Field Hunter VS Show Hunter
I'm planning on taking an OTTB to a couple of shows this year to get him some exposure off the farm since he stopped racing. One show I was looking at has two hunter divisions. One is Field Hunter which is judged under USEF rules, one is show Hunter judged under AQHA rules. I'm not doing any jumping, and both have walk/trot and GAYP classes. I'm assuming my guy would be more suited for the field hunter type class as his massive trot (he's a big boy) would probably squash the QH type movers, but I'm not 100% sure. Can someone help me out with the differences?
Subbing, would like to know more about Field Hunter...
if im correct, show hunters and field hunters are judged on completely different things. you'll have to look at the USEF rules becuase they are usually updated yearly but show hunters have to be more of you're traditional hunters. like moving flatly, legs tucked and even, with a headset lower. kind of like what you typically find a hunter jumper show. field hunters are more of bigger movement headset maybe not as low yet just below the vertical and arent judged so much on tack and prettiness. think of it like show hunters are like western pleausre horses (which are judged along with all the tack) and field hunters are more like the ranch style of horses (which have no bling and headset isnt as low as pleasure and the gaits are more natural movement from the horse).
I have never heard if a USEF division called Field Hunter, but it's a long time since I competed at a USEF class. Since you mention that there's no OF portion, I suspect that it's NOT a USEF class. (All USEF divisions have two or three OF classes and one flat class.)
So I would take a careful look at the prize list and maybe even call the show's organizers for more info on the class. If you're in an area with a lot of AQHA shows, I suspect you're right and that "field hunter" is a euphemism for non-AQHA hunter without the typical AQHA headset.
some of the shows near me have field hunter classes that are actually outside over field hunt style fences (hay bales, stone walls, logs, natural wood jumps, etc.) and they are judge for a horse that is more forward, animated, expressionful, and has a little more action/spunk than the ring show hunters.
however these are schooling / open shows so not necessarily USEF rules (though modeled after USEF rules). to be sure, i called the show to ask what they were looking for before i showed my actual field hunter (who also does jumpers and "forward" is an understatement lol).
USEF is just a governing body and all that means is that the show follows their rules, its generally not a classification. But I suppose that's the way the show is describing what the judges are looking for. I'm thinking you mean the two styles of hunters out there... "hunter jumper" type hunters (I think what you mean by USEF) and AQHA or breed show type hunters. Very very different ways of going! My thought is along the same lines of Maura and CJ. I'd call the show committee for clarification.
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