I have a horse that will be showing over fences this year as he will be sold as a Junior/Amateur jumper type. I am planning to have some one else show him over fences but I though it might be fun to show in the hack division myself.
I used to do the h/j thing but have been out of it for a long time and am "out of the loop"
Bits. Horse currently goes in a loosering french link on the flat and over fences. Can he hack in this bit as well or should I be thinking D ring or full cheek?
Bridle: He currently wears a padded cavesson noseband (not a flash) and a browband with metal inlay. I'm thinking a hunter bridle will be required for the hack division? Laced reins?
Frame. IIRC, horses in the hack division were sort of 3/4 's of the way between the dressage frame and the long frame of the hunter under saddle. Is it still that way?
We don't plan to venture to any "A" rated shows but they are recognized. Equine Canada Silver, if that makes a difference.
You will definitely want a hunter bridle, brown leather; something that flatters his head.
As for frame, think stretchy circle... long and low, but not strung out. You want to sport that trot. At the canter you will want a lighter seat, to appear that he is carrying you on medium contact with his nose poked out. It is not so much about where his neck is but rather where he travels best, and looks light and pleasant. You don't typically see horses hacked in the three point position.
I don't show in loose rings, pick a D with the same mouth piece. The D is flattering and always accepted in the hunter ring.
Conventional, conventional, conventional describes Hunter turn out. The padded noseband is probably OK, but bag the metal browband. A complete Hunter bridle with laced reins would be the best way to go. Borrow one or go lower end that looks decent. Nobody can tell from further then 6 feet away, no need to spend a fortune.
Likewise the loose ring in a sea of dee rings. Get the dee, probably available in a french link or any other kind of mouthpiece you can possibly imagine, copper mouth, mullen mouth you name it, it comes between those dee rings.
Far as how to present him? As he goes best. Open show hacks are judged on quality of movement, they are not itty, bitty mistake and you are out. Do the best you can with what he is so both of you are comfortable and relaxed. No need to make drastic changes for something he is never going to specialize in.
When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.
The EC rule book beautifully outlines what they expect in a hack division, for each class. I've stuck the link it at the bottom of this post, and you're looking for Section G, Part 6, Chapters 12 and 13.
You do need to get a different bridle, if only because the metal inlay is illegal under EC rules. If you're stuck getting another one, it might as well be a "real" hunter bridle - brown, laced reins, with hooks, not buckles. You can choose between raised and padded, plain or fancy stitched, depending on what flatters your horse's head, as well as pick the appropriate width for his noggin.
As the other posters mentioned, a D would be more hunter than a loose ring, provided your horse will wear one nicely. If he really does go tremendously better in a loose ring, you'll be okay at the Silver level. My little grey wore a loose ring, only because I couldn't find him a D-ring nathe to fit his itty bitty mouth without paying the incredibly high custom bit prices. When we didn't pin, it wasn't because he was wearing a loose ring.
Per the EC rules, you can even show in a Dressage saddle in the flat classes. I've been to Gold shows where people did that. You can be disqualified for having metal/rhinestones on the browband, but leather padding is ok. Reins must be all leather too, another thing some Dressage riders have to change. A new browband is probably easier than a whole new bridle...
I really wouldn't change a horse's bit for "fashion"...I don't see the Dee ring as being super prevalent in our shows anyway. You might see more Dees than any other single bit, but you will also see loose rings, full cheeks, Pelhams from time to time...use what your horse goes best in! I don't think people are as comitted to fashion in the Canadian Hunter ring, outside of some Ontario and one BC circuit.
In my part of Alberta, we tend to have "Hunter under saddle" as the flat part of a division at a Hunter show..."The Hack" is run as a separate class, and we will sometimes have Show Hack or Road Hack. A Hunter Hack class typically has two fences where I'm from, and again, you would want to use Hunter tack for that. You have to ride the horse over fences to show in Hunter under saddle, and I would def. go with classic Hunter attire there. I have seen Dressage tack in the Show and Road Hacks, and it definitely did not affect placings.
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