All you hunters out there!!!
Sandie and I just started learning to jump, and I'm very interested in showing with her, in the hunter ring :-) Can all you hunters out there give me any advice/information about being a hunter?? I know a limited amount about this discipline, as I've mainly been trained in dressage up until now...any info/advice about the different classes at shows, what to expect, differences between hunter and dressage as far as equitation goes, would be greatly appreciated!! THANKS! :-)
Also, what do you think about the way Sandie moves - do we look like we'd be a good pair as hunters? :-) I know we need some polishing, neither of us have shown before and we're both a little green! But with the basics, I mean, what do you think?!
In the Hunters judges look for style. It's about how beautiful and easy you can make the course look like. They want a horse with a consistent pace, & very rhythmical. Not pokey in one line, and blasting down another. Everything should remain the same, and if corrections should be made they're invisible. Flying lead changes will be necessary to teach your horse as you progress, but in lower level hunter classes there are alot of horses who don't have them yet. They are expected as you move up. Your horse needs to remain straight, no zig zagging around the course. :) Your turnout should be flawless, everything neat and tucked up. No hair fly-aways, everything clean & polished. Your horse should be clean and tidy, and if the show calls for braiding then you can braid, but if its a schooling show then just a nice, well groomed mane and tail will do.
Here is an example of a nice hunter round:
One thing that I noticed from the video, is that she has a little too much speed. In the hunter-jumper ring, its all about control and the horse having a nice even pace with the correct number of strides through jumps. I would try to work on slowing her pace through lots of circles and serpentines. She is anticipating the jump way before you get to it. If you have to do a few circles before approaching the jump, do it. My old riding instructor always told us to "straighten ourselves out" before a jump -- meaning that you should be perfectly controlled in your gait and pace before thinking of going over a fence. If you need to slow her down by a couple of circles or go around the ring a couple times before approaching, that is fine. Just make sure not to confuse her by turning away from the jump too late. Does that make sense? She seems a little heavy on the forehand as well. I would do lots of flatwork, building muscle and doing lots of transitions. Other than that, Sandie is beautiful and has nice movement. I think she would be a great little jumper! Good luck! :D
Is she a pony or a horse? I she's a pony she'll do fine, but if she's a horse she might be too small to get the right strides without really running for it (not something judges look for) But if she has a huge stride I wouldn't worry about it.
Everyone else covered everything I can think of, but I want to add she is ADORABLE:-)
Thanks everyone!! To clarify, Sandie and I JUST started jumping (yes, BOTH of us!) a few weeks ago, so we are by no means "polished" yet! ;-) She definitely has a fast trot, we're working on slowing that down, and also getting the frame a little better.
To answer your question 1dog, she is technically a "pony" since she's only 14.1 hh. My trainer seems to think she's going to make a wonderful hunter, but she's green broke so she still has a lot of work to do first! (and I've only been riding 2 1/2 years so I have work to do for myself as well! haha) I'm just excited that I may have found the discipline I'm interested in finally!! :-)
That's good, she should have no problem with pony strides, you two will do great with more experience. She is just adorable!
If your pony remains steady and consistent and happens to have one more stride added in comparison to the bigger, longer strided horses most judges wont penalize you for that. They wouldn't expect you to blast down the lines to try and get the set striding. A faster stride doesn't always mean a longer one.
This may be a little off topic, but what has made you decide to hunt?
I'm against hunting, and it's a hardly a sport IMO. If a sport, both sides should know they are part of the game.
ratlover - in what way is Hunter not a sport? I'd love to hear your reasoning behind that.
HoofprintsintheSand - Aslo, keep in mind a hunter should be "long and low." The goal is to get around the course in the most efficient way of moving: long, ground covering strides, but relaxed, not rushed. The rider is usually in the half-seat position, which is hard to describe but it's basically a lighter seat but not a full jumping position.
koomy56 - The striding depends on the division you're in. If you're doing modified hunters, you can add, but if you're doing schooling? You'll be docked major points.
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