View Full Version : Hunter Form vs. Jumper Form

May. 3, 2009, 09:54 PM
I'm looking to develop a good eye to jumping form. The horse's form that is. What is the difference? What do you consider great hunter form and what is great jumper form? Pictures of great form, okay form, and mediocre would be great. What about a horse makes you go wow when he/she is jumping? What do you look for in say a hunter prospect vs. a jumper prospect? (Form wise). Where exactly should their knees be (how high is too high, where is too low?) and what about their neck? What does it mean to have scope? Good scope? What does it look like?
Thanks for your insight ahead of time.

May. 4, 2009, 03:40 AM
Though I don't have a great collection of pictures to show you examples, I know others on the board will! :D
To me, it doesn't matter whether it's a hunter or jumper, great use of the shoulder (relaxed, moving up and out), proper use of the neck (coming down to help them use their whole body), their body and hind end following through, and I guess more in jumpers than hunters, a hind end that flips up a bit.
Hunters for sure appreciate the square knees, head down to meet the knees but I think a flat jump isn't as big a problem (at least over the smaller fences) than it would be in the jumpers.
Jumpers, really as long as their legs are out of the way it's not a huge deal. Some have enough scope so that it doesn't matter that their front legs hang down a bit. But one that makes you go 'wow' would probably tuck up his legs and HIT that belly pad with his feet, really explode over the jump and flip up his hind end.
There's two pictures here of one of the young stallions I work with right now and I think he shows great natural jumper form. I may be biased though since he's my little baby. ;)


May. 4, 2009, 06:44 AM
MOOCOW if that was my 'baby' I would be proud of him as well. What a beautiful jumper who seems to have lots of scope.

May. 4, 2009, 11:39 AM
I think if you look at any volume of the Chronicle you will see excellent examples of "good jumping form".

The idea of good form, I believe, when broken down, is all about function; again like most things form follows function. What we call good form is nothing more than an efficient way for a horse to jump. It allows a horse to maximize its physical capabilities, and for each horse these capabilities may vary slightly or greatly, but the bottom line is that all good jumpers jump efficiently and consequently with good form.

A horse tucking its knees, and squaring off over a fence is simply the most efficient way to clear a fence. If a horse pulls its shoulder up, the forelegs are lifted, tucks the rest of his leg well, and he has all but removed his legs from the jumping equation, all he has to do now is lift his body high enough to clear the fence, and basically let his hind end follow the same trajectory, and bingo he is over the fence using the least amount of energy.

For arguments sake there are two types of jumpers/hunters those that follow a trajectory and those that make a trajectory, obviously there are horse in between and past these two types but I think we catch them all with two types. Those that “follow” tend to be round over a fence those that “make” tend to be flatter over a fence.

A follower would be a horse like Untouchable www.showjumpinghalloffame.net/inductees/untouchable.shtml), a maker would be a horse like Jet Run (www.showjumpinghalloffame.net/inductees/jetrun.shtml). Both of these horses have excellent form over a fence, and either form would work for either discipline.

I think that good form itself is the same for both disciplines, but what I think we consider good form really depends on the horse, and what is good form for one horse may not be for another.

Unconsciously I think when those that have experience look at a horse over a fence they do not just see form as an absolute, they see the horses conformation, its movement, its overall look and we basically balance out all the factors involved and determine whether the equation equals good form for that particular horse.

May. 4, 2009, 12:42 PM
hunter form-round, even knees, not loose below, no hanging legs. Nice look, ears up, very aware face but not spooky. No twisting over jumps either

jumper form-can be flat, even knees are nice but not as even as a hunter, if horse has enough scope being a little loose below isn't a big deal. Alot of jumpers like a horse that jumps more flat for time. It doesn't take as much time over a jump if horse is flat and quick than rounding up.

http://www.popeyek.com/popeyeK.html Nice hunter WOW

http://www.imh.org/images/Shawn%20McMillen%20Photography%206(small).jpg Very nice hunter

Dangerous jumping form

http://media.photobucket.com/image/photos%20of%20horses%20jumping/Cwachb/horse%20pics/horse7196938.jpg Nice Jumper WOW

cute jumper

http://www.todayshorse.com/Images/Training/RidingAsFun/JUMP.JPG JUST STUPID :no: sorry had to put this one in I found.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3114/2816587779_7d4573ecba.jpg?v=0 Capable jumper, see how loose the knees are below, but has enough scope to make the jump easily.

Nice jumper very flat and splinter bellied

Hope this helps some. You don't want any horse that jumps knees pointed down or knees underneath himself.

May. 4, 2009, 02:54 PM

To me it looks like this horse might be 'laying on it's side' over this jump rather than truly jumping it squarely. Laying on it's side is when the horse swings it's legs (shoulders) over to one side over of the top of the jump. Rather than lifting/rocking it's shoulders up and back; it swings it's shoulders over to the side. This can be best seen in the straight on photos. In this case you can see that the right leg is more in line with the head rather than the head between the legs.

I found these photos via google which also show this to various degree's.




This is considered a fault in hunters.

Here is what looks to me like a really great hunter jump form in this photo:


I like this jumper quiet a bit. I don't think he is loose below. It just looks to me like he/she was asked to leave from a LONG spot.


I also like these jumpers:



Here are a couple of photos of a jumper laying on it's side:




May. 4, 2009, 03:31 PM
Yes, I know that laying is a major fault in hunters. It maybe possible that the horse I posted is but its really hard to say from the side. It is possible but I'm not 100% that this is so.
The 3rd picture you posted is actually a dangerous jumper. It looks as though he got a bad spot (way to deep) but he has his knees to much under his body to be considered safe (unless he was drove to deep). The last horse you posted is nice :yes:

May. 4, 2009, 03:48 PM
Yes, I know that laying is a major fault in hunters. It maybe possible that the horse I posted is but its really hard to say from the side. It is possible but I'm not 100% that this is so.
The 3rd picture you posted is actually a dangerous jumper. It looks as though he got a bad spot (way to deep) but he has his knees to much under his body to be considered safe (unless he was drove to deep). The last horse you posted is nice :yes:

I don't consider that horse jumping with dangerous form. Here is what I consider to look to be unsafe jumping form. (Of course the some of these rider's possibly burying them into the base is not helping.)






May. 4, 2009, 04:59 PM
:lol: Oh Lordy, those are some really dangerous forms. :eek: Yea, I didn't look to long or hard for any. The one I said is dangerous I would consider to be unless he gets better not drove into the base. He's not as bad as these others by no means but he is not good either. ;)

May. 4, 2009, 05:20 PM
Hunters tend to like the boxier front end. Knees high, but the legs aren't tucked up under the belly. A hunter shouldn't need a belly guard. :D

From what I've heard (and some pictures show) Strapless tended to get a bit jumpery in front over the bigger fences. She was obviously the cream of the crop...but tended to meet the hunter ideal most often over 3'6". The fences went up and she'd tuck those front legs right under her.

IMO, roundness is important for both hunters and jumpers.

The hind end is important as well...not trailing, actively pushing and not just strung out behind.

May. 4, 2009, 11:17 PM
This is my AO Jumper mare:


I think of her form as being very "jumper type" jumping. Tight front end (definitely needs a bellyguard), but not suitable for the hunter ring (though the way she lopes around courses would be perfect otherwise :))

If we're JUST talking about knees I think of hunters as being boxy (as in most of the photo examples above) and jumpers being....well....anything goes really! But if you HAD to split the horses into two groups I would say that I think of "jumper-only-type jumpers" as horses that "fold" their legs and end up with cannon bones almost parallel to the ground and I think of "hunter-type horses" as horses that square up over the fences and end up with cannon bones perpindicular to the ground. Does that make sense?

May. 5, 2009, 09:50 AM
This is what happens when you put a jumper in the hunter ring :cool:

May. 5, 2009, 10:04 AM
Here is what looks to me like a really great hunter jump form in this photo:


OMG, I love this photo and this horse....*drool*

Hunter Mom
May. 5, 2009, 10:37 AM
To me, it is also the "picture" between the fences. A hunter should be quiet, have a consistent pace and seem pleasurable to ride. A jumper may or may not have those characteristics - although they are FUN to ride!

Thanks to everyone who has posted photos.

Wizard of Oz's
May. 5, 2009, 03:31 PM
To me good jumping form is good jumping form, whether it is hunters or jumpers. There is more flexibility with jumpers, since they are not judged on their form. BUT good jumping form is safe, so while horses with uneven front ends can show in jumpers and do well, they are jumping dangerously. I also agree with whoever said that jumpers don't have to jump as round as hunters because flatter jumpers will have less air time.