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  1. #1
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    Smile AQH Hunters VS. USEF Hunters?

    What do you guys think is the major difference?

    I show in the AQHA world, and always try to do things that are more "huntery" so to speak. It always seems that the girls that are more huntery seem to do better at the big shows, and I really like the hunter-trends! I try to be more huntery whenever I show up for a horse show, regardless of the size of importance!

    What do you guys think?

    And no need for arguments, I just like to see what people think about the differences, not why one is better or worse than the other.



  2. #2
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    Well it depends on which class you are talking about. AQHA working hunters is judged, IMO, very much like USEF hunters- long, soft stride, and slow, round jumps will win. Often the top working hunters in AQHA have a lot of tb in them which helps give the traditional hunter look.

    Hunter hack and HUS are nothing like what is seen at USEF shows. They are pleasure horses dressed as hunters but travel low and slow on a very loose rein with riders who do the "air hump" rather than post.



  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by hntrjmprpro45 View Post
    Well it depends on which class you are talking about. AQHA working hunters is judged, IMO, very much like USEF hunters- long, soft stride, and slow, round jumps will win. Often the top working hunters in AQHA have a lot of tb in them which helps give the traditional hunter look.

    Hunter hack and HUS are nothing like what is seen at USEF shows. They are pleasure horses dressed as hunters but travel low and slow on a very loose rein with riders who do the "air hump" rather than post.
    Totally agree with you on the HUS one.. I never do well in the HUS because mines about 90% TB and looks very much like it. I can't stand watching the HUS riders because they DO post like idiots to make their horses look longer. Hunter hack, is supposed to be judged at 80% for the fences (pssh, yeah right.) and 20% rail work. From what I've seen, it's the other way around.

    And I was talking about the working hunter and the equitation over fences



  4. #4
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    Well the eq over fences is hugely different. In USEF, you're actually judged on your eq. In AQHA, whoever finds the fences wins. Plus, the difference in jump height is astonishing.

    No, I'm not making that up. One of my college roommates was big into AQHA stuff. She won AQHYA Worlds in the jumpers twice and was 4th a little while back in the AQHA Amateur World jumpers. I always liked going with her to worlds because I'm super obsessed with the working cowhorse stuff. Plus her trainer is awesome!

    In any case, watching the equitation was painful.

    AQHYA Eq over Fences at Worlds: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LSCQTfRuCnc

    USEF Equitation:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sL6IA...eature=related

    Now of course there are riders coming out of the AQHA with lovely equitation, but I don't think it's quite as stressed as it is in the USEF.



  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by SaturdayNightLive View Post
    Well the eq over fences is hugely different. In USEF, you're actually judged on your eq. In AQHA, whoever finds the fences wins. Plus, the difference in jump height is astonishing.

    No, I'm not making that up. One of my college roommates was big into AQHA stuff. She won AQHYA Worlds in the jumpers twice and was 4th a little while back in the AQHA Amateur World jumpers. I always liked going with her to worlds because I'm super obsessed with the working cowhorse stuff. Plus her trainer is awesome!

    In any case, watching the equitation was painful.

    AQHYA Eq over Fences at Worlds: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LSCQTfRuCnc

    USEF Equitation:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sL6IA...eature=related

    Now of course there are riders coming out of the AQHA with lovely equitation, but I don't think it's quite as stressed as it is in the USEF.
    I STRONGLY STRONGLY agree with you. The past couple world shows have been completely ridiculous with the equitation placings. Quite frankly, I think probably 12/15 that make it back to the finals, have horrible equitation, and nice horses. It's annoying. Part of the reason why I like doing the more huntery things, and go to as many hunter shows as my trainers go to. It's more enjoyable.



  6. #6
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    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GvhYdG42roc I love this girls equitation... Her legs move just a little bit, but it looks like she's just pushing her horse forward. You rarely see riders like this in AQHA. Coming from me, who only shows AQHA with the occasional hunter show here and there, thats sad.



  7. #7
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    bar.ka here

    major diff.er.ence

    qh spend all their money on rigs & ta.ck and not mu.ch on horses. they bu.y $12,000 dollar sad.dle 2 put on 1400 USD horse. but that show nag ride in 78K USD rig

    usef rider give all their money to trainer to buy what. wins. then trainer cart them all around. do eve.ry thin.g 4 them. usef rider & tra.iner tell u they way bett.er than qh rider.

    qh rider b nic.e. to stranger in strange land. no.t. so . h/j rider.



  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by barka.lounger View Post
    bar.ka here

    major diff.er.ence

    qh spend all their money on rigs & ta.ck and not mu.ch on horses. they bu.y $12,000 dollar sad.dle 2 put on 1400 USD horse. but that show nag ride in 78K USD rig

    usef rider give all their money to trainer to buy what. wins. then trainer cart them all around. do eve.ry thin.g 4 them. usef rider & tra.iner tell u they way bett.er than qh rider.

    qh rider b nic.e. to stranger in strange land. no.t. so . h/j rider.
    Huh? From what I've seen, It's kind of different. More like, AQH people spend a lot of money on broke horse's that have been proven to win, and train with the best trainers that ride and school their horse's for them. I don't know much about the hunters, so I can't make an apposing or agreeing argument. And some AQHA people can be very stuck up, or extremely friendly!



  9. #9
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    Stellar: look at Barkas previous posts. He shows up for a good laugh. It's all in good fun and not serious



  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by ktm2007 View Post
    Stellar: look at Barkas previous posts. He shows up for a good laugh. It's all in good fun and not serious
    Haha it made me laugh! I had a hard time reading it at first.. I think I had to read it 3 or 4 times before I totally understood it... I think a whole day of showing has gotten to me



  11. #11
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    Stellar, the main difference in Hunters is that QH are judged more as a whole round, like pleasure over fences. Since many of the judges are experts in other disciplines and not so much over fences, they put more emphasis in the frame and obedience of the horse and what happens between fences. They like to see a flow from start to finish, and jumps that fit into that flow. USEF judges put more emphasis on the mechanics of the jump and the style the horse exhibits over the fence, and will accept a wider range of horse frames. They judge the whole round also, but the jumps are the main consideration.

    In Eq/over it is similar, a smooth trip will win in AQHA, while the USEF judge will scrutenize the rider's effectiveness a bit more.

    Do a Youtube search for "Tall Dark and Rich", and you can see the differences in how this horse is presented in hunters at the Congress versus at the Ocala HITS.
    Comprehensive Equestrian Site Planning and Facility Design
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  12. #12
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    QH hunters are slowly moving in the direction of USEF hunters (yay!!), but it seems a lot of judges still value QUIET more than actual style. Under Saddle horses are still pretty much pleasure horses in English tack. They move much bigger then the WP horses, but they still want them very low in front.



  13. #13
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    I have tried showing in the ApHC (appaloosas), which uses AQHA judges, and is all the bad parts of the AQHA magnified. At least the AQHA uses hunter specialty judges at its big shows, and the ApHC does not.

    I lay all the blame on the judges. They are supposed to be following improved judging guidelines as far as the pace and "headset", but they do not. The same painfully slow canters and behind the vertical frames are still winning. I watch horse after horse that could be nice if it were allowed to move more naturally. I watched a three year old on youtube that was so cute, but everytime he tried to put his head in a slightly more comfortable position, he was bumped in the mouth. It would look cute and expressive and comfortable, then raise its head a bit, and then bump, head went back into its "proper" place and its look became sour.

    My Appie is a fine mover, but he is trained like a "real" hunter. He is happiest and comfortable with his nose out a bit, plus I like to be able to be able to take a little feel of his mouth going around a course without him slowing down or tucking his neck. You cannot do this with a lot of breed show trained horses. Many have simply learned to resent the bit. I have had breed show judges tell me "your horse is a nice mover, but he needs to be broke in the face".

    As far as over fences, except for the specialty judges and a few enlightened judges, the judges are only competent to see mistakes like lead changes, rubs, rails, number of strides, etc. However, if there are two or more rounds with no major faults like that, you may as well roll the dice.

    In general, I would say that breed show judging is more like "mistake and out". Now I am not taking about big mistakes, I am talking about little ones, such as raising the head to look at something or a tiny bit late behind on a change. Many AQHA judges seem to look for these mistakes, whereas an USEF judge will let herself or himself pretend to not see.

    IMHO, real (USEF) hunter judging has a lovely subjectivity. I have often watched a USEF hunter class in which a lovely horse is "allowed" a small mistake because it is so nice. It makes me a little crazy when people complain about subjectivity in judging -- they should go to a breed show and see what it's like when a wonderful horse does not pin because it did not go around like an unhappy robot. I will qualify that a bit for over fences classes, because sometimes breed show judges will favor a certain type not because it performed well, but because they think it has the right conformation. As in "that horse looks more like what they tell me a hunter should look like" -- for example, a bay with a typey head.
    Last edited by ToTheNines; Jan. 17, 2011 at 10:06 AM.



  14. #14
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    Here is what I have observed, although it isn't perfect because I am just getting back into it after being away for years. I had an opportunity to watch the AQHA World Show Finals in the Open division with my trainer, who has only shown USEF until she got me in her barn (lucky her). She agreed with the placings, believing that the top few horses would be competitive also on the USEF circuit at comparable fence heights. She did think that the schooling could be improved on to help the horses use their body even more, and thought a few of them could use a better show prep for maintenance, as they looked a little body sore to her. But overall, the placings were what she though were appropriate (within one or two switches), just still some room for improvement.

    However, I went to a USEF show last month and had the opportunity to show one of her horses, basically a catch ride. It was my third time on the horse, took him in an unrated division to get me some more experience for myself, and thought I had a horrible ride that would never place at an AQHA show because our corners were rushed, he tossed his head, and he felt quick. I left the ring and my trainer was estatic because of the way I let him jump down the line. I ended up 2nd out of 40+ horses, with a ride that wouldn't have placed in the points at an AQHA show. Yes he jumped really well, but there were too many rough spots at the end of the ring that would have blown us out; nothing bad, but at the USEF show it wasn't a big deal. That to me is the big difference.

    Howerver, when I was struggling to find a trainer and the closest AQHA H/J trainer to me was 4hrs away, I was having a conversation about this very topic with a top AQHA h/j trainer and judge. His advice was that the difference between the two is extremely small now. When I quit showing 7years ago, yes, there was a large difference, but it has changed. Training with a top USEF trainer would not hurt me in the least.



  15. #15
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    Also, the HUS class is such a different ball game from the USEF world it's not even funny. I'm currently having to decide if I'm even going to bother with it on my mare. She naturally has a low headset, I am constantly picking it up, but I don't know if I want to bother, especially with the way the gaits are right now. However, I was impressed at the World show with the flat work for the Hunter Hack class. Most horses were going around like USEF Hunters on the flat, and it didn't hurt them in the least. The ones that won the Amateur and Senior wouldn't have placed in the HUS class, but won the Hack. That was a nice thing to see.



  16. #16
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    I think the judging too is the biggest difference, from my experience. Showing in aqha shows for the past 6 or 7 years has made me a perfectionist. For example, the horse show I was at yesterday was not horrible, but it opened my eyes. I was having good goes (good spots, consistent speed, perfect leads, no rubs etc.) however, so were two other girls. The girl that kept winning was NOT having winning goes, but she was riding a been-there-done-that horse, and the other kept hitting rails and missing leads. It was always 1,2,3.

    At the 2010 AQHYA world show, they had ONE hunter specialist judging the hunters, a western pleasure judge, cow horse judge, and a halter judge judging the hunter classes. Is it a coincidence that most of the horses that made it back to the finals were short and stocky? Who knows.

    As for HUS I do not do it. It's all 100% opinion and it's annoying to show in.

    Thanks everyone for the opinions(: I agree with basically all of them!



  17. #17
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    I had this conversation with the AQHA Director of Judges, a very good man. The gist was that the guiding framework of AQHA is that the QH is a family-friendly ride. (Desipite the reality that specialization has absolutely happened at the top levels in every division) This family-friendly mantra is why AQHA judges will always place the quiet horse in hunters.

    Fault-and-out judging is an unfortunate byproduct of judges who have to become instant experts in too many widely diverse divisions. They go to the seiminars, and most are sincere about wanting to understand hunters, but you know how long it takes to really develop a good eye, and they do not have that time, as most have current jobs or horse businesses. AQHA is a western heritage breed organization. They will put halter and cowhorse judges in the ring for the hunters at the world shows, but you better believe there will be no english or halter judges in the ring during the cutting and reining.

    I have always thought judges slated to judge the world shows should be asked to advise the show committee re the top 5 events they know the most about and the 5 events they feel least confortable judging, but that will probably happen when pigs fly. The only question they are asked is if they have any conflicts (recent horse sales or training) in any classes.

    So, the gist is, if you have a quiet horse that will motor around a hunter course, you will do very well in AQHA with virtually the same round as at at USEF show. If, like me, you have one that will 'celebrate' after an oxer jumped very well, or be a little looky, you will be schooling.
    Last edited by Plumcreek; Jan. 17, 2011 at 02:53 PM. Reason: edited for clarity
    Comprehensive Equestrian Site Planning and Facility Design
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  18. #18
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    After growing up in the USEF world of Hunters, I was introduced to AQHA about 3 years ago by the trainer I was using. I fell in love with it- I love the shows, the atmosphere, and of course the shopping at World and Congress! Having only been on the breed side of things for a few years, I have seen a bit of a difference- the over fences classes are more like USEF, but still have a ways to go.
    Proudly Owned By Sierra, 2003 APHA/ PtHA Mare



  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by barka.lounger View Post
    bar.ka here

    major diff.er.ence

    qh spend all their money on rigs & ta.ck and not mu.ch on horses. they bu.y $12,000 dollar sad.dle 2 put on 1400 USD horse. but that show nag ride in 78K USD rig

    usef rider give all their money to trainer to buy what. wins. then trainer cart them all around. do eve.ry thin.g 4 them. usef rider & tra.iner tell u they way bett.er than qh rider.

    qh rider b nic.e. to stranger in strange land. no.t. so . h/j rider.
    A barka. post is like finding a gem amoungst all the grit and pebbles. It's what keeps me slogging through it all.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by mypaintwattie View Post
    After growing up in the USEF world of Hunters, I was introduced to AQHA about 3 years ago by the trainer I was using. I fell in love with it- I love the shows, the atmosphere, and of course the shopping at World and Congress! Having only been on the breed side of things for a few years, I have seen a bit of a difference- the over fences classes are more like USEF, but still have a ways to go.
    I love the shows too! I have so many friends and great experiences with AQHA and the congress is my favorite show ever!



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