Late July and plants have grown into long straggly objects. The first year that I grew Florist pansies and violas I staked each and every one to prevent this, but after the annual show it became an horrible time consuming chore.
These plants may be kept, but far better IMO is to take fresh cuttings each year. This avoids disease etc which the older plants seem to succumb to .A visit to any garden centre, where they have not been able to sell all their stock, illustrates this with rust ridden plants on display.
So to encourage the basal shoots, which will be the cuttings used for this year, a drastic reduction in most of the long shoots was required .The plants do look much worse for wear after this action ,but it is worth a sacrifice to ensure good cutting material later in the year. I have cut the maximum off and made sure, before this action, that some shoots had started to appear.
Fancy and Show pansies, are like more like annuals that is why if you just leave them they may not bother to produce basal shoots and die back.
Exhibition violas are probably short lived perennials, though I have a plant of an EV which has been in the same pot since 2007,and still managed to produce exhibition blooms this year for the annual show of the NVPS.