The following memo was mailed to all NHSC Licensed Judges on May 1, 2003, from NHSC Director of Judges and Horse Shows Judy Martin.

As an NHSC judge there are certain criteria that we must call to your attention from time to time. It is very important that the criteria for judging all classes is enforced.

Criteria for Judging Lite-Shod Pleasure Horses

The Lite-Shod Pleasure Horses should perform the four beat walking gaits in a relaxed fashion with an alert and willing attitude. Any tendency to pace, rack or trot should be penalized. The Lite-Shod Horse should display pleasure qualities necessary for road and trail riding, such as good manners, responsiveness, manageability on a light rein, etc. He must stand quietly and back readily on command.

Criteria for Judging Amateur Trail Pleasure Classes

The Amateur Trail Pleasure Horse must be a lite-shod (3/8” x 3/4” maximum) and perform the four beat walking gaits with an effortlessness geared toward encouraging stamina and longevity on the trails. He should not display a crampy or gimmicky way of going. The horse should exhibit a four beat walking gait with pronounced and cadenced head motion (nod).

Animation and action or not desired in a trail pleasure horse and it is not desired for this horse to exhibit driving rear legs with a long overstride. Any tendency to pace, rack or trot should be penalized. The Trail Pleasure Horse should carry its head in a natural and relaxed position. The horse must be extremely well mannered, responsive and quiet. The horse must be manageable on a light rein at all gaits. He must stand quietly and back readily on command. The Trail Pleasure Horse should be relaxed and consistent with no sign of effort from the exhibitor.

Criteria for Judging All Show Pleasure Classes

This horse should be the ultimate type of Pleasure Walking Horse. Emphasis should be placed on manners, quality and suitability to the exhibitor. In the execution of its gait, the horse should exhibit natural animation and smoothness. A laboring and or unnatural way of going will not be accepted in a Show Pleasure Horse. The gait must be performed with the bold, four-cornered movement with the front legs moving with some elevated animation; with a pronounced and cadenced head motion; with the rear legs following through close to the ground and overstriding the front tracks. it should display soundness and responsiveness to the exhibitor.

The Show Pleasure Horse is allowed the use of acceptable action devices and pads. Braced tails and humane tails are prohibited in all Show Pleasure classes.

If you have any questions concerning any of the above information, please contact Judy Martin at the NHSC office.