How to win an equitation class?
When you enter into an equitation class what are the judges looking for? What exactly are you suppose to do to win?
Are you talking an equitation class at a H/J show or a breed show? Over fences or on the flat?
Tight legs, quiet body, good hands and elbows, look for your next cone or jump, ride to every fence, spots, leads, etc.
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Oh and good posture, clean tack, and a happy horse is a must as well!
upnover ^ H/J over fences
Over fences the judge is looking for the most smooth and effective course first, and body position second. (I actually thought it was the other way around until I attended a judge's clinic a while ago). That means you need keep your horse balanced and supple, keep your horse on a solid rhythm (unless told to do otherwise), nail every single distance, nail every lead change, tight balanced turns, straight lines, etc.... in as subtle a ride, in as correct a position as possible. :-) At the shows around here the lower level eq courses really aren't too different then a hunter course with a roll back and/or a bending line, pretty much every set on the same length of stride. When you get higher up they will start shortening or lengthening the lines so you need to make a decision of how to best ride the line and adding some trickier turns. You want to get as tight of a turn as you can, taking the inside turns, but ONLY if you can do it flawlessly. It's better to take the outside turn and doing it well rather then to do the tricker inside turn and mess it up. however, if both turns are executed properly the judge will give more points to the inside turn. In a medal ride off they'll give you a test that could involve things like a counter canter, a certain number of changes of lead, halt, etc etc.
if you want to see some really nice eq rounds look up Maclay Finals on youtube. A few of the past recent winners were Brianne Goutal, Zazou Hoffman, and Jessica Springsteen. Can't for the life of me remember who won it this past year, unfortunately I wasn't able to go!
Very informative (: thanks! With a few equitation riders I've noticed that they make the course look fantastic, but their equitation isn't as good as I'd expect.
Surprising huh? At the judge's clinic I saw there were 2 rounds
1) Flawless position, missed a distance.
2) nailed everything, but had some position flaws.
Clinician said round 2 won it.
2 would win it because you want the most effective ride. A flawless position will look as pretty as anything in a photo. Put it in motion on a course and it's another story.
VERY good equitation to look at, as well as effectiveness, I would suggest looking at McClain Ward and Beezie Madden. No, they are not Eq juniors, but they were, once upon a time, and are very good examples to look at. I honestly can't think of a single junior rider today, or in the past few years, that I look at and go "wow!"
Well I'll remember that (: Me and my pony have some work to do!
I have been showing in Equitation at 3' and medals for years now and as the judges do look for the most effective ride, sometimes it is not always the case, I have missed a few distances and still placed first(im not talking a HUGE miss, just slight but in my level competition thats what most people do) and I will still pin over someone who has a perfect course but a sloppy position. The judge is looking for the most effective rider, who REALLY has control over the horse, who UNDERSTANDS the course and the questions being asked. You really need to look like you and your horse are communicating and that commands are subtle and effective. I show in the equitation in mainly the northeast and Ive been year end champion. There was a fantastic article in Practical Horseman over the summer I believe that really got into depth of how to master the Eq over fences and medal tests.
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