Grooming for Hunter class? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 06-25-2011, 12:27 AM Thread Starter
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Question Grooming for Hunter class?

hello there!
i have my first hunter show coming up soon, and just wanted to ask some questions about grooming and turnout. Hopefully this is the correct section, i wasn't sure...I've done mostly small 3-day eventing shows, so i don't have much show-hunter experience. My mare is a morgan with 4 times the mane and tail of a normal horse, so i have lots to work with. I'm not cutting her mane (or pulling) and it's a bit too long and thick to do normal braids with. For hunters, can i do a french braid? I think it looks neater than just leaving the mane, but i'm not sure if it's "correct". I think for tack you're supposed to use a half-pad as well as no boots.
My mare needs also needs a breastplate, so i hope that's ok too. She has absolutly NO withers, so i can't jump without it, lol. The problem is that the breastplate is attached to a type of standing martingale, which can't come apart. My mare needs the breastplate but not the martingale.... would it be ok to ride in the martingale for the show? I'm short on money (from buying her) and can't really buy a new breastplate before the show.

if you have any other tips for me, please let me know. This is my mare's first show, and i want everything to go well sorry for the long message =P
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post #2 of 9 Old 06-25-2011, 11:43 AM
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Does she still have her natural mane, or is it just been a while since it has been pulled? If its just been a while since it's been pulled, you can still do hunter braids. They just might end up a bit bulkier then normal.

You can also use a full fitted pad, but half pads are also acceptable.

Martingales are usually not allowed in the flat class, and would disqualify you.

It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows. --Epictetus
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post #3 of 9 Old 06-25-2011, 12:34 PM
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I'll just work your way down the questions:
Hunter plaits (braids) are very important for presentation. These are a specific look, and are important in your overall turnout. Depending on the level of the show, you may be able to get away with a running braid, but it really is a faux pas. Hunter braids are designed to show off and enhance your horse's neck, and it really is part of the turnout to do so.
Half pads (white or natural) or shaped pads (white) are the only acceptable types of pads to use. A leather girth is a must - sheepskin lined is ok, but those covers are not.
No boots in the ring, except in an EQ class where allowed, even then they have to be neatly fitted, clean leather open front boots.
Breastplates are truly a hunter-world faux pas. As bad, or worse than show-bows. You want to showcase that your saddle fits well, and a breastplate clearly advertises that it isn't the case. I will add a disclaimer that it's different in jumpers or eventing as the courses are more demanding, and you want the extra stability and protection; hunter courses are so mild that one shouldn't need one.
Standing martingales are allowed (actually, they're in high fashion right now, needed or not, they're part of the "look") in over fences classes. They are not allowed, and you will be disqualified if you use one in a flat class.
Hunters are very nit-picky about appearance, so your horse must be well-presented. If you would let me know what level of show this is, we might better be able to advise you as to what you (for lack of a better term) might be able to "get away with."

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post #4 of 9 Old 06-25-2011, 03:39 PM Thread Starter
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it's just a schooling show and we're not doing flat, the classes are separate. My mare has some training issues we need to work on, she didn't walk at all when i first got her =P. I know you need to walk out of the ring for jumping hunters, so we've been working on that like crazy, and she'll walk for me now, but it's still hard when she's excited.

I'm jumping just the 2', because my mare's only been jumping for 2 months. The format is doing the course three times, with various patterns each time.

As for saddle fitting a breast-plates, no one I've shown my mare's back to has ever seen such a non-existent wither. Even my coach had trouble finding where to put the saddle on her the first time i asked. Her mane also runs down the whole wither, to add to the confusion. I REALLY can't jump any height without a breastplate (she's green and will probably do weird stuff ), and i can explain that to the judge too, if need be. The best fitting saddle for her is her western saddle, but that would be a very bad idea, lol. My mom's english fits her very well, but i really don't want to end up sitting on her butt!

As for her mane, it's about 10 to 12 inches long. She's a Morgan, so she's supposed to have a long, flowing mane (at least here...). I'm not cutting or pulling it because its her breed standard (she's reg.), and she looks really nice with her long mane. Also, the winters are SO cold (Canada) that i think she'll need it! I tried braiding it, and it looked very very bad.... she has waaaay too much hair for braiding. She looked very fancy in her french braid though, which is why i was asking about that. If french braid is a big no-no can i leave it unbraided?

I have both natural and white half-pads, as well as a white full-pad, so now i'm confused at what's My friend told me the judges like the half-pads here best? But what color is best?

Other than that, i have my jacket and pants all ready, so i just need to know what to do with the horse.... i can also tell you guys what I've seen at a previous show of theirs: some people put ribbons in their horses mane? Some went from the jumpers and wore bright boots and pads, some were turned out well for hunters, so i guess it's a mixed bag.

I'll also have to put a green and red ribbon in my mare's tail.... any good ideas for how? I think your supposed to braid tail for hunters too...

sorry for all the questions! Thank you so much for trying to help =)
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post #5 of 9 Old 06-25-2011, 04:42 PM
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Sounds like a typical show. Flat classes are seperate from over fences classes, and they normally do two to four different courses over the same fences.

Since you are not doing a flat class, just use the martingale for this time. There are saddles out there that fit a horse with no withers, as I have sat in one while riding a horse with no withers.

Hmm...our horses don't seem to mind the cold with pulled manes, and I also live in Canada. With it being a schooling show, you can get away with being unbraided, or a running braid. Tail does not have to be braided either. Do not put a ribbon in your horses mane.

Natural or white FITTED pads, or natural and white HALF PADS are both common in the hunter ring. FWclosecontactpadnewfxk.jpgexselle-half.jpg

Full pads such as this...babypad.jpg are not acceptable.

Boots are not permitted in the hunter ring. You can use them while warming up, but need to come off for your judged classes. So if you want to use them in your schooling course, you can, but take them off when you come out.

Just because you have seen others go from the jumper ring to the hunter ring in their getup does not mean it is correct. If you are wanting to show hunters, then be dressed and groomed appropriately. Leave bright coloured pads for schooling at home.

It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows. --Epictetus

Last edited by VelvetsAB; 06-25-2011 at 04:47 PM.
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post #6 of 9 Old 06-25-2011, 05:02 PM Thread Starter
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thanks for all the advice!

can you tell me exactly what type of saddle would be a good fit, like the brand? I've never had a horse with this type of back and there aren't that many saddles for these types in general. I will buy my own saddle soon, but i'm still paying off the horse first =) My mom's saddle is meant for her very high-withered horse, so it can slide back a bit.... maybe a fitted pad will help though, since they're thicker? I normally just ride with a full pad.

I don't normally use boots with her, so we're good with that.

Just wondering about the ribbons in the tail though..... i was told i should put red and green ribbons in her tail because she's green and can get aggressive when other horses come too close. She's never done this with me, but i'd rather be safe than sorry. Do i take these out in the ring? The three "tries" are split up, so you have to go back out and wait after each one....

i'd never put shiny ribbons in her mane for a show, lol I just saw other people do it....needless to say i was confused!

thanks for your help =)
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post #7 of 9 Old 06-25-2011, 05:13 PM
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Sorry, but it wasn't my horse or saddle...was just riding him while she was gone to school. I will try to find out for you though.

Just because you use a thicker pad, does not make the saddle fit properly. It could be too thick and end up pinching him, which you do not want.

Boots might be a good idea for the show, even if you do not normally use them. Your horse is more likely to be excited, and not paying as much attention to her feet.

Best bet would be the red ribbon, as that is the more important one. Leave them in the WHOLE day. If you are shipping in, have it on her as soon as she unloads, or if it is tied securely enough, before she even gets on the trailer. Tie the green one on slightly below the red one. The green doesn't really matter AS much since you already have a red one in. (If it was a hunt field, I would say both are a show, red is most important.)

Be prepared to discipline your horse if she kicks out, as that is unacceptable behaviour. The more you work on it at home, the better. Since you aren't doing the flat class, you won't have to worry so much about people crowding you....but it could be possible at the in-gate. Give yourself enough room, and have someone stand with you if possible to help keep horses away.

I've seen kids with a small ribbon in their horses mane to help them with hand placement over jumps, but wouldn't recommend it for a teen or adult.

It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows. --Epictetus

Last edited by VelvetsAB; 06-25-2011 at 05:17 PM.
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post #8 of 9 Old 06-25-2011, 05:27 PM
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The saddle was a custom by John Banbury. Guess that doesn't really help.

It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows. --Epictetus
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post #9 of 9 Old 06-25-2011, 08:22 PM Thread Starter
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lol, thanks!
I've been doing LOTS of work with her with horses approaching from behind and front, and riding very near to other horses. I will not tolerate anything more than a little ear-pinning, and she knows it. However, i was advised by her previous owner that she has tried to kick before, but only once with immediate correction from the rider. i don't believe it to be too much of a problem, unless she's being grumpy that day. I have a red ribbon on a hair clip, so i think i might clip it in her tail, and i'll do it as soon as she gets off the trailer. She's good with the buddies she trailers with, because they're both

i'm starting to fear that i'm going to need a custom saddle, so i think i'm going to save up and buy a really good one later. My mom's saddle fits her well enough that it doesn't hurt or pinch her, so we're good with that for now. Normally i ride her in her western saddle that she came with, which fits her perfectly, so she won't be in the english most of the time anyways. We have a saddle fitter from a local tack shop that comes out, and as soon as i've amassed enough money i'll buy her a really nice saddle. We have no saddle makers anywhere near here, so hopefully i'll find something =)

i'll try out the fitted pad before the show to see if it fits well with the saddle before the show too.

I also got her used to shipping boots today, lol. I love putting on shipping boots and watching the "space walk"

thanks for all the advice! hopefully all will go well =)
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