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From The Publisher – Judging By The Book

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14 – March/April, 2024

By Tom Grabe

The Beatles recorded their hit song, Can’t Buy Me Love, in early 1964. Written by Paul McCartney, this song was the next big hit for the band. McCartney said the song was about the fact that no matter how much money could buy, it “won’t buy me what I really want.” Hence the refrain, “‘Cause I don’t care too much for money, Money can’t buy me love.”

What does a Beatles song have to do with showing horses? Nothing, really. I just like The Beatles. However, it does give me the perfect bridge to a discussion about the article titled Form to Function: Examining the Performance and Purpose of Today’s Hunter Under Saddle Horse by Elizabeth Arnold on page 66 of this month’s issue. Some of today’s top HUS and Hunter trainers discuss the current Hunter Under Saddle class and whether the horses competing in it are moving and performing according to the AQHA rulebook. The debate between those interviewed is honest and passionate. I think everyone should take a moment to read it.

There are a few things I took away from this article that I think apply to many disciplines within our sport. The discussion about whether the horses being rewarded in Hunter Under Saddle have a future as over fence horses is legitimate. So is the discussion about Western Pleasure. The horse is to appear to be a “pleasure” to ride, smooth-moving and very comfortable. Originally, Trail was to simulate conditions and obstacles the horse and rider would encounter during a natural trail ride. I am sure we can all agree that the modern-day trail class does not resemble anything you’ll see on a trail ride. There is no doubt that things have changed over the years. This doesn’t mean the modern-day classes and the way the horses are judged is wrong, but there is no doubt that it’s different from the way we did it in the ‘70s, ‘80s and early ‘90s.

Click here to read the complete article
14 – March/April, 2024

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