Hunter or Jumper?

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Hunter or Jumper?

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    04-14-2011, 07:15 PM
Hunter or Jumper?

This is my pony. I've only ever shown her in Hunters, usually doing fairly well. Although, it is somewhat harder for us to do well because of her head set, but it all depends on the judge. I'm thinking we'd do pretty well in the jumper ring. She is an extremely handy pony and can really move it with spurs. And, we're really clean jumpers. We're both very careful, since I've shown both in EQ and Hunter. But yea, enough talking.. Here she is! Feel free to judge both of us, but keep in mind I'm the blonde rider, the other one is my friend.

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    04-14-2011, 07:38 PM

    04-14-2011, 07:47 PM
I imagine that she would be a good little jumper They only do little jumps in American Show Hunters, don't they, and they're all pretty spaced out, so show jumping will require a bit more schooling, but she shouldn't find it too hard.

You would need to work a little on her balance between the fences, and executing sharp turns, as these will be needed in the jump off. Remember to balance her with the outside rein! Also work on lengthening and shortening her stride, will be essential as some of the approaches can be tricky! The main thing I noticed though was that she was a little flat in some of the video, you need to create more impulsion and get her hocks under her, or she will struggle as the fences get bigger! Use flat schooling and transitions to improve roundness and impulsion!

Lovely pony
    04-14-2011, 10:40 PM
She is unbalanced because she was in desperate need of a trimming.. She has since been shod and is a lot better. I'll post another video after this weekend.
    04-15-2011, 01:03 AM
Originally Posted by LoveTheSaddlebreds    
She is unbalanced because she was in desperate need of a trimming.. She has since been shod and is a lot better. I'll post another video after this weekend.
I don't see that from the pics and videos posted.
    04-15-2011, 09:46 AM
Her feet were poorly trimmed in december. The farrier was almost clubbing her feet and was leaving her very off balanced as well. That is what another farrier told me when I got a second opinion. She hadn't been trimmed since december until recently because she had been cut so short. Unfortunately, the bottom of her hooves were uneven and cut wrong which was screwing with her balance, said the most recent farrier. He worked on her feet, which now look amazing, and I rode her last night and she just felt better. I'm not sure if that will cure the balance problem, but I will definitely heed others' advice :)
    04-15-2011, 10:11 AM
She looks adorable. The first thing I see is that she's a little low with her knees and as for you - you tend to lie on her neck even over smaller fences. Your weight is not in your heel and your lower back is hollow (on the flat).

I'd work on a lot of two point and bounces and gymnastics to get your pony a little sharper and get your weight more in your heel. I'd also do some work w/o reins as well as with your eyes closed over fences (you can do this on the longe with a good trainer). This will keep you from lying on your horse in the air.

I'd really like to see more weight into your heel and a better base of support - which will help your upper body not lean on your horse. In jumpers it's not about being fast, it's about being tight and clean. Tight turns require a VERY strong base of support, with angles relaxed and flexed, heels down, and weight in your lower leg wrapping around your horse.

What I see in the video is a horse on the fore lacking impulsion and bend and a rider gripping with leg and steering with reins. In jumpers your horse MUST have impulsion and be off the fore, with a relaxed poll, engaged back, and powerful hind. Regardless of her trim, the standing martingale (illegal in jumpers) implies that your horse needs help holding her head down which tells me she is not engaged nor does she know how to properly engage her hind end. A horse moving with impulsion does not need a tie down or standing martingale. As for your balance, your turns show you leaning WITH your horse. To make a proper rollback or even a regular turn on course, your weight should be in your outside stirrup, to free up your horse's inside hind to reach underneath herself and bend through the back and ribs and moving through the shoulder.

I'd also guess that headset has nothing to do with why you don't always place in hunters. Hunters are able rhythm, balance, style, and consistency. To have this again the horse needs impulsion, though with less roundness through the back than a jumper. Judges look for bend through the neck,shoulders, and ribs, and relaxation through the poll and jaw. These are things that I do not see in your videos and things that are NOT related to her trimming.

Before progressing to jumpers, i'd take some dressage lessons on the flat for the benefit of your horse's fitness and your ability to properly use your outside aids and legs to steer and use much less hand and get your horse off the forehand. Then for your position i'd do what I recommended above working on two point, steering without reins, strengthening the lower leg, and learning how to use your thigh and seat for bend and steering independent of your lower leg (calf/heel) and upper body/reins.

Until your leg is much more secure and your upper body independent, i'd also recommend losing the spurs please! Spurs are NOT for go. Spurs when properly used are to fine-tune the aids we give to our horse such as take off here, jump long, jump big, jump round, jump wide, etc.

One last piece of food for thought:
Jumpers is known for off-distance fences and various fence styles that you do not encounter in hunters. I always ask my students the following before allowing them to do jumpers:

Do you know how to ride a 3 3/4 stride line? What about if that is followed by an oxer 6 strides away or what if it's followed by a tight in and out or a long in and out? How does that change how you ride that first line? Do you know the difference in riding, approaching, takeoff, and landing a vertical v. A triple bar v. A fan v. An oxer v. A liverpool? How does one of these on course affect the preceeding and following fences and change your ride? How does one of these in a combination change how you approach the combination? What's the difference in how you ride an in and out that is 2 verticals v. An oxer to a vert, v. A vert to an oxer?

ALL of these are things that you need to know and understand and be able to navigate AT SPEED to successfully do jumpers. Are all of these elements in the lower levels? No absolutely not. But they ARE in there - sometimes just one or two of those elements but they will be there. Rollbacks in comparison are the easy part of the course!

That said - please don't become one of those riders that uses raw talent and a good natured horse and a set of spurs to run around a course on the fore steering with the bit. You definitely have tons of potential and i'd love to see you reach it!

Best of luck to you!
    04-15-2011, 04:43 PM
Do you have a standing martingale on her? It's pretty dangerous to jump in one of those...
    04-15-2011, 06:37 PM

Standing martingales are very common in hunter classes in the US. Standing martingales are considered dangerous in eventing when jumping solid obstacles as they're felt to limit the horse's ability to extricate itself from a solid fence. While I don't particularly care for martingales of any type, personally, I think the risk is overstated for eventing and nonexistent when jumping fences in jump standards and cups. Fox hunters use standing martingales much more frequently that running, and they jump in much stickier, less groomed and less planned situations than eventers.

I agree with much of CJ82's excellent post. Right now she doesn't look like either a hunter or a jumper, as she's just cantering in a long stride over low fences. Her lack of a tidy front end and snapped knees are a liability for either discipline, but that could be much improved by good flatwork, a lot of work through grids and gymnastics and eventually, larger fences that will challenge her a little bit more. I would put your effort into doing that work and let her tell you which discipline she'd prefer when you get a little further along in her education.
    04-15-2011, 07:01 PM
I know that the master of our hunt would have a fit if someone turned up in a standing martingale...

It means that a horse can't use it's neck for balance, so if it does knock the fence or take an awkward stride on landing, it is thrown off balance and it's recovery is inhibited by the martingale... Just seems a bizarre piece of tack to put on a horse for jumping, even if you are only going over small fences.

And with this american hunter thing, shouldn't your horse present a low head carriage of it's own accord? Surely strapping the head down is cheating?

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