Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Winter Timewasting Activity

Since its winter and it seems if you aren't frozen to death yet, you're well on your way and riding is mostly out of the question. But that still leaves you with horses on the brain and an unfulfilled quota of horse in your life. If you're like me, you take to stalking COTH, blogs, insta and catching up on my two favorites- Dom Schramm and Denny Emerson. Literally Gods.

Because I like to stir the pot and express my opinions about things, I would like to propose a (mature) debate/conversation about rider position over fencing.

Before we begin, for your winter boredom pleasure, read THIS post about how rider positioning affects the biomechanics of jumping that Dom posted on his FB, if you feel so inclined to do so. His beautiful self is featured in the blogpost, but I also found the information riveting, curious and thought provoking (adult words, yay!). A few of Denny's photos are also featured in the post, so there's a good one-two punch if you worship both men like I do.

Have we all caught up?

Excellent.

First off, if you're a Hunter and can't take the heat, I would exit immediately, because half of my post revolves around the riding techniques and practices I currently see in the Hunter show ring & you might not like what I have to say.

It is no secret that I *almost* despise the Hunter ring. No offense meant towards any of my lovely Hunter blogging friends, truly, I'm sure you all have your reasons for being part of the sport and that OK by me! Hunters just aren't my thing. And yes I've tried it, up to the B levels, and absolutely none of it was fun. From my experiences and my experiences alone, people were hateful, rude and full of spite. NEVER did I get a well wish for any round and half the time parental units would try and sabotage myself in the ring. WHAT KIND OF PEOPLE DO THAT TO LITTLE KIDS. In addition, competitors would do everything they could to best you in the ring. Cut you off, crowd you, block you etc etc. It was heartbreaking as a child to have people treat you in such a manner when shows were supposed to be fun. Competitive sure, but also fun. Never once was fun. Luckily, I was pretty good at it and Spirit had the knees of a champ so we did win quite often, which softened the blow of poor sportsmanship around me.

Not one time has an eventer been mean spirited towards me or rude. Ever. Just sayin'

I also REALLY dislike the hunter look in general. Literally, everyone looks the same (Yes, I realize the same thing could be said for dressage, but at least in XC you can bedazzle yourself if you want and in the ring youre at least ALONE!) and in a ring full of horses its REALLY hard to stand out. Every. single. horse I see looks like they hate their life, poll below the vertical, or broken at the 3rd and a big fat fake tail. Just a few examples....





 /rant.

What I really came here to discuss is my absolute BIGGEST pet peeve in the entire horse world. And that has to be judges pinning bad/incorrect riding.

Who determines such as "incorrect or correct" though?

I *like* to think that old timers generally have the right idea about things (enter Denny Emerson) and new age riding has REALLY gone downhill. I know I'm not alone either. Just today I saw a huge thread on FB about the decline in Arabian showing integrity and how depressing it is with the steep downhill fall horsemanship has taken lately. Dressage too. All I see nowadays is people complaining about rollkur and false contact, yet ALL I see is people riding with false contact and judges rewarding them with flawless scores! Its mind boggling! Don't even get me started on western pleasure and peanut rolling, dead tailed horses. Not picking on any one sport here either; I recently posted about the ridiculousness of eventing safety and the turn MY sport is taking too.

Getting back on point.

The article outright called out hunters (and some jumpers) in the very first paragraph noting that the most common form over fences is to throw oneself up the neck so as to get out of the way of the horses mouth.



Personally I find this incorrect.

The blogpost I referenced supports my way of thinking.

When I was a hunter, I was TAUGHT to throw myself up, jam my heels down, arch my back and push my hands as far forward as I could. It was called "the snap". It used to look like this...


and has somehow morphed into this....


However, no one told/showed/understood (me) how this affected the horse over fences. Also, no one taught me the correct way to ride your horse. I was taught the "yank & crank" method. Bad bad bad.

So I grew up thinking this was how you rode. And this is how many many people still ride. So thankful I switched disciplines. Changing your way of riding is hard and takes years and a ton of work. Ask me how I know.

Not getting into "yank and crank" today, but I would like to discuss positioning over fences and the "winning" way vs the "correct" way.

Not naming names here, but today on COTH I watched 2 videos of Thewinning rides at The Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular. HERE is the link if you're curious (I recommend watching).

DISCLAIMER. I am in NO way bashing the young lady as a person, or even her skill. Just speculating on the JUDGING of these classes. Also, all photos taken from google stock images using "hunter eq". (trying to adult here and cover my bases in case anyone gets a little overly sensitive about things)

Srsly, no
First off, it was a drag for me to watch. There is a reason I don't do hunters and that is because its not exciting to ME. Cookie cutter rounds don't capture my attention at all. That being said..I was appalled that this was a winning round. Most likely because I do NOT compete in hunters and have no clue anymore what is considered good, but I thought the round was pretty bad. Just my opinion though.
Her horse looked asleep (apparently preferred?), she was getting tossed out of her saddle on every landing and her jumping ahead was very consistent. Just the facts there.

HOW is this winning?

Seriously, hunters, enlighten me? What in the hunter world do you strive for in a winning round these days? Was this a class not based on EQ and merely the horses' form? (If that was the case...theres a lot to be desired in that horse, for me at least.) I actually don't know if the Hunter Spectacular had to do with EQ or not.

On the other side of this, HOW is this considering winning riding in EQUITATION? WHY are judges rewarding this?

A winning round
Jumping ahead is not only ugly, but INEFFECTIVE. In fact, can hinder the horse rather than help. It is 100% possible to release from the SHOULDERS and elbows than to throw yourself up the neck to get a release. I'm not just pointing out this young lady and her round either. I see it EVERYWHERE in the hunter ring. I also DO see some good riding out there, I just haven't seen a WINNING ride (as of late) be one of those. Thats my entire point here.

Seriously, just read the damn Blogpost. Much better at forming coherent, smart sounding sentences than I.

That being said, I do not consider myself an expert by any means. Not even close. But that doesn't mean I can't strive for perfection and perfection to me is riding that is not only effective but also looks beautiful.










So what do you guys think? Who and what determines what is correct and what isn't? Is it science and biomechanics or is it judges and what they're looking for in a winning ride? Who sets the standards? What are your opinions/experiences?

**edit
It was pointed out that the differences across the realm of hunters can't quite be compared in this post because breed shows are wholly different from eq or even the COTH video show. That being said, even though I used stock photos, I've seen that "look" everywhere, not just breed shows. I tried to pick a variety of photos, not just your typical QHs.Sure the QHs are different from others but the general low head, on the forehand way of going seems to be a trend across all boards. Especially when I showed. From 4H to B shows, I saw this look being emulated. That being said, I havent shown hunters or been "in the scene" for years so take that with a grain of salt. 
In addition, the entire post was more about the effectiveness of rider positioning in jumping even though I discussed my dislike of the hunter look briefly. All across the board, jumping ahead seems to be the standard practice and even accepted. Especially if it's not an eq class as one commenter mentioned. That's insane to me! Wouldn't we all want to ride effectively and out of the horses' way?

Just my opinion. 


34 comments:

  1. I have an old lady friend who happens to also have ridden in 3'6" equitation into her fifties (which was fifteen years ago). She has always given me a hard time about eventers' equitation over fences because the defensive seat in cross country and lack of releases really doesn't mesh with her idea of good riding, especially not over fences. You should have seen her when I showed her these pictures though.... holy crap.

    Even George Morris tells hunters that they are doing it wrong. Denny Emerson once said that he (or someone) asked GM why he pinned a hideous praying mantis hunter at a show, and GM responded that she was the best of the heinosity in the class. I think he probably said it more eloquently.

    Regardless, I think my opinion is probably clear: hunter over fences equitation is not what it used to be, and I hate it right now. You can't tell me that throwing your body onto your horse's neck is better for their jumping form. Physics says it ain't so.

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  2. The eventers always look more with the horse and appealing to me and are the riders I'd rather try to be like! RE: The hunter riders getting jumped out of the tack - I read somewhere they do that on purpose in hopes of making it look like their horse has a bigger/rounder jump than it does and being marked higher. Not sure how that would apply to an equitation class though.

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  3. I developed a habit of throwing my body at my green mare over fences in an effort to not catch her mouth over the jumps. My trainer gently reminded me that the horse is supposed to jump up to you. I knew that!

    I don't like the new way of riding in the hunter ring. I've noticed that it also kind of seems like the riders get thrown forward a little bit after the jump because they don't come back up fast enough. I don't know if that makes any sense...long story short I think it looks kind of sloppy. Just my opinion.

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  4. I ride hunters cuz I am in my late 30s and frankly I feel safer, more in control (yeah all that is mental I know), and remembering courses isn't fun and adds to my anxiety (Hunter and Eq courses are fairly standard) PLUS I love the rhythmic/even feel of a nice Hunter round. I think the HUS pics you posted are more from QH breed shows and not Hunter/jumper shows, but I could be wrong. I dont see them going that long, loose and disconnected at Thermal.

    I do agree on the eq front trend and the incredibly slow pace of Hunter rounds now. I like seeing some ompf! Regarding eq, my trainer now and my trainer as a kid actually teach about the same. My position has not really changed in 20 years and I am STILL working on not jumping for my horse and staying even in both stirrups.

    Maybe it is the more high level Hunter riders who exhibit more extremes in position? I don't see it as much in my older lady divisions.

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    1. All great reasons to ride hunters! PLease dont think I'm personally attacking you!

      Perhaps it IS the upper level riders that exhibit it more. I wouldn't know as I dont show hunters anymore. Thats why I was asking you all :)

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  5. My iPad is loading this site very strangely tonight and for whatever reason I can't see the previous 4 comments before me. I say that to basically let you know that I'm not sure if anyone has said what i'm about to say!

    I'm a hunter through and through, and I have a lot of problems with this post. It's not that you don't bring up good points, but you are criticsizing something you are very uneducated about. I know you said you showed hunters up to the B levels, and I certainly believe you. My uneducated comment comes from the fact that the showing you mentioned seemed to happen when you were a little kid, and from the pictures you posted in this post.

    The first set of hunter pictures you posted are all stock hunters from breed shows. Calling that hunters is like calling western pleasure the same discipline as barrel racing. They are not even remotely the same thing. Sure, you were complaining about the 'look' of hunters and how you don't like it... but the fact remains that none of the horses you pictured are ever likely to jump a course above 2'. If you look at images or video from an AA hunter under saddle class, the horses and riders will look very different from the batch you posted.

    Second, you're critiquing equitation. I get it - hunter equitation is often quite awful. There is a trend to the more dramatic riding (throwing weight for lead changes for example). Over fences wise, tons of hunter riders duck like there's no tomorrow, release in crazy ways and let their leg slip back to China. George Morris would have field day with equitation like that... but guess what - it's not an equitation class.

    Hunters and equitation are different disciplines just like hunters and jumpers are different. None of the pictures you posted are from true hunter equitation classes at the high levels. If you want images of those, I can provide them for you. Sure, there are flaws in many equitation riders... but that's because a lot of them are kids and still learning. We all make mistakes, including the can do no wrong eventers :) Hunters are judged on the horse's style, movement, manners and way of go. If the rider gets 12 distances and perfect changes they could be flopping around like a monkey on the horse's back. It simply does not matter.

    You don't have to like it, but have a firm concept of what you are criitiquing before you open fire. Just my 2 cents as a hunter/jumper who's shown at all three rings in the local level and photographed all 3 rings at the highest levels.

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    1. Thank you Lauren!! (and other posters who contributed)

      I was genuinely asking you guys (hunters) if the class I saw on COTH was the same thing as what I continually see online/ my view of hunters in general etc. I keep forgetting hunters is different from equitation & breed shows. Thats my fault!. That being said, I still dont prefer/like either of them or what I viewed in the COTH videos. Not for me, and honestly, GOOD riding is important, not just flopping around on top of a horse. Any horse who puts up with that is saintly IMO.

      Like I said before, I'm not *trying* to bash hunters (I follow a TON of you guys and love reading about you), merely express opinion. I dont pick on any one sport much, they all have their issues. I just dislike hunters the most I guess you could say, based off my experiences.

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    2. I was about to write along-winded reply... but Lauren said it all for me. I do not ride hunters anymore, not my cup of tea, but in this post you are lumping together several VASTLY different disciplines and calling it all 'hunters', and what you've said here just isn't correct. I understand and agree with what you are saying about the 'praying mantis' jumping position being ineffective and ugly, but stand firmly with Lauren in that what you've presented here is a whole bunch of misinformation.

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    3. I realize this and made a full edit in the post. I'm not a fan of removing content to please anyone but I DID want to let everyone know I acknowledge that I was flat out wrong in making the comparisons.

      THAT being said. MY opinions on "hunters" and grouping them as a whole (wrong as that was) wasnt even the primary focus of the post. ACROSS the board (even other jumping sports) the forward jumping position seen in so.many.instances was the focus of this post and referring back to the blogpost I referenced. Its just more noticeable and highlighted in the "hunter" world or whatever you classify the Hunter Spectacular as.

      You cannot deny the fact that winning rounds have riders that fling themselves forward on the neck and its considered ok or acceptable. To me its not! Thats getting in the way of the horse and flat out not good riding. Thats it.

      Take my incorrec topinions of "hunters" as a whole as you please, but that was not the intention of the post, was just including it because I felt it was relevant.

      However, jumping ahead is seen in all jumping disciplines, but is more rewarded per-say in the hunter world with accolades and prizes. Just seems wrong to me even if the class is not equitation based.

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    4. Honestly? A lot of them ride like that for a reason. 1) It overdramatizes the power in the horse's jump. If the rider is getting jumped "loose" it makes it look like the horse's jump has a ton of bascule - a good thing for a hunter. 2) To an extent, being on the neck a bit actually helps them. It makes the horse have to try a little harder to get his front end up, and it makes them land a lot lower in the neck. Again - both desireable things for a hunter. Not at all practical for any other kind of riding, but hunters are all about the "show" and nothing about the practicality.

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    5. Agree with Amanda. Hunters (referring to hunter over fences, judged on the jumping style, manners and soundness of the horse) is a very in depth discipline. There is a method to the madness! It doesn't mean you have to love it or support it, but the equitation of the rider simply does not matter in the discipline at the end of the day. What matters is a good trip in terms of the horse's effort, and the rider not getting in the way of doing so. What you may interpret as 'getting in the way' might actually be helping the horse perform its best.

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    6. The reasoniong here seems wildly counterintuitive to me. AS riders we shoudl be doing our BEST to stay out of the horses way and SHOULD be conscious of our form over fences. Many people believe (myself and others included, per the blogpost referenced) that rider position has a dramatic effect over the horses' performance.
      It seems rather ridiculous & fake to me that people intentionally will throw themselves all over the place to make it look like the horse has more bascule. If the judges arent looking at the rider anyways, why do they do that? It doesn't make the horse jump better, in fact I think it would have the opposite effect. You cant really believe (Amanda or Lauren here) that throwing yourself around will make the horse lift his front end up harder or better. Why not just let the horse jump the way he jumps? LIke Lauren said, youre making them do it for show, which seems flawed in my eyes and a total misrepresentation. But hey what do I know, If thats the standard practice thats the standard. I just will never understand it.

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    7. I'm not saying I condone it... I personally hate the hunters. But what doesn't seem to be understood here is that they ride like that for a reason and generally on purpose. Even in an event judged on the horse, obviously what the rider is doing has some impact. Surely it isn't hard to guess why a rider being overly dramatic about the horse's bascule could influence the general impression of the horse? And yes, staying more over the front end definitely can "help" them achieve the desired way of going to, over, and after the jump (which is generally long and low and borderline on the forehand, with a dramatic snapping of the knees in the air). If you watch some video of the top hunter pros you'll definitely see what I mean. They don't sit up because they don't WANT the horse up and light in front, sitting on the hind end the way a jumper or eventer does, they want the horse to stay low and on a loopy rein. Also why they generally jump smaller - that approach just doesn't work past a certain height. It wouldn't work over varied terrain either. ;) But that's why they're show hunters... like show dogs... it's all for looks and dramatization - SHOW.

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    8. Ok that clears A LOT up for me haha thank you!

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  6. I'm like you in that I learned how to jump as a hunter/EQ, and now I'm trying desperately to fix my equitation. I see photos of myself over fences (like this: https://anamishwarmblood.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/0b742-yogijump2.png) and am just horribly embarassed. I don't even want to show the photos to my non-horse friends, much less my blog. And I feel so horrible that I have to put my horse through my riding as I slowly SLOWLY fix myself.

    The article mentions that throwing your weight onto your horse's neck causes the horse to have to put more of their fence-clearing effort into their legs and especially knees, instead of creating a proper round jump with their backs. I wonder if this is why the riders do it - since there's so much emphasis in the hunters of having snappy knees. More forward center of gravity > less bascule > more knee action.

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    1. I am the writer of the original article (I couldn't figure out how to post not-anonymously), and I firmly believe you are right on - the judging of hunters has come to reward a flatter arc and higher/tighter knees, and weighting their front end does improve the odds of getting this type of jump. What I did NOT get into in the article, but have long been pondering, is whether the fact that judges reward this is "fair" to the horse. Given that hunter classes are *supposed* to be representative of how horses should ideally be when going to hounds, it seems counterintuitive to me that we would reward those who go excessively slowly, on their forehand, and jump flat. While a good front end is much safer to jump no matter what discipline you are riding, it does not have to come at the expense of a good bascule. However, a good bascule is in fact harder to ride - you need a stronger leg, more in your heel/ankle and not grippy in the knee to be able to stay with it. I find it funny when you see hunter riders - many of them pros - flinging themselves all over the horse to try to show off a dramatic bascule that doesn't even exist. I think that making the horse's job harder to do well and safely is a bit questionable, ethically, and the fact that this is what wins in the hunters frankly upsets me. I can only hope for a sea change on the entire front - rewarding horses with good temperaments, moving at reasonable rates, well-balanced, ridable, and truly safe with good front ends and good use of their backs. They're out there - I have two. (Well, my young one gets a bit quick...) Forcing horses to continually go on their forehand and land heavily will over time cause more physical issues and strain than horses who are engaged behind and allowed to jump and land in balance. By the way, like most of you, I have to work _constantly_ to improve my leg and base of support to best make my horses' jobs as easy as possible. -Alexis Soutter

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    2. Again you seemed to encompass my every thought MUCH more eloquently than I could. You literally summed up all my points and made them stand out better than I did. Thank you and I couldn't agree more!!

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  7. I think the craziest thing to me, surrounded by a barn full of teenage hunter riders, is how freaking long their stirrups are when they jump. No wonder their leg doesn't stay under them--they have no base of support.

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  8. i switched from hunters to eventing only bc my leased arab mare is just NOT a hunter, and i didn't want to stuff her into a discipline she wasn't likely to enjoy (she's gotta be free, ya know?). tho we do enter the occasional local hunter schooling show anyway just for funsies :)

    with that said, tho, i really like getting judged just on the rails and time, and allowing myself to find a more balanced and correct position without worrying about style...

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  9. You cover a number of different topics in this post, but I'd like to talk about position in the hunter ring from my own personal experience. I've posted pictures on my blog depicting the type of riding you describe here: a weak base of support and jumping up the neck. While I've ridden and shown for a number of years, unfortunately my skill level does not directly reflect that and I'm still learning a lot about the basics. It's not an easy road to go back and try to fill the gaps, while simultaneously trying to break bad habits!

    While I am [slowly] working on fixing my position to be more effective over fences, I've also found that I need to focus on one area at a time. For now, I'm working on strengthening my lower leg and not allowing it to slip back so much. Luckily, I do own a saint of a horse who puts up with my faults and we jump a somewhat lower height for those reasons.

    I understand that good equitation is effective, but I also don't think it's 100% fair to judge all hunter riders on something they may not be actively working to achieve. In my mind, judging hunter rounds for equitation is sort of like judging show jumping for dressage. Of course you don't have the same connection! But, at the same time, there are similarities between the two: good impulsion is good impulsion regardless of whether you are in the dressage court or the jumping ring.

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    1. You have really good points, and thank you for sharing! We all can improve and shoudl strive for that! my leg slips back sometimes too and I have a wicked case of jumping ahead thanks to my hunter background.

      RE I also don't think it's 100% fair to judge all hunter riders on something they may not be actively working to achieve

      I tried to not lump ALL hunters into one profile (and obviously did a poor/incorrect job with that), I was merely observing that winning rounds seemed to have some major flaws and I was appalled they were getting pinned so highly.

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  10. I actually really like the Hunters, especially at the lower local level.

    I believe it encourages rhythm, pace, and timing over fences, as opposed to some of the kamikaze turn-and-burn riding I have seen in the low level local jumper classes.

    I also really like the solid fences and the fences with fill. I just prefer to jump those, and find them more visually appealing and easier to ride to than poles and rails only jumper fences.

    Lastly, I really like the simple hunter courses. As someone who does not show often enough, I have enough over-mental stimulation than to try and memorize a twisty-turny course. I love a simple outside line, diagonal, outside line, diagonal. I know it is not for everyone, but I really appreciate it. Different strokes for different folks.

    Also, I don't want to belabor the point, but the pics of HUS horses are *NOT* representative of hunter flat trips. Maybe you see more of it in the midwest, but I can promise you, you will see none of it on the east coast. Different discipline altogether.

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  11. I am with you sister. I have never really been attracted to the whole hunter ring (but I applaud and love to follow those who are!) and was part of the breed hunter under saddle shows for a couple of years even. I think it is mostly the judged aspect of it that I don't like. It seems as though the judged events create "monsters" in every discipline. If the judges reward what they are seeing, then everybody is going to do it. Peanut rolling is now even happening in reining and I hate that. Even though eventing has it's judged portion (I am looking at you dressage) I still like it because I can try to ride to the best of my ability for my horse through multiple scenarios. And two out of three of those rides is not judged. I know how difficult it is to make a horse a hunter jumper (very) but I wish the riding style was a little more secure and effective. P.S. I LOVE DOM AND DENNY! Heck yes.

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  12. My experience riding hunters is limited to a 2 year stint on my college's NCAA equestrian team. I saw a lot of truly hideous riding, from both my teammates and competitors. I was never totally clear on exactly WHAT was being judged- the horse, the rider, or some combination of both. But I saw a lot of the pitching forward, the very loose lower leg (due to the very long stirrups), the butts in the air, etc.

    My coach was excellent and emphasized that we should be secure, effective riders. We put in many hours without stirrups. I was never encouraged to duck or stick my ass out. My coach told me more than once that she thought I was a *good* rider, but did not think I was very competitive as a hunter rider. She was glad to have me, because as she said, "You can get a horse around just about anything."

    I never placed super well on the flat or over fences; I found hunters a frustrating discipline because so much about it was subjective. Not to mention I found it unexciting! I was very glad to get back to eventing and I'll admit I even like dressage more than hunters!

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  13. There is a reason I see so any falls at hunter shows and very little at events. You don't have to be effective to show hunters, (some are), so just have to make it look good ;)

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  14. I'm totally with you about the practicallity of the jumping position and how silly it seems to be rewarding something that's not practical/safe/helping the horse. I really enjoyed reading the article you linked to and I also learned a lot about the different types of hunters from reading all the comments. I have the tendency to lump everything together too. Also: my dream in life is to have a jumping position like Daryl Kinney and Dom Schramm...I drool when I see the pics... (I've got a LONG way to go though!)

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  15. I think the majority of comments have addressed the 'hunter' definition here, but I wanted to speak to the breed show HUS images posted, as someone who has shown in that discipline, at its highest levels.

    With the exception of two images posted (the middle and bottom left), those all look to be relatively local or regional level horses. The middle left? Is 100% from an AQHA equitation class and the one below is from a PtHA Hunter Under Saddle class. I see no problem with either of those. An almost entirely different discipline from the other 'hunters' you speak of later, so much like comparing apples to oranges, or as someone else said, a western pleasure horse to a barrel racer.

    Secondly, the fact that you say they look like "they hate their life, poll below the vertical, or broken at the 3rd and a big fat fake tail" is honestly somewhat offensive. I've shown many a stock horse hunter and every single one has enjoyed their job. I'm sick of the rest of the horse world (not you personally, please don't take this as an attack) thinking because our horses show in rail classes and go around on the rail they must be So Bored and Hate Their Lives. Is it everyone or every horse's cup of tea? No, much in the same way that dressage isn't everyone's favorite, or not everyone rides jumpers. In fact, riding a great rail class is far more difficult than it seems - particularly when you're at a big show, you're three deep on the rail and trying to ride in traffic and be seen. Below the vertical? Sure, many are. The majority of your stock horses are also bred to move this way and carry their heads much lower than an average Thoroughbred or Warmblood. I don't see anyone killing Arabians or Saddlebreds because they hold their heads up high. Fake tails? Yup. And proudly. My mare doesn't need one, but it certainly completes a picture and creates a balanced look. Not to mention, she's one who swishes every time you touch her side (out of annoyance of being asked to do anything but eat, which is what she feels she is entitled to be doing 24/7/365) so if a pound and a half of fake tail helps to calm that down in the ring, you bet I'm doing it.

    I don't mean any of my comments as attacking, but I just wanted to stick up for my discipline a little. We start to feel very much like the misunderstood teenagers after a while. ;)

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  16. Not attacking at all, I appreciate the input and every has a right to stand up for their discipline.
    I just feel that if a majority of those not in the discipline believe one way (all the horses are bored, hate their lives etc) and they ARENT true, wouldn't you want those involved in the sport to promote a more active lookin horse that isn't trolling around on the forehand and looking dead to prove us all wrong instead of enforcing and promoting the actions that created the stereotype in the first place? Just my two cents!
    And I have no idea where you go or have been but people ABSOLUTELY slaughter SS and Arabian shows for their practices. Big lick, heavy plated shoeing and all kinda of other practices have been under fire, especially recently. I don't even let myself begin talking about them because I would be BRUTAL.
    Sometimes I wish I don't ride dressage so when I say this I wouldn't come off as pretentious, but correct dressae is the closet thing you can come to riding a horse naturally. All the movements in upper levels (and even the basics in lower levels) are movements you will see even wild horses doing. I have not once seen a domestic or wild horse trot around with their head cranked to their chest throwing their forelegs up and foreward, nor have I seen them lope around in a painfully slow fashion with their polls below the vertical. It just isn't natural.
    Granted riding a horse in any form isn't natural but you get what I'm saying.
    That's was the entire point of my post, rising effectively and staying out of the horses way. Not creating some false movement through training and body movements.
    I'm sorry if I directly offended you wih my comments and I absolutely welcome yours! I didn't know fake tails helped with tail swishing!

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  17. Also please ignore spelling an grammatical errors. Doing this on my phone and I'm terrible at iPhones.

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  18. Great blog! As a new OTTB owner, I like reading about your own experiences. My comment in re:

    "I just feel that if a majority of those not in the discipline believe one way (all the horses are bored, hate their lives etc) and they ARENT true, wouldn't you want those involved in the sport to promote a more active lookin horse that isn't trolling around on the forehand and looking dead to prove us all wrong"

    Well, no. Why should the QH people care what other folks think about their breed standard? It's all relative in judged classes anyway. I used to do QH breed shows, and now show my OTTB jumpers/eventing. (I've been learning a new aesthetic, obviously!) From a breed show perspective, QH hunters look "quiet," not "dead." It's normal for many QHs to behave/look that way- I wouldn't want or expect it from my Thoroughbred, even on his "quiet" days.

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    1. I own a QH now and have owned 3 in the past and none have them have looked "dead". They're quiet for the most part but still have SOME spark haha

      That being said, yay OTTBs!!

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    2. Haha yeah- love that forward ride :-)

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  19. i worked as a WS for a GP jumper, who had horses showing in Hunters. Literally the worst thing in the morning is seeing those ponies being lunged at 4am for the kids 3pm class, and they would be out atleast five more times. I personally think hunters is a joke anymore, BECAUSE IVE BEEN BEHIND THE SCENES. Its all about the money at the A rated ones I went to, not about the horse or the partnership. The riders half the time weren't at the show till the class before theirs, and the groom would already have the horse ready.

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  20. I don't have time to read the zillion comments because I have to go to bed, but I wanted to say thank you for asking this because I've been dying to know what is up with laying on the horse's neck while keeping the elbows so bent. It seems like giving the arms or some rein would be better than getting mane up your nose, but I don't know anything about hunter (or jumper lol). Thanks for asking this. I'll be back to read the comments later. :)

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