I think there is a place for walk/trot but unfortunately it does rely so heavily on peoples honesty. Its a great ring for people who lack confidence or young horses etc. The debate between unofficial and official... well I don't believe that anyone should HAVE to go official. Some people have lovely well educated horses but don't want to spend that kind of money as they only do a show or 2 a year. Some people dont want the pressure, there should never be anything forcing anyone up. As has been said, if your not competitive, either have fun and enjoy your horse anyway (honestly ribbons dont make the difference whether you can have fun or not!) or step up your own presentation etc. Most 'official' hackies I know aren't interested in going unofficial to steal everyones ribbons and thunder. Yes, there are some but they are the minority. Most official hackies want to be official and work damn hard to be there. The work involved in going official isnt for everyone and they want to tinker around unofficial. As for taking in different 'types.' Its a bit hard, there is a standard (which is accessible for reading to all) for official horses and if they don't confirm to the standard then of course they aren't going to do as well.