Differences in Classes? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 23 Old 03-18-2008, 01:26 PM Thread Starter
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Differences in Classes?

Western classes, I pretty much get.

Engliish though....?? My neighbor and I were trying to discuss the differnces...but were not sure.

What is the differnce between:

Hunt seat equitation

Hunter pleasure

Englhish pleasure

Saddle seat


I am familiar with dressage, over fences, and hunter hack, but I am not sure how all of the classes connect?

In western, a lot of the classes are judged based on much of the western pleasure criteria.

On the forum here, I have seen pictures of english pleasure horses (I think) that have low stretched heads much like you might see in WP....but then I have heard that it is more desirable to have more of an upright neck too.??

What is the desired pace for enlish and does it differ depending on the class? Obviously faster than the western jog...but seeing how slow that is, there is a huge range of speed in between.

I don't get it...someone explain please :) :)
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post #2 of 23 Old 03-18-2008, 08:12 PM
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What a tough question! The problem is, the requirements not only vary from class to class, they vary between types of shows. Hunter/English classes are different at hunter/jumper shows, stock breed shows like AQHA and APHA, and breed shows just to name a few.

What I can say definitively is that Huntseat Equitation is judged on the rider. Judges look at form as well as control of the horse (how well it responds with as little aid as possible as well as correct movement). Under saddle classes are judged on the horse. How well it moves, how relaxed it is, how well it responds.

Huntseat and saddleseat are completely different types of saddles and styles of riding. Saddleseat is typically used with gaited horses as well as Arabs and Saddlebreds. The saddle is very flat. The horses have very high head carriage and more upright movement and high knees. The riders have longer stirrups and a more upright position as well.

Huntseat is the style of riding you see when jumping (but classes are also on the flat). Horses should move out at a good 8-10 mph trot, stretching out with front and back legs so that the back legs at least meet the front hoof prints. Riders have a shorter stirrup length and more a forward position. In a lot of the stock breed shows, horses have a long and low carriage with loose reins. At hunter shows, the horses should be more collected with a higher headset (not as high as dressage) and a steady but light rein contact.

My experience is mostly with the hunter jumper style, so I can answer more specifically about requirements for those types of shows. However, I did also show 4-H, and the huntseat classes there had a mixture of the AQHA style and the hunter/jumper style. I can tell you that, at least in PA, the hunter/jumper style tended to win out over the AQHA style.

Hope this helps to at least get the conversation flowing.

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post #3 of 23 Old 03-18-2008, 11:37 PM
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in Aus and NZ the main english events at shows are hacking. its kinda like dressage, however the hardest of the movements is just a flying change, extended/collected trot and canter. and its done out in the open. mainly in a figure 8 pattern and everyone gets really dressed up. not sure if its done in any other countrys, isnt hacking over there just like trail riding?
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post #4 of 23 Old 03-19-2008, 12:30 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks regarding horses. I really don't understand why the long low headset and loose reins of the aqha style is acceptable in an english classes. Maybe it is so the WP horses can also do english?? It seems ridiculous to me because it is just like WP, but with english tack - what is the point. Oh well :) :) It really does make a pretty picture though. :)

It seems to me that here, at the open shows, the judges have shown more favor to the faster paced, more collected, higher neck set (but not too high) of the hunter type horses.

So is english pleasure the same as hunter under saddle, or is there a definitive difference? Maybe the stock type shows call it english pleasure to make the WP look more acceptable?

I thought saddle seat was pretty different, but could not remember exactly what it was (not much of it up here).

Mell, hacking sounds interesting. It sounds more like a blend between lower/mid level dressage and western reining than trail though (minus the spins and sliding stops).
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post #5 of 23 Old 03-19-2008, 12:53 AM
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it depends on where you show as to how things work. if you do pony club events you have dressage days, showjumping days and less popularly, cross country days. if however you show aside from pony club eg: EFA, they usually have ODE's (one day events) or 3DE (3 day events comrising of all three disciplines)

i cant comment much on hunter etc but in dressage, the lower levels anyway, the horse must be on the bit with the face forming a T and right on the vertical. i suppose as you get up further the head comes up a little and tucks in more.

trot speed is a nice steady forward movement that isnt slow and lazy (like WP) but it also isnt flat chat around the arena. as long as there is that steady forward movement and impulsion, you are ok :)

dressage is about training and WORK. the horse has to be working his way around the arena not just plodding around looking like he has little to no cares in the world lol im not bagging western i would just probably get bored with everything going so slow :)

"I whisper but my horse doesnt listen...So I yell!!...He still doesnt listen"

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post #6 of 23 Old 03-19-2008, 06:56 AM
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AKPaintLover-I'm not all that familiar with the AQHA or open shows, but at least in 4-H the English Pleasure classes were for the saddleseat riders. That doesn't sound universal, though, since the classes you describe are the WP in English tack. I guess it just varies.

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post #7 of 23 Old 03-19-2008, 11:29 AM
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At the apha and aqha shows hunt seat equitation is a pattern where rider and horse are judged. for example the will be 3 cones in a straight line. you'll be on the right side of the cones when you start. do a sitting trot to cone 2. when your at cone 2 halt and back 4 steps. when you're done with backing up do a halt to canter transition on the left lead to cone three. cone three you halt again and do a turn on the haunches facing the judge. the patterns aren't the same always. after the pattern you will do a flat class like hunter under saddle. hunt seat equiation can also be called english equiation or hus equiation.
hunter pleasure is mainly hunter under saddle. a english class judging the horse. it is a flat class where the anouncer says walk, trot, canter,and backup.
english pleasure is a flat class who wants a traditional english horse to be shown. it is like hunter under saddle but judged differently.
saddle seat is what tennesse walkers and saddlebreds do for example. i don't know much about it.lol
sorry for all the errors in this reply for i am in a hurry, but i hope this helped you.
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post #8 of 23 Old 03-22-2008, 11:11 PM
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There are so many types of english riding.
You have the english pleasure horses (huntseat goes along with this). These horses are judged on whether or not they look like they would be a pleasure to ride. These horses are calm and laid back. You often see western pleasure type horses in these classes.
Then you have the jumpers/eventers. They are more concerned with clearing a jumping round in the most efficient time, accumulating as few faults as possible. They are not judged on their horses movement, but rather their ability to jump high and move quick. Eventers also ride cross country which is jumping natural jumps in an open field or area. They are also judged on time. Lastly, eventers participate in dressage. In dressage, a horse demonstrates a pattern, showing it's grace and beauty. It is juded on collection and control of the horse, along with much more.
Then, you have hunters and equ riders. Hunters is judged on how a horse carries itself around a course. It is very controlled and horses are expected to perform as if they are on the hunt field. The horses tend to be very calm and laid back. Horses should move long and low.
There is also saddle seat which I really don't know much about.
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post #9 of 23 Old 03-23-2008, 07:25 AM
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Can't say i have heard of any of those and i ride english lol
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post #10 of 23 Old 03-23-2008, 11:49 AM
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Hehe, American English classes are so different to anywhere else...
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