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post #1 of 17 Old 05-04-2010, 09:13 PM Thread Starter
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Hunter question.... hmmm

So, I am through and through an eventer. However, I did begin my riding career at a hunter barn and have temporarily returned to one at the moment. I've showed a few times and placed quite well in the hunter ring, but was really too young at that point to ask the whys of things.

At this point in my life I am very interested in the theory behind riding and not just the mechanics. I have invested quite a lot of time into learning thoroughly about the reason for different styles and ways of riding in eventing, and have also gotten into and learned much about dressage as a discipline itself, not just as part of eventing.

So my question is this, in dressage it is stressed that the rider maintain a deep independent seat in order to drive the horses hindquarters and encourage correct impulsion and such. This is also somewhat important in show jumping so as to make it over those higher jumps. Am I right? So if this is the case, then why is it hunters are told to lean slightly forward? Especially in the canter. It seems to me to go against what riding theory I know, and also seems as though it would put you in a more likely position to take a spill if your horse spooks sideways or balks. Could someone please explain? Thanks!

"The art of riding is keeping a *horse* between you and the ground."
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post #2 of 17 Old 05-04-2010, 10:04 PM
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I can't tell you why, but not all hunters are told to lean forward (this is called a half-seat if I'm not mistaken). At my barn (which is hunter) one trainer teaches using a half-seat but my trainer teaches us keep a deep seat and lean back through turns and such. It might just be a "hunter fad".
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post #3 of 17 Old 05-04-2010, 10:14 PM Thread Starter
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Possibly. Though the position in which I was instructed to ride just this week was by no means half seat. Simply tipping my upper body slightly forward and moving my hands a few inches up the neck. Hence my confusion.

"The art of riding is keeping a *horse* between you and the ground."
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post #4 of 17 Old 05-04-2010, 10:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xeventer17 View Post
Possibly. Though the position in which I was instructed to ride just this week was by no means half seat. Simply tipping my upper body slightly forward and moving my hands a few inches up the neck. Hence my confusion.
That's what's referred to as a light seat or 3 point seat. Still touching the saddle with both butt cheeks and pelvis, but just forward enough to supposedly feel lighter in the saddle and be effectively off your horse's back. I'm still not sure I buy into this particular seat. Weight is weight. I'm not sure it matters to the horse where it is distributed.

You just have to see your distance...you don't have to like it.
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post #5 of 17 Old 05-04-2010, 10:42 PM
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Half-seat, which is what I ride when jumping, has more to do with getting off your horse's back so that he can more effectively clear an obstical than anything else, IMO. When you ride "deep" to a fence it's also nearly impossible to keep with the motion of your horse. In other words, you're more apt to get left behind. Since that's the *last* thing you want--using your reins as ski ropes is not condusive to teaching a horse to trust you--I believe this is the most important reason. Again, IMO. But I've trained with some of the best hunter barns in the nation and so I feel I have a pretty good grasp of things. :)

Interestng question!

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post #6 of 17 Old 05-04-2010, 10:54 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by MyBoyPuck View Post
That's what's referred to as a light seat or 3 point seat. Still touching the saddle with both butt cheeks and pelvis, but just forward enough to supposedly feel lighter in the saddle and be effectively off your horse's back. I'm still not sure I buy into this particular seat. Weight is weight. I'm not sure it matters to the horse where it is distributed.
I'm pretty sure the point of 2-point, and 3-point if you are correct has nothing to do with the fact that there is weight and everything to do with the weight be off the back. Although they are still carrying the weight, it is not longer concentrated on their back and, thus, allows them to use their back more freely. I might be wrong though.

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Originally Posted by PBritton2U View Post
Half-seat, which is what I ride when jumping, has more to do with getting off your horse's back so that he can more effectively clear an obstical than anything else, IMO. When you ride "deep" to a fence it's also nearly impossible to keep with the motion of your horse. In other words, you're more apt to get left behind. Since that's the *last* thing you want--using your reins as ski ropes is not condusive to teaching a horse to trust you--I believe this is the most important reason. Again, IMO. But I've trained with some of the best hunter barns in the nation and so I feel I have a pretty good grasp of things. :)

Interestng question!

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You have quite the point, and thank you for your post. At this point I am assuming the position in which I was being instructed to ride is called 3-point, as MyBoyPuck said, and is used as a lesser version of half seat and for the same reasons. However, being an eventer, I've found that although you really need to make sure you pick yourself up off your horse's back, sometimes riding deep to a jump is necessary xD Just what I've found though. I know jumps in the hunter ring are quite different from those found in stadium jumping.

"The art of riding is keeping a *horse* between you and the ground."
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post #7 of 17 Old 05-04-2010, 11:04 PM
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There are a few reasons. Everything PBritton said about getting off your horse's back so you can allow him to move and jump without interfering. If you are sitting straight up and down towards the fence, you're actually a little behind the motion and you'll have to throw your body forward to stay with him over the air which actually hinders his jumping ability and affects your (and his) balance. If you are in your medium seat (inbetween a 2 point and a full seat) you can allow for your horse's jump to close your hip angles and jump up to you. However, I sometimes will stretch up a little in the corners to help my horse balance if they need it and then go back to the medium seat towards the fence. (this is all fairly minute, not a big change in upper body position)

Also, the carriage of a dressage horse and the jumper are a little different then the hunter. For hunters you want your horse more long and low that's balanced but a little more "natural" then the carriage of a dressage horse/jumper. Remember Hunters are based off the hunt field. Your horse is being judged on a nice efficient ground covering stride that is easy to ride. It's not about collection like dressage is so your goal is to stay over his center of gravity and allow him to move by staying with his motion. At the walk or stand still the horse's center of gravity is pretty much right under yours as you sit vertically. At the trot, your horse's center of gravity shifts slightly forward. Imagine your center of gravity while you're walking down the street. When you break out into a run you lean your upper body forward as your center of gravity shifts a little forward (most people don't run w/ their body's straight up and down) When your horse's trots their center of gravity changes as well. And you change your body position to move with your horse.
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post #8 of 17 Old 05-04-2010, 11:09 PM
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Just to clarify... "3 point" comes from 3 points of contact - leg, leg, seat. "2 Point" has 2 points of contact, leg, leg, no seat. -That's your jumping position over the fence. The half seat, medium seat, and light seat are usually described as the same position (although some will consider them differing degrees of lightness in the seat or upper body angle) is in the between the 2 and 3 point.
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post #9 of 17 Old 05-04-2010, 11:13 PM Thread Starter
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Oh, wow. Thank you upnover, that actually explains a lot. To be quite honest, I never was quite sure about the point of the hunter discipline. That makes a lot more sense now! Haha. Thank you again.

"The art of riding is keeping a *horse* between you and the ground."
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post #10 of 17 Old 05-05-2010, 09:08 AM
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Terrific post, Upnover!

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