What to look for in a hunter? - The Horse Forum
  • 2 Post By nightoverture
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 4 Old 10-19-2012, 10:07 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 21
• Horses: 0
What to look for in a hunter?

I was wondering what creates a good hunter horse? What qualities are emphasized? What is looked for in an under saddle class? An over fences class?

I know the basics but I want to dig deeper. My lease has a long stride, with a pretty flat-kneed canter. He looks long and low for the most part. Over jumps his head isn't super down but it isn't sticking up straight either. He kind of has a bascule, and his legs are up for the most part. They aren't super even some of the time, but he gets them up.
Mintkitten is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 4 Old 10-20-2012, 07:18 PM
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Calgary, AB
Posts: 6
• Horses: 1
I went to a clinic a few years ago, and a well known hunter judge did a presentation on what she looks for in the hunter ring. I've copied some of the notes I took below. Hope this helps :)

The minute you step into the ring you are being judged.

Over Fences:
The judge is looking for:
The best look and the best mover
A horse that canters evenly around the course
Smooth lead changes in the corners
Should jump the center of every fence
A nice down transition to the trot at the end of your course
Does the horse have a busy tail?
Is the horse over bent?
Does the horse over jump?

Looking at how the horse is built:
Are they balanced?
Do they have a long back/short back?
Do they have a long neck/short neck?

The more quality your horse has/the better the mover will score in the 80ís
It takes a very special horse to score in the 90ís
Every jump must be the same
Bad jumping technique will score in the 60ís
A horse that swaps his lead before a jump will score in the 70ís
A horse that swaps itís lead more than once will score in the 60ís
A horse that adds a stride in a line will score in the 60ís
A horse that breaks down to the trot will score in the 50ís
A horse that knocks a rail will score a 45
A horse that stops at a fence will score a 40
Smacking your horse on the shoulder with a crop will get you a score in the 50ís
If your martingale is too tight you will get a score in the 70ís

Traditional Hunter:
A thoroughbred type horse

Good mover
Pleasant expression
Needs to be able to gallop
Well groomed
Strange and finn113 like this.
nightoverture is offline  
post #3 of 4 Old 10-22-2012, 07:13 AM
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 5,289
• Horses: 0
Here the general description of the division from the USEF -

Hunters over fences are judged on performance and soundness. Judges are looking for great jumping style, quality of both looks and movement, as well as willingness, manners, and suitability of horse and rider. The round over fences itself should be judged on evenness of pace, as well as consistency of distances. In over fences classes hunters are judged over fences that simulate fences found in the hunt field such as coops, walls, gates, etc. Some hunter classes over fences are what we call Handy Hunter classes. These classes emphasize tight turns, creative approaches, brilliance and pace. Hunters are also shown on the flat. These classes are called under saddle classes and are judged both directions at the walk, trot, canter, and sometimes the hand gallop. Movement, manners, and quality are judged at all gaits."

And here's link to another thread were hunters and hunter judging are discussed at length.

How are hunt seat classes judged?

And here's a link to one of the best hunters in the USEF laying down a winning trip -

If you want opinions on whether or not your horse would do well in hunter competition, it might be best to post photos or videos. Please don't feel your horse has to look, move and jump like Rumba in the link above, there are lots of different levels to hunter showing, and he was pretty much at his own level at the top.
maura is offline  
post #4 of 4 Old 12-09-2012, 08:17 PM
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 15
• Horses: 0
Hunters will have floaty, consistent movement around a course. Consistency is extremely important for a hunter because judges look for evenness in jumping, distances, strides, pace, rhythm, etc.

In Jumping, hunters should have square knees and jump forward, not flat and underneath themselves.

Again, rhythm is super important and should stay the same around a course.

They should also have a square frame and a low, flat neck that stays, again, consistent around a hack class.

Warmbloods and big bodied horses make good hunters but that doesn't go to say that smaller horses can't be good hunters either.

Hunters also should look relatively happy and willing!

In a course, there are so many different aspects that need to be met in order to have yourself a winning class, but that doesn't just come from the horse, the rider must be able to ask and receive properly aswell.
Things like:
-landing leads, or asking for proper flying lead changes at the correct times
-hitting the distance that isn't too long or too short
-making striding down lines- being able to collect or open up smoothly without it being to obvious if needed
-keeping consistent pace

Last edited by QuickStep; 12-09-2012 at 08:19 PM.
QuickStep is offline  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Horse Forum forums, you must first register.

Already have a Horse Forum account?
Members are allowed only one account per person at the Horse Forum, so if you've made an account here in the past you'll need to continue using that account. Please do not create a new account or you may lose access to the Horse Forum. If you need help recovering your existing account, please Contact Us. We'll be glad to help!

New to the Horse Forum?
Please choose a username you will be satisfied with using for the duration of your membership at the Horse Forum. We do not change members' usernames upon request because that would make it difficult for everyone to keep track of who is who on the forum. For that reason, please do not incorporate your horse's name into your username so that you are not stuck with a username related to a horse you may no longer have some day, or use any other username you may no longer identify with or care for in the future.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Old Thread Warning
This thread is more than 90 days old. When a thread is this old, it is often better to start a new thread rather than post to it. However, If you feel you have something of value to add to this particular thread, you can do so by checking the box below before submitting your post.

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
New Hunter - Horse's Hunter Movement? ReaghanLeigh Hunters and Hunter Seat Equitation 11 12-09-2012 08:28 PM
Difference between hunter pace and hunter derby? ElvenAngel81 Hunters and Hunter Seat Equitation 10 07-23-2012 12:40 PM
Hunter Pleasure and Hunter Under Saddle - what's the difference? EquineCookies Hunters and Hunter Seat Equitation 10 07-16-2012 08:42 AM
Baby Green vs. Welcome Hunter vs. Warm Up Hunter... ack alexischristina Jumping 4 12-23-2010 03:31 PM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome