I was inspired by this post from AlchemyEventing-a great blog, by the way-where she discussed rolkurs and etc. I just want to say this before I begin, I do NOT like rolkurs. I am a very proud AQHA member, I love the association, I hope to one day show at AQHA shows, I really, really love Western Pleasure. It's one of my favorite things. Ever. I'm NOT demeaning anyone who shows in Western Pleasure because, hey, it's one of my own dreams, but I do NOT like the unnatural, unhappy, drugged horses in the show ring. I don't care if you are a jumper, eventer, pleasure rider or whatever, drugged horses-unless it's a medical thing-are not happy horses. Let's do some comparing.

Beautiful App

There's an Appaloosa, with a typical headset. Obviously, they aren't using any device that would keep it there, but in order to train a horse to keep it's head so low, they probably have before. A ton.

Ignore my EQ-Here is Red, back when he honestly didn't FEEL good. he literally huffed and puffed the whole ride for awhile until we got him on better feed, beefed up and etc.

Here's Red after he started adjusting-

He looks more comfortable, eager to go, and his headset is-gasp-high!! Typically, when I see a Western Pleasure horse with that low headset, glazy eyes, I think back to when Red looked like that. Just how much do they like their job?? I'm not dogging on Western Pleasure, like I said before, I love Western Pleasure! BUT, there is NO need for rolkurs, drugs, or anything like that. I mean come on, what's so beautiful about a drugged looking horse??


  1. I worked in the AQHA industry (on the show management side) for a few years. Like all things, there are horses and trainers riding and training the way I prefer, there are also those who do things differently.

    Western Pleasure is a style of riding where correct frame is part of the judging... which includes a lower head-set. Not saying its right or wrong, just saying that it's part of the gig.

    P.S. Red looks very happy in last few photos -- you've done an amazing job with him!

    1. I mean, I'm not a hater of the low headsets as long as the horse does it naturally and happily. Sometimes it can be pretty, I'm just not a fan of the super low, drugged looking appearance.
      Thank you!! :)

  2. Yep, nothing pretty about a drugged horse, although they can be kinda funny. the vet had to sedate Loki for his teeth cleaning this morning and when I walked him back to his stall he was a little comical. He had a hard time walking in a straight line, poor boy, haha!

  3. I agree wth Amanda, it can be a bit funny to watch when they are medically sedated and are safe somewhere. However, I actually saw this growing up in the hunter/jumper world too. Lots of little kids (and adults too) on horses they couldn't control. Horse would disappear, come back 20-30 minutes later and be totally asleep and sedated for the next class. Sad!