Just warning long post and all over the place
So I don't know if anyone has any experience/knowledge about showing AQHA Quarter Horse, stock horse, or other breed shows but I am looking into doing some light showing in the hunt seat equitation, possibly hunter under saddle, and possibly eventually a hunter over fences or equitation over fences classes.
I am a ranch rider and reiner so I do not have too much experience riding english outside of a couple lessons and watching videos online but I have a general english jumping saddle that I ride in fairly often. I am not looking to be super competitive in english but just looking for a new goal/challenge to make me a better rider and to compete at smaller breed shows in my area.
First of all, the horse I am considering showing on is only 14.3-15 hands(typical for a ranch horse and bigger than my mare who is 14.2), which is very small for a hunter. I am also tall for a girl at 5 9(but around 110 pounds) so would it look odd or would I be judged any differently on a smaller horse in the equitation classes or the hunter under saddle classes. He does have a fairly long stride, though, which is nice, but he is still fairly little and doesn't have those typical super long legs that hunters have.
Second, he has a long mane that I am not going to cut, so is a different hairstyle even allowed and what would it be? A running braid would look neat and clean, if that is allowed, like the one I did on my palomino in the picture. Also, is a braided tail required at most shows, or is that optional? Is a fake tail necessary?
Third, if anyone has any tips for navigating the American Quarter Horse Association rule book(that thing is a monster) or any advice on where any of this stuff could be that would be appreciated as well.
Fourth, my saddle is a typical all around jumping saddle. Is this what is typically used for equitation on the flat and over fences? Is an o ring snaffle allowed or just d rings?
Fifth, he is just a foundation quarter horse with not very flashy, elegant movement, but in an equitation class, this does not matter, right? He just moves like a typical ranch horse and it is nothing gorgeous, but he has a nice canter.
Sixth, tips for picking up the correct trot diagonal for equitation? I struggle with finding it quickly without looking down. What are some exercises to practice this or some tips that help with it?
Seventh, tips for choosing stirrup length? How bent should your legs be and how different should it be for the flat classes and the over fences classes? How do you know the proper length for each?
If you have any other tips/advice/experiences with this topic, they would be well appreciated
Any advice helps and thanks in advance!
Pictures: Palomino is the example of the running braid from #2
Brown horse/black horse(yes it is the same horse and yes I know he changes color) is the horse in question for hunters. How do you think his conformation is to be able to perform as a hunter?
One pic of him playing with his buddy in the pasture to show an action shot