Originally Posted by CJ82Sky
i was also wondering why most classes don't go over 3'3" - 3'6"? I know there are 4' hunter classes, but they are rare. Seeing as how the main focus used to be to show off your field hunter in the off-season, and seeing as how in the field we see jumps higher than 3' / 3'3" (up to 4" or more with drops/ditches/banks, etc.) why that doesn't translate to the ring classes. Although I also know that there's such a difference these days anyway. I do have to say i'm glad to see the hunter derbies bringing back more of the field-style in hunters :)
That is an interesting question. My guess... 1) there are a lack of riders. By the time someone is capable of doing the working hunters (4") a lot of people have moved on to jumpers. Many max out at 3" or 3"6. If you think about the majority of the people who are showing hunters/eq, they're pre-colllege kids. I don't think a lot of them get to show at 4" before they graduate and lose their parental funding! Or they're adults who don't have the guts/skills to go over 3" or maybe 3"6. Who's left? Trainers. Who are often busy prepping their student's 3"-3"6 horses, can't afford a working hunter, bringing along sale/green horses... I don't think I"ve been to a rated show where there wasn't a 4" class available (in fact, somewhere recently I even saw a 4"3 performance hunter). And I can't remember the last time I saw an amateur show in it....
2) Lack of horses. A competitive 3"6 hunter is RIDICULOUSLY expensive these days. Well into the 6 digits for something that can win on a national level. So a competitive working hunter? Wow. Not many can afford to own/lease one. A friend told me Rhumba (who won the Derby a few years ago with John French) sold to Steven Speilburg's daughter for $700,000. Now, I don't think that's typical... BUT, a regular working hunter who can win? Big bucks.