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Judging question for hunter classics (long)

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  • Judging question for hunter classics (long)

    So, I have been dabbling in the hunter classics and derbies at our local level A shows this summer. They are pretty competitive and there are some really nice hunters in the area. My horse is a jumper and does not have the hunter movement at all. When I do the classes, I have to take every option and ride my butt off in order to do well. That being said, I have been placing consistently in the top 4 every time I ride in either the derby or the classic.

    My trainer and I are trying to figure out if there is anything else I could be doing to get a better score. I know that I will never score as high as the nice hunters no matter what, but I am wondering if there is any option that I'm not taking.

    I was reading the USEF rulebook today and in the handy rules (which is where I have to do really ride the options) it said that promptness and tight turns are to be rewarded in that order.

    My first question is: what is promptness? I take it to be cantering in directly to the first jump. Am I right, or not, and is there any additional meaning to promptness? I already take all tight turn options, so I'm already set with that.

    Here is a specific example that I would love some judges to tell me who they would score higher:

    Last show you came off a line on the right lead and had to go around the end of the ring turn 180 and trot a jump and then bend left and canter the last jump. Would you score the person who trotted the short end and turn to the jump higher, or the person who cantered the short end and cantered the turn and then came to a trot about 6 steps before the trot jump higher?

    Does it pay to show some finess and try harder things? I was the only one who cantered the turn and then came to a trot. I got a 4th in the class, so I think it got me extra points.

  • #2
    For me, it shows your horse is listening to you if you canter around the end, then come down to the trot after you turn to the jump. Like any other option, though, you have to do it well or it can backfire on you.

    I think the key word for the handy route is "economical." You don't want to make turns that are so short that it looks rough or hurried, but you want to plan your track to be as smooth and economical as possible.


    • Original Poster

      Thank you for your input MHM! I do feel like my transition was pretty smooth. I do notice that a lot of riders really pull for their transitions, so I try really hard to make them flow. I always try and stop on a straight line if there is a halt at the end of a round too, instead of making the turn and then trying to stop.


      • Original Poster

        Bump for the morning crowd


        • #5
          Might be your horse's jumping style - you say your horse doesn't really have the hunter movement and is a jumper. Sometimes coming down to a trot fence late might look hurried or coming down too early might look lazy. I would say that placing in the top 4 is pretty good and certainly means you are consistent and that is great.


          • #6
            I've got no tips for you (Dressage rider), but I wanted to say kudos to you for trying to better yourself instead of whining about why others beat you.


            • #7
              Depending on how your horse goes, top four may be the best you can hope for, without a major error from someone with a fancier horse (hunter-fancy, of course -- I'm sure your jumper is lovely).

              Sounds to me like you're doing the best you can, and as courses get higher and more difficult I would expect you to get more competitive, not less. But a horse with better hunter movement may be able to be ever so slightly less brilliant, and ever so slightly less direct and still beat you simply because it's a HUNTER classic and you're showing a jumper

              I'd be thrilled with your accomplishments!
              Originally posted by tidy rabbit
              Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community.


              • #8
                I was always taught for Huner Classics, canter through the corner then TROT when you are on the straight-away. Yes do a hunter circle. For HANDY HUNTER classes, canter directly to the first jump, WITHOUT a hunter circle, still canter through the corner for the trot jump, before the downward transition.
                "Oak Hill"
                "For The Moment"


                • Original Poster

                  Thank you everyone!! I am THRILLED with the placings that I have received in my crossover to the hunter ring on my clearly a jumper horse! I am totally fine, and know I will never win (unless everyone else falls off), but I just want to make sure that I am doing everything I can to make my score as high as it can be. I know for a fact that the only reason that I have been getting such good scores is because I take every single option that I can. I am glad to know that it seems that I have been doing things right.

                  ExJumper-I totally agree that my horse jumps better at the higher heights. The last classic I did was supposed to offer two heights but I was the only one willing to do the higher height, so they made me do the low instead of taking the time to move the jumps up. My horse won't even really jump until the fence is 3'6".

                  I am just dabbling in these classes for fun, and they are at the local A level. When we start going to the bigger shows (if I can ever afford them), I will stick to the jumpers, as they offer classes on multiple days. The classics etc. are so that I can do a class or two on the days that I am still at the show.

                  I have been having a blast, but I honestly think some of the hunters are not thrilled with my placings. This weekend I am doing the A/O's on the second day of the show. That should be comical!!!! It will be me and a bunch of really nice junior hunters.


                  • Original Poster

                    Here is the picture that I am going to buy from my recent Hunter Derby debut where I received second place. The jumps were only 3'3" with the option fences set at 3'6". I took all the options that I could.