Turning a School Pony into a Show Hunter in under a Month? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 04-11-2013, 08:53 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Virginia
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Turning a School Pony into a Show Hunter in under a Month?

I'm planning on taking my trainer's pony, Bandit, to a Hunter Derby. I will likely be entering the Hunter Over Fences at 2', and a Hunter Handy.

My current plans to help him turn into a Show Hunter is to teach him to get into a better frame. Currently his holds his head high and often enough he has muscles under his neck. His trot currently is a very low frame after working with him, but I'm unsure how to get this in the canter. His current canter is rather fast paced and not very constant. I believe this may be because he is slightly out of shape. I have ordered a pair of side reins and a martingale for him, please tell how I can use them to the greatest effect!

Next to help him with his form over fences I plan on doing gymnastics with cross-rails, verticals and oxers. I hear oxers are good for getting them into a good frame.

I need to work on opening gaits as whenever I lean down to open the gait, he moves backwards from my changing weight. Is there any methods I can use to teach him to stand completely still?

Then flying lead canters, I plan on teaching him to do a flying lead change on command over a canter pole and move to on the flat and over fences.

For myself, as I am no hunter rider by all means, could someone please tell me the proper position for the hunter over fences rider in-between fences and over them? Also any tips for getting a nice half-seat. Also should I ride, in the show, in a loose ring or dee ring. I heard dee rings are the popular choice, and I have both, but wasn't sure if one or another would be better. Should I just go in the one he rides better in?

This is a very low level, local hunter show. I've been riding for 6 years in the eventing seat (or whatever you wish to call it) but I have only recently done hunt seat.

Anything else is well appreciated! Any comments on my plans- please speak up! Thank you!!
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post #2 of 6 Old 04-12-2013, 10:08 AM
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The side reins and martinale are artificial aids. You need someone to teach you to help him bring his hindquarts under him. When he does this his head will come down and he will be more rounded. This is what the judges like to see. Look after this first and his jumping will improve.
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post #3 of 6 Old 04-12-2013, 12:41 PM
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That's a very ambitious training program, when is the show?

The best way to use the side reins is on a lunge line and with supervision. You need someone with you to show you the moments when he is working correctly and how to encourage them. I would NOT recommend using them while riding.

The only practical reason to use a standing martingale is if the horse slings his head or raises their head above the effective range of the bit as an evasion. The irony there is that a horse that does either of those things won't pin in the hunter ring. They are popular mostly as a fashion statement in the hunter ring. If you want to put it on because it looks "huntery", go ahead, just make sure it's adjusted correctly. Use the D-ring instead of the loose ring for the same reason, the loose ring looks more dressagey.

Your plan for gymnastics is fine.

Your plan for teaching flying changees is worrisome. That's a tall order, especially if you only have a short period of time. Teaching flying changes over a pole can be dicey as well. My best advice is to really work on improving the quality of his canter, making it balanced, round, rhythmic and three beat. Don't even think about attempting changes until the pony holds a good balanced canter with minimal support from you. The best short term solution is to teach him to land from a fence on the lead you want.

And if you're doing a handy course, practice trot fences and moving up and coming back from a hand gallop, handy courses often include them.

The very best thing to work is a steady, consistent pace with consistent distances. That's primarily what the judges are looking for (after manners and suitablity.) Figure out the pace that gets your pony to his fences most of the time at the correct balance and distance, then learn to recognize it and create it on demand.
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post #4 of 6 Old 04-12-2013, 01:17 PM
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Why not enter a beginning Hunter class, like one where you are trotting over crossed poles? I agree that a school horse would make a good show horse, but don't set him up for failure. =(

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post #5 of 6 Old 04-12-2013, 01:39 PM Thread Starter
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The show is on May 4th and 5th. And it is a beginner's show as I said, well I suppose I said low level if that confused you to mean novice or whatever the levels are in hunter. The show is actually being co-hosted (either co-hosted or fully hosted, cannot remember) by my Pony Club, and there is a clinic beforehand to help us out. Bandit is a very capable and smart pony, I would never try to set him up failure! He just needs some tweaking.

I think his owner, my trainer, might be able to supervise us using side reins and a have a few lessons though I'm not sure if she has ever ridden hunt seat.

Saddlebags- my trainer taught me to get him into what I like to call our 'slinky' trot (his head is down and he trots very slowly) and then sit and encourage him to bring his hindquarters underneath him. Do you have any other methods of doing this or would this one be fine?

Maura- Bandit does hold his head very high, and has built up muscle under his neck which is why I purchased the side reins and martingale. He evades the bit and he likes working in a hackamore or even a halter, but doesn't make a fuss or anything, he just doesn't work very nice in one.

Bandit has already done flying lead changes, but I do agree that before I teach him to do them over fences or constantly, he needs to steady his canter. How though? In the canter his head goes up and dashes around the ring so much I never canter him when another horse is in the ring. Should I take him over canter poles or work on a circle? Or would going back to a trot over poles help him have the muscle to balance himself?

I plan on taking a video of us schooling this afternoon and working on a gymnastic, I will hopefully post it here and that can provide more detailed look of how we work. I also need to take it as the clinician wants our hunter experience to place us in the best group, as I've never done any hunter shows, I'm sending a video which he accepts as well. I'll want to send the best video/clips I have.

Last edited by RememberMeForThis99; 04-12-2013 at 01:42 PM.
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post #6 of 6 Old 04-12-2013, 11:14 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Virginia
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Sorry everyone- it turns out I will be doing a JPR instead the Hunter show. I am going to try and make Bandit more balanced just for the sake of him and my own training/riding experience.

I did Gymnastics today, the video I have for some reason is only playing upside down. :P I'm going to take a couple lessons and that will hopefully help me and Bandit.

Thank you all so much! Bandit and I are just not hunters. :)
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hunter , hunter 2 foot , hunter over fences

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