I also do NOT want to wear a cowboy hat! I don't own one, and will not go out and purchase one. I don't think they are specified in the rule book.
I'm going to be absolutely shameless and gleefully wear a cowboy hat!
I grew up showing huntseat and western and really miss a good cowboy hat.
I don't want to risk my fancy (expensive!) ADS hat in the dust of an indoor arena so it's either go hatless with my complete lack of hairstyling ability or put on a sharp black cowboy hat custom-shaped and fitted to me by our local hat artist Lance at the Beth Western store.
Plus I figure now I can enter Showmanship if I want to, or at least once I find a decent jacket I can.
Kody, like Ally, has a very sweeping stride with good engagement of the hindquarters, suspension, and lots of reach in the shoulder. He's a hunter horse, not a western one, but this class is the closest I can come. I'll dress Western just for kicks but will NOT ask Kody to jog along or do any of the things I see stock horses in harness doing. Yuck! The class description asks for a forward-moving horse and that's what I'll give them; the judge will either like us or not. I fully expect results will be wildly different with each class and under each judge as people are still figuring out what the division is going to be like.
The one thing I do NOT want to see is a class that's all about having the horse's head at the right height and the heck with the form behind it. I've already seen several pictures posted on previous threads trying to show that horses who are winning in these classes are not peanut rolling but I've been dismayed by the complete lack of reach through the lower neck on most of them. These horses have their heads on the vertical but without either the power inherent in the previous country pleasure frame or the foundations of correct check-less training behind them, they're just moseying along no matter what speed they're going.
I hope that our judges can be educated to look for correct reach and drive through the topline rather than just an outline and I still worry that the name of this class will become more important to the expected standard than the actual class description.
I mean heck, I'm wearing a cowboy hat aren't I?
I'll come back later with pix and video of my potential Western horse.