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Handy Hunter Questions

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  • Handy Hunter Questions

    I watched some Handy Hunter rounds at a horse show this weekend and had some general questions to better understand the results I saw. I didn't show much in the hunters as a junior, only eq and jumpers, and haven't paid that much attention since then. With all of these new more interesting hunter classes, I am finding myself interested in the hunters again. I am going to read the USEF specs and search for some pro rounds on youtube, but wanted to get some "real world" feed back too.

    1. What gait should a horse land in after a trot jump for a handy round?
    2. How should people handle turns in a handy class?
    3. How to best show off the hand gallop jump? If there is a tighter turn option to a hand gallop jump, does that change the best approach?
    4. What is the best way to enter/ exit the ring?
    5. Beyond the normal things being judged in a hunter class, such as rhythm/ smoothness, jumping style, what else is being judged? What makes a round stand out?

    Thank you for any opinions, I am just trying to educate myself. I have a horse that I am hoping to develop into a nice hunter over the next few years and want to understand where we're headed.

  • #2
    Originally posted by M. Owen View Post
    1. What gait should a horse land in after a trot jump for a handy round?
    2. How should people handle turns in a handy class?
    3. How to best show off the hand gallop jump? If there is a tighter turn option to a hand gallop jump, does that change the best approach?
    4. What is the best way to enter/ exit the ring?
    5. Beyond the normal things being judged in a hunter class, such as rhythm/ smoothness, jumping style, what else is being judged? What makes a round stand out?
    .
    1. Canter
    2. Tighter turns than in a regular hunter course, but still smooth and flowing.
    3. The track you take should be whatever allows your horse to show off it's hand gallop best. If it can hand gallop a tight turn really well then go for it.
    4. You have to walk, but avoiding the opening and closing circle and going straight to the first jump/out right after the last jump, if possible, is nice.
    5. The judge is just looking for a "handy" horse, turnable, ridable, a little bit more "brilliance" than a regular hunter round.

    Handy hunter classes fall somewhere in between a regular class and a derby.
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    • #3
      You don't always have to walk into the ring for your handy. I have seen plenty of riders pick up the canter from a halt at the in gate and enter the ring cantering.

      Comment


      • #4
        I agree with the above, however, one thing I think a "handy" needs to show is adjustability. That is, I would try and show on a "tight turn" a more collected canter and ride more to the base off a tight turn and then show a nicely forward gallop to the long approach fence with the horse "standing off" the fence more.
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        • #5
          Originally posted by ponymom64 View Post
          You don't always have to walk into the ring for your handy. I have seen plenty of riders pick up the canter from a halt at the in gate and enter the ring cantering.
          As far as I'm aware the rules are still the same and you have to pass through the gate at the walk. As soon as you're in the ring you can do whatever you want, but you have to walk in and out.
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          • #6
            You are correct; from the rule book: No course may have exhibitors trotting or cantering through the in-gate or out-gate; any exhibitor choosing to trot or canter through the in-gate or out-gate will be eliminated.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by ponymom64 View Post
              You don't always have to walk into the ring for your handy. I have seen plenty of riders pick up the canter from a halt at the in gate and enter the ring cantering.
              It is actually a USEF rule that you must enter the ring at the walk. You can pick up the canter as soon as you step through the in-gate, but you must enter at the walk.

              ETA - whoops. y'all beat me to it, lol

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                If the trot jump were last, after landing from the trot jump what would be the best thing to do before exiting the ring? I saw many different things occur in the classes, so I couldn't tell what is "correct" based on the pinning. I know hunters is subjective and riders should do what shows off their horse best, it is just that some of the things were such shades of gray, and sometimes I saw a round I really liked that didn't get the score/ placing I would have thought. Some of what I watched were parts of derbies too (not USHJA), with open numerical scoring so I was able to get a feel for what the judges were thinking as each round went.

                I have come to the conclusion I need to watch A LOT more hunter rounds to watch nuances. I can tell a "good" round from a "bad" round, but I when most of the rounds are good I can't always spot the minute differences that disinguish the top rounds. I think I used to be better at my ring side "judging", lol.

                Comment


                • #9
                  It's still a Hunter class judged on style, pace and quality. The handy tests are secondary to the overall score and, far as I know, it is NOT judged 50/50.

                  Thats where you get the grey areas-you got a brilliant horse that sits on about a 90 over the fences, maybe flubs a little on a trot fence or fakes a hand gallop (one or the other, not both), still going to be 84+ overall. Another may score a 78 over fences, no major errors just not fancy, and be absolutlely perfect on the handy part-still probably end up 2nd, lucky to break 80.

                  That is where it can be very subjective. Different judges will have different preferences as in the non handy Hunter classes.
                  When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                  The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

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                  • #10
                    Well, I was standing by the gate yesterday when Sam Schaefer picked up the canter at the in gate and she scored a 95....

                    She walked up to the gate, halted, then cantered in.

                    Also, was at Saugerties last summer and a horse cantered in from the schooling area, under the bridge and into the ring. She was not eliminated and received a score.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      But she picked it up AT the gate, not outside it cantering thru it. At least I am assuming that is how it was interpreted. Once she got to the gate and halted, they defined it as in the ring.

                      Bit of a grey area but bet that is it.
                      When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                      The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        The best description of handy turns I've heard is that they're supposed to be more forward and flowing/less controlled than your typical eq turn.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by HunterRider992 View Post
                          The best description of handy turns I've heard is that they're supposed to be more forward and flowing/less controlled than your typical eq turn.
                          Maybe more forward but certainly not out of control - it should look like your horse is obedient about handy inside / rollback turns - not discombobulated and out of control.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            rule

                            Just because someone did it, doesn't mean it's legal or right. It's in there so that people standing at the ingate are not hurt. It's in the rule book.
                            It's 2016. Do you know where your old horse is?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by ponymom64 View Post
                              Well, I was standing by the gate yesterday when Sam Schaefer picked up the canter at the in gate and she scored a 95....

                              She walked up to the gate, halted, then cantered in.

                              Also, was at Saugerties last summer and a horse cantered in from the schooling area, under the bridge and into the ring. She was not eliminated and received a score.
                              First one is legal. Walk to gate, halt. Canter to jump.

                              Second one is 1 million percent illegal! That person should not have received a score. Unfortunately the judges don't always follow the rules.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by ponymom64 View Post
                                You don't always have to walk into the ring for your handy. I have seen plenty of riders pick up the canter from a halt at the in gate and enter the ring cantering.
                                I thought it was a USEF rule that you HAD to walk in and out of the gate. I mean through the actual opening, the next step can be a canter step but you can't come blasting in the ring with a running head start... At least that's my understanding.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by klmck63 View Post
                                  As far as I'm aware the rules are still the same and you have to pass through the gate at the walk. As soon as you're in the ring you can do whatever you want, but you have to walk in and out.
                                  Sorry didn't see this before posting my comment above.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by ponymom64 View Post
                                    Also, was at Saugerties last summer and a horse cantered in from the schooling area, under the bridge and into the ring. She was not eliminated and received a score.
                                    I believe the rule about walking in and out is only for hunter and equitation classes. Jumpers do not have the same rule.

                                    If it was not a jumper class, the entry should have been eliminated. Sometimes the judge might not see it if s/he is looking down marking the card from the previous round.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by MHM View Post
                                      I believe the rule about walking in and out is only for hunter and equitation classes. Jumpers do not have the same rule.

                                      If it was not a jumper class, the entry should have been eliminated. Sometimes the judge might not see it if s/he is looking down marking the card from the previous round.
                                      It was a Junior handy, I was surprised that it received a score but it did. It is possible that the judge didn't see it, as the bridge is behind and to the right of the judges stand in that ring.

                                      As for the hunter and equitation classes, in my other example above, the rider walked up to the in gate, halted and then picked up the canter directly from the halt. She did not canter through the gate but picked it up from the halt after standing in the gate waiting for the previous rider to exit the ring. I was standing next to her trainer, and several BNT and they all instructed their riders to do the same. The three riders I saw, all received scores in the 90's.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Rhody Ram View Post
                                        First one is legal. Walk to gate, halt. Canter to jump.

                                        Second one is 1 million percent illegal! That person should not have received a score. Unfortunately the judges don't always follow the rules.
                                        It is legal if you ask the in-gate person, they okay it and clear the area for you to go through.

                                        Comment

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