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Ranch Pleasure

The judges analyze the open ranch pleasure finals pattern from the 2012 AQHA World Championship Show.

The American Quarter Horse Journal
December 20, 2012

Mozaun McKibben and Lil Ruf Catalyst win the very first AQHA world championship in ranch pleasure

Mozaun McKibben of Whitesboro, Texas, pilots Lil Ruf Catalyst to the first world championship in ranch pleasure at the 2012 AQHA World Show. Watch their entire winning performance at aqha.com/worldshow. (Journal photo)

What does it take to win a world championship in ranch pleasure?

That question has been on the mind of every budding exhibitor in AQHA’s newest class. The same question got The American Quarter Horse Journal staff wondering, as well.

As ranch pleasure spreads into all divisions, the Journal asked two of the judges to discuss the challenging finals pattern and what they were looking for from the horses and riders. AQHA Senior Director of Judges Alex Ross, who designed the pattern, also shared his thought process; their analysis of the pattern can be found in the January 2013 issue of the Journal.

In ranch pleasure, judges look for a perfect, handy horse with manners, versatility and movement. The very first ranch pleasure finals pattern, featured at the 2012 AQHA World Championship Show in Oklahoma City, was designed to pick out which horse could best match those characteristics, and the judges were enthusiastic about the class.

 “I think it’s great, I really do,” said AQHA Professional Horseman Betsy Tuckey of Liberty, Kentucky, one of the five judges. “The go-round and the finals were just awesome. The horses were terrific.”

“In the AQHA Handbook, it describes the gaits – the two-beat jog, the three-beat lope – those rules on cadence still apply, with the understanding that there’s a real emphasis on forward movement and ground-covering gaits,” said judge Karen McCuistion of Wilson, Oklahoma, another of the judges. “We want it free-flowing.”

The open finals pattern called for 14 maneuvers. Karen, Betsy and Alex walk Journal readers through all 14 maneuvers and describe the moments that made them stop and think “wow.”

Look for “It Was a Pleasure” on Page 110 of the January 2013 issue of The American Quarter Horse Journal. Contact the Journal circulation department at (800) 291-7323 to order single issues of the magazine or visit www.aqha.com/journal to subscribe.