QH Working Hunter questions
Hey all, I am brand new to the forum because I have a few questions.
I have ridden and trained horses my entire life, mostly jumpers, some open hunters (not breed shows). I was thrown off and injured two years ago, got a desk job, and stopped riding. I recently put an ad up for free horse schooling so I could get some saddle time and get back in proper form. Everything is going well, I'm riding about 10 horses a week, and so far everyone is happy with my seat/hands/etc.
Today I visited a new guy for the first time. He has a QH working hunter place (they do breed shows only) and he put me on a 12 yo gelding to "see how I ride." Well, I totally failed!!
The guy basically told me "Our QHs drop their heads because they're collected back on their hindquarters, so don't worry about their headset, they'll round up into it." I thought, cool, that's something I know about. So I rode the way I always ride, and this horse was slow, so I was using a lot of seat and light contact to try to get him to reach under himself properly before I worried too much about collection. The horse went round okay but did hollow out for every transition. When he did so the guy would yell at me to "pull him into his frame" which is the opposite of what he told me at the beginning.
He was nearly impossible to keep moving. I asked for canter in every way I knew how and he never gave it to me. The owner suggested I trot to the fence, turn round on the hindquarters, back the horse up, and then ask for canter, which I guess was his attempt to get the horse to shift its weight back--that didn't work either.
His wife came out later and said she always rides him with spurs and "rakes" (her word, not mine) the spurs up his side WITH EVERY STRIDE at trot and canter.
Is this normal for QH hunters? I feel like this owner talked a good game about collection but he seems to think collection = head down, which is only a nice byproduct of proper collection, which requires impulsion, in my mind. Or am I doing something totally wrong? The owner seemed disappointed in me, but I'm used to TBs and his advice seemed completely foreign.
Thanks for listening to my long rant and I appreciate any insight!!