Alright, here's the deal. I ride strictly western (mostly pleasure and barrels), but I've recently become incredibly bored with western and really, really want to learn to ride english with the eventual goal of learning to jump. However, here's the dilemma: I know about the basics of the basics of the introductory basics of english riding, and have no clue what type of a class I should take. My stable currently offers english riding lessons in hunter hack and hunter under saddle for beginner, intermediate or advanced riders. I know roughly what hunter under saddle is, but haven't the faintest idea about hunter hack (explainations appreciated). So, my question is: Which class would be better for learning the basics of english riding and, eventually, jumping?
Opinions greatly appreciated. :wink:
My vote is start with a basic balanced seat (check out Sally Swift's books) and get a good foundation for basic english position and riding. From there decide what discipline(s) you want to focus on as there's many to choose from and no one says you have to do just one! I do dressage, jumpers, and eventing! And I, like you, used to do barrels and western when I was younger (did english at the same time too though), but learned that the best foundation was a basic balanced seat and go from there!
Because I Am Very lazy tonight i will quote wikipedia
Hunter hack is a type of English pleasure class where exhibitors in Hunt seat tack and attire perform on the flat at a walk, trot, canter and hand gallop, and then jump two low fences. The desired horse in this competition is to resemble a quiet, well-mannered working hunter rather than the more animated American-style show hack.
Hunter hacks are scored on their manners, gait, and conformation, as well as their ability to jump with an even arc and stride over the center of the fences. Points are taken off for excessive speed or slowness, breaking gait or failing to take a gait when called for, carrying the head too high or low, taking the wrong lead at the canter, the rider being on the wrong diagonal at the trot, the horse nosing out or flexing behind the vertical, and stumbling.
Hunter Under Saddle
is the preliminary class for English riding disciplines and judges evaluate the way of going of a hunter type horse on the flat, at a walk, trot and canter. Exhibitors in this event must wear traditional English attire consisting of a hunt coat, jodhpurs, high English boots and hunting cap. Horses circle the perimeter of an arena, performing each gait called, at the judges discretion. Particular emphasis is paid to the smoothness of gait, free flowing stride and a willingness to perform. The horse should move out with a rhythmic ground covering stride, on a relaxed rein and in a level frame.
I would start with some beginner hunter under saddle lessons, and then move on up until you are good at the basics.
Then if you want to start jumping sign up for you hunter hack.
Please note everyone that may read this post that it may be different in every different country!
Hope It Helps You Anyway!
I would do the hunter under saddle as this is the foundation for english work. Honestly I've never taken a Hunter hack class but show at Hunter hack shows and do pretty good. Just my opinion though.
This might not help but I also was a western rider the got bored with poles, barrels, and roping so i search local barns that taught english. It ended up being a hunter/jumper school. Since I had a western back ground my teacher would work on fixing my stance and position, but since I already new how to ride I was able to excel into a group a girls who just started jumping. my teacher wanted me to get use to a jumping seat with short stirrups. this was a challenge. Long story short I was able to switch disciplines but I needed to start with a jumping saddle. I would just ask your barn to get you started in English they will evaluate where you are at and put you in a class the will challenge you. its a lot of fun riding english but its a lot more work riding english over western anyday!
Since you've been riding a while and want to learn jumping I'd vote for the Hunter hack - Talk to the instructore but I'm guessing the intermediate class. Really western is all about long legs. Jumping (small jumps) and flat riding is shorter stirrup leathers and posting the trot, and direct reining, but not that different from western.
As the jumps get bigger the stirrup leathers shorten (to a point), but as long as the jumps as smaller 1'8" crossrails and then to 2 foot verticals (and assuming you are a good rider with good balance) you shouldn't have an issue.
Can you do an "audition" ride for the instructor? That way they can gauge your abilities. Too easy a class and you'll get bored, too tough can cause you to want to give up, so best to get evaluated if possible.
This thread is a few years old... :)
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