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justjump 08-25-2012 06:08 PM

Equitation/Hunter Flat Critique
 
Hi guys :)

I've recently made the switch from AQHA hunters to strictly doing the A circuit (Congress will be my last QH show) and I've been trying to ride my horse more like a hunter than a "hunter under saddle" AQHA horse. He seems so much happier and really seems to enjoy it. :-) Anyway, this is a video of me riding today on the flat. Please let me know what you think my horse and I need to improve on!

Thanks :D

Flat work practice - YouTube

PS: Please excuse the terrible filming... My friend was sitting on her horse as she was taking it haha.

justjump 08-25-2012 07:52 PM

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maura 08-25-2012 08:12 PM

Go out on YouTube and type in USEF Hunters+flat and see if youi can get some results of USEF hunters. (Using Hunter Under Saddle invariably brings up lots of AQHA and other breed classes.) They're hard to find, but they're there.

The first thing you will notice is the difference in head set. I can tell from a photo at a glance if a horse is a USEF hunter or a breed show hunter because the head set is a dead giveaway.

The good news about your video is that your horse's head and neck has come UP from the typical AQHA hunter head set. The bad news is that it still needs to come OUT. Your horse is carrying too much flexion at the poll, and not enough contact with the bit.

I think you'll find you and your horse will initially do better in the over fences and the eq over fences; more skills will transfer from one ring to the other. To pin in the flat or the eq on the flat, it's a little more idiosyncratic - your horse needs to move and carry itself more like the other horses in the class.

This is the first vid I found, and it's not great, not an A show, but it will give you a better idea of the expected way of going, at least -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...&v=uRx1yNl2u5Y

And here's a couple of pony classes from various years of Pony Finals.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...&v=YKIr5c3zG24


maura 08-25-2012 08:37 PM

Here's a better one, this is a big flat class at Devon -


the horse that was the focus of the video was a lovely mover but I thought the rider overdid asking for the lenghtenings on the long sides and that he looked hurried and run off his feet.

Coming from the AQHA ring, also pay attention to the way the horses use themselves behind, and how far under their bodies their hind feet come.

When you ask your horse to move out, he tends to move bigger in front but not in back, and he never truly reaches forward under himself in the same way - that's usually seen in horses that have had some Western training and are accustomed to moving with a shorther stride. So anything you can do to convince your horse to use himself better behind will be a help as well.

justjump 08-25-2012 08:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by maura (Post 1659791)
Go out on YouTube and type in USEF Hunters+flat and see if youi can get some results of USEF hunters. (Using Hunter Under Saddle invariably brings up lots of AQHA and other breed classes.) They're hard to find, but they're there.

The first thing you will notice is the difference in head set. I can tell from a photo at a glance if a horse is a USEF hunter or a breed show hunter because the head set is a dead giveaway.

The good news about your video is that your horse's head and neck has come UP from the typical AQHA hunter head set. The bad news is that it still needs to come OUT. Your horse is carrying too much flexion at the poll, and not enough contact with the bit.

I think you'll find you and your horse will initially do better in the over fences and the eq over fences; more skills will transfer from one ring to the other. To pin in the flat or the eq on the flat, it's a little more idiosyncratic - your horse needs to move and carry itself more like the other horses in the class.

This is the first vid I found, and it's not great, not an A show, but it will give you a better idea of the expected way of going, at least -

Junior Hunter on the Flat - YouTube

And here's a couple of pony classes from various years of Pony Finals.

Giovanni - USEF Pony Finals 7th Under Saddle - YouTube


Thank you SO much! Do you have any tips/suggestions on how to do that? I have him in a Pelham for the fences, but I know a ton of girls that switch bits for a flat class. Should I try a full cheek twisted wire?

Btw- he never had an aqha head set, we never placed well in ANY aqha flat class because he feels more comfortable carrying his head slightly above the whithers rather than slightly below. :)
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maura 08-25-2012 08:54 PM

To get him to come forward to the bit and accept some contact, you want the softest, mildest bit you can still stop and turn appropiately in - def. not a twisted wire!

Start with a rubber snaffle or a loose ring to get him to come forward and stretch towards the bit, only go to somethint harsher if you have to to maintain basic control.

justjump 08-25-2012 08:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by maura (Post 1659823)
To get him to come forward to the bit and accept some contact, you want the softest, mildest bit you can still stop and turn appropiately in - def. not a twisted wire!

Start with a rubber snaffle or a loose ring to get him to come forward and stretch towards the bit, only go to somethint harsher if you have to to maintain basic control.

Awesome, thank you! I have a lesson with the assistant trainer at our barn to work on the flat work, I'll ride him in a snaffle then :) thanks so much!
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stormyweather101 08-29-2012 02:58 PM

I'm no expert but what Maura said makes sense! when I saw the video your horse was a very cute mover but he just needed to be a little longer in his trot steps so I also think that giving him a nice workable bit to kind of relax onto will help him stetch out more and lift himself into not an extended trot, but just one with more impulsion so he looks more "flowy" like a hunter(: btw you have such a cute horse!

oh vair oh 08-29-2012 03:07 PM

Yes, I agree with the above. He looks very hesitant to step into the bit, so it cuts off his stride and makes him move slower. I would get a bit he's not afraid of, because he seems to be moving like a western horse with no contact whatsoever.

And after rewatching the video, there is a lot of activity going on with your horse's tail. That tells me that something is constantly irritating the horse, whether it be physical pain, mental, etc.

justjump 08-29-2012 04:07 PM

Thanks for the advice everyone!

Vair- he's always flipped his tail, we've gotten it checked by a vet along with anything that could be a factor, and he said there's nothing physically or mentally wrong. Honestly, he has such a big personality that I think that's kind of his way of interpreting himself if the makes sense? When he stands in the cross ties, he literally aims for your face when you walk by haha. For the shows, we put a custom 1/2 pound weight in it so he doesn't swish it around as much. Thanks for the concern though :)!
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