Making a hunter horse
I REALLY want to show my horse in AQHA hunters. He's had previous training, and it's obvious because sometimes he'll do beautiful canter transitions and have a gorgeous smooth pace at the trot and canter. But not all the time. How can I bring this out in him consistently to show hunters? What else does he need to do to be a good hunter horse? (either on the flat or over fences)
I'm very curious about this sentence: "He's had previous training, and it's obvious because sometimes he'll do beautiful canter transitions and have a gorgeous smooth pace at the trot and canter."
Don't you have his history from when you bought him?
I would suggest looking for a trainer to assist you, especially if you are venturing into the breed shows for the first time.
Get a trainer if you want to show breed shows.
Sorry, I'm not going to be much help either.
AQHA hunters are distinct from other disciplines, including USEF hunters, with their own judging and conventions. And they are very competive.
You can start by looking at videos on YouTube, just search on AQHA Hunters.
My outsider's observation is that they carry a low headset and a little frame, headset not as low as a WP horse but lower than a USEF hunter, with the neck level or lower than the wither, that trot is a sweeping, flat kneed, forward trot, and the canter is slow and balanced but would NOT be mistaken for a WP lope.
I know we have members who show AQHA hunters on the board, I will try to point them to this thread for you.
From the threads I've read that you've started, it sounds like you are headed in the right direction. It's just not going to happen over night. Have you driven out to an AQHA show yet to watch so you can get a feel?
They have a cool thing they started this year with a new division. It's called the Rookie Division and it's for a horse and rider combination that have earned less than 10 points each. The division is free so you would be able to show for the cost of the office fees/grounds fees/drug fees. That would still end up costing you about $50 for the day but better than a per judge fee!
As for your preparation, make sure you don't fall into the old low head/slow speed trap. Ensure that you always have forward motion. I would suggest ditching any training devices if possible because they will just make you dependent on them and won't do you any good on show days.
Are you using a trainer? Do you know what your horse was trained in? As in WP or HUS or basic skillsets?
For the jumping portion of the AQHA shows, I don't jump my horse yet as he just turned six and has previous pelvis injuries. I may never attempt to jump him but I've watched those classes and the horses in those classes tend to ride more like the upper level Hunter/Jumpers. They have a much higher headset. As in they carry their heads up high but are on the bit. When they go into the flat classes, however, they are right back down into the HUS frame. I've also noticed that some people have horses used soley for the over fences classes and the horses used soley for the flat classes....
I don't have an actual Quarter horse trainer, but I have a good instructor who is going to help me with some HUS stuff, I just haven't started that yet.
My horse had 5 months of WP training a few years ago (he's 8 now); I found an old ad for him on a horse for sale website. Then at his previous home, they had him for about a year and a half, and did HUS with him. So he can do both.
Here's what the ad said about him; this was not his last home but the one before that in Florida:
This is one beautiful boy! Ace has been professionally trained approx. 5 months in western pleasure and sure to be a winner in the show pen with his slow jog. Ace has wonderful ground manners and is always dependable. I can get on him and ride him after a week without no round penning or lunging and he is quiet. Trail rides, started on HUS and is utd on shots, feet, coggins, and worming. Load and clips great too. Would make a wonderful youth/4-h horse too. I can put my kids on his back and he just follows me around the farm and takes care of them. Couldn't ask for a better boy, only reason I am selling him is because of finances and i won't be able to finish him for the show pen and show him. He needs a good show home!
I don't get what you are asking. You claim to have been to many AQHA shows, yet have to ask online what makes a good horse? You should know this if you're as well versed as you claim.
Also, minimal training years ago does not an AQHA show horse make.
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