SHW331. GAITS - WESTERN PLEASURE. The following terminology is a description of western pleasure gaits:
SHW331.1 The Walk
SHW331.1.1 Poor walk - uneven pace and no cadence. Has no flow and may appear intimidated or appear to march.
SHW331.1.2 Average walk - has a four-beat gait, level top-line and is relaxed.
SHW331.1.3 Good walk - has a flowing four-beat gait, level top-line, relaxed and is bright and attentive.
SHW331.2 The Jog
SHW331.2.1 Extremely poor jog - cannot perform a two-beat gait and has no flow or balance in the motion.
SHW331.2.2 Very poor jog - hesitates in the motion. Does not keep an even and balanced motion or a level top-line. May appear to shuffle.
SHW331.2.3 Poor jog - average motion but has negative characteristics such as; walking with the hind legs, dragging the rear toes or taking an uneven length of stride with the front and rear legs.
SHW331.2.4 Correct or average jog - has a two-beat gait, a level top-line and a relaxed appearance.
SHW331.2.5 Good jog - has an average motion with positive characteristics such as balance and self-carriage while taking the same length of stride with the front and rear legs.
SHW331.2.6 Very good jog - is comfortable to ride while having a consistent two-beat gait. The horse guides well, appears relaxed and has a level top-line.
SHW331.2.7 Excellent jog - effortless and very efficient motion. Swings the legs yet touches the ground softly. Confident, yet soft with its motion while being balanced and under control. Moves flat with the knee and hock and has some cushion in the pastern. Has a bright and alert expression and exhibits more lift and self-carriage than the "very good jog".
SHW331.3 Moderate Extended Jog
SHW331.3.1 Poor extended jog - never lengthens the stride and may appear rough to ride.
SHW331.3.2 Average extended jog - moves up in its pace and appears smooth to ride.
SHW331.3.3 Good extended jog - has an obvious lengthening of stride with a slight increase in pace while exerting less effort and appears smooth to ride.
SHW331.4 The Lope
SHW331.4.1 Extremely poor lope - does not have a three-beat gait. Has no flow, rhythm or balance. Uncomfortable to ride.
SHW331.4.2 Very poor lope - appears to have a three-beat lope but has no lift or self-carriage. The horse shuffles, has no flow and bobs his head, giving the appearance of exerting a great deal of effort to perform the gait. Also may appear uncomfortable to ride.
SHW331.4.3 Poor lope - has an average motion but exhibits negative characteristics like head bobbing, not completing the stride with the front leg and leaving the outside hock well behind the horse's buttocks.
SHW331.4.4 Average lope - has a true three-beat gait with a level top-line and very little head and neck motion. He is relatively straight (not over-canted), guides well and has a relaxed appearance.
SHW331.4.5 Good lope - has an average motion but exhibits positive characteristics in his performance like self-carriage, a steady top-line, relaxed appearance and is responsive to the rider's aids.
SHW331.4.6 Very good lope - has more lift and flow than the average horse. He has a strong but smooth drive from behind. He may bend his knee slightly yet still has a level top-line while exhibiting self-carriage with a relaxed appearance. Appears comfortable to ride.
SHW331.4.7 Excellent lope - has a round back with an effortless strong, deep stride with the rear legs and a flat swing with the front legs. He keeps a level top-line, a relaxed yet alert and confident appearance and is correct but soft. A special horse with a great degree of lift and self-carriage.
SHW331.5 The Back-Up
SHW331.5.1 Poor back-up - is resistant and heavy in front. May gap the mouth and throw his head or back crooked.
SHW331.5.2 Average back-up - backs straight and quietly with light contact and without hesitation.
SHW331.5.3 Good back-up - displays balanced and smooth flowing movements. Backs straight with self-carriage without gapping the mouth with light contact and without hesitation.