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Eq on the Flat - Breed show vs. Hunter show

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  • Eq on the Flat - Breed show vs. Hunter show

    My daughter started showing at local open shows that tended to focus more on the "breed style" way of riding. She was interested more in jumping so 2 years ago we switched over to more open H/J shows. She has an awesome TB hunter and does very well in all the hunter classes. Her problem is Eq. on the flat. She even does well in Eq. O/F, but doesn't pin as high on Eq. flat. I've been really paying attention to how she rides vs. other riders and I think the big thing is she tends to sit in her saddle more vs. perching. She has a very steady leg from many hours of no stirrups and bareback, so I don't think that is the problem, plus that would be a problem in the breed shows also. Anyway, my question to all of you is, can anyone who has been on both sides, explain to me how they see the difference between breed show style equitation vs. hunter show style equitation? And how they would adjust their equitation to fit more inline with hunter style equitation?

  • #2
    Breed show EQ is a whole different "animal". The emphasis on breed show EQ is the "pattern". If your horse does not do a smooth, accurate pattern then you don't pin. If it does, you get a ribbon. VERY LITTLE emphasis is placed on the riders posisiton unfortunately, but the breed show riders sit much deeper in the saddle, with a more erect position. To show in the hunter EQ you need to use a more forward posisiton of the upper body, half seat a the canter etc. They don't "sit" as much. I have kids who do both and they have to modify their riding depending on what they are showing
    www.shawneeacres.net

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    • #3
      Agree with previous poster. Breed shows is all about the pattern. Been there done that. If the pattern isn't smooth and correct than you don't place. I had wonderful eq but my horse was green with picking up the correct lead when asked on a straight line from trot or walk, so I always had problems. Some days he'd get it and we'd do well other days not so great. True H/J shows actually look at the rider not the horse so you want more of a light forward seat. (correcting my wording, I consider a light forward seat a hunter seat) They don't like the deep seat riding as much like you find in breed shows.
      Last edited by rabicon; May. 20, 2009, 10:06 AM.
      Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole

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      • #4
        I am going to disagree on a few levels.

        first, having shown breed, while there is the pattern it's not the deciding factor. When you get to the higher levels ALL the horses do the pattern PERFECT. In breed they want low hands, almost straight elbows, and shoulders behind the hips. As opposed to being effective they look at how pretty the over all picture is.

        I do not think you need a HUNTER PERCH in eq. quite the opposite. They need to ride correct and effective. A hunter perch is correct for hunters not eq. In eq you want a straight line from bit to elbow, straight line from shoulder, hip, and heel. Deep heels proper hands and a deeper set. Your seat should be in your saddle, be used and effective in riding your horse forward and from behind.

        A half seat is used in the hunters for a purpose. It is used to prevent the rider from getting in their horses way of natural movement. In the show ring this allows the judge to see your horses way of go with out you interfering.

        Eq uses a deeper seat so they can control their mount and and manipulate the movement of the horse to complete their course properly with the tight turns and roll backs, think Jumpers and dressage. Both riders use their seats to manipulate their horses movement.

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        • #5
          I agree nlk with what your saying and thats how it should be. I just have noticed in my parts the way its judged is as I posted above. I believe also it depends on the level you are riding at. Oh and the part about the higher levels they all do it right. You'd be surprised to see how many don't. But yes, if all horses do it perfect then they go to theh rider and how quiet the aids were for the moves and the really loose reins and straighter arms etc..
          Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole

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          • #6
            OP is at Open shows with breed show "standards" and the judge may or may not be licensed or even particularly qualified to take the way s/he pinned as gospel or representitive of what "they" want.

            I always thought the breed shows favored a more full seat, erect position with more emphasis on mistake and out flatwork then we who jump and gallop more.
            When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

            The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

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            • Original Poster

              #7
              So she does ride more erect and deeper in the seat than the other riders at the Hunter shows and doesn't seem to place as well. Maybe even stiffer?? But here's the thing that's making me think the style is judged differently:

              2 weeks ago we went to an open show to get her horse out and exposed for the first time this year. She won the Equitation Jackpot class (all ages) and the Eq. class for her age group. Now this was judged more on a breed style way of going. Fast foward 2 weeks (this weekend), didn't place on Eq. flat, but got 1st in Eq O/F. Now I know, could be different ride and she was just off for this class, but this is a definite pattern or I would brush it off as a bad ride. She just doesn't seem to place well in Eq. on the Flat and I really wonder if it isn't her position that is holding her back.

              She does half-seat the canter in hunter for exactly the reason NLK described, to show her horses natural movement, and lucky for her, her horse is a nice mover, so she does well in Hunter. But she doesn't half-seat in Eq., because I always thought she should have the straight ear/hip/heel line and not be half-seating. When I look at the other riders, they definitely seem to be more foward. Honestly, I'm at a loss, so any advice is appreciated.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by luv2ride2 View Post

                She does half-seat the canter in hunter for exactly the reason NLK described, to show her horses natural movement, and lucky for her, her horse is a nice mover, so she does well in Hunter. But she doesn't half-seat in Eq., because I always thought she should have the straight ear/hip/heel line and not be half-seating. When I look at the other riders, they definitely seem to be more foward. Honestly, I'm at a loss, so any advice is appreciated.
                In eq flats, I wouldn't go for a full out half seat as much as a LIGHT seat at the canter. You don't want to sit deep and behind the motion, but you don't want a "hunter perch" either. Have her concentrate on keeping contact between her seatbones and the saddle, while making sure she doesn't look like she's driving with her seat (sometimes when you sit deep, it looks like this even though you aren't). Her back should be straight, but angled ever so slightly in front of the vertical. If you can, pick up a copy of George Morris's Hunter Seat Equitation- it has great descriptions and analysis of proper hunt seat position and when/why to use each type of seat.

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                • #9
                  I have found that breed eq is more exaggerated in almost all aspects. Super arched back etc
                  Equitation is the definition of Elegance
                  Owner of one large and goofy Oldenburg and an adorable Dutch Warmblood

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                  • #10
                    Do you have a video you'd be willing to post?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Directly from the USEF Rulebook:
                      HUNTER SEAT EQUITATION SECTION
                      EQ108 Position.
                      1. General. Rider should have a workmanlike appearance, seat and hands light and supple, conveying the impression of complete control should any emergency arise...
                      2. Hands. Hands should be over and in front of horse's withers, knuckles thirty degrees inside the vertical, hands slightly apart and making a straight line from the rider's elbow. Method of holding reins is optional and bight of reins may fall on either side. However, all reins must be picked up at the same time.
                      3. Basic Position. The eyes should be up and shoulders back. Toes should be at an angle best suited to rider's conformation: ankles flexed in, heels down, calf of leg in contact with the horse and slightly behind girth. Iron should be on the ball of the foot and must not be tied to the girth.
                      4. Position in Motion. At the walk, sitting trot and canter, body should be a couple of degrees in front of the vertical; posting trot, inclined forward; galloping and jumping, same inclination as the posting trot.

                      Not intending to be inflammatory, but also remember, at "open"/unrated shows, the judging may be a bit erratic. As a local show judge, my biggest criticism of riders who are clearly breed show crossovers, is that they often get behind the motion of the horse, and the horse often travels behind the leg by hunter seat eq standards. Generalizing here, but I've seen it a lot. IMO, your best bet is to watch some open eq on the flat classes or the flat phase of a Maclay or USEF Talent Search class at a rated show to see what's rewarded by carded judges. I can promise you, these riders will not simply be "perching"
                      Ristra Ranch Equestrian Jewelry

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Tooltime - Funny you should ask. This morning I asked her if I could post a video or a photo and she was mortified. I told her I'd blur the face and she told me I would have to blur the horses face as well. She doesn't read this forum, though so let me see what I can find, I'm sure I have one somewhere.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I did not indicate a "hunter perch" in my original post. I said that the rder should be in front of the veritcal at all gaits (except perhaps the walk) which is true, however in breed shows the rider sits on or even slightly BEHIND the vertical. I have seen some HORRIBLE positions win at a breed show, because their pattern was perfect. SOrry, but I prefer to take the WHOLE picture in, if a breed show (And I do judge some shows that do this type of EQ), I want to see a correct pattern BUT a rider that looks effective and not just sitting "on top" of the horse in an exaggerated "stiff" pose. That is often what is seen at breed shows.
                          www.shawneeacres.net

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by shawneeAcres View Post
                            I did not indicate a "hunter perch" in my original post. I said that the rder should be in front of the veritcal at all gaits (except perhaps the walk) which is true, however in breed shows the rider sits on or even slightly BEHIND the vertical. I have seen some HORRIBLE positions win at a breed show, because their pattern was perfect. SOrry, but I prefer to take the WHOLE picture in, if a breed show (And I do judge some shows that do this type of EQ), I want to see a correct pattern BUT a rider that looks effective and not just sitting "on top" of the horse in an exaggerated "stiff" pose. That is often what is seen at breed shows.
                            I totally agree that a correct pattern plus a rider that looks effective is best but cannot imagine pinning a rider that does not do a perfect pattern over one that does. Is not the hallmark of equitation effectiveness? Shouldn't a rider that looks effective actually be able to execute the pattern? If not, they are not so effective as they look and should be penalized accordingly.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              What I usually do in any flat class (hunter or eq) is look around when everyone starts posting, see what they do that I'm not, then again at the canter, if they are all in a half seat then maybe I should be too. If they are all sitting in the saddle, I'll do it.

                              If you don't want to be looking around in your classes either watch different classes throughout the day or go to a show you aren't showing at to audit.

                              Good luck!

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by fordtraktor View Post
                                I totally agree that a correct pattern plus a rider that looks effective is best but cannot imagine pinning a rider that does not do a perfect pattern over one that does. Is not the hallmark of equitation effectiveness? Shouldn't a rider that looks effective actually be able to execute the pattern? If not, they are not so effective as they look and should be penalized accordingly.
                                I am not exactly saying pin an imperfect pattern, but I have seen patterns that, although correct were not FLAWLESS, i.e. the horse was greener but the rider REALLY rode the horse, looked good doing it and maybe didn't nail the cone EXACTLY, whereas another rider, who is sitting with legs in front of them, loose in saddle, stiff thru back and horse basically "does it" wins. That isn't "riding" in my opinion. I would weigh both of these riders against the pattern and POSSIBLY pin the less perfect pattern that had an effective, quiet ride. THe problem with the pattern classes is that really, most of these riders are NOT effective, the horses are SO BROKE that the rider has to do practically nothing to "nail it". I have two kids now showing AQHA, One is a BEAUTIFUL effective rider on a green horse. The other not quite as nice a rider, and horse is bettter trained BUT the horse is not "push button" She has made her fair share of mistakes, and learned from it. Currently she is leading the state QH organization in her age group EQ. I have only ever been on her horse maybe three times in the year she has owned it, whereas alot of these riders (and you see this in the hunters too) have the trainer on it up to the gate where the kid is boosted aboard. My point being that I want my riders to make the mistakes and learn from them, not step onto "perfection" and get the easy win. The other rider is going thru some frustrations with her greenie. Two weekends ago she showed hers, in the first EQ pattern (the novice class) horse wasn't listening and made some bad mistakes. I told her to RIDE the mare the second class (age group EQ) and MAKE HER get it right, even if not particularly pretty. She did what I asked and in the long run it will make her a better competitor. She didn't place very well and would NOT have expected her to, as she was being quite obvious, however, she is a beautiful. soft rider that has won her fair share in hunter shows on her old mare, and is now stepping into the QH world as well.
                                Last edited by shawneeAcres; May. 20, 2009, 12:49 PM.
                                www.shawneeacres.net

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  I think this is it right here:

                                  Originally posted by Vandy View Post
                                  Directly from the USEF Rulebook:
                                  4. Position in Motion. At the walk, sitting trot and canter, body should be a couple of degrees in front of the vertical; posting trot, inclined forward; galloping and jumping, same inclination as the posting trot.
                                  She is definitely on the vertical and not slightly in front of.

                                  Make x - I get what you're saying and I also think she's not light enough. Thanks for the advice on the book, just ordered it off amazon.

                                  Shawnee - I have seen exactly what you posted. Incredibly trained horses, trainer gets off, kid gets on and wins only because horse can perform a pattern with precision, regardless of the rider, it's a shame but can happen.

                                  Thanks everyone, the advice so far has been great!

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    luv2ride2,
                                    Another great resource book is "Judging Hunters and Hunter Seat Equitation" by Anna Jane White-Mullen. I actually like it better than the GM bible Great photos illustrating equitation flaws and correct position for eq on the flat...including the stuff talked about on this thread. The title makes it sound technical, but it's an easy, straightforward read even for a teenager/preteen.
                                    Last edited by Vandy; May. 20, 2009, 12:17 PM.
                                    Ristra Ranch Equestrian Jewelry

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      You might also be looking at a difference in the way the breed eq horses go versus the USEF eq horses go.

                                      I think its appropriate to sit and be pretty vertical in the upper body in USEF competition. If the rider were the only part of the picture, the OP's kid might be right.

                                      But as the OP noted, the other horses in the flat class at the H/J show were more forward. That's because the sitting, vertical eq rider there probably has her horse moving up from her leg a bit more. So sitting is part of creating that impulsion and frame. Many breed show standards-- derived from the W P picture-- accept a flatter, more strung-out horse. So sitting on one of these is a form of "perching" where the rider is up there, but not engaging her horse's hind end in a way that creates and "up hill" frame.

                                      The OP's kid might not be penalized for the angle of her body so much as the frame she has produced for her horse.
                                      The armchair saddler
                                      Politically Pro-Cat

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by rabicon View Post
                                        I agree nlk with what your saying and thats how it should be. I just have noticed in my parts the way its judged is as I posted above. I believe also it depends on the level you are riding at. Oh and the part about the higher levels they all do it right. You'd be surprised to see how many don't. But yes, if all horses do it perfect then they go to theh rider and how quiet the aids were for the moves and the really loose reins and straighter arms etc..
                                        Got it Up here the eq. runs with the deeper seat (at least that's what the other trainers yell from the side line!)

                                        When I showed breed up here the patterns are impeccable (not to say that someone didn't place with a wrong diagonal/lead occasionally) so riders form came into play, I always did mediocre because I don't ride breed style I ride dressage/hunters!

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