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Switching From Hunters to Jumpers

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  • Switching From Hunters to Jumpers

    I am considering switching from Hunters to Jumpers. I have done the hunters since I first began riding as a child, and I am now finishing undergrad. I have realized recently that I am just not looking forward to showing in the hunters anymore, but the opportunity to do the jumpers this season seems a lot more exciting.

    My struggle is that I really really love my current horse. He is a Thoroughbred and I adopted him five years ago. During this time he has gone from being afraid to walk over poles to successfully showing at 3' with plenty of scope left. The only issue is that he is very much a hunter, and while he is very competitive on the local circuit, he is not suitable for anything rated. I am not able to sell my horse due to the adoption contract, but leasing him out within the barn is an option.

    All of that being said, I suppose my question is should I feel guilty about attempting to find a lease situation for my horse? I love him so much, but I feel like realistically speaking I have excelled as much as I can with him. He is only 10 and is very sound/sane but he is definitely happiest and most competitive as a hunter.

  • #2
    Why don't you try jumpers at a local show at a lower height than you've previously competed in? He might surprise you. My horse is definitely a better hunter but we still have fun in the jumpers. Usually it's harder to find a horse that's a competitive hunter so I am wondering what makes you think he can't be jumper? I always thought it was easier to go from hunter to jumper unless your horse isn't very brave, but it sounds like you know how to teach this horse to be brave.

    Ultimately, if he's not a good fit for you I think you shouldn't feel guilty about finding a lease situation but I would give it a shot in the jumpers first and see how he does. If he struggles, maybe that'll challenging enough for you to feel like you're progressing as a rider.

    I guess it depends on what your goals and priorities are.

    Comment


    • #3
      Why can’t you show him in the jumper ring? Many horses cross enter very successfully. Jumpers aren’t about running wildly hilly nilly around, but rather tightening up turns and being able to have your horse come back to you and move forward just more quickly than keeping the exact same hunter rhythm but really your hunter ride will set you up nicely for a good transition to the jumper ring

      Now granted, there are some horses that don’t jump as well over the more airy jumper jumps (mine has much better style with the fill of hunter jumps) but he’ll still happily truck me around the jumpers if I wish, and does inside turns well....I just don’t go hell bent for leather but you shouldn’t anyway lol
      Go Ahead: This is a dare, not permission. Don't Do It!

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      • #4
        Unless the brightly colored jumps are an issue, there’s no reason your hunter can’t be competitive in low jumper classes. Stride length will help you make time, just practice a more forward pace.
        "The best of any breed is the thoroughbred horse..." - GHM

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Thank you for the replies! I should add that I have attempted the local jumpers with him and unfortunately the jumpers seem to frazzle him, and he is not at all competitive. I am also hoping to find a jumper that I could take to rated shows in the future.

          Comment


          • #6
            What did you different than your hunter rounds that seemed to frazzle him? Did you try to go balls-to-the-wall having never practiced jumping from a higher speed at home?

            You adopted him five years ago and can’t sell him? So the contract says you can never sell him I assume? Smh I would have never signed such a contract.
            This is a situation where I would recommend selling the horse. Perhaps contact the place you adopted him from and explain the situation and see if they will allow you to sell him with their oversight or something.
            If you can afford two horses, then sure, lease him out and get another one. If you cannot, I would not personally take the risk, as a leaser can really bail at any time even with a solid contract (taking people to court costs $$$$).
            "The best of any breed is the thoroughbred horse..." - GHM

            Comment


            • #7
              I've taken a Hunter who was NEVER going to be a Jumper in many low jumper classes before; just ride it like a Hunter course. Some horseman shared, "To go fast, you have to go slow." A steady, clean round with maybe a time fault or two is far easier to improve on than a hectic, too fast, strung out course - which could have frazzled your guy.

              Are you trying to enjoy your horse, or are you trying to win/be competitive in rated (1.10+) jumpers? Those are two fundamentally different questions. If you really enjoy your horse, you should spend the time to learn how to teach him the ropes on a jumper course correctly and patiently, and I think you'll find your "frazzled" horse may actually enjoy the jumpers too. If it's the latter, then yes, you should focus on a new horse if your horse can't go right into the Low Ch/AA or Low Jr/Ams right away, and you want to.

              Comment


              • #8
                If you have the opportunity to lesson on or lease a horse already going in the jumpers, I would encourage you to take it. Honestly I don't think either approach is wrong - trying it with your horse, or finding someone else to ride your horse at the job you already know she enjoys.
                http://trainingcupid.blogspot.com/

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by RideEveryStride View Post
                  Thank you for the replies! I should add that I have attempted the local jumpers with him and unfortunately the jumpers seem to frazzle him, and he is not at all competitive. I am also hoping to find a jumper that I could take to rated shows in the future.
                  Didn't you say that ground poles used to frazzle him too?

                  Is he a successful hunter medal/equitation horse? My hunter transfers well because she is a medal horse. I ride the jumpers like a hunter medal and while I don't have the same speed I make up the time in the track I take.

                  What is it ultimately that you want? If being competitive at the high level jumpers is important to you then maybe you've outgrown this horse. Yes there can be risks to leasing but if you take your time to find a good fit it can be a great arrangement.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Most horses can do hunters and low jumpers. If you were trying to go fast, and haven't ever schooled like that, it can be confusing for the horse at first. Try schooling some courses with airy jumps, lots of rollbacks and tighter turns. Most horses seem to enjoy the chance to do something different.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I made this same transition last year. I brought over my horse to the new jumper barn who we had imported to do the hunters. He was not a fan of jumping flowers.

                      That said, we didn't just immediately start showing and going fast. We really took the time to adjust to a different type of ride, different type of flatwork, different types of jumping exercises. and when we did start to show, we didn't go fast at all at first, the goal was to be smooth and build confidence... for BOTH of us. we started in the .90s and finished the year in the 1.20s. Eventually he got the hang of it and started to like going faster. But we let him dictate the pace of our progression. He can be quite sensitive and worried.

                      I really think most horses that are doing the hunters can cross over and be low level jumpers. Especially if they have a great rapport with their riders.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        While you are waiting on the right horse, perhaps approach it more like riding in an Eq class. If your goal is to eventually move up to bigger jumps, you will want to know how to do the more technical ride anyway. Don't get sucked in to the "turn and burn" you'll see at local shows (or even the lower heights at rated shows). No reason for your pony to get frazzled unless you are trying to be too fast too soon! greysfordays posted great advice above on how you should approach the evolution. And if you can teach the horse to be "tri-jumptual" he'll be worth more as a lease because he can do all 3 rings! And you can have some fun in the process.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I switched from the Hunters to the Jumpers. I will never go back.

                          I ride every single first round like a hunter round. My mare is hot. Running and gunning just makes her unridable. She's also a smaller horse, who tends to become flat when she gets quick. My jump offs are not much faster. But we manage to place at the top because she's small and can turn.

                          I have to say - depending on where you are located, sometimes the local jumpers are just scary and will frazzle any horse.

                          But even with that said, if you feel like he's not going to be able to handle the jumper ring, you shouldn't feel guilty about leasing him out to someone happy doing the local hunters. That's the best thing for him.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            A number of people have said it already but I describe getting started in the low level jumper ring as "Riding to lose".
                            There's a lot of scary tricks used to win at the low levels that will prevent a horse from being able to move up by teaching them very bad habits.

                            You want a smooth steady round, not a run & gun. So ride it like a hunter/eq round. Smooth as silk, sweeping turns, bending lines, square approaches to the middle of the fence. Eventually you get faster by smoothly leaving out distance on turns. My sister's old jumper coach used to say "Fast isn't fast, smooth is fast"

                            He might surprise you.
                            The stories of the T-Rex Eventer

                            Big Head, Little Arms, Still Not Thinking It Through

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              If you really feel your horse is happiest in the hunters, I think leasing him out so he can continue doing that is a great choice.

                              My TB is scopey and very athletic, with a classic, beautiful jump, but he does not go like a hunter (think: fancy llama). So, since I do the jumpers, I tried to do some low level jumper shows with him, riding mostly as an equitation round. He was ok with that, but we simply couldn't be competitive and he just wasn't into it- he hated going back in the ring after our first round, and any time I tried to put in more speed he would get very rattled.

                              My trainer, who is an eventer, told me the horse wanted to event so I paired him with a young pro and he LOVED it. He gets to go do his dressage, which he is very, very good at, then his one show jump round, and then he gets to go run XC. He now packs his lease kid around Training and is happy as a big, dark bay clam.

                              My point is- you know your horse. If you have tried jumpers and you think he likes being a hunter more, let him do it. I would have enjoyed doing jumpers with my TB but he emphatically did not enjoy it, so it was in both our interests to listen to him.

                              Also, jumpers is a blast with the right horse- my WB loves it, and we have a lot of fun bouncing around (he is a bit like a giant pony). Whatever you decide, good luck and have a good time with it!
                              You can take a line and say it isn't straight- but that won't change its shape. Jets to Brazil

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I have a similar problem. My horse jumps great but doesn't have have the traditional hunter movement (He is bred to be a dressage horse). He can be the winner in the local hunters but not at WEF or big AA venues. He is very athletic and scopey, so I mostly competed in the jumpers but he has the mindset of a hunter. Our first round in the jumpers always looked like a handy hunter or equitation class. Even riding him like a hunter in the jumpers, he still preferred the actual hunter ring (he's too smart to fool!). He likes the solid obstacles and enjoys time to think and relax on course (he's an over-pleaser, so even riding jumper courses slow can make him think too quickly and get frazzled). I elected to lease him out as an equitation horse and I do not regret it one bit. He is excelling, becoming more confident, teaching a young rider, and receiving top-notch care. I am surprised how much I am enjoying watching him and another rider together. When I get him back I will probably start doing lower-level eventing or something.

                                Many of the previous posters have brought up excellent points about successful jumper-riding is rhythmic, accurate, and shouldn't frazzle a horse. But the reality is that even with the best ride some horses simply don't transition well between the two disciplines. It is ultimately up to you whether you continue to try and ease his transition and help him learn to enjoy the jumpers or you lease him out. Either way you shouldn't feel guilty. It sounds like you have your horse's best interest at heart. Good luck!
                                There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the
                                inside of a man.

                                -Sir Winston Churchill

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