Hunt Seat Equitation, flat and over fences
I'm looking into different colleges I want to go to, and I have my interest stuck on Utah State University. A few years ago, they introduced a BS Degree with an emphasis on Equine Science and Management. To add to that, they have an English and Western equestrian competing club. I am interested in the English Equestrian Club. The very vague, brief description says they ride Hunt Seat Equitation, flat and over fences.
I have never had any formal lessons because of where I live, but I taught myself to ride on my horse. We worked on introductory level Dressage, and I was starting to teach him to jump. Jumping, I never placed myself in danger, always jumped 6" or less. I figured anything more than that, and that's when position gets really important and we would be better of with an instructor.
In case you want to see how far I actually got being self trained, here is a video. Since the video, I have improved my hand position and posting. Funny reason his reins are so loose actually; a western rider told me my reins were too tight when they were actually perfect for English riding. I got paranoid that I was going to hurt my horse's mouth, so I rode like that until someone pointed out that it looked ridiculous haha.
So basically, I only have experience in low levels of dressage and 'jumping'. I'm interested in the Hunt Seat club, but I know nothing about it. I do not have a horse right now, so when I look for one, I can look for one trained in hunt seat, if I were to get into that (USU allows horses to be boarded on campus). Could someone explain the sport to me?
How are you judged?
Is there a set pattern you have to ride, like in dressage?
What is the highest level you can reach in flat work?
What about over fences?
What breeds are the most common for it?
Anything else I should know?
Hunt seat equitation is judged on how correct your form is. I'm not sure on the pattern as it depends on the show organizer, there is one for over fences that will be posted at the show. Not sure about the highest level as this depends on what organization you show under. TBs and warmbloods seem to be most common. Pretty much any breed can compete in HSE.
I am going to assume they are an IHSA team. You can read all about the IHSA at ihsainc.org The college team is going to run differently than a regular H/J equitation show. For the team, there are different divisions that act as levels. They start at Beginner Walk/Trot, Advanced W/T, Beginner Walk/Trot/Canter, Advanced W/T/C, Novice (Flat & Fences), Intermediate (Flat & Fences), and Open (Flat & Fences). When you go looking for a trainer to take lessons with, just look for a hunter/jumper trainer. They will be able to help you get the basics down for that style of riding and set the foundation for the equitation, which is what you will be judged on when you ride for the school's team.
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