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LoveTheSaddlebreds 12-20-2010 04:39 PM

Getting An Ideal Hunter U/S Look
This is a thread for all of us Hunter showers who do great in the over fences classes then tank in the under saddle ones.

I ride on an AIRC team where we practice every weekend and go to shows. Outside of 'Interschool' I show some, too. My mare is a Saddlebred/Quarter Pony cross and she has a naturally high head carriage. She will collect for me and sometimes drop her head, too, but we never seem to achieve that beautiful "round" look the winners seem to get.

Now, I know the first thing you have to do to achieving a nice under saddle show horse is to do a lot of work on the flat. I do that every time I ride her. I practice everything a judge might ask us to do and I try to work on getting her to move out, drop her head, and look pretty.

My trainer has told me to move my hands a bit forward to let her 'find the bit' causing her head to move down nicely. I also try to keep leg on her to keep her hind end from getting lazy. She can be very soft in the mouth, but a lot of times, she prefers to keep her head up, and arched if i give contact.

Does anyone know any good tricks to getting a horse 'round'?

Here are some pics of my mare, Leia, looking how she usually does. In some pics she's nice, and in others.... not so much. Some are my friend riding. If you could, pick out the ones she looks best in? And give advice on how to get a good hunter look?

(sorry these are all kinda outdated.. I've gotten better since then.. She's about the same)

How she used to be:

What I want:

This isn't realistic for her:

BUT I'm sure she could achieve this: http://www.sullenbergerquarterhorses.../gatortrot.jpg

I wear spurs with her and keep leg on her (she's very lazy) to get her to move out but are there any tricks to moving out? My trainer wants to get her shoes... I'm thinking aluminum w/ no clips... BUT is there any kind of shoe that makes a horse move better? without giving too much knee action?

If anyone can think of other ways to make your horse flat better, please share!! I want this thread to help everyone who has similar questions or info! :D

Ak1 12-20-2010 09:23 PM

You know, honestly, I wouldn't pursue that look with her. She seems so content and happy in a stronger dressage frame. I would take it and run with it! To get a better "round" you'll need to really work on/with collection, impulsion (from the hind), increasing topline muscle, focus and there are sever al others but those I feel will work best with your horse. Experiment with some collections(very slow and collected) and extensions (very extended). Build up hind end muscle to ensure impulsion. While using her hind end 100% effectively, the "round, ideal" look will come more naturally !

Eliz 12-20-2010 09:28 PM

I would suggest finding a trainer to help you with things you need, such as collection and impulsion. It's impossible to learn on the internet and to teach yourself.

LoveTheSaddlebreds 12-20-2010 10:43 PM

I have a trainer, but I was just looking for some outside opinions. :) Thanks Ak1! that sounds like a good idea!

Ak1 12-21-2010 10:26 AM

And LTS, check out my training thread... You can see what type of exercise s can help! :) Thanks!

Alcatrazjmpr 12-21-2010 09:01 PM

It seems like you are headed in the right direction. She needs to build the muscle first to stretch out a little more for the flat, and stay round, and have that nice hunter movement. Try doing it a little at a time getting her to stretch her neck out, sometimes getting your hands wide helps, I know its not correct, but once you both get the feel bring your hand back together and forward. Make sure she doesnt get low and behind the bit. I used to keep my hunter in steel shoes for smaller shows, he had a little knee action, then aluminum for A shows and finals, just to get him moving better.

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