Specializing In Versatility
Those of us who showed horses in the ‘70s and ‘80s remember those decades as a time when nearly everyone showed one horse… in everything. We showed our horse in halter and showmanship in the morning then came back with it to compete in western pleasure, hunter under saddle, horsemanship, trail, and any other event we thought that we could compete in, or maybe just have fun trying.
More recently, we saw our show horses become more specialized. Whether it was a Quarter Horse, Paint, or Appaloosa, specialization dominated the show horse world. Halter horses didn’t show in performance classes, western horses didn’t show in hunter (English) classes, while reiners and ropers didn’t stray from their events either. However, this trend has changed in the last 10 years or so. The addition of the Performance Halter class, Ranch classes, and the Working Hunter Under Saddle class are helping to place emphasis on the versatility of our horses.
The Pleasure Versatility Challenge that was introduced at the AQHA World Championship in 2018 confirmed that exhibitors want to show that today’s Quarter Horse is still as versatile as ever, and it can excel in many, very different disciplines. This event has gained more interest in support every year and the packed stands in the coliseum confirm the public’s enthusiasm for it.
This year, the Congress Versatility Stakes Class is a feature of the All American Quarter Horse Congress. Those who have been around for awhile remember the Congress Versatility class from decades ago. They also remember the excitement of the event. In the article, Congress Versatility Stakes Class Promises Excitement and Fun (page 276) Lynn Palm says, “Versatility at the Congress was the most prestigious class of the whole horse show. There was always a sellout crowd to watch.”