foxhunting and show hunting

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foxhunting and show hunting

This is a discussion on foxhunting and show hunting within the English Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category

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  • 2 Post By upnover

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    06-06-2012, 09:14 PM
foxhunting and show hunting

Okay so everyone (mostly everyone?) knows that the origins of show hunters was to show off your field hunter in the off season where you were showcasing their movement, easy of ride, style, and class.

I've never been a show hunter fan, however the more i've been riding with a foxhunt (i pace aggressively and road/cub and cap from time to time), the more I understand and appreciate show hunters, and the more I get annoyed when I see the change of the sport as so often these days the horses inside the show ring are quite different than those I see in the field.

So what's your experience with either or both? I personally am a huge fan of the hunter derbys because I feel it brings an element of the field back to the ring and salutes the origin of the tradition. What do you guys think?

I also wanted to share this article from the Wall Street Journal that featured my hunt i'm incredibly proud, as me and my TB Sky won both hunt cups last year and were the first pair in history to win both the same season!!! After years of panic attacks at shows, schooling 4'+ at home to never make it over more than 2'6" when being judged at a show, i'm just thrilled we found our calling and are learning about the history of it to boot!

Upstate Fox Hunting: More British Than Britain -

Can't wait to hear from you guys on your experiences of show v. Field hunters!
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    06-07-2012, 06:21 PM
Green Broke
I've ridden and shown hunters for decades! It's what I know and what I love. And yes, there are a lot of issues with it, what discipline doesn't have issues? While some (even myself on occasion) will argue that it's not the complexity of the course that's the challenge, it's riding those 8 jumps to perfection that make it so difficult. But.. the problem is that when you take away the complexity of a course (and that's all you school at home) you don't learn to ride a technical course. That's why I LOVE that derbies are gaining popularity and bringing some technicality to the sport. George Morris's complaint is that we've become a bunch of "hot house flowers". With our perfect footing and exact 12 foot stride people have gotten spoiled to not know what to do when one of those elements is taken out. My message to all those show hunters out there who don't have derbies they can compete in (shoot, even if they do) is to LEARN DRESSAGE and DABBLE IN THE JUMPERS/CROSS COUNTRY. 1) You can get a truly fit and rideable horse through dressage and learn to really ride yourself. And 2) you don't have to go fast, but learning how to ride a technical course is so important.

I was fortunate enough to do a derby a few weeks ago out in a 6 acre grass derby field, YOWZA!! I see the appeal of cross country! It was a true test of rideability. And such a rush! The jumps were collapsable but still not like what we jump in the ring. It was still a technical course, ESPECIALLY during the call back (the handy round). It was very challenging and definitely a very very cool experience. My horse loved it too. In fact, when I stepped out in the field my first thought was, oh yikes, I don't have enough bit... Definitely fun! If show hunters had more opportunities to do things like this, I think peoples riding ability would increase exponentially.
CJ82Sky and MudPaint like this.
    06-07-2012, 08:00 PM
I do both hunters and fox hunting and there is a pretty big disconnect there ! I too like the derbies ! Its still not really the same, but at least its getting closer.
    06-08-2012, 02:50 PM
Originally Posted by upnover    
While some (even myself on occasion) will argue that it's not the complexity of the course that's the challenge, it's riding those 8 jumps to perfection that make it so difficult.
loved your whole post but ESPECIALLY this quote!!!! It goes right to the heart of hunters imo - both field and show!
    06-10-2012, 11:57 AM
Having grown up in the show hunter arena, I have to echo Upnover. I loved the Eq courses and Hunter derbies, they added a challenge that you normally found in the s/j ring.

Hunters evolved into a whole discipline from it's roots and no longer even appeals to those that field hunt. It's unfortunate. However, this industry is a business and show committees had to appeal to their customers and now we have what we have.

I love that the derbies are catching on even at smaller shows. I had long switched from hunters to jumpers and now eventing... but I may just have to convince my eventer that he does like his mane braided and find a fitted pad. Lol

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