, stiff, frantic, lethargic, not going forward, traveling too fast and unrated, and labored. These words and phrases would be associated with the bottom scores of 1-3.
Middle scores of 4-6 would include terms such as “some life and flow, unstressed but lacks any flair, intermittently cadenced, mostly cadenced, cadenced but not especially fluid or strong, cadenced but inconsistent with commitment to go forward, cadenced but flat, etc.
The above average scores of 7-8 would include the words, or words similar to, “precisely cadenced, strong and fluid”, or “well rated, cadenced, balanced, exhibits strength with ease.”
For the outstanding horse that deserves the scores of 9-10 on cadence/overall delivery, the descriptive words and phrases such as, “strong and powerful, strength and beauty, grace and ease, loose jointed, fluid movement, lofty, oily, and extravagant” should in some way all come into play.
Descriptions and Definitions – Cadence – Overall Delivery at the Canter
|Cadence and overall delivery at the canter is very much the same as at the trot with the exception that the canter is a 3 beat gait and the precision of a two beat gait isn’t exhibited. The word cadence could be replaced with the words rhythm and tempo, but the aspects of delivery are exactly the same as at the trot.The canter should appear ground covering but graceful and completely balanced and rated. This appearance can be compromised by a horse traveling too fast, having an inconsistent rhythm, being too tense and quick, or excessive slowness with a look of lethargy, or, simply not going forward to the bridle. The phrases and scoring notes in the above Cadence/Overall Delivery at the Trot section are all applicable.|
|The carriage of the English horse has been separated into 2 main categories, Head and Neck Carriage, and Body Carriage.|
Head and Neck Carriage
|Head and neck carriage define the elevation of the English Pleasure frame, and, largely, the overall quality of the English Pleasure performance. The ideal structure of the neck for an English Pleasure horse is a long, upright, high set neck, giving the neck the appearance of rising vertically out of the withers and shoulders. The musculature should be slender, yet adequately developed with a soft, supple appearance and physical tonus. The throatlatch should be thin, with a length of poll adequate to enable the head to easily be carried in a near vertical manner when the neck is in the most vertical position.All horses have differently shaped necks; necks that are relatively short or long, necks that join the shoulders higher or lower, necks that join shoulders that are relatively steep or laid back, and necks that have a longer or shorter throw to the poll. What follows below are examples of neck structures and the resulting carriage that is exhibited by the horse that should serve as a guideline for scoring purposes.
The most undesirable structure for an English Pleasure horse is a low set, short neck. This horse will not be able to achieve any elevation without being forced and giving the appearance of stiffness. This horse cannot achieve self carriage in the frame required for English competition. Numerical values of 1-3 are appropriate for this type of conformation and carriage.
An improvement on the aforementioned horse would be a horse with a relatively short, but high set neck, or a horse with a relatively long, but low set neck. The horse with the short, high set neck could achieve some elevation, but could lack the length through the poll to adequately enable the horse enough comfort in the bridle to be fluid and graceful in his performance. This horse can never have the stature or scope of the model English Pleasure horse.
The horse with the longer, but lower set neck will have a better chance to achieve fluidity and grace, but may not be able to achieve enough elevation with his frame to truly travel uphill. These types of conformation and carriage represent the middle group of numerical values, scores 4-6.
The scores of 7-8 are applicable for the horse with medium long, to long, high set neck that folds easily at the poll and is carried mostly vertically during the class. The upright carriage exhibited should appear graceful and easy with very few instances during the class that the horse fails to address the bridle perfectly. The highest score numerical values for head and neck carriage should be reserved for the horse that has a long, tall, and shapely neck, and carries it that way through his entire performance. With varying degrees, this structure is essential for any horse to be truly representative of a “model” English Pleasure horse.
In this specific instance, “long”, denotes the overall length proportionate to the body of the horse. Tall denotes the relative upright or vertical nature of the neck. Shapely is the only subjective word in the phrase and it refers to the gentle S shaped curvature of the vertebrae of the well- conformed neck, as it appears to rise vertically out of the well laid back shoulder. This example is comprised of: The first third of the length attributable to the “root” of the neck as it comes out of a well laid back shoulder. The other 2/3 should immediately rise vertically, without a pronounced “lower bulge” to the underside of the neck, and flow with a gentle curve forming the Poll, to the attachment to the head. The conformation of this type of neck makes it easier and more comfortable for the horse to achieve the balanced elevation and frame in the bridle necessary for true uphill travel. This horse will have a statuesque, more elegant appearance, and in the extreme examples will be so well made and supple that in the most upright and vertical position, the horse’s head would appear to be carried directly over the withers and shoulders. A horse with this exemplary conformation combined with perfect carriage throughout the class would merit a 10.
|The ideal body carriage for an English Pleasure horse is such that the horse has engaged the rear end enough to lower it and move it forward under the body. This movement will demand that the horse transfers more weight into the rear end and raise, or lighten, the front end. The horse’s back, when the horse is engaged in this manner, should round upward, and never hollow downward. A horse assuming this body posture will have the appearance of moving uphill. A horse, having self-carriage in this “frame” is the epitome of what English carriage is about. As with head and neck carriage, self carriage through the body is a training process. However, the horse with the “physical aptitude”, or functional conformation for this frame, will do it better, easier, and longer. Naturally, this horse will be more enjoyable to ride, more enjoyable to watch, and will stay sounder for more performances.The Body carriage segment of the scorecard takes into account concepts such as: The over all silhouette of the horse relative to downhill travel, horizontal travel, or uphill travel. The quality of the carriage within each way of travel is covered under the cadence / overall delivery segment.
The following descriptions are written as a guideline for scoring purposes.
Down hill carriage is more accurately stated as travel on the forehand. (As in more weight on the forehand) In an extreme example this horse might appear to have his shoulders lower than his hips. This happens when, during movement, a horse’s hocks are out behind him and his back is dropped, and also through poor conformation. A horse in this posture has to travel “heavy” on the forehand because his hind leg is simply propelling him across the ground without reaching far enough under him to carry much of the weight. Until he rounds his back and steps under himself, this out of balance carriage will continue. There is no real “quality” to this carriage because the horse will be relatively dull and un-responsive to any request by the rider, and the horse will not exhibit any fluid bounce or loft to his stride. The horse’s transitions and his ability to maneuver will be impaired, precluding him from having any real command of the arena. The lower numerical values of 1-3 are appropriate scores for this type of carriage.
Horizontal carriage, or even balanced carriage occurs when a horse is neither traveling uphill or downhill. His back would appear to be level with the ground. This posture demonstrates that the horse has enough collection and engagement through rounding his back and reaching with his hindquarters to achieve a compliant carriage, and the ability to possibly maintain balance within his frame and exhibit some self carriage. This may enable him to demonstrate some finesse and suppleness to his movements through the gaits. Scores of 4-6 are appropriate for this segment of carriage.
Uphill carriage, or, travel using a deeply engaged hind leg along with a relatively rounded back is a foundational attribute for the ideal English performance horse. In this form of carriage, the angulations of the lumbosacral joint, the hip, the stifles and the hocks are significantly increased. The deeply set hindquarter supports a higher proportion of weight enabling the forehand to lighten. A horse working in this manner, in balance, listening to and honoring the bridle, will exhibit a truly elevated overall frame, including the head and neck. The motion produced, and rewarded by score, will be lofty, slower cadenced, and as true to the potential of the horse as possible. This uphill balance enables a horse to work in the supple, mobile, soft and confident manner characteristic of self-carriage. Further, a horse in self-carriage has the ability to be truly expressive, capable of delivering an exhilarating performance. For the horse that exhibits with a hindquarter accepting more weight and lifting his shoulders (an uphill traveler), scores of 7-8 are appropriate. For the horse that exhibits an “airy” or “lofty” front end with a lower and engaged hindquarter, with self carriage, scores of 9-10 are applicable.
|There are 3 categories that fall under the heading of “Mental Aptitude” and they are Responsiveness, Expression, and Manners. Together these 3 categories help to capture the essence, and further define the English Pleasure horse.|
|This one specific category speaks volumes towards the essence of what the English Pleasure class should portray. Truly, the presentation of any English Pleasure horse, at the expense of responsiveness, is not in keeping with what the English Pleasure division is about.Beyond more motion and a higher and deeper frame, what is left for the winning English Pleasure horse to do more of to insure a win? The horse can be more responsive to the rider’s aids. The winner can be softer and lighter in the bridle, all the while working with enough impulsion to stay fully committed to the bridle and delivering round, fluid, ground covering motion. The winner can demonstrate how attuned he is to the riders leg aids by being supple and mobile as he moves through the gaits, crisply displaying his ability to remain balanced through all transitions, showing a dominant, yet easy command of the arena.
Responsiveness is intimately linked with self-carriage, delivery, cadence, manners, and even expression. A horse can carry a high frame while moving boldly, yet be unresponsive enough and locked in the bridle through tension that he loses cadence. Or, even being in a “good” frame, he leans enough to strain at the bridle and gape at the mouth, his mentality so consumed by the bridle that he fails to look forward and looses his ears, giving an ugly appearance that lacks finish.
Examples to score this category are as such:
A score of 1-3 would be reserved for the horse that blatantly runs through the bridle, visibly fights the bridle, obviously refuses leg cues, runs sideways, or carries a poor frame with a somewhat frozen jaw, or appears to have a frozen jaw and a lack of rate, regardless of the frame.
A horse meriting a score in the range of 4-6 could, at the lower range for example, rise above the bridle during transitions and visibly lean at times during the rest of the performance. Another example of a lower-medium score would be the horse trotting into a lead, bolting during the transition to canter or falling out of the canter. A score of 5-6 could be awarded to the average horse that completed the pattern smoothly yet lacked any crispness and refinement to his performance.
For a score of 7-8, the horse should demonstrate that he willingly reacts quickly to all aids, keeping his balance with little effort through the performance. Rein response should be quick and definite with easy leg to rein response obviously visible, leading to the appearance of good communication between horse and rider.
The score of 9-10 should be reserved for the horse that appears very tractable, listens carefully, and reacts to light and subtle cues. This horse would have crisp and accurate transitions, be fully committed to the bridle yet obviously soft and light, and be totally balanced, supple, and composed during the performance.
|Manners certainly play a role in the main heading of Mental Aptitude. Responsiveness deals with the agreement between horse and rider during the performance, while Manners deals with the emotions of the horse as he reacts to cues. Tension, anger, skittishness, lack of confidence, and fear can all play a role in how mannerly and composed a horse is through his performance.Examples to score this category are as follows.
A score of 1-3 would be appropriate for the horse that blatantly refuses cues, is generally unruly, and/or exhibits anger while receiving a cue to perform. Included in this range would be a refusal to go forward ( running sideways, rearing ), and bolting to the extent that the rider has some difficulty in gathering safe control over the horse. A score of 4-6 would be awarded to the horse that makes some mistakes but is not unruly. The exhibition of tension by chewing or gnawing on the bridle with the result of not walking would be on the boundary of a score of a 4 or a 5, depending on percentage of time the behavior was exhibited.
For a score of 7-8, the horse should make no obvious mistakes
The score of 9-10 should be reserved for the horse that makes no mistakes and completes the class with easy composure.
|Expression is totally concerned with the emotional nature of the performance horse. It’s more than just the icing on the cake; it’s the thrill, the joy, and the life of the performance. An English horse that enters the arena visibly “puffed up” with his ears pricked forward, head held high, and tail almost flagged is one of the most engaging sights any horseperson involved with the division will ever see. With the format of the first go-round of the Arabian English Futurity being individual works, this kind of expression is encouraged. When does expression cross the line and impact Responsiveness and Manners? The beauty of this system is that it doesn’t matter as each category is individually scored.Examples of the scoring breakdown are as follows:
The horse that merits a score of 1-3 would exhibit mad ears, a ringing tail, or other signs of being stressed or very unhappy.
A score of 4-6 would be awarded to the horse that was pleasant and using his ears some of the time during the performance.
A score of 7-8 would be awarded to the horse that showed with good ears, a bright eye, an excited tail, etc. This horse would appear brilliant and on the verge of animated.
The score of 9-10 would be reserved for the horse that appears “blown up”, extremely excited, happy and animated, and obviously enjoying his performance.
The main heading of Overall Quality has been divided into two main segments, which are Quality and Arabian English Type.
|The segment labeled “Quality”, covers conformation, coat quality, muscling, and refinement. Conformational attributes that are considered are the head, neck, back, top line, and hindquarters, with respect to their combined impact on the overall balance of the horse. Good conformation is a harmonious, functional blend of bone length and angulations. A thick, chunky, un-athletic appearance or conversely, a thin, weedy, and weak appearance, will have a bearing on quality, as would an excessively large head, short neck, excessively low set, or wry tail, crooked legs, etc. For an appearance of quality, the hair coat should be slick, fine, and shiny, and the muscle development should be attractive and readily apparent. Refinement includes appropriate and not excessive bone laid over the orbits of the eyes, a slender and graceful neck and functional and not excessively heavily boned legs and joints.Examples of scoring for this segment are as follows:
As score of 1-3 would include some or all of the following: poor conformation, a coarse and unattractive appearance, wry tail, and a dull hair coat.
A horse meriting a score of 4-6 would have some refinement of bone and the coat and condition would be generally good.
A score of 7-8 would be awarded to a well-proportioned horse showing good refinement, with an excellent coat and tail.
A score of 9-10 would be reserved for a stunning example of horseflesh.
Arabian English Type
Arabians have been noted for their beauty worldwide for centuries. The ideal is to reward beautiful Arabian English horses. Arabian English type describes a horse that is distinctly Arabian in the classic descriptions of type. Included are large eyes, a dished profile to the face, small tippy ears, a small muzzle, a relatively short back, and excellent tail carriage.
It also describes a horse that has English style. This is a more vertically built horse with a long slender upright neck coming high out of a well laid back shoulder. The back should be short and well coupled into a powerful hindquarter with a long and sloping hip, and a slightly sloping croup. A flat top line is not necessarily desirable. As well, a long forearm and a relatively short front cannon bone leading into a slightly longer, sloping pastern is desirable. Additionally the hind leg should include low set hocks and a short hind cannon bone. The balance of the horse should be even at the withers and at the top of the croup, and never “butt high”.
Examples of scoring for this segment are as follows:
A score of 1-3 would be for the off-type horse with no or few Arabian attributes.
Scores of 4-6 would include the horse that shows Arabian type, but not to the extreme.
A horse meriting a 7-8 would have many Arabian attributes and English style.
The score of 9-10 would be reserved for the horse that exhibited extreme Arabian attributes and English style.