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RanchoAdobe
Sep. 16, 2009, 02:08 PM
Before I begin, for any of those who are wondering, yes I am an Amateur, yes I compete in the USHJA Derby classes, and yes I have top ten and even top five placings in the Derby classes. My concern with the new Derby specifications is not the new points awarded for the higher options (lets face it, the only way to be competitive in the Derby classes were to complete the higher jumps regardless of whether points were specified for doing so ), but rather with the impact the higher derby height will have on the Derby classes for the junior and amateurs who ride in the classes as well as the junior and amateurs who own the horses the professionals ride in the classes.

First, currently the Derby is an exciting class that draws huge amounts of spectators and brings exhibitors from “both worlds” to hunterland. People enjoy watching the beautiful hunters gallop around natural jumps in fabulous form. I fear that as the jumps reach the height of 4’3 (at least on the west coast) gone will be the true hunters that float across the ground and jump with their knees to their ears, and in their place will be the equitation horses and jumpers that have square knees and can adequately masquerade as a hunter when braided up. The majority of hunters jump 3’6 and the minority of the hunters compete in the 3’9 and 4’0 classes. Is it fair to ask these horses, with no practice classes, to jump up (in most cases) 9 inches higher than they are ever otherwise asked to do? I do not see the Grand Prix horses schooling during the week in the 1.30’s in preparation for the 1.50 class on Sunday. And, while the goal may be in the future to own horses that are purely “Derby” horses, currently the majority of these horses must also show in the regular hunter divisions at significantly lower heights during the week.

Also, I believe many exhibitors come to watch in hopes that one day they to will be able to jump up and challenge themselves and their horses in a Derby class. For an ammy or a junior, the Derby classes are a challenge, but they are an achievable goal. Many of us are willing to go head to head with the professionals and test ourselves and our horses with the 4’0 options, but options that are 4’3 seem unfair to ask of the ammy and juniors who compete in the 3’6 during the week. I think a strong possibility exists that support for the Derby classes will decline when the class no longer becomes a realistic goal for the ammys and juniors. Why do I want to send my horse in to a Derby class with a professional when I have no hope of ever being able to show that horse in the Derby class myself? I think that ammys and juniors may think twice about sending their hunters into the Derby classes, even with professionals, when the risks (horses getting hurt jumping heights they will never be asked to jump in the regular hunter divisions) outweigh the benefits.

I am a huge supporter of the USHJA and the Derby classes and am exceedingly pleased with what the Derby’s have added to the hunters in general (harder handys, more varied courses, and much improved jumps), and do not want to see all these changes for the better come to a halt. Is there a solution that could satisfy both the goals of the USHJA and still keep in mind the ammys and juniors who support the hunter divisions? Perhaps, splitting the USHJA Derby Classes into non-professional and professional classes, with the non-pros jumpoing at the current specs and the pros jumping at the increased heights. In the jumpers, you do not see many juniors and ammys competing in the Grand Prix; instead, you see them in the high Jr/AO classics and the pros in the Grand Prix. In sum, I believe that the spirit of the Derby classes can be kept alive by opening the doors of the USHJA program to the ammys and juniors as well as the professional hunter riders.

JinxyFish313
Sep. 16, 2009, 02:22 PM
I still don't understand this complaint. Low JR/AO jumper riders don't feel some entitlement to lower fence heights and a greater chance of winning Grand Prix classes, why do 3'6" hunters feel they need it? If its too big for you, too great a risk for the horse, don't show in it. Its intended to be challenging and different than a run of the mill classic. I'm so sick of shows dumbing divisions down and offering 6 different sections of <3', modified everything, etc. I'm glad the derby requires everyone to step up.

Janet
Sep. 16, 2009, 02:38 PM
People enjoy watching the beautiful hunters gallop around natural jumps in fabulous form. I fear that as the jumps reach the height of 4’3 (at least on the west coast) gone will be the true hunters that float across the ground and jump with their knees to their ears, and in their place will be the equitation horses and jumpers that have square knees and can adequately masquerade as a hunter when braided up. The majority of hunters jump 3’6 and the minority of the hunters compete in the 3’9 and 4’0 classes.

I thought that was kind of the point.

Years ago, the majority of the hunters (the "true hunters", if you will) jumped 4' and even bigger. But in recent years, more and more "hunters" compete at lower and lower levels (3'6", then 3', and even lower). The Working Hunter divisions (the "true hunters") are getting thinner and thinner.

It was my understanding that the objective of the Hunter Derbies was to bring back the attention and glory to the "true hunters", capable of jumping beautifully at 4' (or bigger).

Sing Mia Song
Sep. 16, 2009, 02:47 PM
The true hunter that floats across the ground and jumps with his knees to his ears over 4'3" will be an unbeatable Debry horse.

A horse who floats across the ground and jumps with his knees to his ears over the lower options may still be competitive, depending on the company.

A horse who jumps well, but with less style, over the 4'3" may still be competitive, depending on the company.

I guess I don't see how the Derby is going to ruin horses for other divisions. A fabulous 3'6" horse is still a fabulous 3'6" horse, he's just not necessarily a Derby horse. In the same vein, a fabulous Children's Hunter may not be a fabulous Junior Hunter. You enter them in the classes where they are most competitive.

Midge
Sep. 16, 2009, 02:47 PM
I think we can already see the result of the Derby in the qualifying list for Harrisburg. 42 Regular horses and 22 Regular Conformation. Wasn't it just two years ago the Regular and Green conformations were combined at Harrisburg? Have there EVER been this many four foot horses? I've been going to Harrisburg for more than 20 years and can't remember numbers like these.

I think it is surperb. Congratulations to the High Performance Committee!

luvs2ridewbs
Sep. 16, 2009, 02:56 PM
I think what the OP is saying is that having the heights maxed out at 4ft makes it an attainable goal for alot of juniors and A/O riders which is why it is popular. If they increase the fences heights, it may turn into something that only the pros do and thus lose popularity. My personal opinion is if it ain't broke, don't fix it. The numbers are big and people are excited. Why do we have to change the rules around?

DMK
Sep. 16, 2009, 03:15 PM
I think we can already see the result of the Derby in the qualifying list for Harrisburg. 42 Regular horses and 22 Regular Conformation. Wasn't it just two years ago the Regular and Green conformations were combined at Harrisburg? Have there EVER been this many four foot horses? I've been going to Harrisburg for more than 20 years and can't remember numbers like these.

I think it is surperb. Congratulations to the High Performance Committee!

bing bing bing, we have a winner! it's great that right now so many ammy and juniors can pack it around in a derby and be competitive. i wish them all the continued success as the class specs strive to develop both the best riders and horses for the intended format. I'm certain as long as there are ammy and jr riders in the GP, there will be plenty of non-pro riders capable of keeping the pros on their toes in the derby. i'm equally certain i won't be one of them. :D

Now, if the format gets really popular, then maybe we could ditch the 3'0 and 3'6 ho hum 5th round of the division, er, i mean classic for a hunter derby class instead?

gasrgoose
Sep. 16, 2009, 03:39 PM
I fear that as the jumps reach the height of 4’3 (at least on the west coast) gone will be the true hunters that float across the ground and jump with their knees to their ears, and in their place will be the equitation horses and jumpers that have square knees and can adequately masquerade as a hunter when braided up.


My guess is that if you can tell the horse is "masquerading as a hunter" the judge will also notice and that will be reflected in the placings. But there are equitation horses and jumpers that will be succesful in the Hunter Derbies, because they are great performance horses!!! There abilities cross over to other areas.

klein64
Sep. 16, 2009, 03:39 PM
I don't understand how the OP expects that equitation horses will have less trouble with the height of the jumps than junior hunters... both divisions are 3'6".

RanchoAdobe
Sep. 16, 2009, 03:40 PM
luvs2ridewbs: EXACTLY. As other posters have pointed out, the 4 foot divisions are filling thanks in part to the Derby classes. Will this trend continue if the Derby is set beyond what any other hunter division asks of the horses? I suppose we will find out.

JinxyFish313- again exactly my point. The Jr/AO jumpers do not feel entitled to lower fence heights and a greater chance of winning in a Grand Prix because they HAVE a Jr/AO classic that is set higher and more challenging (with more prize money) to compete in. Thus my suggestion for a non-pro Hunter Derby. Not just the pros want to be challenged in the hunter ring!! The new format for the Derby does not require "everyone" to step up, but only the pros. How am I supposed to prepare for a 4'3 Derby with only a 3'6 division to compete in (and don't say the ammys/juniors can try their hand at the regulars b/c between work and school showing during the week is not possible for most)

DMK- the comment about the juniors/ammys being packed around in a Derby is a bit of a bold statement if you have seen the riding it takes to beat the pros in a competitive Derby handy round! Though I would be all for the second round of the classic being a handy (thats a great idea)

RanchoAdobe
Sep. 16, 2009, 03:42 PM
Most eq horses also compete in the USET which is 3'9 with wide spreads, and at some point in their lives came down from the higher jumper rings

DMK
Sep. 16, 2009, 04:11 PM
like i said, i'm quite certain there will be jr/ammy riders perfectly capable of riding a bold, forward derby ride at 4'3 just like i've seen them hold their own on Sunay. On the big field. At WEF. And then there will be those who prefer 3'6 or 3'0. No shame in those choices, because I promise you i'll never be in the big class. But i would rather see people expend energy adding more derby classes (where there are derby fences available) rather than dumbing down this most excellent idea. And then make sure that only ammys/ch/jrs entered in their respective divisions) can enter the 3'0/3'6 versions and withold a few key obstacles for use only in the real derby

BAC
Sep. 16, 2009, 04:21 PM
, currently the majority of these horses must also show in the regular hunter divisions at significantly lower heights during the week.

Regular working hunters and regular conformation hunters always showed over 4' fences. And when I was a junior it was not uncommon for juniors to show the same horse in either or both the jr. and working divisions, so I don't see that the height in the new Derby classes should be such an issue.

Seal Harbor
Sep. 16, 2009, 04:22 PM
My old horse did the Regular's when the jumps were 4' - 4'6", this was in the 80's and early 90's. He retired sound from the show ring at 13. At the big shows the oxers would be 4'6". Imagine my surprise when I came back to the hunter world to discover the "4 Foot" horses are jumping 3'9" - the same height as a 2nd year horse. What is the point? ETA: the only shows required to have a 4', 4' division are AA shows.

Here is a Regular horse over a REAL Regular jump.

http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p319/theoutsidecourse/mystuff/scooter_scott_detroit_1.jpg

blueskye
Sep. 16, 2009, 04:30 PM
I wasn't around back in the day when the regulars normally filled. Maybe someone older and wiser can let us know if the Amateurs and Juniors were also riding in the open divisions "back in the day".

My thinking is as an Amateur or Junior you are not restricted to entering the JR/AO division. If your horse is up to the 4' classes, you are free to show him in the OPEN Working Hunter division, which is a legitimate 4' class last time I checked. Then neither of you should feel overwhelmed facing an occasional fence with an additional 3" and you'll be well used to being in the ring with the pros.

Obviously if your goal is to clinch the year end in the JRs or AOs you'll mostly be showing in those divisions at 3'6", but if your horse's talents are really over the bigger fences anyway then why not show in the open division at least now and again to keep him prepped for the Derbies.

ponymom64
Sep. 16, 2009, 04:36 PM
My old horse did the Regular's when the jumps were 4' - 4'6", this was in the 80's and early 90's. He retired sound from the show ring at 13. At the big shows the oxers would be 4'6". Imagine my surprise when I came back to the hunter world to discover the "4 Foot" horses are jumping 3'9" - the same height as a 2nd year horse. What is the point? ETA: the only shows required to have a 4', 4' division are AA shows.

Here is a Regular horse over a REAL Regular jump.

http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p319/theoutsidecourse/mystuff/scooter_scott_detroit_1.jpg

Lovely horse!!!!

ExJumper
Sep. 16, 2009, 04:37 PM
Just to play devil's advocate here, it would be hard for working A/Os, or non-homeschooled JRs to routinely show in the Workings during the week.

No dog in this fight (hoping to jump 3' again some day!) but it isn't quite that easy to get 4' showing under your belt if you have a job or go to school.

Lucassb
Sep. 16, 2009, 04:40 PM
I think the OP asks a very legitimate question.

I do think part of the success of the Derby format to date is due to the opportunity for juniors and ammys to compete at a height that may be a bit of a stretch, but not a huge increase from where they compete normally. There is a lot of challenge implicit already in the format itself - long galloping courses over much more imposing natural obstacles that most will never see in a "regular division" during the week.

I too love the good working hunters who can show a beautiful bascule over 4' in the regular division; I wonder how many will be able to step up another hole in the cups and also cope with the added challenge of a Derby course. Maybe many will, and Derby horses will truly become like GP jumpers - with many participants and a handful of real superstars. Time will tell.

Personally I wouldn't compare today's Derby winners to the hunters that showed at 4' "way back when," although I am old enough to remember plenty of them at places like Piping Rock, Old Fields, etc. Those horses were good jumpers and fun to watch, but most went like the field hunters they often were, and wouldn't be particularly competitive in today's ring.

RanchoAdobe
Sep. 16, 2009, 04:40 PM
I think it would be a great idea for the Juniors and Ammys to show in the regular divisions, but at todays shows the regulars go tues/wed or wed/thurs which makes it impossible for those who work in order to afford to show to be able to compete in the regulars :) I so wish work did not always get in the way (lol)

Does anyone have any opinions on instituting a non-pro Derby or a low/high Derby? This way the Derby class can still be an enjoyable challenge to the ammy/juniors?

Renn/aissance
Sep. 16, 2009, 04:48 PM
Does anyone have any opinions on instituting a non-pro Derby or a low/high Derby? This way the Derby class can still be an enjoyable challenge to the ammy/juniors?

NOOOOOOOOO! The entire point of the Derby class is that it is supposed to be high-performance, the Grand Prix of the hunter world! The second that we talk about lowering the standards of the class, we lose that high-performance aspect!

The majority of the 3'6" hunters out there are jumping 3'6" because the majority of the hunter classes are 3'6". I would be willing to bet that just about all the top A/O and Junior Hunters out there are capable of jumping around the 4' and certainly capable of jumping a couple of 4'3" fences on one course. And with all the juniors crossing over into the high Jr/AO classics, and juniors in Grands Prix, it is ludicrous to suggest that a junior rider can't pilot a good hunter around a course of jumps with 4'3" options. It is also ludicrous to suggest that the top A/O riders out there can't do the same.

As for the question of whether Derbies are rewarding equitation horses and jumpers instead of the "true hunters," that's been debated to death before and I truly don't think that the Derby classes are rewarding anything but a good hunter. The increase in height just takes us back about 10 years. Let's not get complacent and suggest that classes should be dumbed down for the majority. Aspire to be better.

ponymom64
Sep. 16, 2009, 04:52 PM
IMO, I think the popularity of the derbies is because the way it is currently structured makes it sort of an attainable goal for a junior or an ammie with a nice horse. I would hate for it to become something unattainable for many and I think it would lose numbers, if that were to happen.

BAC
Sep. 16, 2009, 04:53 PM
I wasn't around back in the day when the regulars normally filled. Maybe someone older and wiser can let us know if the Amateurs and Juniors were also riding in the open divisions "back in the day".

Until the mid to late 1960s (I think maybe 1965 or 1966) an amateur division didn't even exist, after you aged out of the junior hunters you rode in the green or regular divisions. I clearly remember Kristine Pfister rode her hunters Highclere and Valhalla in both junior and regular working divisions on a regular basis, and was a major winner in both, frequently beating the pros. And that was not at all unusual for a jr. to show her horse in both of those divisions in those days. Even the conformation divisions had a lot more entries than they do now, although not as many as the working divisions.

MHM
Sep. 16, 2009, 04:56 PM
Does anyone have any opinions on instituting a non-pro Derby or a low/high Derby? This way the Derby class can still be an enjoyable challenge to the ammy/juniors?

I don't see anything wrong with that idea, if there are really enough entries to warrant it.

I'd rather see one Derby with a healthy number of entries than two weak Derby classes at the same show. I think part of the appeal of the Derby is that now it's a special event. It won't be so special if there are two or three Derby classes at every show.

toomanyponies
Sep. 16, 2009, 05:05 PM
I think we can already see the result of the Derby in the qualifying list for Harrisburg. 42 Regular horses and 22 Regular Conformation. Wasn't it just two years ago the Regular and Green conformations were combined at Harrisburg? Have there EVER been this many four foot horses? I've been going to Harrisburg for more than 20 years and can't remember numbers like these.

I think it is surperb. Congratulations to the High Performance Committee!

Ok, before we get TOO excited let's talk facts. Yes there are 22 in the Regular Conformation, BUT they TOOK EVERYBODY WHO ENTERED which means if you showed in the division once, you're in. And in the Regulars the cutoff was 120 points - again, one horse show.

MHM
Sep. 16, 2009, 05:10 PM
Ok, before we get TOO excited let's talk facts. Yes there are 22 in the Regular Conformation, BUT they TOOK EVERYBODY WHO ENTERED which means if you showed in the division once, you're in. And in the Regulars the cutoff was 120 points - again, one horse show.

True, but there have been years where they took all who entered, and still didn't have anything like that many entries.

I actually had to check the Ryegate list after I read Midge's post- those numbers seemed incredible. (Not that I didn't believe Midge. :lol:)

Janet
Sep. 16, 2009, 05:17 PM
I wasn't around back in the day when the regulars normally filled. Maybe someone older and wiser can let us know if the Amateurs and Juniors were also riding in the open divisions "back in the day".

IIRC, back when I was first aware of Show Hunters (early 60s), the "Hunter Division" consisted of
One unrestricted (or maybe it was "gentleman to ride") class
One "lady to ride" class
One "junior to ride" class
One "handy hunter" class

All at the same height

So, to win a championship, a horse had to go well under multiple riders.

Yes, there were even quite small juniors (e.g. 12 yo) in the "Hunter Division".

But, of course, in those days a Show Hunter was expected to go with enough pace that jumping 4' was not as big a deal.

zahena
Sep. 16, 2009, 05:19 PM
Not having been able to actually attend an event with a derby my thoughts would be this.

If it does get that challenging, there will be a new "sect" of horses. You have your hunter, your equitation horse, your jumper and now your derby horse.

I think personally what I would hate to see happen is for it to lose its luster by having to have it at every level like a classic for example. A 3' derby, 3'6", etc etc. It's there to be different and alluring but if you saturate the market with them to appeal to the masses then you're losing the spirit of why it returned to begin with.

Personally I would like to see more challenging hunter courses. Or a wider variety for hunters than inside line, diagonal line, outside line, etc. Maybe something that steps between the Derby and the basic hunter rounds.

Star Creek
Sep. 16, 2009, 05:48 PM
Personally I would like to see more challenging hunter courses. Or a wider variety for hunters than inside line, diagonal line, outside line, etc. Maybe something that steps between the Derby and the basic hunter rounds.

I have a lovely mare that pins well in the hunters, and darn I love getting dressed in my hunter clothes, but the bore-you-to-tears-jump-it-while-asleep-ALWAYS-the-same-stupid-course hunter divisions forced me over to the jumpers.

Both us gals are too old and out of practice for a 4' or above derby, but please, for the sake of all good and right, will someone make the hunter courses in all divisions more challenging. Me and my mare would love to get all polished up again for shows.

CBoylen
Sep. 16, 2009, 05:52 PM
I sort of cringe every time I see someone complain about a hunter course not being challenging enough. The course is not supposed to be the challenge. The course is a backdrop. The challenge is finding a nice horse, preparing it to jump and go its ever loving best, and riding it to display that. If the course is judging the class then it's not a hunter class.

zahena
Sep. 16, 2009, 05:52 PM
zzzzzzzzzzzz.......... Sorry my head hit the keyboard thinking of hunter courses.....

Apparently someone locally had the GALL to put a bending line into a course and was practically bbq'ed for it. Seriously, if you can't ride a bending line what are you doing at the show???

Okay, back on topic. Sorry for the diversion.

Star Creek
Sep. 16, 2009, 06:05 PM
I sort of cringe every time I see someone complain about a hunter course not being challenging enough. The course is not supposed to be the challenge. The course is a backdrop. The challenge is finding a nice horse, preparing it to jump and go its ever loving best, and riding it to display that. If the course is judging the class then it's not a hunter class.

I mean really...huh ???

CBoylen
Sep. 16, 2009, 06:45 PM
I mean really...huh ???
Presuming that's a serious question.
What I mean is that a hunter course should showcase the horses. The "test" of the hunter ring is the quality and preparation of the horse compared to that of the rest of the class. If you notice the course itself having an adverse effect on the rounds, then it's not a good course. It should be inviting and flowing. It should allow and encourage the horses to go and jump their best so the judge has the opportunity to choose the best *horse* from a collection of good trips.
I didn't mean to offend you or single you out in particular for your comment. It's just that I feel like any rider that's complaining the hunter courses are "boring" is either not suited for the discipline or not focusing on the correct aspects of their trip. The rider should be focused on the jump and the canter. That's a lifetime's worth of work right there, regardless of what track you happen to be jumping when you go in the ring. The arrangement of the jumps should have very little effect on your ride. Your ride should be all about your horse.

hellerkm
Sep. 16, 2009, 06:54 PM
Presuming that's a serious question.
What I mean is that a hunter course should showcase the horses. The "test" of the hunter ring is the quality and preparation of the horse compared to that of the rest of the class. If you notice the course itself having an adverse effect on the rounds, then it's not a good course. It should be inviting and flowing. It should allow and encourage the horses to go and jump their best so the judge has the opportunity to choose the best *horse* from a collection of good trips.
I didn't mean to offend you or single you out in particular for your comment. It's just that I feel like any rider that's complaining the hunter courses are "boring" is either not suited for the discipline or not focusing on the correct aspects of their trip. The rider should be focused on the jump and the canter. That's a lifetime's worth of work right there, regardless of what track you happen to be jumping when you go in the ring. The arrangement of the jumps should have very little effect on your ride. Your ride should be all about your horse.
I totally agree, Hunters are their own "sport", showing your horse to the best of its ability is never boring or routine, even if the course is set the same every time you have the potential to perfect it ( or screw it up LOl) every time you ride it! Now I am NOT against the bending line, or out of the ordinary fence mixed in, a Hunter should be able to jump down a line with a bend in it without breaking that nice even flowing stride, and a strange or unusual fence should not freak a true hunter out ( they may well encounter one in the "field" if they were really hunting) but the idea of changing courses and the true focus of the sport in order to make is more interesting defeats the purpose of having a "hunter" in the first place.
I am of the opinion that the Derby's should stay as they are. They are drawing large crowds, lots of interest, and there have been a variety of winners ( Jr's, ammys professionals ect) so as far as I can tell its working, if it ain't broke don't fix it, as some wise person once said!!!

vineyridge
Sep. 16, 2009, 07:10 PM
So regular hunter courses are sort of like school figures used to be in figure skating. Boring as hell for the spectators, who won't pay to watch them, but necessary proof of training.

I thought these were supposed to be horse SHOWS. Without spectators there is nothing to show to.

Maybe in ten years or so, we'll have come up something like hunter freestyle to music. Set obstacles that can be taken in any order by a competitor and accompanied to music.

If a course doesn't show that the horse is rideable, what good is it? Do you really want courses that a monkey could jockey around?

diKecnadnuS
Sep. 16, 2009, 07:20 PM
I would like to see the courses not necessarily be more challenging, but to contain more interesting jumps, and other aspects. I remember one class at Biltmore years ago actually had a 1 to a 5 triple line, and it was the first line of the course! I loved it! It was really great to know I needed to have my pace right after the first fence (a single, of course) to get the in and out to the 5 to work nicely. I always really enjoyed bending lines and when showing outside in a large ring a true long gallop to a single oxer was heavenly! As far as jumps go, I'd love to see some more "hunt" type fences - why not add in some coops to go with those roll tops? Or put tons of brush up to create an aiken? The few shows I did with natural log fences really were a blast to ride. I think the derby is doing a good job of this, but it would be nice if some of the course elements of the derby could rub off on the rest of the hunter divisions.

I think the derby is great!

RockinHorse
Sep. 16, 2009, 07:30 PM
Just to play devil's advocate here, it would be hard for working A/Os, or non-homeschooled JRs to routinely show in the Workings during the week.

No dog in this fight (hoping to jump 3' again some day!) but it isn't quite that easy to get 4' showing under your belt if you have a job or go to school.

Of course around here the A/O's often go during the week anyway and JRs aren't usually in school year round ;).

FYIW, back in the 70's I showed my junior hunter in the working hunter division.

RockinHorse
Sep. 16, 2009, 07:32 PM
NOOOOOOOOO! The entire point of the Derby class is that it is supposed to be high-performance, the Grand Prix of the hunter world! The second that we talk about lowering the standards of the class, we lose that high-performance aspect!

The majority of the 3'6" hunters out there are jumping 3'6" because the majority of the hunter classes are 3'6". I would be willing to bet that just about all the top A/O and Junior Hunters out there are capable of jumping around the 4' and certainly capable of jumping a couple of 4'3" fences on one course. And with all the juniors crossing over into the high Jr/AO classics, and juniors in Grands Prix, it is ludicrous to suggest that a junior rider can't pilot a good hunter around a course of jumps with 4'3" options. It is also ludicrous to suggest that the top A/O riders out there can't do the same.

As for the question of whether Derbies are rewarding equitation horses and jumpers instead of the "true hunters," that's been debated to death before and I truly don't think that the Derby classes are rewarding anything but a good hunter. The increase in height just takes us back about 10 years. Let's not get complacent and suggest that classes should be dumbed down for the majority. Aspire to be better.

What she said :yes:

Go Fish
Sep. 16, 2009, 07:54 PM
It's just that I feel like any rider that's complaining the hunter courses are "boring" is either not suited for the discipline or not focusing on the correct aspects of their trip. The rider should be focused on the jump and the canter. That's a lifetime's worth of work right there, regardless of what track you happen to be jumping when you go in the ring. The arrangement of the jumps should have very little effect on your ride. Your ride should be all about your horse.

Bingo. I see the jumps in the hunter ring as the backdrop to effectively showcase the skill and quality of the horse. Kinda like the sets on a stage...it's the actors that we care about.

Madeline
Sep. 16, 2009, 08:57 PM
... Now I am NOT against the bending line, or out of the ordinary fence mixed in, a Hunter should be able to jump down a line with a bend in it without breaking that nice even flowing stride, and a strange or unusual fence should not freak a true hunter out ( they may well encounter one in the "field" if they were really hunting) but the idea of changing courses and the true focus of the sport in order to make is more interesting defeats the purpose of having a "hunter" in the first place.
...

Well, I'm OK with that as long as you put "hunter" in quotation marks...

twobays
Sep. 16, 2009, 09:15 PM
Presuming that's a serious question.
What I mean is that a hunter course should showcase the horses. The "test" of the hunter ring is the quality and preparation of the horse compared to that of the rest of the class. If you notice the course itself having an adverse effect on the rounds, then it's not a good course. It should be inviting and flowing. It should allow and encourage the horses to go and jump their best so the judge has the opportunity to choose the best *horse* from a collection of good trips.
I didn't mean to offend you or single you out in particular for your comment. It's just that I feel like any rider that's complaining the hunter courses are "boring" is either not suited for the discipline or not focusing on the correct aspects of their trip. The rider should be focused on the jump and the canter. That's a lifetime's worth of work right there, regardless of what track you happen to be jumping when you go in the ring. The arrangement of the jumps should have very little effect on your ride. Your ride should be all about your horse.


I respect your opinion, but you're creating a false dichotomy. A course can be inviting and flowing and still be a little more sophistocated than outside-diagonal-outside-diagonal. I'm not talking about a course full of tricky related distances and traps, but I think the idea that anything other than the outside-diagonal course is antithetical to the hunter world is ridiculous.

ivy62
Sep. 16, 2009, 09:16 PM
The hunter derby reminds me of the days of old..when a hunter was more like the field hunter. Even paced and made it look easy but the jumps were sizeable. The working were always 4 ft....I have my favorites Ruxton and of course Stocking Stuffer.....A nice jump with a "cracked" back and knees square and up won the class....
When I did pony hunters, in the early 70's we were on outdoor hunt courses not in a ring.. The jumps were more natural..like things you would find on a hunt...isn't that the idea of a hunter? Also with hills and such....on grass....

twobays
Sep. 16, 2009, 09:19 PM
but the idea of changing courses and the true focus of the sport in order to make is more interesting defeats the purpose of having a "hunter" in the first place.


But the whole purpose of a hunter is to have a horse who can go out and gallop over anything you put in front of him on any track. It's about putting in a beautiful trip over a variety of different obstacles, not chugging around at a slow canter jumping the same identical eight jumps over and over.

If you like the sport the way it is, that's fine. But you can't justify the montony of the modern hunter world by saying that any change defeats the original purpose of having a hunter.

ynl063w
Sep. 16, 2009, 09:44 PM
But you can't justify the montony of the modern hunter world by saying that any change defeats the original purpose of having a hunter.

Monotony is in the eye of the beholder. Those who are capable of appreciating what the show hunters of today are really about can sit and watch all day, and learn a lot in the process. Those who can't might want to consider watching another discipline.

Dinah-do
Sep. 16, 2009, 09:50 PM
Well something has to happen to add some zing to the hunter divisions and so far the Derbies are IT. I love hunters but by all that is holy there is squat in common to the crawly rounds seen today and to real hunters on an outside course. I would love to see a real hunter with a fake tail hanging off it's ass! Hunters are boring to the majority of people. No spectators, no sponsorships and guess what - NO ENTRIES. The classes are shrinking at least on the west coast. Even 1st and 2nd year pre-green classes are combined more often than not. . . . Something has to happen and comments that the course is not inviting a flowing gallop is just crap. The hunters need to up the ante; the distances not always related and lines that show the horses talents. Add a bank. dry ditch, something, anything.

ynl063w
Sep. 16, 2009, 10:08 PM
Well something has to happen to add some zing to the hunter divisions and so far the Derbies are IT. I love hunters but by all that is holy there is squat in common to the crawly rounds seen today and to real hunters on an outside course. I would love to see a real hunter with a fake tail hanging off it's ass! Hunters are boring to the majority of people. No spectators, no sponsorships and guess what - NO ENTRIES. The classes are shrinking at least on the west coast. Even 1st and 2nd year pre-green classes are combined more often than not. . . . Something has to happen and comments that the course is not inviting a flowing gallop is just crap. The hunters need to up the ante; the distances not always related and lines that show the horses talents. Add a bank. dry ditch, something, anything.

When did hunters ever draw tons of spectators? Or any sponsors? Hunters have always been boring in the eyes of the masses. Has the west coast EVER been the mecca of show hunters? Those of you who act like counting strides is new crack me up - it's been going on for over thirty years.

JinxyFish313
Sep. 16, 2009, 11:00 PM
Spectators? Really? Ive only been to a handful of shows that attract non-horsey spectators. Who cares about spectators? That's the least of our worries.


Amen to CBoylen. To me a beautiful hunter round is one in which the horse stands out. He is exceptional and pleasing to look at. It doesn't matter what he's jumping, he's the horse you can't take your eyes off of. You don't need a super complicated course to see this.

Star Creek
Sep. 16, 2009, 11:02 PM
But the whole purpose of a hunter is to have a horse who can go out and gallop over anything you put in front of him on any track. It's about putting in a beautiful trip over a variety of different obstacles, not chugging around at a slow canter jumping the same identical eight jumps over and over.

If you like the sport the way it is, that's fine. But you can't justify the montony of the modern hunter world by saying that any change defeats the original purpose of having a hunter.

I knew if I went out to school my horses, by the time I returned someone would have stated my opinion much more eloquently than I could have done. Much thanks to TwoBays, Madeline, Ivy62 and Dinah-Do for much well said.

It's not the stride-counting per se that is the problem in my mind. It is that modern "hunter" courses have become a very, very simple dressage test with jumps...and the same two tests every single show. Hunters should gallop over a course that has some tests of their rhythm and rideability. Modern "hunter" courses do not.

Hunter Derby classes on the other hand certainly do and that is the reason why so many of us find them so appealing.

CB I do agree with your "lifetime" of work comment. I'll never stop learning or striving for that perfect ride, whether I'm working on perfecting my equitation for a medals class, trying to cut my time in the jumpers or attempting to make my hunters show lovely rhythm, gorgeous form over fence and the appearance of rideability in the hunter ring. (the final for me is no doubt a lifetime pursuit, none of them are really that rideable ;) )

Dinah-do
Sep. 16, 2009, 11:03 PM
Hunters did attract spectators - they were here long before jumpers - say years and years ago. But hunters have to do more to attract spectators and sponsors or the classes will be cut. Then what?The only hunter classes left are on the East Coast? Wonderful. Hunter classes have always been "on-stride". When people actually started counting strides I have no idea but I judged a classic 35 years ago and all three judges argued then about related distances. Nothing new there. There have been many articles on nice west coast hunters that have gone "back East". Trainers used to buy on the west coast because the prices were better not beciase the horses were less quality.

twobays
Sep. 16, 2009, 11:19 PM
Monotony is in the eye of the beholder. Those who are capable of appreciating what the show hunters of today are really about can sit and watch all day, and learn a lot in the process. Those who can't might want to consider watching another discipline.

:lol: I mean, I don't sit around watching dozens of hunter trips when I show...I mostly play in jumperland anyway.

If you really want to sit here and argue with me that seeing dozens of trips (excluding the reallyreally nice horses in the Workings and 3'6" divisions) at a barely canter over the exact same course isn't dull, be my guest. I'm glad the hunter rings will have at least one spectator. :winkgrin:

DuffyAgain
Sep. 16, 2009, 11:37 PM
Count me in on the rail watching beautiful hunters all day long, and then some. :)

MissIndependence
Sep. 16, 2009, 11:57 PM
I wasn't around back in the day when the regulars normally filled. Maybe someone older and wiser can let us know if the Amateurs and Juniors were also riding in the open divisions "back in the day".

My thinking is as an Amateur or Junior you are not restricted to entering the JR/AO division. If your horse is up to the 4' classes, you are free to show him in the OPEN Working Hunter division, which is a legitimate 4' class last time I checked. Then neither of you should feel overwhelmed facing an occasional fence with an additional 3" and you'll be well used to being in the ring with the pros.

Obviously if your goal is to clinch the year end in the JRs or AOs you'll mostly be showing in those divisions at 3'6", but if your horse's talents are really over the bigger fences anyway then why not show in the open division at least now and again to keep him prepped for the Derbies.

I showed my best Jr. hunter in the Regulars as well "back in the day" in the late 70's. It was common and not looked upon as being extraordinary. And I did it at 13 years old. Nobody patted me on the back or thought it was amazing. I had done the Jr. Hunters since I was 9. I was NOT the only younger riding doing that either. That was also when the Jr. Jumpers were 4'6" in every class, there were no Low Jr.s or Ao Jumpers and the jumper fences were basically huge hunter jumps. Options were fewer, fences were sometimes bigger, and less divisions meant moving up sooner and bigger and without the more gradual steps that exist today. It was simply a function of the times. It did also tend to weed out the horses that couldn't jump bigger jumps more quickly and concisely.

I think that making the height a bit bigger shouldn't ruin it for people. I believe judges can still mark amazing horses for their rounds at the smaller options when appropriate. I also think that Derby horses should be another cut above the norm (just like a true Grand Prix horse) ....spectacular and special. If these classes harken back to true hunt field handywork and bravery, then it isn't just about the "prettiest" and floating hunter. This format demands boldness, rideability, stability, and clean and great jumping form. I think horses that some people deem as "marginal" because they are a bit more like jumpers or eq horses underappreciates some potentially wonderful Derby candidates. Hopefully these classes will bring back some of the bravery and power of the older style hunter. Beauty will always take our breathes away....but other qualities in these horses can have value and beauty as well. I love watching big slow loping warmbloods crawl over jumps in perfect bascule...but I also loved watching the older style hunters gallop and jump without hesitation. There is probably room for all of the above options. I think making the fences a few inches bigger will not stop the great Jr.s and AO competitors from throwing their hats into the ring and keeping up. As an ammie, its always tough to ride against the amazing pros out there....but that just makes those opportunities that much sweeter when they arrive!

Madeline
Sep. 17, 2009, 06:56 AM
Monotony is in the eye of the beholder. Those who are capable of appreciating what the show hunters of today are really about can sit and watch all day, and learn a lot in the process. Those who can't might want to consider watching another discipline.

Oh, really. Are you saying that if we don't appreciate watching horses lumber around 8 practically identical perfectly spaced fences at a glacial pace pretending to be athletic we aren't smart enough to even watch?????

DuffyAgain
Sep. 17, 2009, 07:27 AM
I can't be 100% positive where others are coming from, but I feel assured no one is calling anyone not "smart" enough if they don't enjoy watching the hunters. ;)

Just different strokes for different folks.

Some people live to watch golf, for heaven's sake! :D

Midge
Sep. 17, 2009, 07:36 AM
Sadly, the two identical courses problem is strictly economical. Time is money and taking the time to actually change the course between trips and the advent of back to back trips means 'same song, second verse.'

lauriep
Sep. 17, 2009, 07:46 AM
And my alter ego, Midge, has once again gotten to the crux of the matter. It is ALL about time and money. Easy courses that demand few adjustments mean more horses through the ring. Plain and simple.

As for the Derby upping the ante, let them try it for a year and see if it affects entries/performances! It's not like the rules can't be changed back if it doesn't work. I doubt the originators thought so many juniors and ammies would step up at the current levels. I choose to believe they will continue to do so, and WE'LL ACTUALLY DEVELOP SOME UPPER LEVEL RIDERS THAT CAN RIDE. The jumper ring didn't used to be the only route to elite riding. Most of the best jumper riders ALSO rode hunters, successfully, and will tell you that the riding of BOTH contributed to their eventual success in the upper level jumpers.

Midge
Sep. 17, 2009, 08:13 AM
Ok, before we get TOO excited let's talk facts. Yes there are 22 in the Regular Conformation, BUT they TOOK EVERYBODY WHO ENTERED which means if you showed in the division once, you're in. And in the Regulars the cutoff was 120 points - again, one horse show.

Oh, it's always been that way, at least for the 20 years or so that I have been paying attention. If you enter, you are in. However, those numbers have always been low. A friend was champion at Harrisburg in the regular conformation against seven others. Maybe three years ago, PopeyeK was one of two in the conformation. The regular division would have 25 or so and you could sit in the stands at Harrisburg and a third of the class wasn't what you would term a hunter. But, it jumped 4' and entered, so there it was.

So, here we are in a bad economy, numbers at a whole lot of horse shows are down, yet the division with historically the smallest numbers has twice as many as usual. It's Derby excitement.

People now talk about owning a Derby horse. Not to be exclusively a Derby horse, but one that could do the AO's or Juniors then step up to the Derby.

zahena
Sep. 17, 2009, 09:54 AM
I guess then if everyone wants to keep the same ole same ole 8 fence courses, what prepares you then for hunter derby? Its not likely that you can go from doing a standard hunter course even at the 4' level to going straight hunter derby and being fine. Where are you supposed to get in some ring experience?

If jumpers show earlier in the week at a lower level before the grand prix then where on earth will hunter derby horses practice? Because doing standard and related distances aren't going to ask the questions a derby course will.

While I enjoy hunters, I do want to see the horses challenged. I too remember "back in the day" when a course was a course. Not the same 8 jumps over and then flip it and go again. I just want to see some challenge. For me, I want to be able to either use hunters as a springboard for my kids and my horses to continue their career or as a way for them to perfect something a little more techincal.

I second whomever said about challenging some bravery. Think about what hunters came from, actually going out and jumping over an open field HUNTING.

gasrgoose
Sep. 17, 2009, 10:50 AM
Hunter classes have always been "on-stride". When people actually started counting strides I have no idea but I judged a classic 35 years ago and all three judges argued then about related distances. Nothing new there.

Does anyone know when and why they started counting strides? It seems to me if the pony/horse keeps a consistent pace and finds proper distances the number of strides in between should not be that important. Was it implemented to give something concrete that could be judged?

ivy62
Sep. 17, 2009, 11:04 AM
Striding has been a pet peeve of mine for a long time. Agreed if a horse flows and jumps well who cares how many stride they get..But also remember when everyone was in a "D" ring rubber snaffle then a full cheek? There is a bit of trendy stuff with hunters...
Like I said before I did not ride the A/O or Working I rode the ponies but we jumped in the ring and out, up hills and down hills, over tires, natural jumps, little banks and ditches..My pony had a blast! That was riding to me....The pictures over these fences are really nice too....He also doubled as a pony jumper..yes he did it with nice form but he was bold but easy to rate too...He was a good eq pony too....! I learned to ride on a pony that cracked his back, no flat jump here!
We had so much fun in those days...we rode in fields, went swimming in the lakes..It was more of the freestyle type stuff and I think we had more confidence and our horses saw everything and spooked at nothing.....
Sorry about the soap box..I'll get off it now.....

Trixie
Sep. 17, 2009, 11:17 AM
I respect your opinion, but you're creating a false dichotomy. A course can be inviting and flowing and still be a little more sophistocated than outside-diagonal-outside-diagonal. I'm not talking about a course full of tricky related distances and traps, but I think the idea that anything other than the outside-diagonal course is antithetical to the hunter world is ridiculous.


But the whole purpose of a hunter is to have a horse who can go out and gallop over anything you put in front of him on any track. It's about putting in a beautiful trip over a variety of different obstacles, not chugging around at a slow canter jumping the same identical eight jumps over and over.

I’m rather in agreement here. While I certainly understand that hunters are about the horses – and I can watch the best All. Day. Long. – having horses canter the same courses day in, day out isn’t necessarily improving the sport… or the horses. I don’t think that we’re getting away from the “purpose” of show hunters by suggesting an equally inviting, flowing, forward riding course that happens to be different than 8 fences of outside, diagonal.

I also think it’s a mistake to be discounting the need for spectators. There have been multiple threads on this bulletin complaining about how expensive and unaffordable horse showing at the top levels is. If there WERE spectators, people would WANT to sponsor, and if the shows were well-sponsored, in theory, either costs could go down or prize money could go up.

Dinah-do
Sep. 17, 2009, 11:18 AM
I might guess somewhere around 1970 for actually counting strides. Jumpers walked courses in the late 60s (Rothmans era) but hunters were supposed to jump "out of stride" ever since I can remember. Classics were supposed to get the horses galloping as trank was far too common. No disputing that there are a lot of differences from then and now. Mid 70's had a lot of very slow hunters but reserpine was drug of choice then.

crestline
Sep. 17, 2009, 11:35 AM
I'm a huge fan of the Hunter Derby concept...We've won it, we show it, we love it and are breeding horses to go the Regular/AO/Hunter Derby career path.

With that in mind I do think it would be nice to have a little more variety brought into the lower hunter divisions. Things to get the horses used to seeing different jumps while they are developing their show careers. As a nice side effect I think it would make the hunter ring a little more interesting...yes I get that the ride is the challenge but I really don't think it would hurt to try and add some unusual jumps. As the horses move up the levels the distances could be more challenging, bending lines etc. Someone compared it to a dressage course with jumps...look at how more challenging their rounds get as you move up the levels in dressage yet still asking for the same obedience, polish, and perfection when at training level all the way up to GP. It is their "course" that changes...couldn't ours do more of that and have it also be a great prep for horses growing up for the Derbies?

It's great that the Derby classes are challenging...heck, at Thunderbird the hunters showed in the Derby field....we got one morning to school up there to get used to the banks, grob, etc. I thought it might give the jumper/eq horses a huge advantage but interestingly the hunters really did great. Maybe we just need to get used to asking our horses to rise to the challenge.

zahena
Sep. 17, 2009, 11:35 AM
I’m rather in agreement here. While I certainly understand that hunters are about the horses – and I can watch the best All. Day. Long. – having horses canter the same courses day in, day out isn’t necessarily improving the sport… or the horses. I don’t think that we’re getting away from the “purpose” of show hunters by suggesting an equally inviting, flowing, forward riding course that happens to be different than 8 fences of outside, diagonal.

I also think it’s a mistake to be discounting the need for spectators. There have been multiple threads on this bulletin complaining about how expensive and unaffordable horse showing at the top levels is. If there WERE spectators, people would WANT to sponsor, and if the shows were well-sponsored, in theory, either costs could go down or prize money could go up.

So well put Trixie, this was exactly what I was thinking, only eloquently put. My kids frequently ask me "how many strides do I need to get?" To which I respond worry about getting a nice even pace and you won't need to worry about it.

DMK
Sep. 17, 2009, 12:50 PM
I do get a bit of a giggle at the idea of people defending hunters in their current format, with an argument that rests on "but it's been this way for 30 years" (the unspoken hint is that the old fogies should get with the program and trade in your cassette players in for CD players). But the thing you are resisting is ... change? I see ipods in your futures. ;)

Ravencrest_Camp
Sep. 17, 2009, 12:56 PM
I do get a bit of a giggle at the idea of people defending hunters in their current format, with an argument that rests on "but it's been this way for 30 years" (the unspoken hint is that the old fogies should get with the program and trade in your cassette players in for CD players). But the thing you are resisting is ... change? I see ipods in your futures. ;)

Cassette players?? What the hell am I suppose to do with my 8 Track :confused:

Good post BTW.

whbar158
Sep. 17, 2009, 01:11 PM
I think you can change hunter courses without making them too hard, it also depends on what shows you go to, if you really only do the AA's then you do see cool courses that are just challenging enough without taking away from the goal of the hunters. Often though these types of courses are usually used for the A divisions (jr, AO, ponies, green, working etc) and often the CH/AAthe divisions get left out of the more interesting courses.

I do not have a problem with the idea of using a more derby like course in the classics for the lower divisions because sometimes people just don't have the horse/money/skills to do 3'6"+.

I love doing cool courses, I think a course designer can easily add in a more natural jump and some bending lines that can be ridden a little differently for each horse.

I like the idea of having the classes all be a little different, maybe start off with a straight forward course, then have more classes closer to handy status.

Again I feel this is something more pointed to smaller A's and local shows that need to make their courses better. I won't lie sometimes it does get boring....outside 5 inside 6 outside 5 single oxer.....I do understand the challenge of still getting all those distances with the right pace, but I think a few more options would be interesting, ie a bending that could be done either in 6 or 7. Just something a little different sometimes.

ponymom64
Sep. 17, 2009, 01:27 PM
I think you can change hunter courses without making them too hard, it also depends on what shows you go to, if you really only do the AA's then you do see cool courses that are just challenging enough without taking away from the goal of the hunters. Often though these types of courses are usually used for the A divisions (jr, AO, ponies, green, working etc) and often the CH/AAthe divisions get left out of the more interesting courses.

I do not have a problem with the idea of using a more derby like course in the classics for the lower divisions because sometimes people just don't have the horse/money/skills to do 3'6"+.

I love doing cool courses, I think a course designer can easily add in a more natural jump and some bending lines that can be ridden a little differently for each horse.

I like the idea of having the classes all be a little different, maybe start off with a straight forward course, then have more classes closer to handy status.

Again I feel this is something more pointed to smaller A's and local shows that need to make their courses better. I won't lie sometimes it does get boring....outside 5 inside 6 outside 5 single oxer.....I do understand the challenge of still getting all those distances with the right pace, but I think a few more options would be interesting, ie a bending that could be done either in 6 or 7. Just something a little different sometimes.


The last week of Vermont this year - the second day of children's had some handier courses. The first course started off with a single to an 8 stride bending, the second course started on the 8 stride bending - diagonal 5 to an 11 - 13 stride bending. It was a bit of a challenge to say the least - especially for our baby horse. He was a little confused as he had just learned to stay straight - LOL!!!

We thought it was fun and a learning experience but you should have heard a few of the BNT's by the in gate complaining that the course was too hard!!

Dinah-do
Sep. 17, 2009, 01:57 PM
One other comment. One judge this summer stated that once a distance passes 100' it is not a related distance and any striding is ok. I was also taught long ago that jumps on each side oh a turn are not on a related distance and therefore any striding will do. I think a few riders were a bit surprised.

CBoylen
Sep. 17, 2009, 02:02 PM
I respect your opinion, but you're creating a false dichotomy. A course can be inviting and flowing and still be a little more sophistocated than outside-diagonal-outside-diagonal.

Of course it can. And how often do you go to a show and not see a bending line anyway? And of course we all have to jump a handy every week. My point though was that the course isn't the point. If you aren't going in and scoring a 100 every time, then you are being challenged. If you are coming out of the ring bored, then yes, something is wrong, but it's not something the course designer can fix. Your horse should excite you every damn time it leaves the ground. If it's not doing that for you then it's not doing anything for the judge either.

showmom858
Sep. 17, 2009, 02:13 PM
The Children's Hunter Chase at Pebble Beach was a great example of a course that was more challenging than the regular hunter course. There were 12 jumps which included a hay bale and a split rail option. There was also a long bending line. DD's trainer had her do some inside turns in the course and she rode it well. We would love to see more of these types of courses at shows that can challenge those riding at 3', but looking to move up.

evans36
Sep. 17, 2009, 02:15 PM
OK, I'm zipping up the flame suit, and maybe I don't quite get this because I'm not enough of a perfectionist to have stayed in the hunters where I grew up, but....

OP, three inches is a huge problem for the entries? Really?

It's been awhile since I have been in hunterland but I LOVE the derbies - if things had stayed that way I would never have left. But I just think that quibbling over raising heights 3" tells me that those horses/riders that might have a problem shouldn't be riding in the derbies in the first place.

ponymom64
Sep. 17, 2009, 02:27 PM
The Children's Hunter Chase at Pebble Beach was a great example of a course that was more challenging than the regular hunter course. There were 12 jumps which included a hay bale and a split rail option. There was also a long bending line. DD's trainer had her do some inside turns in the course and she rode it well. We would love to see more of these types of courses at shows that can challenge those riding at 3', but looking to move up.

That sounds like fun - love the split rails and hay bales! Vermont was just regular horseshow jumps - nothing fancy. And no inside turns :( as it was our little guy's first show at the 3' and we didn't want to throw too much at him ;)

MHM
Sep. 17, 2009, 02:29 PM
OP, three inches is a huge problem for the entries? Really?



It's not just three inches, it's three inches in addition to the six inches the option jumps have already been raised from the height the junior and amateur horses normally jump.

Any horse in any division might think a jump that's nine inches higher than it usually sees looks a bit big. That's like saying a children's or adult hunter should be able to jump 3'9" now and then. If it could, it probably wouldn't be doing the 3' division in the first place.

MHM
Sep. 17, 2009, 02:34 PM
There were 12 jumps which included a hay bale and a split rail option. There was also a long bending line. DD's trainer had her do some inside turns in the course and she rode it well. We would love to see more of these types of courses at shows that can challenge those riding at 3', but looking to move up.

I think it's a good idea to have the more difficult jumps as options at the lower levels. That way, people who are "looking to move up" can try the tougher options, without forcing the others to do the same if they're not ready.

ivy62
Sep. 17, 2009, 02:41 PM
Ravencrest_camp..what about my reel to reel?
Change can be good....and sometimes going back to the old is good too..Wish the eventers would bring back the long format but that is another story,,
My thing is hunters are supposed to be showing versatility, rideability and eveness of gait..shouldn't we make the jumps like the field that they are suppose to be facing in the fieldhunt? Of course there are no hounds to contend with either or the proper field positions of your mount so a challenging course should be a good thing.. Options are always nice with bonus points attached..
JMHO

Renn/aissance
Sep. 17, 2009, 02:44 PM
It's not just three inches, it's three inches in addition to the six inches the option jumps have already been raised from the height the junior and amateur horses normally jump.

Any horse in any division might think a jump that's nine inches higher than it usually sees looks a bit big. That's like saying a children's or adult hunter should be able to jump 3'9" now and then. If it could, it probably wouldn't be doing the 3' division in the first place.

Good thing no one ever told my Children's hunter he couldn't pop over a 3'9" fence every once and again. He was on the chicken side anyway, imagine if he'd been told he couldn't do something? He was a 3' horse because after one look at his X-rays you wouldn't want him to be a 3'6" horse, but a bigger jump now and then didn't phase him. I suspect the same is true of other 3' hunters out there--the majority who are out on the A-circuit doing the NAL and M&S 3' stuff are at the 3' either because of their riders, because they're stepping down from the 3'6" because of age, or because they aren't physically able to campaign at the bigger fences anymore. Doesn't mean that a couple of high sticks a couple times in a summer is going to kill them.

Personally, when a fence gets at or above 3'9" I don't think "It's a 3'9" [or 4' or 4'3", whatever] fence." I grab mane and think "That's big, don't miss!" The extra inches don't make that much difference. :lol:

Treasmare2
Sep. 17, 2009, 02:49 PM
I grew up like Ivy did.....there was often an offering of "hunter on an outside course" on properties that were big enough to privide this option. As Ivy said, we jumped in and out of sand rings onto grass fields where footing may have been alittle unlevel. Hunters moved along at a safe but a speedier pace than they currently do and when I was on ponies I do not recall being taught to count strides....we used our eyes and rode things "off our eye". The hunters started at 3'6 as the entry divison and since then it has been dumbed down....I do not mean that in a rude way.( The current offerings allow more people to enjoy this sport and as I have gotten much longer in th etooth it is nce to have the option).

Today the hunters are actually alot safer and have higher numbers and a beutiful round by a fancy horse makes my heart sing. I could watch them all day. Riding the perfect beautiful round is a very hard thing indeed. On the flip side I see that the brillent, brave and capable hunter has been lost somewhere in history. Not every horse canbe that kind of hunter but I think the "invention" of the Derby and the derby horses has been a start to re devolping the hunter athlele of years gone by. It may not be for everyone just like th egrand prix jumper is not for everyone or every horse. The star jumpers with the right training and the right rider can get there......the derby Horse may be the star hunter that has the right training and the right rider.

I think the Derby has allowed good riders and good horses to step up to the plate but it ought not to stop there. The grand plan was to improve the hunter situation in North America I believe....now it is time to push one more step. It would be sad if that step left the current good 3'6 and 4ft horses behind. There needs to be a place for the 3'6 horses and the non pro riders......otherwise it becomes a sport for the professionals only. As noted many 3'6 riders and horses can tackle some 4 ft fences but above that height only the truely outstanding can select the bigger option. The rest take a second look and then perhaps steer to the lower option. It does, however, begin to create a place for the development and support of elite talent. Without opportunities and some push I doubt it will happen. The reality is that not everyone is going to be able to or want to take advantage of that opportunity.

Times are tough and to get the numbers the lower option needs to be cultivated as well or the money will not continue to flow out of pockets. As an older ammie rider showing 3'6 on a horse that can do much better than that with style I am very tempted by watching this. I can see myself taking a crack at it and even geeting on that nice roll and going to a few 4ft fences. Once the option becomes 4'3 I have to say "no deal" but that does not mean all should be held back to accomadate my too old body. In my youth I would have said "show me the fence!!!" and I think that increasing the size will attract the younger talent. It contributes to the development of horses and riders but it still needs to keep the place for the rest of us to play too. Maybe there needs to be a place created for the elite at a level of their own? Perhaps they could all show together but the ones selecting the 4'3 option fences are judged on a separate card??? I am not sure how it needs to be worked out but I do beleive 3'6 and over are horses that are in a different league ....they need a place to demonstrate their abilities and potential. And it is indeed more fun to watch. This discussion is proof that it is causing a stir and I haven't heard that much excitement in hunterland for a long while.

PaintPromoter
Sep. 17, 2009, 03:24 PM
I have to agree with those who believe derbies are for the best of the best. I have been gone from riding for ten years and recently was able to find my way back. When I did, I found many changes, and most seemed...like regressions for the sport. And that's only in the past ten years! I love jumping big, but enjoy the elegance of hunters verses the braizeness (spchk) of jumpers. Hunters used to regularly jump 4' and that was the norm. Allowing an owner of a sound and capable 16.3 horse get away with calling it a hunter when it is only completing 2'6 courses is absurd. That's what pleasure classes are for, and there's NOTHING wrong with pleasure classes. If I had my way, no horse hunter course would be lower than 3'6. If you are worried about you or your horse breaking down or not cutting the mustard, then you may not be what you thought you were, and that's nothing to be disappointed about....just find a different division.

I'm sure back in the day, jumping/riding for pleasure on trial rides may have included fences higher than 2'6, and honestly for most horses they appear to walk over 3' anyway. Maybe raise the bar in the pleasure division to satisfy those who want to jump 3-3'6. Hunter and pleasure horses aren't allowed to act fussy on course, but Derby horses can. They're expected to show a bit of life, take jumps out of stride, and exhibit bold decisions on courses. Who knows, maybe all along people have been calling pleasure horses, hunter horses. There's all different types of horses, (race horses, cow horses, jumpers, etc). Not every horse can do every event, or even every version of the same event. I used to run track in high school, but anything over 220 yards was too much for me, and I'm OK with that. Some people just have to realize the same limitations about their horses and be OK with that reality. :)

2bayboys
Sep. 17, 2009, 04:19 PM
Your horse should excite you every damn time it leaves the ground. If it's not doing that for you then it's not doing anything for the judge either.

:yes::yes::yes:

I like to think this is why I enjoy the hunters so much, I want to watch and feel that damn good jump.

However.........

Maybe if the courses were changed up a bit, then that damn good jump would happen more often from some of the good ones who have half gone to sleep jumping the same-old same-old for the past 100 horse shows. Show the horse a bit of a challenge and a bit of the wow factor might come back.

dags
Sep. 17, 2009, 04:32 PM
I kind of like the backdrop analogy, and the bit about the horse exciting you every time it leaves the ground realy hit the spot for me.

Maybe the simple courses wouldn't be so offensive if there weren't 4 of them in each division?? The handys have certainly helped spice it up and allow the horse to be judged on rideability, but if the whole point of hunters is to showcase the horse, in a dog show type of way, then why do we need 3 attempts of outside/diag/outside to show off the beast? A simple round that shows off style, a handy round that shows off rideability, and an under saddle is really all that needs to be done . . . and it would take a LOT of monotony out of the day . . . and there would be enough time in the day to actually have a designated First Round in the Classics again, as mentioned in another thread . . . and we might actually have some horse left over to do the Medal classes with, instead of everyone having another horse for them. While I know the attraction of a handy ride with a flatter jump has helped create the title "Equitation Horse", I also think this type developed because there came a point when there were too many equitation and hunter classes to do with just one horse.

zahena
Sep. 17, 2009, 04:38 PM
Dags actually brings up a good point of too many classes of the same. Recently our eventing trainer tried to bbq me because I took a mare to a show and didn't lunge her first. Well, the mare had a minor bucking fit (like 2) and tossed her rider.

So I was asked why didn't I pull her off the trailer and lunge her first. My answer was simple. I needed a horse left at the end of the day. I couldn't let her run her race so to speak on a lunge line. Competing in 7 classes or more a day in the heat and standing around waiting for your round takes a ton out of any horse.

enjoytheride
Sep. 17, 2009, 10:03 PM
I disagree with the lunging. If the horse bucked its rider off the horse might be too fresh. Some horses need a few minutes of lunging to let them loose a bit. If the horse ends up being too tired you can always withdraw from a few classes, and frankly some horses can deal with being a bit tired.

When I started showing my mare I had to lunge her twice during the day when I was showing her. She has finally gotten used to the excitement of a horse show and I can safely get on her right off the trailer. It depends on the horse, yes a rider should be expected to ride a slightly fresher horse but there isn't any reason to put someone in danger when a little lunging can prevent that.

Texan By The Grace Of God
Sep. 17, 2009, 11:08 PM
Of course it can. And how often do you go to a show and not see a bending line anyway? And of course we all have to jump a handy every week. My point though was that the course isn't the point. If you aren't going in and scoring a 100 every time, then you are being challenged. If you are coming out of the ring bored, then yes, something is wrong, but it's not something the course designer can fix. Your horse should excite you every damn time it leaves the ground. If it's not doing that for you then it's not doing anything for the judge either.



Very well said.

luvs2ridewbs
Sep. 18, 2009, 09:59 AM
I like Dags idea of shortening the regular hunter divisions to an over fences/handy/US. However, there will be resistance since the horse will not have as many opportunities to gain points. Thats why there are 4 over fences classes: 4 chances to win, 4 chances for points. In a shortened system, it would take two shows to amass the amount of points that one show does now.

Dinah-do
Sep. 18, 2009, 10:12 AM
The price of a hunter that is capable of scoring 100 is somewhat of a challenge as well. Hunters are more expensive than jumpers.The more questions asked of a hunter will even the competition out a bit.

DMK
Sep. 18, 2009, 10:23 AM
that's true, but if logic prevailed (and i realize that is highly unlikely given that we are talking about horse folk ;) ), they would realize that everyone else had the same limitations. 2, 4 or 200 classes per division only matters if you are competing against someone else that has the option of getting more/less point opportunities per show.

What less o/f classes does is put more weight on the hack, and i'm not sure that is a great idea. But you could reduce the hack to count for less points in division calculation to offset that effect.

i do like the idea of an a/o-jr derby at 3'6 with higher options though. Something not open to pros, and maybe limitations on horses entered in both to prevent them from being schooled for one or the other.

And as for idea that the higher derby heights ultimately favors flat eq style jumpers, that just doesn't make sense. It just opens the winning door for the person who does have the good jumper. And then next thing you know, everyone is chasing the winner, trying to get a better horse. The same thing happens in every other division. it's not the uninspired mediocre, but well behaved hunter with an accurate rider that dominates the division. It's the accurate rider with the horse that makes your jaw drop when he jumps a fence that owns the division. Why would a 4'3 big money derby be any different?

Just like when you see a beautiful jumper slowly canter around the course, taking the safe but accurate long trip to the single and you think that is pretty damn awesome. Right up until you see an equally accurate rider on a just as beautiful jumper take the bold gallop to that single oxer. You hold your breath all the way to the base of the fence, and then you realize there is a new standard out there if you want to be the winner.

JinxyFish313
Sep. 18, 2009, 10:56 AM
I disagree with the lunging. If the horse bucked its rider off the horse might be too fresh. Some horses need a few minutes of lunging to let them loose a bit. If the horse ends up being too tired you can always withdraw from a few classes, and frankly some horses can deal with being a bit tired.

When I started showing my mare I had to lunge her twice during the day when I was showing her. She has finally gotten used to the excitement of a horse show and I can safely get on her right off the trailer. It depends on the horse, yes a rider should be expected to ride a slightly fresher horse but there isn't any reason to put someone in danger when a little lunging can prevent that.

If a rider can't handle their horse when he/she is fresh, the rider should have a different horse, IMO.

zahena
Sep. 18, 2009, 11:01 AM
Actually, I've been coaching on this mare for 2 years now. In those 2 years she's only done this one other time. I know it sounds bizarre but if she sees the previous trainer she was with, she bucks. And it's not like MONSTER bucking fit, it's like one or two LITTLE bucks. Rider just was nervous and couldn't handle it. I did lunge her after that but all other times, you pull her off the trailer, hop her over a few fences and she goes in to be either reserve or grand champion in her division. She's one of those "old school" packer pros.

I'm still trying to figure out if it's a coincidence or not. Previous trainer also had some serious issues getting the mare to load, both to and from events. I've been able to throw the rope over the mares back at the barn, smack her on the butt and she will TROT into the trailer unguided so......

evans36
Sep. 18, 2009, 11:04 AM
"Just like when you see a beautiful jumper slowly canter around the course, taking the safe but accurate long trip to the single and you think that is pretty damn awesome. Right up until you see an equally accurate rider on a just as beautiful jumper take the bold gallop to that single oxer. You hold your breath all the way to the base of the fence, and then you realize there is a new standard out there if you want to be the winner."

I guess that's my beef with the "boring courses," in a nutshell. Well said! It's not that there isn't still a challenge if you're not getting a 100 every time on an inside/outside/diagonal course, but that it just doesn't have the thrill of the bolder rides. It's like watching the Corinthian classes at the hunt shows - there's just some pizazz there that is missing from the hunters as they currently stand, 10 jump or not, IMHO. People use the word "stylish" to describe hunters, but when I watch a horse that is jumping in beautiful form but his ears are lopped and his eyes are sleepy... it just doesn't make me want to ride him. I can intellectually admire the beauty of the picture, but there's no spark there, and without spark, there's no style, I think. Yay for the derbies to bring that back!

RockinHorse
Sep. 18, 2009, 11:44 AM
Just like when you see a beautiful jumper slowly canter around the course, taking the safe but accurate long trip to the single and you think that is pretty damn awesome. Right up until you see an equally accurate rider on a just as beautiful jumper take the bold gallop to that single oxer. You hold your breath all the way to the base of the fence, and then you realize there is a new standard out there if you want to be the winner.

But only if the judge rewards the bolder horse which they do not always do....

luvs2ridewbs
Sep. 18, 2009, 12:04 PM
To solve the points issue, a show could always have those 3 classes double judged like they do on the breed circuits. Of course, that would cost the show more...

TB110
Sep. 18, 2009, 12:25 PM
Coming from the point of view of a jumper perspective I don't understand the problem with 4'3". That is a low junior jumper height.. 3'11" puts you only at the modified junior. I'd think a good hunter horse should be able to jump at least a few jumps that are 4'3".

babecakes
Sep. 18, 2009, 01:54 PM
So I was asked why didn't I pull her off the trailer and lunge her first. My answer was simple. I needed a horse left at the end of the day. I couldn't let her run her race so to speak on a lunge line. Competing in 7 classes or more a day in the heat and standing around waiting for your round takes a ton out of any horse.

Well if hunters weren't so fat these days (not implying that your's is) and were a bit leaner and more fit ..... horses used to work all day, plowing, pulling carts, wagons and carriages, maybe 12-14 hrs a day. Tell the show sissies how lucky they are.

Likewise I hope that the derbies bring back the pizazz, the scope, the forward style. Maybe the WB blood registries need to keep that TB infusion that they used years back to lighten the old heavier style horse.

dags
Sep. 18, 2009, 03:37 PM
luvstoridewbs, it would have to be a universal decision among the powers that be (ie, the managers), or I guess a USEF declaration, or maybe that's just how I assumed it would happen - but the idea would be everyone would be forced to gather their points in only 3 classes per division. I don't think a single show trying this format would succeed at all, for the reason you mentioned and because we're pretty darn dependent on a warmup plus at least 3 over fences rounds to get it right.

DMK, very good point about the hack - I wouldn't want to see that matter any more than it does already. 20-40-40%? Sounds about right.

and it would save us money on division entries . . . kids could actually share a horse at one show without killing the beast . . . less jumps for the horse . . . less hours waiting around for the jog or hack . . . winding up by sundown . . . judges would have to be thrilled - 50 childrens hunters, 200 trips of the same 3' horses over and over again? oi vey.

We have to admit referring to that "wow" feeling at each and every jump is typically referring to the working hunters, which make up a smaller and smaller percentage of our shows each year. The 3' hunters aren't really wowing anyone (please don't take offense to that, that is not my intention) and they're making up an awful lot of the day's trips . . . so you can see how some are coming with the "for the love of god please spice it up" argument. Many probably don't even get the chance to watch the Greens and Regulars go midweek, which I could (and do) spend hours watching.

The only real drawback to fewer classes, as far as I can tell, is the money the show stands to lose by every hunter on the property dropping 2 classes . . . however, if they are going to continue to add a million divisions to cater to every competitor then it should even out. This 4 o/f and a flat came along when we had about half as many divisions and medals as we do now, and no one has revisited it since.

Addison
Sep. 18, 2009, 04:43 PM
I know some shows in my area are offering Hunter Derbies at lower heights, just for fun. They look like great fun and give the kids and younger adults a chance to compete outside of the ring. Can you imagine...riding off your eye? ;)

In all honesty, I would expect to see the best of the best jumping around at the USHJA derbies at the big shows. I do not think we need to dumb them down when the whole point of implementing the series was to raise the bar and reward a little brilliance on behalf of the horse, complimented by some bold riding.

RugBug
Sep. 18, 2009, 05:45 PM
I love the concept of the Derby. I would love for it to be my goal...but it's just not do-able for me: in horse flesh, jump height, show cost, etc. Increasing the heights makes it even that more unattainable for me.


Well if hunters weren't so fat these days (not implying that your's is) and were a bit leaner and more fit ..... horses used to work all day, plowing, pulling carts, wagons and carriages, maybe 12-14 hrs a day. Tell the show sissies how lucky they are.

Um, I'm pretty sure a "fit" horse wouldn't make the poster's problem any better. In fact, it would make it worse.

zahena
Sep. 18, 2009, 05:53 PM
LOL!!! Good point RugBug. She actually is very fit indeed. she's a lesson horse. The true packer type and a seasoned show pro.

I think what annoys me is the implication that I don't know my horse or that I would be putting people's safety at risk. Any horse is capable of bucking. ANY horse..... It was quite out of her natural character!

But back on topic, I think if we start making Hunter Derby something everyone can or will do not only will it lessen its excitment factor but it also removes the goal for our kids today. Right now, my kids goals are to do well in Medal and equitation classes. Once that goal is achieved, time to find a new one. For the ones who want to do well in hunters and have a tangible goal, the derby would be it.

RugBug
Sep. 18, 2009, 06:16 PM
But back on topic, I think if we start making Hunter Derby something everyone can or will do not only will it lessen its excitment factor but it also removes the goal for our kids today. Right now, my kids goals are to do well in Medal and equitation classes. Once that goal is achieved, time to find a new one. For the ones who want to do well in hunters and have a tangible goal, the derby would be it.

I agree that having lower Derbies would lessen the excitement. Which is why I'm all for more interesting courses in regular hunter classes. :winkgrin: The course shouldn't do the judging, but why not ratchett things up a notch and go for perfection over a more interesting course? Doing hunters right is difficult for sure. But that doesn't mean there isn't room to step up your game...even for the best of the best.

I'm kind of with dags on this: one regular trip, one handy and a hack.

CBoylen
Sep. 18, 2009, 06:23 PM
I don't get all the posts wanting to reduce the divisions. Who wants to spend the money and take the time to travel to go to a show for two o/f classes?

Trixie
Sep. 18, 2009, 06:55 PM
If classes are held over two days, for a lot of folks that ups the expense substantially. Perhaps not if you have multiple rides and you + trainer/barn are already planning on the week, but for those who are planning to go up and back in a day, it can quite add to the expense. Extra hotels, stall, extra trainer fees, braider, etc - it adds up substantially. And lets not even get started on trying to take off from work... :)

I can see both points regarding simple v. complicated courses. Yes, a nice simple outside diagonal course can show off a nice hunter. But, so can something more challenging. I've found that my guy can do a regular hunter course in his sleep (albeit not perfectly, and we have that to work on) but I get the more brilliant jumps if the course is more challenging. Frequently, I find myself riding far better as well.

dags
Sep. 18, 2009, 07:07 PM
I don't get all the posts wanting to reduce the divisions. Who wants to spend the money and take the time to travel to go to a show for two o/f classes?

Isn't that essentially what the jumpers do? I guess the Jr/AO/Ch/AA often have 3 classes, but spreading 3 classes over 3 days isn't exactly the epitome of economical either - for the rider that is ;-)

Linny
Sep. 18, 2009, 07:10 PM
We've gone off in two directions here, but I think that they still tie up nicely.

As far as Derbies, I think they are great. The committee formed them with a 3'6 option so unlike the Grands Prix in jumpers, there WAS a low option that it is now proposed to dismantle.
I do like the idea that the 3'6 option offers to non pro and young riders. Having the option might encourage the 12-13yo childrens rider to move up to the jrs or the AA to go up to AO's where they can prep for a possible try at Derbies. Not every 3'6 or 3'9 horse can or should do 4'3. I'm not for dumming the Derby down, but keeping it at it's current level seems OK to me. As it is, I think most will agree that the "wheat separates from the chaff" pretty effectively in these events.

As for hunters being boring, I am on the losing end of the "scoring 100" learning curve that CBoylen mentioned. But I too think that hunters get boring. Courses are dull, (pretty but dull) and the metronome that jumps square gets the blue. I like to see interesting courses, handies and such coming back. I think that this is one of the positive "trickle down" effects of the Derby concept. I like a course that allows a horse to show off a true hand gallop and which demonstrates that the horse/rider can do more than count.

It is encouraging to see local affiliates offering "Derbies" at lower levels with some more challenging courses and the possibility of rewarding a slightly different ride.

CBoylen
Sep. 18, 2009, 07:11 PM
If classes are held over two days, for a lot of folks that ups the expense substantially. Perhaps not if you have multiple rides and you + trainer/barn are already planning on the week, but for those who are planning to go up and back in a day, it can quite add to the expense. Extra hotels, stall, extra trainer fees, braider, etc - it adds up substantially. And lets not even get started on trying to take off from work... :)

I certainly see your point. But, I was considering more the divisions that currently always run over two days. The majority of people I know do not have a trailer, frequently show at shows 6 or 8 hours away, and at shows that run multiple weeks in a row. So you have the shipping fees, stall, day care fees, ect... all to do two classes per week? That is why the concept makes no sense to me.

Trixie
Sep. 18, 2009, 07:23 PM
I could see it making more sense for divisions to always run over 2 days at the biggest of "A" shows and one day for the smaller rated shows. For instance, folks really travel from everywhere to Wellington or to Upperville. People are probably less inclined to travel far to a smaller but still A-rated show.

Especially given the economy at the moment, if shows want to keep bringing in numbers, they need to make it possible for people. In the future, do you think as many people will be shipping 6-8 hours away for a horse show week after week? Or will they be cutting back and attending shows in their backyard, hauling themselves, or ?

That's an idle thought. I don't know, I'm sure some folks will still travel. Others are priced out now, and the cost of hauling to far away big horse shows, as a general rule, is not exactly lessening.

RugBug
Sep. 18, 2009, 07:58 PM
I don't get all the posts wanting to reduce the divisions. Who wants to spend the money and take the time to travel to go to a show for two o/f classes?

As Trixie indicated it's about cost. I currently don't show at A shows: I can't afford it. Time off of work, hotels, stalls, shavings, feed, etc. Run a division on one day and I could definitely do some As that were local to me (selection is small, but I could do it). Three classes is very doable on one day. Heck, even four classes on one day is do-able. And let's be really honest...5 classes IS do-able (possibly more so at the lower levels)...but shows just don't run that way. They WANT to keep you there so you're spending all that money.

And you're right, I wouldn't haul 6-8 hours for 3 classes, but I'm not sure I would for 5 classes either. I would do it for shows within a 2 hour radius, however.

PonyPenny
Sep. 20, 2009, 06:00 PM
Yes, I would love it if entire divisions at the smaller A and B shows would be on one day. From where I live in Southern California, most of these shows are about 60 miles from home. This means a hotel room or getting up at the crack of dawn to drive 120 round trip in order for my daughter to do an entire division. Daughter is not old enough to drive herself and the cost of gas and/or hotel rooms really ad up. Medal finals are also over several days and it really gets expensive. I know everyone wants to make money, but in these tough economic times, I was hoping that show would make some adjustments for affordability. I guess it is wishful thinking.

EMWalker
Sep. 21, 2009, 10:53 AM
I really like having the 3'6'' option in the Derbies. I will be moving up to the 3'6'' AO's next year and my mare will also be doing the First Year's with my trainer. She is pretty much topped out at 3'6'' (more a stride issue then a scope issue) but I still want to the option to be able to compete in the Derbies. I will not win but the class looks like SO much fun and is a goal for this Ammy. If ALL the fence heights are 4' + then it really isn't an option for me and my 15.3 hh pony. Sure, she can handle a 4' option every once in a while but Working Hunter, she is not.

If that is going to be the trend of the Derbies, then can they PLEASE make the A/O classics more of a Derby format? Make the second round of the Classic a challenging handy round.

I love the fact that all 'A' rated division are required to have a handy round -- brilliant! For those who are bored with the hunters in their area, come to Texas. We have some great shows with great courses!

Linny
Sep. 21, 2009, 12:37 PM
EMWalker, you are exactly the kind of rider I had in mind in my earlier post on this thread. Having the 3'6 option gives you a goal of being able to compete in Derbies. While riding our horses better is always a goal, it is also somewhat intangible. The day your trainer says "EM, I think that you and Mare are ready for the Derby at X!" is a big day, a moment when you know you have accomplished something.

supershorty628
Sep. 21, 2009, 12:48 PM
Isn't that essentially what the jumpers do? I guess the Jr/AO/Ch/AA often have 3 classes, but spreading 3 classes over 3 days isn't exactly the epitome of economical either - for the rider that is ;-)

Those divisions (particularly the junior/a-os) pay a lot more than any of the hunter divisions do, though! Haha.

EMWalker
Sep. 22, 2009, 10:32 AM
EMWalker, you are exactly the kind of rider I had in mind in my earlier post on this thread. Having the 3'6 option gives you a goal of being able to compete in Derbies. While riding our horses better is always a goal, it is also somewhat intangible. The day your trainer says "EM, I think that you and Mare are ready for the Derby at X!" is a big day, a moment when you know you have accomplished something.

Thanks Linny!

There are so many people that gripe and bitch on this BB about riders not learning how to ride and not moving up in divisions etc etc. How do we "move up" and become better riders if we can't even compete in big classes? Since when is being a 3'6'' rider considered lower level?

Those classes are drawing HUGE entries (20, 25, 30+) but a large number of those entries are Ammy's and Juniors with 3'6'' horses. Not GP Jumpers etc -- they are true Ammy and Junior HUNTERS. By eliminating the 3'6'' options you will severely deplete the number of entries and eliminate some fantastic hunters that deserve to be in those classes.