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Hoofprints in the Sand 04-16-2012 12:42 PM

From Eventing to Hunters - tips please! :)
YAY a new sub-section of the forum, just in time for me to dabble in a new discipline! :D

SO I've done nothing but Eventing for the past 3 years and this year I'm going to be trying out Hunters. Any general tips, especially for someone who is new to the sport? I will say that I do have a basic knowledge (of the different attire, way of moving, etc) but any "insider tips" from personal experience would be nice!

Hoofprints in the Sand 04-17-2012 12:18 PM

Oh c'mon, no tips from the Hunters out there? :-)

maura 04-18-2012 08:36 PM


I would love to help you, (and glad you like the new subforum, I have no idea who pushed for it to be added :think:) but I wish you would narrow it down a bit.

If you understand all the attire conventions, as well as what's expected for manners and movement, you've got a big head start.

Your Sandie is a cute enough mover to pin in the hack, remember to use the whole ring, do not ride in a dressage frame but let her move out on a very light contact. Smile and act as if you're enjoying your lovely horse.

For over fences, striding counts! A lot! Make sure you have a good grasp of the 12 foot stride and what pace Sandie needs to get down the lines in the correct striding. My impression from your posts and photos is that Sandie likes to gallop a little and jump long and flat, make sure she goes to the base of her fences and jumps up and round.

Leads also count. If Sandie is ring smart enough to land correctly that's a huge bonus. If not, ride into the corner, rebalance and execute a neat, tidy change.

Remember, hunters means relaxed, steady pace, 8 perfect spots, 2 changes, and lookin' good doing it!

Have fun!

Hoofprints in the Sand 04-18-2012 11:01 PM

Nice thanks Maura that's what I was looking for, kind of some hints on what's most important, and if you have any "insider tips or tricks" please feel free to share!
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hflmusicislife 04-22-2012 05:59 PM

Maura pretty much got it.. Hunters is pretty simple. It's all about who you know, which is why I don't like it sometimes. You don't get all the politics and crap with eventing....

Anyway, I've ridden hunters for years, and even though I haven't really started getting into it now, I think I pretty much know the ins and outs of it. Also, it completely depends on the type of show. Low-key schooling shows, some of this isn't as important. If it's a county/regional type show, you might be up against some really high quality horses and, speaking from past experience, regardless of what you do you'll feel a bit out of place. But as a general rule, this is how hunters are. Hopefully it doesn't sound too elementary, but I'm not sure how much you already know. For a jump course: Walk in at the walk, pick up a trot, and do your courtesy circle. (Depending on the way the course is set up, you may not need to do one. If you start coming towards the gate, then you can omit it. Just see what everyone else does.) About halfway through your circle, pick up a nice relaxed canter. When you go to the fences, make sure you have nice approaches with long sweeping turns. It's not about time, you want it to look nice and smooth. Take your time coming up to the jumps. Don't rush, and find a good spot. As maura said, leads and strides are important. Count your strides heading down the lines, and if possible switch your lead over the fences. (Flying changes are better than simple obviously.) Simple changes are allowed, but you'll get nicked for them, especially once you get in the 2'6''+ range where you're competing against potentially reallyyyy nice horses (I competed against a 17.2h $70k mare last winter. Yes, $70k. Made my $3k pony mare look like a pile of garbage...) Don't forget your courtesy at the end of the course too. If your horse is like mine and has a better trot than canter, it might help to break to the trot for most of the circle so the last thing the judge sees is good.

For the hack classes, remember hunters is all about long and slow with a nice big stride. Typically you have about a minute in the ring before you're actually judged, so when I go in I trot up to a nice open space away from everyone. If your horse goes better after cantering a couple strides, feel free to canter. Just make sure you have a show-quality walk in a good spot by the time the announcer says you're being judged at the walk. Good eq in the hunter world means head up, shoulders squared, chest open, with your leg correctly aligned and heel below you. Depending on the judge, they may be picky about certain things. Some are sticklers for having your thumbs on top, others like a more forward seat, etc. If you can watch who they pin in the earlier classes and tweak your style for your classes. For your horse, resist the urge to put her into a dressage frame. I event too, so I know how tough that can be sometimes, but you'll get penalized for it. You want her to stretch down into the bridle and relax. And remember, consistency is key. The more steady your pace, the better. You want it to look easy. Even when your horse spooks at the invisible monster in the corner, or takes a 2' vertical like it's Mount Everest, you want it to look like you're having the time of your life and your horse is a perfect angel. Don't be afraid to smile!

Hopefully this is helpful. If you have any other questions, feel free to ask :)

Hoofprints in the Sand 04-23-2012 07:29 AM


gypsygirl 04-23-2012 07:52 AM

are you doing eq too or just hunters ?

Hoofprints in the Sand 04-23-2012 09:24 AM

gypsy I have no idea LOL...just local shows to see if we even like it. These...

Not sure exactly what level yet, I plan on asking the advice of the Hunter trainer there I've been working with. Probably will end up around the 2'0" or 2'3" mark to start out, so whatever flat and over fences classes go with that division I will be doing!

maura 04-23-2012 09:39 AM

Looks like a great show and venue.

I definitely think you should do the equititation if your trainer feels it's appropriate; in all the photos and video you've posted you have excellent form. FYI, in equitation, the rider is judged, not the horse. So in eq over fences, they're still looking for a consistent, steady pace, 8 spots, 2 changes, but they're also looking at the rider's position and form over fences, and how quiet your aids are. The horse's form over fences does not count.

PS - Are you still eligible to show as a junior?

Hoofprints in the Sand 04-23-2012 10:33 AM

Thanks Maura! And by "Junior" do you mean 18 and under? Because definitely not LOL I'm, umm, errr, a smidge older than that :wink: :lol: Just a smidge though (in my head anyway ha!)

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