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Jumper Conformation vs Hunter Conformation. . .

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  • Jumper Conformation vs Hunter Conformation. . .

    Is there a difference?

    I'm from dressageland and I while I do know what the difference is between an ideally conformed dressage horse and a h/j, just what is the difference between a hunter and a jumper?

    Are there conformation differences? If so, what are they?

    Or is it movement instead of conformation?

    In other words, just what classifies a horse as being either a hunter or a jumper?

    Hope someone can enlighten me,
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  • #2
    In my opinion it doesn't matter what a jumper looks like (obviously omitting major conformation flaws). It's all about their athletic ability. If they can jump anything from anywhere and be safe while doing it then in my opinion they are great jumpers.

    Hunters is a bit different. It is much more subjective. Conformation means a bit more here. Generally speaking a good hunter is very sane. They give the appearance that anyone, even a beginner (I know beginners don't jump, but I'm just trying to convey the fact that they appear easy to ride), could take them out and jump a course on them. Their gaits appear flawless and flowing. Rhythm in the gaits does not change. Hunters float across the ground. Their movement should be flat kneed and the term daisy plucker is often used. When they jump their knees are square, ears are forward, neck is rounded and down, not in the air and flat.

    This is how I see hunters vs. jumpers.
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    • Original Poster

      So. . .a hunter is a "super packer" with style and grace?

      "Daisy plucker" sorta like "peanut roller" only not so much?

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      • #4
        Definitely not like a peanut roller!

        A daisy cutter (I'm assuming we're talking about the same thing) is a horse that just kind of reaches and flicks his toes with every trot step. Most winning hunters are more or less 'daisy cutters'.

        And they aren't necessarily packers, it's just the rider's job to make it LOOK like they're packers. A lot of them are in fact complicated rides.

        While hunters have to jump beautifully, jumpers have to jump effectively. Most jumpers still have conventional form simply because it is the most efficient and safe, but small differences that would count in the hunter ring (like one knee higher than the other or neck not exactly reaching down to balance) don't count.
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        • #5
          These horses are all nice hunter type movers:

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          • #6
            Roan, seems like you're asking about the true conformation that makes a horse a great jumper vs a great hunter...as in hip angles, shoulder angles, etc.

            I recently watched George Morris's Horsemastership dvd from 2008. There's a great section on conformation of jumpers. Here are a few of the points I remember...

            The shoulder should be long and preferably upright, as opposed to sloping. This allows the horse to come off the ground quickly.

            The point of the hip should be high. When viewed from the top, the hips should be wide.

            The point of the buttock should also be high.

            There should be wide, strong muscling across the gaskin.

            There was LOTS more, but that's what I recall. Wish I had a similar dvd for hunters. It was really educational. (And clearly I need to watch it several more times!)
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            • #7
              Hunter conformation tends to "appear" more downhill that your typical dressage or jumper. A nice topline is essential. You want all the qualities that make horses good athletes - sloped shoulder, short cannon bones, correct legs.

              Here is a picture of a horse that was at our barn - he was 4th in the Green Conformations Hunters at Washington and Cap Challenge so he is a good example.
              Kenny Wheeler who is a hunter breeding guru loved this horse, so that is a safe bet that this horse is a looker.

              Here is a picture of Cunningham also. He is a top ranked Regular Conformation Hunter stallion.
              There is a conformation picture of him along the right side of the screen.

              Hope those two horses give you good examples of what "ideal" hunter conformation looks like.
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