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View Full Version : Kudos to positive initiative in the Hunter world



ss3777
Jun. 22, 2010, 02:24 PM
Maybe the eventing world can take a leaf out of the hunter world book. The support for the hunter derby is really impressive. We are seeing them now in our area, both on a small and large scale. It is actually very tempting to gear my wee horse up for one of these. You go hunters!!!

gottagrey
Jun. 22, 2010, 11:38 PM
the support for the hunter derby is two-fold - one it's about time they acted like "hunters" and two it usually comes w/ an attractive monetary prize - there is one this weekend in PA w/ BBQ/exhibitors party and oh yes $10,000 in prize money...

retreadeventer
Jun. 23, 2010, 08:00 AM
What leaf would that be? Eventing derbies for big money? Which would do exactly what for OUR sport?

Not sure I read all the elation here. What's positive about just another opportunity for the professional hunter riders to keep horses in training, continuing the H/J Business Model in perpetuity - because they have to trot one fence, and jump real brush or split rail decor? (The exercises are eventing - novice level, altho the fences are higher.) Big whoop.

No disrespect meant, but I fail to see the wonder in this other than the money attraction - now that is worthy of respect. How do they get that cash.

S A McKee
Jun. 23, 2010, 09:34 AM
the support for the hunter derby is two-fold - one it's about time they acted like "hunters" and two it usually comes w/ an attractive monetary prize - there is one this weekend in PA w/ BBQ/exhibitors party and oh yes $10,000 in prize money...

It has nothing to do with acting like a Hunter.

It's just the equivalent of a GP class for the jumper riders. More to support a dying division for the Pros than anything else. 3'6" and above Green, Regular and Conformation hunter entries have been declining for years.
And the entry fees are so high that it excludes most owners. The class is not relevant to most Hunter exhibitors.

Because of the above issues there is now a lower level version of the Derby with lower height fences, less money, less entry fees and points at the zone level only.

RacetrackReject
Jun. 23, 2010, 10:08 AM
And after reading a post over on the H/J forum, maybe the H/J world can take a leaf from eventing and start giving DR penalties to riders, mostly jumpers admittedly. No, the DR penalty is not the greatest thing in the world and has issues, but holy crap have you seen some of those rides?

ss3777
Jun. 23, 2010, 01:18 PM
I found it interesting that there was some discontent folks in the hunter world and they came up with what seems like a viable alternative. The one that we had locally had both pros and ammies competing against each other and it was very well received. Folks from the jumper world, eventing world and hunter world competed. Love people crossing over between disciplines. Opportunity for learning :)

OK.......off to blow some sunshine elsewhere ;)

flea
Jun. 23, 2010, 01:28 PM
I think it sounds like a great opportunity. I believe it would be wonderful to have classes similar and more affordable for other levels.

Trixie
Jun. 23, 2010, 01:32 PM
I think it's great, and I would love to enter one with my horse. It's nice to see something come along for the upper levels of hunters and something that is closer to the roots of the hunters than another course of outside, diagonal, and great that there are options above 2'6".

sisu27
Jun. 23, 2010, 01:39 PM
I too am failing to see what the eventing world could learn.

FWIW though I love it! I think it is a step in the right direction for the hunter world. I still would like to see it favour a more old school type of trip/horse but that's just my opinion. I do love that Rumba though....what a horse!

magnolia73
Jun. 23, 2010, 01:54 PM
I think that the hunter problem was a lot simpler to solve- classes and shows were getting stale. The new format spiced things up and still works in with ye olde 2'6 line diagonal. It was just adding an extra special showcase class.

It seems like eventing problems are all around more complex- I think it is harder to solve issues like safety and a lack of land than to brainstorm up a fun new class.

pattnic
Jun. 23, 2010, 02:14 PM
It's just the equivalent of a GP class for the jumper riders. More to support a dying division for the Pros than anything else. 3'6" and above Green, Regular and Conformation hunter entries have been declining for years.
And the entry fees are so high that it excludes most owners. The class is not relevant to most Hunter exhibitors.

Actually, the Hunter Derbies have increased interest in hunters and have lead to INCREASES in horses competing in the higher divisions.

RE: Irrelevancy of Hunter Derbies to most hunter exhibitors, just like the big Grands Prix are not relevant to most jumper exhibitors, there are still the Minis Prix that ARE relevant to a much larger jumper population. The same applies to the Hunter Derbies; while the big ones may not be relevant, the smaller versions ARE.

I think the point here is that the hunters realized that new life needed to be breathed into their sport, and they found a way to do it. Eventing has been floundering a bit since the introduction of the short format; I think this was the OPs way of saying, "Look, if the hunters can do it, there's no reason the eventers can't do it."

flutie1
Jun. 23, 2010, 02:45 PM
"Eventing has been floundering a bit since the introduction of the short format; I think this was the OPs way of saying, "Look, if the hunters can do it, there's no reason the eventers can't do it."

I very much agree with this. I'm running an eventing Derby in two weeks. The response has been double what I anticipated. Yes, we are lucky enough to have a wonderful sponsor and some good prizes, but I honestly don't think this is the main reason for the apparent popularity. I think people are looking for new venues in which to have fun with their horses with less pressure than recognized events and at less cost.

I'm a fan of the Derby concept, and I'll even go so far as to say that currently, where the philosophy of course design has seemed to tend toward "show jumping without walls," eventing Derbies are going the other way toward cross country with walls.

On a personal note, I've organized events at the highest level - and I have to say, organizing a Derby is one hell of a lot easier and less stressful for me and for the wonderful volunteers who make it all work.

Flutie

Janet
Jun. 23, 2010, 02:48 PM
I guess the questions is
"Which specific problem is it that you are trying to solve?"

retreadeventer
Jun. 23, 2010, 03:58 PM
"Eventing has been floundering a bit since the introduction of the short format; I think this was the OPs way of saying, "Look, if the hunters can do it, there's no reason the eventers can't do it."

I very much agree with this. I'm running an eventing Derby in two weeks. The response has been double what I anticipated. Yes, we are lucky enough to have a wonderful sponsor and some good prizes, but I honestly don't think this is the main reason for the apparent popularity. I think people are looking for new venues in which to have fun with their horses with less pressure than recognized events and at less cost.

I'm a fan of the Derby concept, and I'll even go so far as to say that currently, where the philosophy of course design has seemed to tend toward "show jumping without walls," eventing Derbies are going the other way toward cross country with walls.

On a personal note, I've organized events at the highest level - and I have to say, organizing a Derby is one hell of a lot easier and less stressful for me and for the wonderful volunteers who make it all work.

Flutie

Yes, event derbies are very different from the hunter derbies -- not really similar except that they are held within a spectator's area. I too like the EVENT derby idea and wish there were more of them in my area in the summer -- the heat makes a three phase so disgustingly difficult. An event derby would be loads more fun.

But the hunter derbies are a different animal. The jumps and courses are not really like an event derby course, and don't forget the subjective judging....

Wish Flutie would come out here and get one going! :)

S A McKee
Jun. 23, 2010, 04:00 PM
Actually, the Hunter Derbies have increased interest in hunters and have lead to INCREASES in horses competing in the higher divisions.

RE: Irrelevancy of Hunter Derbies to most hunter exhibitors, just like the big Grands Prix are not relevant to most jumper exhibitors, there are still the Minis Prix that ARE relevant to a much larger jumper population. The same applies to the Hunter Derbies; while the big ones may not be relevant, the smaller versions ARE.

I think the point here is that the hunters realized that new life needed to be breathed into their sport, and they found a way to do it. Eventing has been floundering a bit since the introduction of the short format; I think this was the OPs way of saying, "Look, if the hunters can do it, there's no reason the eventers can't do it."

Well, no. There have been no increases in 3'6" Professional divisions. In fact, USHJA is working on possible solutions like eliminating a green 'year' and replacing it with some sort of rolling year. Quite a few changes on their web site.
There are some horses showing in the International Derbies that don't fit anyplace else. Not enough scope for jumpers, maybe not a good enough mover for the traditional hunter divisions. Those horse have found a home.

Whay do you mean by the smaller versions? The National Zone only classes? They are new this year and have had at least one rule change already.

The Pros came up with the International Derby classes. It works for many of them. However other pros have complaints about the classes and how points are awarded ( in multiple divisions ). If the points change it will be interesting to see what happens.

There are about 250 horses with International Derby points many of which have only done one Derby class and there are over 8000 horses showing in the Hunter Divisions. Yeah, it's really relevant.

flutie1
Jun. 23, 2010, 04:06 PM
"... don't forget the subjective judging...."

We take care of this aspect in the dressage phase!

Our course actually will be very much like a hunter Derby course because the venue is basically a h/j one - but we'll make it work!

Trixie
Jun. 23, 2010, 04:12 PM
There are about 250 horses with International Derby points many of which have only done one Derby class and there are over 8000 horses showing in the Hunter Divisions. Yeah, it's really relevant.

Yes, but it's something a lot of people are excited about and a lot of people are making into a goal. The fact that it's both bringing forth a dialog and piqueing a lot of interest, along with the fact that it draws in some spectators, makes it actually quite "relevant." There's a good chance it will grow.

In fact, I know one of our local series is planning to offer a 3' derby at their year end show, which I hope to enter in support of shows offering "different" options. They offered an outside course last year and no one would enter it with me. I'm hoping that this year, due to the derby dialog, more folks will be interested in participating. I wish it were 3'6", but it's a local series and will be fun regardless of height. If more shows do this, the idea will grow and the sport will evolve.

nomeolvides
Jun. 23, 2010, 04:19 PM
Eventing has been floundering a bit since the introduction of the short format; I think this was the OPs way of saying, "Look, if the hunters can do it, there's no reason the eventers can't do it."
In what way is eventing floundering?

CANTEREOIN
Jun. 23, 2010, 04:22 PM
I think Eventing Derbies will be the death of eventing as we know it. Add prize money and professionals will flock to it. As Flutie said, its easier to organize, less costly and its fun. Why wouldn't more organizers decide to bail out of the more costly version we have today and offer ED's?

Losing the Long Format changed Eventing dramatically, adding ED's will do the same. I'm not sure, given the complexities of running a recognized event, land and the other issues, what we now have as Eventing will survive.

Be careful for what you wish!

Janet
Jun. 23, 2010, 04:22 PM
In fact, I know one of our local series is planning to offer a 3' derby at their year end show, which I hope to enter in support of shows offering "different" options. They offered an outside course last year and no one would enter it with me. I'm hoping that this year, due to the derby dialog, more folks will be interested in participating. I wish it were 3'6", but it's a local series and will be fun regardless of height. If more shows do this, the idea will grow and the sport will evolve.
Which show?

Trixie
Jun. 23, 2010, 05:00 PM
Fox Chase year end show in October.

Janet
Jun. 23, 2010, 05:03 PM
Makes sense. They have the remains of a cross country course.

Trixie
Jun. 23, 2010, 05:17 PM
They ran an outside course last year in the hunter series, unfortunately it was at the end of the day and there was rarely anyone around to participate. They told me I was welcome to make up my own course and show against myself though :)

I think it's such an awesome option to have. My horse adores stuff like that.

retreadeventer
Jun. 23, 2010, 06:24 PM
I think event derbies CAN be good things.
For instance, I think having a nicely done event derby to benefit something like Fair Hill International, held up at the International Ring, on a one day long competition, might be a real attractive deal. Divisions from advanced on down could be held and there is enough space to do dressage anywhere over there. Sell tickets per carload and tailgate around the ring (can't do that at the International - so that would be fun) and I bet a sponsor could be brought in (or two) to offer some good old fashioned prize money. Picking a good time in the season to do it -- when the advanced horses need a good CT for fall three days and the young horses need an outing -- there would certainly be a reduced need for so much volunteer help, and if it's done to promote the FHI, I believe (just as an example) it would do well.
As a lower level competitor I'll never get to ride over there -- but if something like this got off the ground, I could, and that would REALLY be a neat thing.

JER
Jun. 23, 2010, 06:56 PM
Hickstead has been running the Eventing Grand Prix (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbMSCShkNw0) for at least ten years now.

There was also the rather horrifying fiasco called Express Eventing (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mYCHS6vhgPQ).

So, OP, what 'leaf' do you want eventers to 'take out of the hunter world'?

Eventing derbies are fine as schooling shows. They're great for facilities that don't have the land for a full XC, for people who don't have time to take three days off to drive 7 hours to a full HT, for people trying the sport and for schooling purposes.

Otherwise, our sport has been messed with enough in recent years, partly in order to 'attract sponsors' and be 'spectator friendly.'

Enough already. Let's just let eventing be eventing.

Gry2Yng
Jun. 23, 2010, 08:12 PM
There are about 250 horses with International Derby points many of which have only done one Derby class and there are over 8000 horses showing in the Hunter Divisions. Yeah, it's really relevant.

So then Rolex is not relevant to the rest of us?

ss3777
Jun. 23, 2010, 09:39 PM
"So, OP, what 'leaf' do you want eventers to 'take out of the hunter world'?"


I am going to let great minders than mine figure that one out! I just think that it is inspirational when a sport can take on something new, or polish up something old and make a good go at it.

JER
Jun. 23, 2010, 09:49 PM
I just think that it is inspirational when a sport can take on something new, or polish up something old and make a good go at it.

Does 'something old' include the long format 3DE?

:D

I think our sport in its pure form -- horse trials and CCIs -- is plenty inspirational. While it's always nice to see the hunter riders get out of the ring, our tradition is already to ride on the outside as well as in the ring.

Maybe those hunter derbyists can take on something new and get in the dressage arena and drop their bad habit of letting the horse fall in on turns. That would be inspirational, no?

(Don't get me wrong. Hunter derbies are nice enough and I have a lovely young TB eventer who will be quite suitable for a HD someday. But event horses and riders show versatility at every competition; it's the essence of our sport.)

CookiePony
Jun. 23, 2010, 11:07 PM
Off on a tangent, perhaps...

flutie (and others who organize eventing derbies), how do the rules work? I imagine that one has to jump clean within the time, but how do the jumping penalties work?

M. Owen
Jun. 24, 2010, 07:38 AM
I think the hunter derbies are relevant to more than just the highest levels and they've been great for hunters. I have seen some lower level hunter derbies (like 3'-3'9") geared at both amateurs and open and people are having a lot of fun, as are the horses. In the derbies I've seen, the horses are going on a more forward step and jumping more interesting courses including natural obstacles and things like opening gates. To prepare, many hunter people are getting their horses out of the ring and schooling natural obstacles, a win-win I would say for the quality of riding and training of the horses. The type of horses that win a little different than the outside-diagonal-outside-diagonal metronomes, which is nice to see. I guess the lesson people could apply to anything is that there was concern that hunters were starting to miss the point- not reflecting the hunter roots at all. I read a lot of concern here about the impact of the short format on eventing. Maybe there will be a powerful enough movement that short format is missing the point and some modifications can be made to reflect the military roots more.

eponacowgirl
Jun. 24, 2010, 08:07 AM
Ya know, Jim Graham held and event derby last year and I don't know how anything else is run, but I'd like to see more of these- he ran an XC course with stadium jumps mixed it- and placed it with regard to how it was RIDDEN. Not to say that eventing needs to go the way of hunters, but as a learning tool, something like this is rather valuable. I guess I could go post this on the "cracks in low level eventing" as well, but... yeah.

Trixie
Jun. 24, 2010, 09:22 AM
Maybe those hunter derbyists can take on something new and get in the dressage arena and drop their bad habit of letting the horse fall in on turns. That would be inspirational, no?

(Don't get me wrong. Hunter derbies are nice enough and I have a lovely young TB eventer who will be quite suitable for a HD someday. But event horses and riders show versatility at every competition; it's the essence of our sport.)

Yawn, really, this AGAIN? :rolleyes:

GotSpots
Jun. 24, 2010, 09:28 AM
I love the hunter derbies. I think they're a lot of fun, and the horses who are doing well there are gorgeous. Was playing with the idea of bringing my eventer to one just for fun, but despite his spectacular front end, I think we'd get our clock cleaned by most of the hunters I've seen there. I only wish I could find 8 fences and get the changes half as well as they do...

magnolia73
Jun. 24, 2010, 09:31 AM
Was playing with the idea of bringing my eventer to one just for fun, but despite his spectacular front end,

Aww- give it a shot! You never know- you might get that perfect trip!

flutie1
Jun. 24, 2010, 09:40 AM
Off on a tangent, perhaps...

flutie (and others who organize eventing derbies), how do the rules work? I imagine that one has to jump clean within the time, but how do the jumping penalties work?

We're sort of writing the rules as we go along. We'll run two jumping rounds and a dressage test. Dressage phase is second. Jumping faults scored as show jumping. The courses are measured with an optimum time. Riders' watches removed at the start line. Best dressage score, closest to OT and fewest jumping faults (cumulative) wins. It's all pretty free form. The course will basically be in a large show ring with one jump outside on a berm.

purplnurpl
Jun. 24, 2010, 09:50 AM
I love the hunter derbies. I think they're a lot of fun, and the horses who are doing well there are gorgeous. Was playing with the idea of bringing my eventer to one just for fun, but despite his spectacular front end, I think we'd get our clock cleaned by most of the hunters I've seen there. I only wish I could find 8 fences and get the changes half as well as they do...

Due to the growing popularity of the hunter derbies, and the prize money of course...my horse will no longer event.
:cool:

But now because of one of the above posts, I'm a little bit worried I will not be able to afford the entry...yikes. How much do they cost to enter?

JER
Jun. 24, 2010, 10:28 AM
But now because of one of the above posts, I'm a little bit worried I will not be able to afford the entry...yikes. How much do they cost to enter?

The $10K COTH/USHJA Derby (http://www.tunicahunterjumpershows.com/2010hunterderby.pdf) was $325 to enter. I assume the exhibitor also had to pay the various associated fees that tack quite a bit more on the bill. But someone has to pay for the shrubbery.

Wheel Whip
Jun. 25, 2010, 12:06 PM
Come on ss3777, let's leave the land of over-analysis, where a simple compliment gathers the sharks. Take a long draw on my flask, saddle up the Paddy Wagon, and get thee back to the real hunters! Geez, people lighten up, the OP has more horsie "street cred" then the whole lot of 'ya. When will we learn that anything to do with horses is good for ALL of us, even the "huntas".

ss3777
Jun. 25, 2010, 12:21 PM
Hey WW.....


SHHHHHHHH, don't blow my cover.....;)


thanks for the support :)

Wheel Whip
Jun. 25, 2010, 12:28 PM
That's what WWs are for!

pwynnnorman
Jun. 25, 2010, 02:41 PM
I guess the questions is
"Which specific problem is it that you are trying to solve?"

Actually, I guess because of my current mindset (I'd actually like Kevvie to do a hunter derby someday), I misinterpreted the OPs post and thought she was referring to training issues.

For example, the reason why I'd like Kevvie to aim for a derby is because I want him to lope around a 3'6" course on a loopy rein in a great rhythm, taking jumps off of his or his rider's eye in great form and style. I want that kind of foundation him and it'd be really, really great to have that kind of quiet, balanced, skilled, tactful rider who knows the horse well enough to judge what track, line and options to take to produce an impressive round.

Used to be, back in ancient history, eventers (horses and riders alike) foxhunted and did steeplechase as well. Who can deny that that kind of versatility produced a more independent ride (again, in horses and riders alike)? Although show hunters are pale imitations of field hunters, that discipline does, IMO, still have characteristics from which eventers could benefit--as long as you don't get too carried away about doing the kind of artificial, chemical and/or managerial crap that cuts corners to produce a winning ride.

I can name several upper level event horses who would give the hunter folk a run for their money in their derbies. Wouldn't that be a hoot to cheer on, too!

retreadeventer
Jun. 25, 2010, 05:29 PM
Come on ss3777, let's leave the land of over-analysis, where a simple compliment gathers the sharks. Take a long draw on my flask, saddle up the Paddy Wagon, and get thee back to the real hunters! Geez, people lighten up, the OP has more horsie "street cred" then the whole lot of 'ya. When will we learn that anything to do with horses is good for ALL of us, even the "huntas".

More horsie street cred than everyone posting here?
Hahaha. Truly making my sides hurt now. This thread gets more ridiculous by the minute.

Flutie blows ALL of us out of the water. Folks, I took a picture of her with Bert DeNemethy in 1984 in Los Angeles. PULEEZE -- do not besmirch those whom you do not know....and I did a long format three day in 1986. ....

JER
Jun. 25, 2010, 05:52 PM
More horsie street cred than everyone posting here?
Hahaha. Truly making my sides hurt now. This thread gets more ridiculous by the minute.

I'm actually in agreement with you, retread. :D

I'm still waiting for the OP to explain her OP. Having a wingman vouch for her 'street cred' is hilarious but doesn't really help.

OP, what is it you see in the HD format that you admire so much and think could translate into a good idea for eventing?

(The average regular working hunter division has a handful of spectators and even fewer entries. The average HT is already better off in both of those categories. :))

flutie1
Jun. 25, 2010, 05:57 PM
Do you by any chance still have that picture RT? I dimly recall you sent me a copy, but God knows where I stashed it. If so, could I get a copy? It was one of those magic moments. DeNemethy was my hero. I dredged up the nerve to approach him for a mini-interview, fully expecting to be blown off. That was the first time I'd ever met him, and I was awe stricken - (struck?). He was such a generous and gentle man (in the old fashioned sense of the word) and so much of what he was struggling with in 1984 are many of the same issues eventing is struggling with now.

Flutie

(P.S. The definition of really knowing a lot about something is knowing that you don't know very much about it so consequently, I don't give much notice to those claiming "street creds!")
:-)

flutie1
Jun. 25, 2010, 06:44 PM
One of my h/j friends said that he had heard that there was an application to have a Hunter Derby as an exhibition competition at the WEG. If this is true, can you read between the lines vis a vis the future of eventing as an Olympic sport?
Food for thought .........

ss3777
Jun. 25, 2010, 08:45 PM
Hey guys,

Totally agree, tooting one's own horn is a red flag. I just had to thank ww for her kind thoughts. I am definitely a "nobody" and find that a happy place to be :). Love the eventing world and my very humble opinion is that it is nice to see "things" working well in other disciplines, especially as it pertains to jumping outside of a ring. Perhaps my wording "a leaf from the Hunter world book" was to strong. I can live with that. I am a sucker for good discussion and thought maybe this once I would be really brave and "stir the pot" just a wee bit. Maybe the local hunter derby near me was a complete anomaly.

Wheel Whip
Jun. 25, 2010, 11:13 PM
The OP was not tooting her own horn, I was tooting it for her. Caring, doing and being passionate about a sport at any level is worth more than aging photos. None of us "own" eventing, but we all have a vested interest in it's future. Yes, all of you have admirable credentials, but I have seen the OP in action and that passion and compassion are equally admirable. Hey, at least I gave y'all the opportunity to have a good pissing contest! Tally Ho

flutie1
Jun. 25, 2010, 11:23 PM
"... Caring, doing and being passionate about a sport at any level is worth more than aging photos."

Oh, whoever, you are, that's pretty freakin' unkind!

nomeolvides
Jun. 26, 2010, 03:49 AM
Can anyone tell me how eventing is "floundering"? I don't quite see it, myself.

gottagrey
Jun. 27, 2010, 11:16 AM
It has nothing to do with acting like a Hunter.

It's just the equivalent of a GP class for the jumper riders. More to support a dying division for the Pros than anything else. 3'6" and above Green, Regular and Conformation hunter entries have been declining for years.
And the entry fees are so high that it excludes most owners. The class is not relevant to most Hunter exhibitors.

Because of the above issues there is now a lower level version of the Derby with lower height fences, less money, less entry fees and points at the zone level only.

My acting like "hunter" meant as in "foxhunter" getting out of the ring, being a wee bit more forward and less of this pitty-pattying around. Don't get me wrong I love a beautiful hunter trip.. I vaguely remember the days where hunter rounds included a trip in the ring and one over an outside course..

I'm not sure what you mean by another class for the pros and entry fees are so high that it excludes most owners - isn't the owner who pays for the pros ride? And what about all those Amateur Owner riders... some of the derbys having varying specs

Bobthehorse
Jun. 27, 2010, 11:44 AM
I think Eventing Derbies will be the death of eventing as we know it. Add prize money and professionals will flock to it. As Flutie said, its easier to organize, less costly and its fun. Why wouldn't more organizers decide to bail out of the more costly version we have today and offer ED's?

Losing the Long Format changed Eventing dramatically, adding ED's will do the same. I'm not sure, given the complexities of running a recognized event, land and the other issues, what we now have as Eventing will survive.

Be careful for what you wish!

Totally agree.

Bobthehorse
Jun. 27, 2010, 11:47 AM
Can anyone tell me how eventing is "floundering"? I don't quite see it, myself.

Really?

Its like a huge tug of war between the tradition of the sport and the whatever new route it has taken since the change in format.

Safety, money, teams, format, money, horses, money, horsemanship, money...

Jumphigh83
Jun. 27, 2010, 11:53 AM
The OP was not tooting her own horn, I was tooting it for her. Caring, doing and being passionate about a sport at any level is worth more than aging photos. None of us "own" eventing, but we all have a vested interest in it's future. Yes, all of you have admirable credentials, but I have seen the OP in action and that passion and compassion are equally admirable. Hey, at least I gave y'all the opportunity to have a good pissing contest! Tally Ho

Well said Wheel! So how is it wrong to work to improve public relations, client relations and overall appeal of the sport, regardless of discipline? How is it a bad thing to hand kudos to the "huntas" for working to improve and enhance their "image"? I guess it is easier to wallow in the past than to invest in the future, while holding long standing grudges for what is the only permanent thing we can all count on and that is "change"!

Bobthehorse
Jun. 27, 2010, 11:55 AM
Eventers "wallow" in the past because the past worked a whole helluva lot better for the sport than this weird limbo between the nature of the sport and appeasing the public and the sponsors. This "change" is not working, just because something is "new and modern" does not make it better than the past.

Wheel Whip
Jun. 27, 2010, 01:34 PM
Bob, while I agree the past worked better than the present (and god help me I have a daughter that is hell bent on long format), I am pessimistic about the modern rider putting in the time and effort to even continue eventing as we know it. At any level, eventing cannot be considered a casual sport. I know this is off topic but it is the heart of the "what is wrong with eventing" question. Most of the events I see now consist of riders who are pushing the outside of the "extravagant movement" (rather than obedience and accuracy)dressage envelope, on horses that are barely fit, and careen around a xc course. They might be whacking their hossie's and screaming "Good Boy" at the finish but they are also completely oblivious about their marginal abilities at speed or over terrain. I know nothing (or care to know) about the nuances of the cash awards or Ammie vs pro details of the Hunter Derbies. What I do like about them is a fresh look at an event that rewards versitility and horsemanship. Wouldn't it be nice to weigh xc "equitation" scores as much as dressage scores.

pwynnnorman
Jun. 27, 2010, 02:31 PM
The thing is, Wheel Whip, they HAD to change. The professional divisions were dying--still are, in fact--so they had to come up with something to make that kind of ride special again.

The hunter world is so different from eventing. The "pro" is so much more ingrained in their system. Trainers (and other pros, like show managers) rule--and so they also create the rules. The same thing, I think, happens in some of the breed disciplines, especially AQHA, plus reining and cutting and rodeo. When the power to bring about change resides in those who must make a living off of the sport, change happens (although it most certainly AIN'T always good!).

In whom does the power reside in eventing? IF change is needed, who recognizes that and has both the incentive and the power to impliment it? In the hunter world, the "who" is almost always the same. I don't think that is the case in eventing.

Xctrygirl
Jun. 27, 2010, 02:57 PM
You know at the heart of this thread is the heart of the problems with a lot of equine sport now; a sense of "Us" vs "Them." It's this divisiveness that has started and led to a much more divided, litigious and new world of equine seperatism. I am sick to death of the eventers vs hunters world. The simple fact, imho, is that we are all committed to our disciplines and our animals. Why we cannot celebrate and share in each others advances and differences has long been beyond me.

I am the first out there to say that while I have been blessed in many diverse equine experiences and credentials, no one discipline or employment owns me. I am just as likely to show up at a hunter show, a team penning night, or a charity polo match as a I am to be at an event. All of the horse world can enrich a rider and their horse. But by limiting and excluding yourselves from experiences outside of your niche, you limit you and your mounts abilities to gain new skills from outside of a discipline skill set.

I know a lot of eventers will fox hunt because it's obviously got skills that enhance an event horse and rider. But this works as well for the current hunter riders. More and more successful hunters are riding on a more going stride and attacking the fences more noteably in comparison to the last 90's. And a good hunter show could teach eventers a TON about establishing a rhytmn and preparing for changes of balance, direction and pace without looking like a wild renegade from Purdue farms was strapped to a passing Ottb!

And all of what I am saying here applies to all discipline riders. Get thee out of your comfort zone and try something else. Seriously.

Can we please look to our own corner of the equine world as ask yourselves, "Am I furthering divisiveness and stereotypes?" Many people, if they can be honest, would see the answer is yes.

Until you can compete with consistent success in all disciplines, I really think that the rocks shouldn't be catapulted from our Pella Glass houses!!!

Especially since watching stadium nowadays is almost as frightening as watching lower level xc!!!

~Emily

JER
Jun. 27, 2010, 03:15 PM
How is it a bad thing to hand kudos to the "huntas" for working to improve and enhance their "image"? I guess it is easier to wallow in the past than to invest in the future, while holding long standing grudges for what is the only permanent thing we can all count on and that is "change"!

Never let reading for comprehension get in the way of bluster. :D

With few or no exceptions, everyone on this thread has commented positively about the hunter derbies. Kudos have not been denied. At all.

The discussion comes from the OP's admonition that eventers should be 'taking a leaf' from the hunter derbies and applying it to their sport.

The confusion comes from the fact that no one, not even the OP, seems to know what this means. It doesn't help that the OP and her wingman get defensive and, in Wheel Whip's case, get insulting, when asked to clarify.

But if like WW says, the idea is to start a 'pissing contest', perhaps they've succeeded. Jumphigh83's post is proof of that.

whbar158
Jun. 27, 2010, 05:17 PM
I took it to mean they added something new (but sorta old too) and while the USHJA Derby is really mostly pros (although I do know jrs and ammies that do it too) many shows are implementing hunter derbies at the lower levels for kids on ponies and people who don't want to jump the height but want to take part in something harder.

I wonder if the OP was meaning eventing needs do something new to add some fun to it. I often read about people complaining about novice being too technical as novice is suppose to be for green horses/riders and needs to be straight forward. But I know many people who do not want to jump over 3' but would love some challenges at that level, I for one would be one as I haven't done much eventing but have a lot of skills to do those harder things at a lower height.


And bashing each other does not reflect either side very well, both sides have their pluses and their downfalls. I have done both and I enjoy both, they both have their own challenges.

fooler
Jun. 27, 2010, 06:00 PM
IMO as an outsider - I saw the H/J Derby to be realization that they (H/J) needed to return to their roots to be able to survive. Not saying it is 'just like the old days', but more like a 'hunter' competition than a beauty pagent.

We did "Event Derbies" at my old barn in GA back in the late 80's early 90's. Each level rode their Dressage test then headed out to a natural arena on the x-c course where stadium fences were placed amongst the x-c fences. We held the Event Derby in August to help folks get ready for the 'Fall" season.

"My concern" with judging folks' position or form is the lousy record humans have at judging.
Look at HJ, Dressage, Western Pleasure, and halter class within the horse world. Outside of the horse world - look at some of the dog breeds almost destroyed as they are bred for the show ring. Finally look at so many beauty pagents contestants - 5'8" - 115 lbs often with a surgically 'enhanced' bust. :eek:

Event Derbies & Combined Tests are great as warm-up competitions and schooling shows, not as destination event.

ss3777
Jun. 27, 2010, 08:35 PM
Sorry if I came across as defensive. I really just thought it was note worthy that another discipline is having success with jumping outside of a ring. I also, sometimes get frustrated with some of our recent challenges in the event world and thought it was neat that the hunters appear to be making progress despite some of their challenges. What I love about this BB is that the brain storming can result in some positive stuff. This was my weak attempt at brain storming. Oh well, I guess I need to go back to the ole drawing board.......no worries, I visit that board a lot :)

Thanks!

Wee Dee Trrr
Jun. 27, 2010, 09:52 PM
I work at a therapy barn that shares property with a pretty high-end hunter barn...

They just hauled in some logs to use as jumps because their students did not fair so well at the local hunter derby.

The logs are like 2'6". I think it's pretty amusing. :winkgrin:

JER
Jun. 27, 2010, 09:55 PM
I really just thought it was note worthy that another discipline is having success with jumping outside of a ring.

But are they really getting outside the ring? The hunter derbies in CA at Thermal are in the ring and, judging from what you can see on YouTube, this is the case elsewhere. Other classes are held on a grass field but it's still very much like a show ring situation where the field is used for other classes.

The big difference to my eye was in the more interesting course set-up and the more natural-looking fences.

This is still a far cry from the natural outside courses that existed years ago.

Bobthehorse
Jun. 27, 2010, 10:57 PM
IMO as an outsider - I saw the H/J Derby to be realization that they (H/J) needed to return to their roots to be able to survive. Not saying it is 'just like the old days', but more like a 'hunter' competition than a beauty pagent.

So if we were to take a leaf out of the hunter's book, it would be to reconnect with out roots? Quite the opposite of eventing derbies!

But wait, thats wallowing in the past.

Calvincrowe
Jun. 27, 2010, 11:26 PM
Hunters have the same problem that eventers are running into, land. The lack of open land, close enough to the riders who will show on said land, is the issue that hunter derbies will run into, the same as eventing in the long format. (or, eventing, period). Creating a permanent hunter derby field for showing is expensive, when it might be used 3-4 times a summer (here, in the land of perpetual wet). There are few show facilities that can handle an additional large grassed area to create one, beyond the grass grand prix field that a couple of our places have. I am excited to see hunters "getting out of the box" a bit, even if it is in the ring. They hold both 3' and 3'6" derbies in the PNW, with natural jumps, on grass. What a great thing!

I think the OP wanted to point out that the hunter world is trying to bring something old into the light again, revitalizing a sport that had gotten a bit stale. I don't think eventing is "stale", but I sense that there are issues beyond the "bring back the 3DE" and "safety, safety" that eventing must deal with, same as other disciplines.

I do not event. I have no desire to event. I admire eventers and their skill level (and guts). I do ride hunters and some jumpers. I dink around on these boards, reading interesting threads and posts. Here on the event board, I have witnessed an increase in the stereotyping and divisions that another poster alluded to. There is scary riding in all disciplines, including eventing (I have spectated at a number of regional events, what a fun time!). There is great skill and horsemanship in all the riding disciplines, and it is nice to see it recognized. Might not be your cup of tea, but good riding is good riding.

Foxdale Farm
Jun. 28, 2010, 12:02 AM
Just watched a hunter derby last night at a show in OR. The spectators lined up like nobody's business. I have to say that I immensely enjoyed watching. It was kind of exciting in an elegant way, and the riders/horses were amazing. Tons of skill involved, no doubt, and in some cases, plenty of courage. I am a dressage person at heart, but I am admiring the hunters more and more.

www.foxdalefarm.us

JER
Jun. 28, 2010, 12:26 AM
Okay. Here's an idea:

How about a USHJA/USEA challenge class? Kind of like the Hickstead Eventers Grand Prix, where eventers and showjumpers compete over a mixed XC/SJ course.

You could hold the class at either a big h/j show or a marquee CCI/CIC event. Somewhere like the KY Horse Park would be perfect. Hunter people can enter as per the usual requirements but then have a second set of qualifications (CCI/CIC/HT placings) for the eventer entries. Rules are as for a hunter derby with judges and all that. Maybe add a water element or a real ditch or bank; maybe add a judge or judging component (OT?) from the eventing world.

Xctrygirl
Jun. 28, 2010, 12:35 AM
OK but then how do we get across to the people from each discipline that we're not after who's better, US vs THEM, but rather challenging all horse people???

Seem a bit too much like revving up an already detrimental rivalry.

~Em

JER
Jun. 28, 2010, 01:09 AM
OK but then how do we get across to the people from each discipline that we're not after who's better, US vs THEM, but rather challenging all horse people???

The idea is to have one class and encourage various disciplines to enter. You could have a showjumper qualification standard as well.

The idea would be for riders from various disciplines to bring their top or most suitable horses and ride them as hunters. I suggested the 'challenge' idea as a way to emphasize the non-denominational nature of the class as well as having it co-sponsored by both relevant subspecies of the USEF.

And a friendly rivalry can be a fun thing. It worked at Hickstead. But then the Brit sense of humor is more about taking the piss and egging each other on so perhaps that why it worked for them.

eponacowgirl
Jun. 28, 2010, 04:21 AM
Okay. Here's an idea:

How about a USHJA/USEA challenge class? Kind of like the Hickstead Eventers Grand Prix, where eventers and showjumpers compete over a mixed XC/SJ course.

You could hold the class at either a big h/j show or a marquee CCI/CIC event. Somewhere like the KY Horse Park would be perfect. Hunter people can enter as per the usual requirements but then have a second set of qualifications (CCI/CIC/HT placings) for the eventer entries. Rules are as for a hunter derby with judges and all that. Maybe add a water element or a real ditch or bank; maybe add a judge or judging component (OT?) from the eventing world.

THIS. Lets see it at WEG on the "second-string" horses.

ss3777
Jun. 28, 2010, 06:32 AM
The idea is to have one class and encourage various disciplines to enter. You could have a showjumper qualification standard as well.

The idea would be for riders from various disciplines to bring their top or most suitable horses and ride them as hunters. I suggested the 'challenge' idea as a way to emphasize the non-denominational nature of the class as well as having it co-sponsored by both relevant subspecies of the USEF.

And a friendly rivalry can be a fun thing. It worked at Hickstead. But then the Brit sense of humor is more about taking the piss and egging each other on so perhaps that why it worked for them.

OK....that sounds awesome!!! Also, love that a hunter barn is hauling out the logs. Now if we could all just go out and foxhunt ;) I know.........that is another thread and one that would be a repeat :)

Off to the barn with a lighter heart :)

pwynnnorman
Jun. 28, 2010, 07:26 AM
The idea is to have one class and encourage various disciplines to enter. You could have a showjumper qualification standard as well.

The idea would be for riders from various disciplines to bring their top or most suitable horses and ride them as hunters. I suggested the 'challenge' idea as a way to emphasize the non-denominational nature of the class as well as having it co-sponsored by both relevant subspecies of the USEF.

And a friendly rivalry can be a fun thing. It worked at Hickstead. But then the Brit sense of humor is more about taking the piss and egging each other on so perhaps that why it worked for them.

I think that's a cool idea--and it's being done here and there at the occasional competition already, but usually as something like a half-time show. Still, it's fun to watch a dressage rider jump or a jumper do reining. And, as I said before, riding a good hunter round confirms a good foundation in a horse, regardless of what discipline (of jumping) it competes in. No one can deny that (again, providing corners aren't cut to get there).

Indeed, an eventer doing a hunter derby would be equivalent to a jumper doing a dressage test. No matter what a building ends up being used for, all buildings require a strong foundation. In the absence of the traditional foxhunting foundation for eventers, in some ways the low, lopey, relaxed, rhythmic hunter ride IS the foundation everyone would love to have put on the green eventer...surely. And then to have retained that attitude after a career in another sport? What kudos would be deserved! How proud we could be for showing how eventing is indeed the all-round test of a horse and its training!

And I'm not saying this just because I know absolutely, positively that both Upstage and Mandiba are classic examples.

retreadeventer
Jun. 28, 2010, 07:38 AM
...In the absence of the traditional foxhunting foundation for eventers, in some ways the low, lopey, relaxed, rhythmic hunter ride IS the foundation everyone would love to have put on the green eventer...surely. .

Actually, and I don't want to get into a training philosophy argument, but Wynn, this is not exactly what we want in the young event horse. Our horses need to work through the back and be adjustable. It is nice to see a lovely hunter go around in a relaxed rhythm, but that is not what we want. We need our horses available to change the frame depending upon conditions -- like uphill, downhill, bounce, water, drops, ditches, etc. Different frame and different needs in two different sports. Not even at the start. My horses have to be up in the withers and on an uphill frame.

Trixie
Jun. 28, 2010, 10:00 AM
Hunters have the same problem that eventers are running into, land. The lack of open land, close enough to the riders who will show on said land, is the issue that hunter derbies will run into, the same as eventing in the long format.

This. We were speaking with the woman who runs the Middleburg Classic and she said they would absolutely love, love, LOVE to bring back the outside course - but they can't, because they no longer have access to the land it was held on for years. Unfortunately, we're frequently limited to what is available at the show grounds, and many show grounds that host USEF hunter shows just don't have the open green space for an outside course. I absolutely wish they did - I would love to enter.


How about a USHJA/USEA challenge class? Kind of like the Hickstead Eventers Grand Prix, where eventers and showjumpers compete over a mixed XC/SJ course.

I LOVE this idea.

Retread, I think Wynn was referring to versatility - there's no reason an event horse can't successfully complete a hunter course in a relatively relaxed fashion. It's good training to be able to handle jumping a course smoothly, with good corners and even jumps - even if the horse is "not a hunter" or not necessarily in a hunter frame, but relaxed and rhythmic nonetheless.

And, also - most hunters can adjust just fine. I've spent hours in lessons working on exactly that - a good one will have no problems going uphill, downhill, doing bounces, etc.

pwynnnorman
Jun. 28, 2010, 10:45 AM
Actually, and I don't want to get into a training philosophy argument, but Wynn, this is not exactly what we want in the young event horse. Our horses need to work through the back and be adjustable. It is nice to see a lovely hunter go around in a relaxed rhythm, but that is not what we want. We need our horses available to change the frame depending upon conditions -- like uphill, downhill, bounce, water, drops, ditches, etc. Different frame and different needs in two different sports. Not even at the start. My horses have to be up in the withers and on an uphill frame.

As Trixie indicated, that is what I meant. And, BTW, the best hunters also go uphill and round. You really can't do a four-foot course without the same, correct foundation, no matter whether the course is inside or outside the ring--and that includes both adjustability and self-carriage.

Oh, BTW, I probably wasn't clear enough when I used the phrase "loopy rein," which I meant over the jumps, not necessarily on the flat (although when you think of the concept of true self-carriage, there's nothing really wrong about that either, in a ring). Nor did I mean that any of this style should be applied routinely to the eventer--just that being able to is not a bad thing, especially in a youngster.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that part and parcel with the kind of "independence" to the jumps that many here support? I personally prefer to see a ride which can gather up and release (i.e. half halt)--rather than hold, hold, hold all the way down to a jump--because the horse can be adjusted and then maintain its carriage and attitude without constant effort on the rider's part. Not that that is doable with all temperaments or under all conditions, but it sure makes for a better stadium round (granted, IMO, Mandiba and Upstage illustrate how it can also be done xc).

saje
Jun. 28, 2010, 10:48 AM
Actually, and I don't want to get into a training philosophy argument, but Wynn, this is not exactly what we want in the young event horse. Our horses need to work through the back and be adjustable. It is nice to see a lovely hunter go around in a relaxed rhythm, but that is not what we want. We need our horses available to change the frame depending upon conditions -- like uphill, downhill, bounce, water, drops, ditches, etc. Different frame and different needs in two different sports. Not even at the start. My horses have to be up in the withers and on an uphill frame.

These two things are not mutually exclusive! I want my event horse to be relaxed and rhythmical, that's an efficient use of his energy. There is no reason you can't change a frame, change the balance, change the power in the step and still keep the essential relaxation and rhythm. In fact, I would argue that you must keep them to produce the best jump.

Also, a good, easy looking hunter round is anything but lazy and unengaged. To make those invisble adjustments the horse must be very well on the aids, be infinitely adjustable, and that means working over his back.

magnolia73
Jun. 28, 2010, 10:57 AM
It is nice to see a lovely hunter go around in a relaxed rhythm, but that is not what we want.

A relaxed rhythm is a good thing. The very best jumpers and eventers tend to have a relaxed rhythm- it maybe a different frame or level of power, but they generally look relaxed and carry a steady rhythm.

What kind of a rhythm to you want? a tense, disorganized rhythm? No, you want a horse who can shift gears without getting tense.

JER
Jun. 28, 2010, 01:08 PM
These two things are not mutually exclusive! I want my event horse to be relaxed and rhythmical, that's an efficient use of his energy. There is no reason you can't change a frame, change the balance, change the power in the step and still keep the essential relaxation and rhythm.

All while going to the base of every fence. :)

This was and still is Mike Plumb's way of training a horse. He doesn't see the hunter and eventing disciplines as mutually exclusive at all.

DMK
Jun. 28, 2010, 01:55 PM
I'm strictly a hunter person, but one stuck in the old Littauer school. You need to let every horse find his balance and his rhythm without the assistance of a rider, and ideally he should be able to effectively get over a 3'6 jump with no assistance from the rider from that place. His body is only built one way and that is your starting point (meaning some horses naturally start more in front of your leg than others, but you need to let the level ones find their balance at the level place and the uphill ones find it at their uphill place). From there you can (should) change up the frame, the speed, the degree of engagement. But it usually works better for all concerned if the horse has a "default" setting of rhythm/balance in the frame god gave him, because someday your collective asses will be on the line and whether or not that us the best tool the horse has to save both of you is besides the point. It will be the one you are left with. In hunters that is the difference between a crappy jump and a jump that elevates your score into the winning round. In eventers I think it can be a tad more important than that. ;)

pwynnnorman
Jun. 28, 2010, 02:44 PM
All while going to the base of every fence. :)

This was and still is Mike Plumb's way of training a horse. He doesn't see the hunter and eventing disciplines as mutually exclusive at all.

That's interesting, JER. Do you know of any links where I might read more about his approach?

retreadeventer
Jun. 28, 2010, 04:57 PM
Regurgitating once again:

When you have contact, on a trained horse, and you GIVE the contact, the horse seeks it-- stretches out and looks for the contact in order to do what you want him to do. (Stretchy circle, anyone? Giving and taking of the reins over X? ) Don't get all whacked out over "relaxed". It is very nice to have a "relaxed horse" to ride, but they have to be ready for the demands of the sport, and hacking on the buckle for the first two years of their lives is not the way to create and develop uphill balance in most young horses. The occasional exceptional animal is different, but I'll never own one of those unless I hit the lottery, and if you've got one in your backyard, God Bless and Good Luck, you sure don't need to read this drivel to train one like that.

Don't get yourself all mixed up with watching the very VERY fancy horses winning and competing in these hunter derbies, with a green event prospect. Good training sort of is a mix of long rein, on the bit, light contact, and judicious use of the BRAIN in developing a horse. If you go to a gym, change your clothes, and walk around talking to everyone working out, that's not really working out. Yep, you went to the gym -- that part isn't a lie.

Hacking about on the buckle doesn't get you that seven-figure horse you see cracking his back and popping the knees in the hunter derbies. Don't be fooled.

magnolia73
Jun. 28, 2010, 05:09 PM
Most people developing green horses destined for things beyond packing ammies around the 2'6 do more than hack on the buckle. They really do real flatwork with connection, lateral work, and getting horses to stretch to the bit, accept contact, etc. Transitions. Transitions within gaits. Gymnastics.

It's a really myth that hunters don't do flatwork. The horses need to develop strength and balance to carry themselves every bit as much as an eventer does, even if the horse has natural ability. Hell the first steps on the training scale-relaxation and rhythm.

Just because the horses aren't cranked in on the bit at competitions doesn't mean they spend their days loafing ona long rein.

JER
Jun. 28, 2010, 05:13 PM
That's interesting, JER. Do you know of any links where I might read more about his approach?

Yes.

In 1986, Mike Plumb wrote an excellent series for Practical Horseman, a very detailed 5-parter than ran from April-Sept.

I have these issues and will be scanning them as soon as I have some free time. My plan was to send copies to people who asked nicely. :)

I'd had these PHs sitting in a box for years. When Blugal was staying her for her bar exam prep, I'd dug them out for her to read (when she should have been studying :D).

Coincidentally, on the other side of the continent, the trainer who has my younger mares had to take a couple of weeks off from riding. Guess who offered to ride my 4 year-old in the downtime? Mike Plumb. The mare is very calm (has been since the day she was born) with an effortless stride and a classic TB look. He said if she were his, she'd be off to the hunter ring before starting her eventing career. He also thinks she'll make a UL eventer. And he doesn't see any issue with a horse learning both disciplines.

magnolia73
Jun. 28, 2010, 05:15 PM
It is very nice to have a "relaxed horse" to ride, but they have to be ready for the demands of the sport

My god, having a relaxed horse is the BASIC requisite for any training. I agree- eventers don't need the metronome, easy canter that hunters have...but I would think that relaxation is a basic must have before training should proceed much beyond basics. For any discipline.

pwynnnorman
Jun. 28, 2010, 06:08 PM
Regurgitating once again:

When you have contact, on a trained horse, and you GIVE the contact, the horse seeks it-- stretches out and looks for the contact in order to do what you want him to do. (Stretchy circle, anyone? Giving and

Retread, you're trapped in the discusion anyway! (And I happen to LOVE training discussions, so I'm not letting you out of the cage yet!)

On that "contact" issue? You mean like THIS: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GaKaLwvIOCg&feature=related ?

(BTW, I didn't find the first round to be particularly "winning," nor was I thrilled by the qualities of that contact, but it was the first video I found!)

Trixie
Jun. 28, 2010, 06:17 PM
I really don't think anyone said anything about JUST hacking on the buckle for years. I don't actually know where you got that from, unless you're woefully unclear about what goes into training a hunter.

Relaxed and hacking on the buckle aren't the same thing. A horse can be relaxed and be working properly with contact. You can adjust from relaxed and rhymical.

It's been reiterated to me a thousand times that if you want to get not only the good jump but the good course, you need to fix the parts that aren't jumps - i.e., the flatwork in between the fences. This is basic. This applies to everyone.

Whether you have a young event prospect or a 6-figure hunter, these parts are pretty much the same. It's a rare horse indeed who can canter a metronome course with perfect changes and a brilliant jump without being taught to go in a frame and use themselves.

saje
Jun. 28, 2010, 09:35 PM
Don't get all whacked out over "relaxed". It is very nice to have a "relaxed horse" to ride, but they have to be ready for the demands of the sport, and hacking on the buckle for the first two years of their lives is not the way to create and develop uphill balance in most young horses.

Relaxation has nothing to do with rein length and frame, and everything to do with mental and physical suppleness.

There are days when my horse is super tense, but obedient enough to walk and even trot on the buckle. It is anything BUT a relaxed walk - his back is like iron and his steps are quick and choppy. If I ask him to turn with a touch on the rein it's like tipping over a bench. Not a fun ride at all, and very tiring for us both.

When his brain is engaged and listening, and he's happy in his work, he gets that lovely loose and floppy feeling, at all gaits. THAT I can package and mold into what I need for the exercise at hand with minimal effort; the wooden bench described above? Not so much.

You can have energy and power and quick responses with relaxation and softness, you can have lazy and lopey and tension (frozen in a frame and behind the leg comes to mind).

The old adage still stands - don't judge a book by its cover.

DMK
Jun. 28, 2010, 09:53 PM
^ This.

Not to mention, "relaxed" is where you find a horse's true length of stride, and length of stride is kind of important, because it's awfully nice not to have short and shorter as your primary options to get to the base (or the right hunter gap). I tend not to get so much "whacked" about it, I just think all good things - most especially uphill and adjustability - start from that place. Of course I'm not sure I would spend 2 years doing nothing but that, but hey, to each his own...