Saturday, February 2, 2013

Western pleasure hair

As Tiffany says, "Yes, I really am that superficial."

My favorite part of the Western Pleasure classes at the National Western Stock Show's Open Show had nothing to do with the performances and everything to do with the hair.  Simply put, I can not remember ever watching a division with so much hair diversity.
As anyone familiar with this type of showing would expect, a lot of the horses were banded.
After all, this is the classic Western Pleasure look for stock type horses.
I was considerably more surprised to see a number of roached horses.
The lack of mane on these horses isn't always obvious from the side, but it's unmistakable from this angle.  That's one bald neck!
On the other end of the spectrum, were the long, loose maned horses. 
This group included all the light breed types as well as several stock horses.
Fewer in number, were the long maned, braided horses. 
Once again, this group included both light breeds and stock breeds. 
Last but certainly not least, 
was my favorite group...
the hunter braided... 
Western Pleasure horses! 
Big happy sigh.  I know it's terribly superficial, but looking at photos of Western horses in braids makes me really, really, really happy.  How long do you think it will be before I incorporate this look into my model horse show string?


  1. Not long...

    I am liking the bridle viewing myself... There are some interesting ones!

  2. Could always show them as competing in the second half of an english first-versatility class. Growing up the shows often had "english" first when horses were hotter and more forward, so we would braid for the morning classes. Versatility would be the last class before lunch so the western part of versatility any braided horses would still have braids, then we would tear the braids out over the lunch break for the afternoon western classes.
    Lots of hair on those show days, but they always looked nice!

  3. I am assuming all the braided horses had shown in English classes earlier in the day. Probably some of them would have been unbraided if there was more time between divisions and/or the Western classes had been held on a different day. I don't care, though. Hunter braided Western horses rock!

    For what it's worth, my least to favorite hairstyle is long/braided.

  4. Even at the bigger aqha shows, its so common to see a horse showing western classes in braids, especially classes like trail where there's a lot of crossover, or banded horses in hunter classes. I show all-around, so I usually do western pleasure, trail, horsemanship, showmanship, and equitation. There's no way I'm unbanding and braiding to do the equitation. The only time people will really switch between braids and bands are at the national shows (world, congress, gulf and gold coast, etc) where you have a day or two off between your classes. And I've never shown to a judge who cares about the status of your horse's mane either.
    The roaching thing has been going on for a few years now, and I think it's on it's way out. Long hair is pretty new. I'm trying to decide if I want to leave my yearling's mane long, or trim it. Right now it's in that super awkward in-between length, but in a few years when she's ready to go to a show, it should be long enough.

  5. As far as I could tell, the judges weren't paying any attention to the horses' hairstyles, and that's as it should be. After all, hair has nothing to do with performance!

    For myself, though, I had never seen a Western horse in braids and (obviously) I was quite charmed by the look!

    Back when I was a kid in Southern California, it wasn't unheard of to see roached hunters. If I remember correctly, that was Jimmy Williams' influence. I thought it looked kind of neat, but it didn't last very long.

  6. Gonna have to borrow some photos to make it OK to show my braided Strapless in western classes. That will be fun!

  7. Wonderful pictures. Thank you for taking the time to share them with us.

  8. Love the photos, thank you! I agree with liking the braided western horses--so classy looking. The roached manes are interesting too.