So... I went and had a lesson at a Hunter Jumper barn today, as we don't have that dicipline back home and I wanted to see what it was all about. My background is three day eventing (also did straight showjumping and dressage to train). I haven't evented competitively in a few years and now that I moved to America I am figuring out the horse scene over here before I decide whether to go back to eventing or try something new.
Well I really enjoyed the lesson and found the jumps very rideable and enjoyable, I only jumped 3' to 3'6, just taking things slowly to begin with. What I did NOT enjoy was the fact that the horse I took the lesson on (very successful hunter jumper) was incredibly slow, and has been trained to stop dead if you don't kick at EVERY stride bar the last few strides before the jump itself. And I mean KICK!
For all of you out there who show hunter jumpers, is this typical? I think I may stick to showjumping/eventing if that is the case...
Let me know your thoughts, comments and experiences!
NO, it's not typical at all. You may have been on a really tough old school horse.
On a good hunter, once you establish your pace on your opening hunter circle, you do very little except steer to the next line, maybe sit up a little in the corner to set up for the changes.
On a greener hunter, you may have to monitor pace and rebalance down the lines and reestablish correct pace in the corners, but kick down to every fence? Uh Uh.
Thanks for clarification, I didn't find that part enjoyable at all. The funny thing is, it wasn't the old school horse at all (that one wasn't available thank goodness!!), it was the trainer's personal horse, a Thoroughbred stallion that has only been broken for 18 months. He isn't used for lessons normally as he 'bucks' when you first get on. I swear he did nothing more than swish his tail and kick his back legs up a couple of times and that was it.... straight into zombie mode.
I like the idea of the clean lines around the jumps and really enjoyed riding the course as it rode so well, maybe I will try another horse or at another barn (still have that burn for eventing though.....).
It was your first lesson and they put you on a TB stallion that bucks and has only been broke for 18 mo but jumping 3"6?????
Aaaargh, apologies on the calculations, highest jump was 95cm which is actually only about 3', I am used to the metric system sorry!! :oops:
As for the horse, as mentioned above, the so called "bucks" were nothing more than a swish of the tail and kick of the back feet, hardly a buck if you ask me. I also don't fully believe myself he was only broken 18 months ago considering he is close to dead broke, especially since in the next breath I was being told about how he was shown successfully in hunter shows last year but who am I to question??
P.S. First lesson at that barn however I have been eventing/jumping for quite a while, it's not the first time I have seen a jump, despite my bad conversion to imperial measurements.
Well that makes more sense! To answer your question about having to kick every step NO, it's not a hunter thing! If anything, it's the opposite of a hunter thing! That's very poor training in my book. The ideal hunter (or any horse), you put them on a speed and they stay there until you tell them otherwise. You want it to look like your horse is just coasting around completely on it's own. My guess is that this horse has been ridden incorrectly for a while. That he needs someone to keep telling him to keep going instead of having his own motor. When you watch TV do you have to keep pressing the power button to keep the TV on? No, you press it once and it stays on until you turn it off. Usually if a horse loses his motor to the fences there's a good chance he does it on the flat as well. That's really the place to fix it. Personally I think hunters are a lot of fun! I say give it another try and see if you can ride another horse.
Although the last horse I was on was similar deal...been there done that attitude old show pro...he didn't not want to jump he just needed to constantly be asked to move forward.
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