Hunters, Jumpers & Equitation - The Horse Forum
  • 1 Post By Rule of Reason
  • 1 Post By Scoutrider
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post #1 of 4 Old 01-02-2012, 12:48 PM Thread Starter
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Hunters, Jumpers & Equitation

I live in Ireland where hunters, jumpers & equitation dont "exist" We have show jumping, gressage & cross country. But I often see people talking about these 3 classes so I was just wondering if anyone on here could give me a run down of what each of the classes are about? I take it that equitation is mostly about position but I'm pretty clueless about the others!

Across the Border
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post #2 of 4 Old 01-02-2012, 03:21 PM
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I was most recently at a hunter-jumper barn, so I think I can answer this. "Jumpers" is the easiest to explain, that's basically the same as show jumping. The position of the horse and rider aren't judged; it's all about time and clearing the fences, period. In "Hunters," you're judged on the pretty picture you present. Not only must you clear the fences, but your horse needs to keep his knees up tightly and bascule his back, and the rider needs to have good position in order to allow this. Finally, in Hunters the pace and outline of the horse are very important. The whole round needs to be done at a single smooth pace, you need to go into your corners, and be on your correct lead at all times. Hunt Seat Equitation focuses solely on the rider's position, so that's where people work on keeping their legs forward over jumps, not jumping ahead or behind, and not hollowing their backs.

Unfortunately, for most HJ instructors I've seen (admittedly not a huge number), dressage is a foreign word and going around strung out, unbalanced, and unbent is never addressed. That's why I loved my previous barn so much. The instructor there knew her dressage and wouldn't let us get away with that crap.

Cross country in the US is covered by eventing (though a lot of HJ barns will have at least some CC area, they just don't focus on it).
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Last edited by Rule of Reason; 01-02-2012 at 03:25 PM. Reason: clarity
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post #3 of 4 Old 01-02-2012, 04:16 PM
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Rule of Reason pretty much nailed it. Well boiled down, Hunters focus on the horse, equitation on the rider, and jumpers on the clock and the course.

Hunters are judged according to their way of going, manners, and style of jumping. A good hunter round looks very smooth and relaxed, with the rider in complete control while still allowing the horse to work. There is a very distinct hunter "look" in a horse, usually Thoroughbred-y in type, with long and clean legs, and a flat, ground covering movement on the flat and a scopey jump. In attitude, a hunter needs to be willing and obedient, but also convey the endurance that would be necessary to take a day in the field, as he would actually riding to hounds. Hunter classes still tend to be conservative and minimalist in turnout - brown leather, a white fleece shaped saddle pad, snaffle-type bit with plain cavesson bridle, beige breeches, and black/dark grey/navy/hunter green jacket. Jumps are usually natural looking, either plain wood or white paint with brush or flowers, that sort of thing.

Equitation visually looks similar to hunters, and a lot of riders will compete in both divisions. The focus is, of course, on the rider's position and skill in guiding the horse around the course, so there isn't so much emphasis on the horse's type, conformation, or gaits, although outright misbehavior or unsafe jumping won't earn you any points.

Jumpers is essentially like European show jumping or stadium jumping. The object is to get around the course as fast as possible with minimum faults - there are no "style points" in Jumpers, and the ideal horse is one that is "handy;" take the course clear, and make turns tight enough to shave fractions of seconds from the round. I like to think of Jumpers as the English world's rough equivalent to barrel racing, in terms of the object of the game, and, very generally, specialized Jumper horses tend to be a bit higher-octane than Hunters. In my understanding, tack requirements are more lenient in Jumpers than in the other divisions, allowing martingales and stronger bits. Visually, jumper classes look a bit more flamboyant than hunters or eq, especially in youth divisions. Square pads in colors are more common, as well as bright boots/bandages and shirts. Fences are generally more fantastic, painted bright colors with more unnatural decorations and "spookies," like flags, etc.
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A stubborn horse walks behind you, an impatient one in front of you, but a noble companion walks beside you ~ Unknown

Last edited by Scoutrider; 01-02-2012 at 04:21 PM.
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post #4 of 4 Old 01-03-2012, 12:45 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks very much Scoutrider, that clears up a lot

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