View Full Version : Hunters - Jumpers - Hunters - Jumpers?

May. 28, 2010, 11:25 PM
Okay, LONG ONE.. has anyone ever felt lost? Felt like they crave direction and a plan. It must be my type A personality nipping away at my brain - but I need to hear your stories of what you ride and why....

As a kid I started off riding my little QH just trail, happy to have a horse. Started getting into showing - Western.. did well. Got my sisters horse that was a crazy horse. I wanted to ride English and jump; couldn't do it on the QH. SOO I compteted in Hunters and Equitation for over 6 years... Did well and learned a lot LOVED competing but Moms finances only stretched so far.... then as I got older, got out of competing...

Boyfriend came, got married, had kids - yada yada...

Husband got me horse property about 16 years ago... over the years I had trouble finding a sound horse to show... finally have two decent horses and here's my issue.

Rode Dressage in 2006 to assist in the training of my young horse. Rode Dressage for two years, much prefered jumping so started jumping again....

I have been taking jumping lessons for a few months now and having so much fun. Doing Hunters and Equitation. Competed in my first real show this last weekend. It was so fun, but felt a bit annoyed that I had to compete for who looks better and felt "maybe" I would like to do jumpers. (?) We placed well and I felt the results were fair...... however, watching other classes and seeing many good riders not getting what I thought they deserved - just seemed kind of empty.

I know many riders start off doing Hunters and then later do jumpers.... my horses are more of the Hunter type... but are quite careful over the fences.. And I have an issue that I don't want to jump them too high for greater risk of injury...soooo

I know, long story to get to the point - why do you ride what you ride?

May. 28, 2010, 11:38 PM
I grew up riding eventing ponies. Then grew out of the ponies and moved on to eventing horses. Did lots and lots of dressage and evented simultaneously. Bought my current horse who was my UL prospect, who turned out to hate eventing. XC was just not his gig. He has too much talent for his own good, quick and clean jumper, his sire was a GP jumper, solid bred, so... I went into H/J land. Automatically did jumpers as that was what is closest to eventing's show jumping, mr.trainer threw us into the hunter ring once at Pebble (for miles-- young green horse needed schooling with set lines and corners, though he's by no means and never will be a hunter, and boy was that fun competing against the quality of horses you get there!) and then continued jumpers. Have always had super solid equitation, so I'm thinking that's where we're going this year. We have a show in June that we'll do some eq and see how it goes.

Feel a little out of the loop going into eq at 19 years old. Never done an eq class in my LIFE. But, I have a good horse and I trust my riding abilities enough...but it could all go badly wrong :p

See, I'm a true hunter rider at heart. But I have a true jumper horse. He's my once-in-a-lifetime horse and the love of my life, so I do what he wants to do. That's the whole reason I ditched my passion in eventing-- horse didn't want to do it and I thought it was only fair to let him choose what he loved most, which is SJ.

May. 29, 2010, 05:28 AM
i grew up riding the all around lesson ponies.now after 10 yrs plus of riding.im now into the bigger more specialized horses etc,but IMO i ride hunters more because i like the showy,prestige of that discipline.have more the laid back riding style,then compared to the speedyness and get it over with jumper classes..sorry i know i am going to get a few replys to that,but its all in my style.and opinion

May. 29, 2010, 07:14 AM
@my_doran, there's no problem at all with your opinion, that's why you reply to threads. Different strokes for different folks :)

On the other hand, I grew up riding 3' hunters because that's what everyone in my barn did. From the kids who weren't quite ready for that height, to the adults who ended up staying in that division forever, and I was there because I always had greenies.

Fast-forward to now, due to my career and location/current trainer, I've switched to jumpers. My trainer does hunters, but his forte is jumpers. Also, since I can work 60-70 hours a week, I'm not as accurate as I used to be when I could ride 5 days a week. Therefore, I'd be really tough on myself if I was having a beautiful hunter round and then missed a distance that would keep me out of the ribbons. In the jumpers, miss a distance? No problem! Just keep going!

I've also found that I like the challenge of the jumper courses. To me, it's not "just get it over with," it's like an equitation course. I do like the speed in the jump-offs, but it's about keeping a good galloping rhythm in addition to quick turns and slicing jumps -- both which are newer concepts to me because I'm from hunterland.

And how high is too high? Are you staying at 2 feet, 3 feet, 4 feet? You can find a division in which you're comfortable and, most importantly, HAVE FUN!

May. 29, 2010, 07:54 AM
I started off riding whatever was in the barn ;)

I went to a handful of shows in the hunters/eq before I bought my first horse. He was a jumper through and through and even though (to my dismay) my trainer tried to make him a hunter, he would only do lead changes in jumper classes- no matter who rode him! Smart boy!

So I switched to jumpers and really learned everything there. Since then I have leased many hunters or eq horses alongside my jumper, but my heart is in the jumpers- mostly for reasons the OP mentioned- I like to know WHY I won, or more importantly why I didn't!

Ironically, after living in a field over the winter, at the ripe age of 15 my jumper has learned that in a corner you do your changes... So this summer, we're sticking to the local circuit and doing the adult hunters :) (Of course this circuit doesn't actually have jumpers, so we'd have to do them anyways- but now we have a chance at not being laughed out of the ring!!!)

***OP, remember, you can ride your jumper courses like a hunter round, and as you and your horse get more comfortable you can make tighter turns and increase the speed (safely! nothing more scary than kids trying to win and RUNNING...)
Good Luck!

ET's Home
May. 29, 2010, 08:19 PM
Do both! Maybe a jumper show one weekend, then later do a hunter show. As another poster said, you don't have to go fast in the jumpers. Start with riding correctly and cleanly. When you show the hunters try to measure your self against you, not the ribbons you win. Did you make the strides? Did you release o/f and allow the horse to jump in form? Did you keep the correct pace all the way around? I wish they would give scorecards with comments in the hunters, just like in dressage.

May. 29, 2010, 10:12 PM
Another hunter rider here. I started riding at a H/J barn just as I was starting to show, they mostly just did local shows of both, so dabbled in schooling series for both. I ended up taking a few years off from showing when I got a green pony, although I tried to make him a hunter. I realized his heart wasn't in the hunters though, it was in the speed and tight turns. I did a summer of local schooling jumper shows but overall, found the whole thing terrifying. I much preferred the 8-10 quarterline-outside-diagonal-outside-diagonal type deal found in Hunterland.

I sold the pony for a combination of reasons- size being the main factor, but the variation in our passions played a part too. I loved him too much to make him do something he didn't want too, and I just didn't have the confidence or mentality to do what he wanted. The horse that I bought to replace the pony was sold by his owners for the same reason- they were a family of jumpers, and he was a lazy hunter through-and-through. Together, we are perfect for the hunter way of life.

I love watching a good jumper round as much as the next person. Ultimately, however, it comes down to two things: I love all things classic and traditional, and I am a chicken. So, the land of navy hunt coats and white show shirts and riding the same 3' course at every show is where its at for me. I love the who looks better and the precision involved in hunter rounds. One missed step- its a lot of pressure but so worth it when you do well and your placings reflect it.

I guess I do what I do because its what feels right to me and my horse. I love hunters, he loves hunters, I love him, its a win-win situation on all our parts.

Across Sicily
May. 29, 2010, 11:11 PM
A lot of people seem to get mileage in the hunters before switching to the jumpers. That's what I'm currently doing. It's sure a lot easier to go in the hunter ring and remember that course when I'm nervous (my horse also knows exactly where to go... pretty sure he could do the course by himself!) than go into the jumper ring while I'm nervous and tense and have to think about the course and where I'm cutting out strides and blah blah... I LOVE doing the jumper kind of riding at home (which is about all we do! serpentines over jumps the other day - such a blast) and can't WAIT to show in the jumpers, but for now it's hunters. Which is OK. Absolutely no offense to the people who ride hunters, but I get awfully bored with it.

May. 30, 2010, 06:28 PM
Thanks so much for your stories and words of wisdom.

It has helped me so much. You guys are awesome.

@my_doran - I agree with you on the Hunter thing - even the Equitation and I think that's why I "do" like that part of it - the showy, prestige of it. Is nice to watch and feels great when you have a smooth, consistent, beautiful ride...

@ heartinrye - that makes sense.. and yeah, and at the lower levels of jumpers or schooling shows watching people rip around and jumping flat.. eek.

I do feel better too because I talked about this with my new trainer. She wants me to get the Hunter/Equ. stuff down and thinks I will really enjoy the jumpers. (lead changes too - ugg)

I feel pretty comfortable jumping my horse right now about 3'. Don't think I would want to stress them much more than that - maybeeee 3'6"??

Just yesterday in my lesson - my trainer is having me ride him forward and round on the flat - he is building muscles correctly and jumping correctly - he is even developing muscles on his back/loin area... sooo (cool).......

She said (and of course made my day) "Your horse is really going to surprise you." "He is quite athletic and staring to jump really nicely." "He is capable of quite a bit". I was soo happy... just gotta take care of those legs....

Our next show is in June - do the Equitation and Hunters again and see how it goes from there....

Again thanks all for your time and stories.. it really did help out!!!!

GiGi Larkin
May. 30, 2010, 07:18 PM
I've shown in equitation, jumpers and hunters.
Equitation is fun, but there's not a lot of adult classes. I enjoyed jumpers, but it is hard on the horse.
I finally found my place in the hunter ring and love it.:D

May. 30, 2010, 10:35 PM
I LOVE LOVE LOVE hunters. Which is a bummer 'cause my hunter is STILL on stall rest with a mysterious undiagnosed lameness. :(

Sure, I do the jumper thing too, but I RARELY get around without time faults (sorry Mrs. Trainer)

For me the decision as to where my heart lies is fairly easy:

1. I honestly can't do that many things at once to be successful in the jumpers. remember the course, shorten the reins, keep turns tight, support at the verticles, careful front end at the oxers, etc... It's too mentally exhausting.

2. Fashion is very important to me. I LOVE dressing up. Having the latest "look", keeping up with the trends. Even if I chip or add in hunters, you can BET I was the best dressed in the class. :) In jumpers, no one cares what I wear.

May. 30, 2010, 10:54 PM
it depends on what's important to you. For me, I'm happy to do what my horse most prefers to do/go where he fits best. He's a bit casual with his knees- not unsafe, but not fabulous hunter form. So rather than get frustrated with my apple for not being an orange, I'm loving my apple for who he is and we're going where we can be competitive - the eq ring.

In the future? He's very athletic, and I think maybe I might end up doing jumpers, but if faster/higher/more complex isn't his gig, we'll stick with the eq. Personally, I very much enjoy the challenge of working on my eq - trying to do the right things in the saddle, and trying to look good doing it, lol ;)

Like I said, it depends on what your motivation is - and what your real love is in riding. Some are born to ride hunters, some are born jumpers. Deep down, I probably have more of a hunter personality. But, at the end of the day, there's really no discipline I enjoy more than I enjoy the feeling that my horse is doing and enjoying whatever he's naturally gifted at. And of course that raises our chances of success in the ring, as well.

So I let that be my guide. With building partnership as my primary goal, I find it's always pretty fulfilling! Of course there's always the occasional wtf moment - but then my husband is very quick to help me get my perspective back. :)

May. 31, 2010, 01:11 AM
Another vote for "do both". It used to be the norm, and in some parts of the country you'll still see people warming up their Big Sticks jumpers with a hunter class, and often they pin.

May. 31, 2010, 08:12 AM
I grew up riding whatever anyone would let me sit on. Good, bad, ugly, whatever.

What I didn't like was that the people I knew thought the jumper ring was the place to put "bad" "ugly" or "too broke to buy a good one." Who would want that?

Since I got good at improving whatever horse I sat on, getting the beast stunningly broke became my constant goal. It works for every horse. It keeps you from the existential abyss every single day because you can always make the horse just *this much* better.

For me, the hunter ring appeared to be the place to show what I could do with a horse, how good a POS *could* be if trained well. I basically want a WP horse that jumps. I want to do almost nothing and have the horse pack me around. As a training goal, this rocks. Horse like riders who try to do less and less to get the point across.

When I bumped up against that wall, you know the one: where Most Broke Ever and Sound Every Day because you conditioned right just wasn't enough to make up for Not Super Model By Birth, I switched to the Eq.. Old prejudices die hard and I didn't want a division that would pressure me to abandon the Super Broke goal in battle conditions.

Now thinking about what my next horse will do for a living, I'm open to the type of horse and division, even discipline, that does reward Super Broke. I'd even buy a dressager. I think my choice will be determined by how much a horse that can "get somewhere" in any one of these rings will cost. I don't have the dough or the interest to buy my way to the top. I merely want the long-term training project that's not capped too low by the limits of the horse.

Jun. 1, 2010, 11:24 AM
i started riding at a big lesson factory-type barn on whatever happened to come in from the dealer. i suppose you could say i learned "equitation" for the first eight years or so of my riding career, and moved up the ranks of the lesson program until i left for college.

then i realized i knew NOTHING except how to pose and hang on.

in college i showed IHSA (eq), learned dressage, took jumper lessons from an italian instructor, and did a semester of centered riding. during the summers i took equitation lessons on some awesome low-level hunters back home. i learned SO much and got a really wide, diverse base of skills that i could take with me to any discipline. even so, my goal in life was to eventually compete in the hunters or eq as an adult. the jumpers seemed scary and stressful.

fast forward to graduation, and i was catch-riding hunter ponies, green TB's, and dressage horses for friends. then they all got sold, so i started taking lessons locally since i can't really afford to buy or lease anything. i wanted to show, and because the horses i rode did the jumpers, i did the jumpers too.

i am having SO. MUCH. FUN. i was never exposed to the jumper ring before, and it is a blast. even though i am competing at itty-bitty-weeny heights for now, the twisty turny track is a great challenge, as is remembering the jump-off and strategizing which turns and angles can save me time. i love putting really good flatwork into the horses i ride and watching that benefit me over fences when it comes to precision and adjustability. i like that the jumpers is about riding SMART, not just riding FAST. i think i'm going to stick with it once i get a horse of my own.

Jun. 1, 2010, 05:03 PM
An interesting question you pose... what's important to me.... I would have to say my horses. I want them to be healthy, but it's obvious they like to get out and do a job. And I have noticed when they are in a good work program they are not only in shape but seem to be healthier.

My horses practially run me over to get to the trailer when we go to shows. And they both seem to really like jumping... if I am flatting around and trot by a jump and they think they may be jumping in they try to head for the jump. It's funny. And if they start stressing about something, I can trot a jump and they become suddenly happy and focused.

My big horse when we were at a police training, they had some jumps set up.. of course for walking over; I made it into a one stride/three jump... he was SO happy. I had bystanders saying; your horse knows what he is doing and really enjoys it.

So that being said and out in the open - we like jumping (but within reason to keep legs sound).

I am looking at the June show and think I will try to do a few Equitation classes/Hunter AND one low Jumper class (they have .80 m and 90. m we can do that) - and as you say; ride it like a Hunter round.... See what my horse thinks of the Equidome AND the fancy jumps. At home when we first removed ground lines he kind of when "whats up with that"... but now it's not an issue.

I guess I don't know what my horses are better at/or like better - hunters/jumpers.... I guess I will have to ask them. lol.

I enjoy the Handy Hunter classes because of the turns - but they don't have too many of those classes... so maybe Jumpers would be fun for us.

Thank you so much for all your help here.... I will keep you posted on how it goes at the June show in three weeks... we now have those weeks to prepare....