View Full Version : Horses that do both hunters and eventing (low levels)?

M. Owen
Jan. 6, 2010, 11:11 AM
Hi- I am a hunter rider, but enjoy hacking out and have done some XC schools on occasion on other people's experienced horses. I have a 7 yr old horse that is still a work in progress, but has become quite successful in 2'6" hunter/ equitation over the past year and is happily schooling 2'9" and some 3' at home.

I am working on coming up with our plans for 2010, and am considering trying some XC schools and maybe a little event. My h/j related goals were to qualify for the local 2'6" equitation finals, and we've already done that, so I am thinking we should branch out. My mare enjoys hacking out alone or in company and is brave and smart (albeit opinionated in the way of all mares). I know her previous owner took her out XC schooling and did at least one event (elementary level I think). I have an okay grounding in dressage thanks to my wonderful trainer, although the idea of an actual dressage test intimidates me a little.

So, now that you have a little background, onward to my actual questions.

1. Does anyone have horses that are successful as lower level hunters (say 3' or less) and lower level eventing (likely BN/ N or lower)? Do you think eventing made them "hotter" when it comes to trying to do a hunter show? I am asking because my girl is actually quite a nice hunter and is getting to the point where pretty much anyone can get on her and "point and shoot" , and I'd like to keep that quality.

2. How often do people school XC? I don't have my own trailer and board at a farm with no easy access to XC jumps, so the cost of trailering to a place where I can school is a factor. What else can I do to prepare? I was thinking hacking out as much as I can, once the weather cooperates come spring.

3. Anything else I should consider, or experiences people can share with crossing over?

Thanks for your opinions and advice. I do have the necessary equipment, i.e. XC vest, boots for my horse, and good helmet, and have been to watch several events in my area to cheer on friends, so I do have those resources going for me.

Long Shadow Farm
Jan. 6, 2010, 11:29 AM
My QH guy is great at the 3' Hunters.... and we do the 3'6" jumpers and event through Training Level. He isn't any hotter for the Eventing or Jumpers. I think alot of it is a pretty smooth ride is great for all three sports. I always try to make my jumper and stadium rounds look like a hunter ride.. smooth and quiet. We just might take a tighter turn than we would if we were in the hunter ring.

I would say to take a few lessons with a good eventing coach and get the help schooling a few courses at facilities that you would like to show at.

Good luck... it can be done.


Jan. 6, 2010, 11:33 AM
There are a lot of good h/j to eventer threads right now, so they would be good for you to read.

You can DEFINITELY do both hunters/eq and eventing, especially at the BN/N level. There is nothing outstandingly complex that a decent horse shouldn't be able to do (no matter the discipline). A simple dressage test with 20m circles at the trot and canter, a simple show jumping course with a simple combination, and what should be a straightforward and inviting xc course that will probably have a little ditch question, easy water, and a bank. You don't even go very fast on xc...about a hand gallop.

And I don't think eventing makes horses "hot", especially at the lower levels. You don't need any more fitness for the lower levels than you would for the hunters (and, really, an event horse often jumps a lot less fences at an event than a hunter jumps at a horse show). The thing that makes event horses "hot" is the fitness that you start to need as you move up the levels, and some horses handle the fitness MUCH better than others (meaning, event horse does not necessarily equal HOT). I don't think you have to worry too much about her getting hot, HOWEVER, she MIGHT get bored in the hunter ring. She might not, but just be aware that a horse that gallops confidently around a xc course might laugh at a hunter course...that doesn't necessarily mean she'll get hot or strong, she might just not be that impressed anymore.

The only thing I will STRONGLY urge you to do is take lessons from an event coach. They will be able to help you adjust your position for xc so that you are safe and secure, they will be able to help teach you about pace and rhythm, and they will be able to help you understand the rules of the sport.

As far as xc schooling goes, you'll get a whole host of opinions on this. Our school of thought on schooling is less is more. Our green horses and riders will school a few times until they are comfortable with the whole idea and ready to go out an compete...usually 2, maybe 3 times (although good brave babies are usually good with 1 school). Our going horses and riders usually school once or twice a year (usually in the spring and again in late summer before the fall season). And we'll school if someone is having an issue that can't be solved at home over show jumps. We want our horses to not get complacent with xc jumps, so by not over schooling, they still respect them. However, there are plenty of people out there who feel they need to school EVERY course that they may or may not compete over, school before every event (this make a little sense if you only show a couple of times a year), and go schooling just because they can.

Good luck and enjoy and be aware that you might become hooked and leave the hunters far, far behind you (best thing about eventing vs hunters?? RIDE TIMES! You know EXACTLY when you need to be in the ring! :winkgrin:).

Jan. 6, 2010, 11:41 AM
All my life my horses and my students horses have crossed disciplines. I think it is actually essential to be a good, effective rider to try different disciplines as well as making for a more confident, versatile and happy horse! I believe all eventers should ride in some hunter shows and with hunter trainers, to learn finesse and smoothness. I beleive all hunter riders should do some dressage and take lessons from some dressage trainers to learn to properly supple their horses and learn exercises to strengthen and engage the hindend. Show jumping plays into both disciplines and can teach any rider a lot. I see no reason, why a hutner cannot go and do some low level events and just have a lot of fun! My main suggestion is to LEARN THE RULES, there are some significant differences between the rules for eventing and hunter/jumper as well as some tack and equipement do's and don'ts. Not fun to get eliminated for something as simple as using a stnding martigale for example! ANyways, go have fun! In terms of schooling, I think it would be wise to take a few eventing cross country clinics. I offer introductory level clinics at Five County Stables in Zebulon, NC from time to time throughout the year, which is a great place for people in this area to "Test the waters". We cover rules as well!

Jan. 6, 2010, 12:20 PM
I had a large pony who was very successful in the hunter ring, did the pony hunters and 3ft stuff. I had always wanted to try eventing so we went to a xc schooling with a local eventing trainer. I evented her up to Novice before getting my other mare. Basically, I never went back to the hunters after that. There is no feeling in the world like running xc! My pony is now being leased and going to be taking a little girl to her first events this season.

From Hunter Pony

To Event Pony

M. Owen
Jan. 6, 2010, 12:35 PM
Thanks for the feedback so far, it is all very encouraging. I will plan to work with an eventing trainer for XC schools, great advice. I definitely want my horse and I to have a positive experience, so approaching each obstacle correctly with the right position and rhythm would be important. I feel like having the right ground person/ trainer will help to make sure we both stay safe. I'd also like to have someone help me walk XC at an event to make sure I understand the track and jumps, as well as guide me through the rules.

I am getting excited now about coming up with a plan and finding the right person to work with! I was concerned about making her hot because there is a good chance a kid at the barn may borrow my horse a bit this year for some mini-medal classes and finals, so I didn't want her to become too difficult. My gut instinct is that we'll become a more well rounded and solid team, glad to hear that is frequently the case. Thanks all, you're a supportive group!

Jan. 6, 2010, 05:34 PM
I used to be a H/J rider until I went to college, and the best low-pressure boarding facility was an old event barn with XC galore. I never looked back, though my ten years of H/J really helped in stadium!

I say go for it... you might not look back!

Jan. 6, 2010, 06:22 PM
1. Does anyone have horses that are successful as lower level hunters (say 3' or less) and lower level eventing (likely BN/ N or lower)?
Yes. I have a Prelim eventer that can jump around the hunters in style. My goal is to run him in the Hunter Derbies and move him up to Intermediate.

Do you think eventing made them "hotter" when it comes to trying to do a hunter show?
I have to make more horse hot at the start box. He's more than happy to be lazy and sleepy allll day long.

2. How often do people school XC? I don't have my own trailer and board at a farm with no easy access to XC jumps, so the cost of trailering to a place where I can school is a factor. What else can I do to prepare?
Whenever you can or want to! I school my kids/LL horses at least once a month but it is not nessessary.
Just go out galloping with your friends. cut loose and have fun. LL XC is all about giggles and fun.

you are right to ask these questions because hunters are not really about jumping style. PLENTY of horses jump with their knees cranked up to their eyeballs. Winning the hunters comes down to that huge slow rhythmic stride that never changes.
: )

Jan. 6, 2010, 06:54 PM
It can be done and doesn't even have to be that low of a level. We had (several years ago now) a horse that evented at intermediate, but would regularly go do the working and handy hunters at 3'9". He was quite good at both, and definately not hot! He was always the top 3 in both disciplines even in large classes. Secretly I think he preferred the hunters....he was always about energy conservation.

Heinz 57
Jan. 7, 2010, 01:48 PM
I'm glad to see this thread. :)

I have intentions of crossing over with my mare this year, although in the other direction! I'm primarily an eventer, but based on my limited knowledge of H/J, I think she has the style and rhythm to make a decent hunter and it will be great exposure for both of us.

Truth be told, I'm a little nervous!

Jan. 7, 2010, 02:25 PM
1. Does anyone have horses that are successful as lower level hunters (say 3' or less) and lower level eventing (likely BN/ N or lower)?

I took Gwen to a hunter show--her last show--at the age of 20 after a LONG career as an eventer. We did the 3'6" and 3'9" hunters. She did great. :D

Do you think eventing made them "hotter" when it comes to trying to do a hunter show? I am asking because my girl is actually quite a nice hunter and is getting to the point where pretty much anyone can get on her and "point and shoot" , and I'd like to keep that quality.

Mine was hot from the get-go, and that was as true at age 20 as it was when she was six. But she knew the difference between XC and jumping in a ring. She was keen and forward in a ring, but by the time she was older she was so darn broke you never noticed. And at the hunter show she very quickly figured out that going back in the ring more than once meant this venue wasn't anything to get excited about.

How often do people school XC?

I like to get a greener one out 1-2x per month, ideally. A veteran? Almost never, unless it's for MY sake.

Anything else I should consider, or experiences people can share with crossing over?

Cross country/eventing does not have to be an experience that makes a horse hot or crazy or thinking it's GALLOP TIME. Especially at the lower levels, a XC course can be an easy lope across the grassy fields, with a couple of easy fences now and then. There is no reason whatsoever to do more than a leisurely canter. If your horse is used to going outside the arena on a regular basis and cantering along in the open by itself, and is also used to shows where there is a lot of hustle/bustle, there's no need to think going to an event is going to change anything. If you're relaxed and chilling, your horse will also be. :) And of course the best way to make sure you're relaxed is to be prepared. Do some schooling on experienced horses if you can, take your hunter OUT THERE and canter along, not in a circle but going from place to place. She already knows how to jump--just expose her to the things she needs to know that are NEW: water, ditches, banks, terrain, mud, trees, being alone, etc.

Then smile and enjoy it! :D Remember that you don't have to make time, you don't have to be perfect, you don't have to have any special gear, you don't have to "be competitive" in eventing, ever. If you trot your Novice course, nobody will care. If you skip the last jump because you're happy with the way your horse has gone and you think you're done for the day, nobody will care. If your dressage is not perfect, you will have a lot of company. :D Eventers are all about the ride, not the score. There are so many ways to measure "success" in this sport, and only a minority of them show up in the final placings. :yes:

Jan. 7, 2010, 08:52 PM
I ride on both the Hunt Seat and Eventing teams at Otterbein College and we have many horses who are used for both show seasons...it just takes a sound mind and confident rider for the to make the conversion.

On my own horses I have always transferred back and fourth, mainly doing hunter/jumper shows during the winter time. I think you will find that the cross-training will help out in more ways than you could ever imagine. What is more fun than having a horse that does EVERYTHING! [my retiree even cuts cows!]

M. Owen
Jan. 8, 2010, 11:06 AM
Thanks for the support everyone! I think a lot of us at my barn are getting a bit stir crazy being hemmed in with the snow, we've all started proposing "field trips" for the spring time once the ground starts to improve. I am at a mixed barn with people doing all different disciplines (although oddly enough no eventers), so we should have some fun.

Heinz, if you have any hunter questions feel free to shoot them my way. We're really quite a friendly bunch, no matter what people might say :winkgrin:.

Jan. 8, 2010, 11:39 AM
the 2 horses I rode at training last year both did some crossover into the hunters (as well as the jumpers...). I prefer taking them to jumper shows...but we had fun at our few hunter outings

Here's huey (22yo OTTB ex-** horse) eventing:

and here he is in a hunter class

Here's Surf (16yo OTTB ex-* horse) eventing
and here he is in a 3' hunter division - at his VERY first hunter show (Nov '09)

Surf just went to his first USEF-rated Hunter show last weekend and finished in the ribbons in all 3 of his O/F classes and the hack...so we might keep doing this a bit in the winters...

Heinz 57
Jan. 8, 2010, 05:40 PM
M. Owen, check your PM's. I'm going to pick your brain!


Jan. 10, 2010, 10:43 AM
I grew up at a hunter farm, showing in the hunters (local levels, B rated) and began "dabbling" in eventing through pony club.

My horse that I rode in high school was a good equitation horse but not "fancy" enough to be overly successful as a hunter - I rode him at training level in eventing and the next horse I owned also did double duties as a hunter and an eventer, although by that point in time, I was very much leaning towards the eventers.

My filly is being trained for eventing now but she's happy to go around like a hunter and if she gets her lead changes down pat, I don't see any reason I won't haul her out to a few local hunter shows just for mileage.