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HunterJumps 12-12-2010 10:12 AM

Hunter Over Fences Equitation
I am starting hunters and as I am a visual person I would love to see an example of the ideal hunter over fences equitation. I have been riding for 15+ years in other disciplines including huntseat equitation, but am new to jumping. What are some tips and pointers when it comes to eq over a fence?

xojumperxo1 12-12-2010 03:15 PM

maura 12-12-2010 03:24 PM

I would recommend getting either George Morris's Hunter Seat Equitation or Anna Jane White-Mullen's Judging Hunters and Hunt Seat Equitation. You can also go to the Practical Horseman website and study George Morris's past "Jumping Clinic" columns and go to the Chronicle of the Horse website and look at photos from leading hunter shows. Just make sure you're looking at the eq riders, sadly, they look very different.

To be successful in hunter seat equitation, not only do you need excellent form over the top of the fence, you need to have a very good feel for pace and distance, to be able to jump a line and make it work from a short, medium and long stride, adding strides and taking them out as needed and be comfortable with broken and bending lines, narrow fences and technical combinations.

This is the 2007 Maclay winner:

and a good example to strive for.

Alwaysbehind 12-13-2010 07:04 AM

I totally agree with Maura. Great books to get!

Hunterjumps, Xojummperxo is showing you some things to avoid in the EQ ring in her photos.

Elbows should not stick out like wings. Your crotch should not be in front of or right over the pommel of your saddle (jumping ahead) (notice in the photo Maura posted her hip is still over the seat of her saddle). Your toes should not be pointing out at a 45deg angle so that you are pinching with the back of your leg. Your heel should be down with your leg underneath you. Do not lay on your horses neck. Your hands should be closed tight too.

gypsygirl 12-13-2010 07:58 AM

Actually according to george morris having your toes at 45degrees is just fine...I'm not sure why so many people think they should be so forward, have you ever jumped like that ? Its hard to keep your leg on.
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maura 12-13-2010 11:52 AM


It depends somewhat on your individual conformation. The key point is the correct grip in the calf. For some, the 45 degree angle rolls their knee out and puts the grip in the back of the calt. For others, folks who naturally toe out a little, can maintain the 45 degree and the correct, soft, wrapped grip in the flat of the calf.

Forcing the toe forward can also roll your knee too far in and lift your whole leg off the horse.

This is one of the reasons GM advocates placing the stirrup at an angle across your foot, with the outside branch on the pinky toe - it kind of splits the differnence and allows for the variation in individual's conformation.

Even though it seems arbitrary at times, these equitation "rules" have a basis in function. If you have the correct grip in your lower leg, then your toe angle is correct. If you don't have correct grip, adjusting your toe angle is a good place to look for the cause.

Alwaysbehind 12-13-2010 12:09 PM

Maura, thank you for your great explanation.

My point (which was not made well, sorry) is that in the photos the toe is pointing way out because the rider is gripping with the back of their calf. Their knee and toe are pointing out.

gypsygirl 12-13-2010 02:07 PM

I agree maura. I find on this forum in particular that people seem to think your toe needs to point straight forward which it does not.
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Alwaysbehind 12-13-2010 02:28 PM

I most certainly do not think the toe should be straight forward at all.

ThistleRidge 04-16-2011 09:23 AM

These are all really good explainations and there are some good points. If you are new to jumping then take a look at this site written by a senior judge.
Hunter Judge USA she goes over some good an bad points that a judge looks for when judging a round.

There is also a quick video of what to look for in a hunter as well which is helpful.

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