Park Western

Apparently it’s Western Week here on Above Level.  In the spirit of the “Park Hunter” debate, I thought it might be appropriate to point to some “Park Western” mounts.  First, here’s a picture that got posted a few months ago over on  This is Rex’s Major Monte, being ridden by Frank Waer.  I don’t know much about him other than he was a California Morgan.  I guess most people would say he was a Parade horse, not a WP horse, but it’s still a fun picture.  I’d also like to point out that he’s wearing a Bosal :)

Also, has anyone read the article from the latest Connection featuring Judy Whitney?  That’s a pretty fancy horse in the picture of her riding in a “Western Performance” class.  I don’t know what “Western Performance” is, I assume it’s an obsolete division?  Or a catch-all term for any western classes?  Anyone know?

Neither of these examples are “modern” Morgans.  I’m not cheering on big motion in all divisions, but it’s interesting to see these older examples.

11 Responses to Park Western

  1. Vintage_Rider says:

    I haven’t been around long enough to know for sure, but today they use the term _____ Performance class as a catch all for that discipline, as in “hunter performance”, “saddle seat performance”…

    Seems to me it was relayed that at one point, the western and hunt horses were the “throw aways” when they couldn’t cut it at saddle seat.

  2. somedaysue says:

    There is a division in the USEF rule book going forward into 2011 called “Saddle Type Horse and Ponies, Western Equipment”. I didn’t read all of the rules, but I believe it is for parade horses & ponies in the same silver laden saddles, but they do more than just the parade gait. I’m guessing, but that may be the equivalent to Miss Judy’s Western Performance class?

    Personally, having grown up watching TV westerns on Saturday mornings, I’d like to see a western horse move like he’s actually capable of going some where. I don’t know what is so pleasurable about jogging along at .5 miles per hour. I can appreciate the training that it must involve, but I’d rather see the sherrif catch the bad guys!

  3. RaeOfLight says:

    I hadn’t heard about that new division, Sue. That’s really interesting. I guess it would mostly be offered at Open shows to start out with? Maybe it’s too early to be asking this, but anyone on show committees out there know if they’re considering adding classes for this division at Morgan shows?

  4. RaeOfLight says:

    PS, re the sheriff catching the bad guys. I just had a mental image of “hand gallop” in a western class. Awesome! I would love it though if instead of “hand gallop” they announced it as “round up that dogie” or “chase down that outlaw”

  5. leslie says:

    “There is a division in the USEF rule book going forward into 2011 called “Saddle Type Horse and Ponies, Western Equipment”. ”

    It looks like it’s been in the rule book for several years. I’ve never heard of it, though. I wonder what kind of shows hold this class.

    I looked at the rule book and it sounds like it’s pretty much the same as parade, but they have to canter. It also doesn’t actually specify anything about bits, except that curb chains are optional. Maybe that means you could show in a bosal.

  6. redrio81 says:

    I love seeing the old pictures of the Western Morgan-so different from today’s show horses. Anyone know of any old footage of some classes on YouTube to see how they moved?
    Are parade horses basically Park horses in parade equiptment? That would be a sight to see, a park horse in a western class! I’m sure they’ll catch the bad guys in style, lol!

  7. empressive says:

    LOL This rates as BEST THREAD EVER!!!

    Awesome pic too, California Morgans are few and far between. It’s nice to see that pic too. I haven’t seen it in a long time.

    Vintage when I first got into Morgans there was a guy that told me that Western and Hunt horses were the ones that just didn’t cut it. Just glad I didn’t totally believe him.

    On the note of “catching the bad guy”. One of my fillies has California lines and she has racked up some notoriety with the old cowboys I trail ride with. She has a fantastic jog on her, but once a little girl’s horse took off on her down a gully. I was at the back of 20 horses so they had some space between us. Curious though is the fact that I was the one that caught up and stopped the horse. LOL Yeah, my Morgan can run.

  8. chisholm says:

    I have spoken to old time saddlebred people in the past about this. Keep in mind, that if judged by the rules a very large percentage of the placings in a parade class had to do with the rider’s dress and equipment.
    To go in the “performance class” they would remove their serapes (big heavy panels that hang down behind the parade saddle) and go in the performace class.
    Also keep in mind that back in the day many of these classes were “open” so Saddlebreds, Morgans and whatever showed togther.

  9. leslie says:

    Here’s a video from Northampton, 1959.

    About a minute in you’ll see some western pleasure horses. At least I assume that’s what they are. I watched with the volume down because I’m at work. :)

  10. Flmorgan says:

    They look pretty Western Pleasure fo the day. Styles have changed in all breeds. Morgans can be a Working Western Breed. I don’t think Morgan Western Pl. Horses should have much motion just a nice walk jog and lope with a headset and steady gaits. No tropping. Horse sould move forward. I’m glad we as a breed have not adopted this style. We have some beautiful WP horses.

  11. StacyGRS says:

    I LOVE a fancy western horse! Not a hot one…but a curvy one with some motion that does it comfortably and relaxed. One with a little motion is alot more comfortable than without. If most QH people sat on a good Morgan western horse, they may or may not like the overall horse better, but they couldn’t deny how much smoother and more comfortable Morgans are. Personally, I think our breed has beautiful western horses. It’s not something GRS is known best for, but we love good ones.

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