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3' Eq Horses in the Hunter ring

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  • 3' Eq Horses in the Hunter ring

    A trainer friend of mine is passing a student off to me to take up the levels. He specializes in local, low level hunters and she's ready to move out of the Children's. I need something for her that will be competitive in the Juniors but not THE fanciest number. Ideally it would be a horse that she could do part of next year in the Children's with, and then move up when she's really comfortable.

    Since I don't have any kids showing in the 3' now (I have ponies and juniors) I decided to go scope out the Children's and Adult hunter classes tuesday night @ WIHS because I've picked up two great 3'6" horses that were "slumming it" in these divisions in the last 3 years. Of the 60 horses competing, I saw maybe 20 real hunter type horses, 10 of which were high quality.

    Most of the kids and a good number of the adults were on equitation type horses with dressagey movement and a really flat jump. Lots of horses on the bit, lots of heavy contact. I even saw a bunch of pelhams. Overall I was just really disappointed in almost everything I saw. (There was one really nice chestnut in the adults who was the only horse to score 83's and an 84 I think)

    It got me thinking, is the "dumbed down" riding getting so bad that trainers need to put their kids on these flat jumping, big strided horses so that they can get around? Is it that the economy is forcing kids that in the past would have two separate mounts for hunters and eq to have one double duty horse? Are traditional hunter values - great movement, nice round jump, light contact, etc becoming non-important in the lower levels? Is there a shortage of quality hunter horses for this level?

    When I was doing the children's hunters everyone rode hunter type horses that just didn't have the jump or step or build for the 3'6". Sometimes you'd see some eq horses that were using it as a warm up.

    Those of you that have students, children, friends, or are yourselves competing in the 3' hunters - what are you seeing in your area?

  • #2
    I expect that lots of horses are just doing double duty as a hunter and an eq horse. I live up in Canada and have often seen horses doing both. Sometimes as a warmup before the eq classes have started and sometimes just because the family can only afford one horse.

    At the 3' level, I don't really have a problem with it.
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    • #3
      It's only 3'. Most of the 3-footers here are double duty horses. Once again; it's only 3' -- i would laugh at anyone who REALLY thinks they should just buy another horse for 3' if both were not capable of doing 3'6" as their main job.

      actually, i know a (VERY deep pocketed) girl who did that. her reasoning was that she wants to do the eq and the hunters and because she goes to all big shows, it *would* be too much for one horse--that's true enough. but to give her the credit, she moved up to 3'6" with both fairly quickly, and does have good eq on both mounts. her hunter is very typey, and her eq horse is very eq-type.

      anyway, a good horse is a good horse. any 3' eq horse should be able to cross over into the hunters at the same height without any difficulty--they might not place as well because of their movement, but they still capable of putting together an equally nice course.

      plus, most horses are not cracking their backs over 3', be it hunter or eq horse
      (|--Sarah--|)

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      • #4
        My eq horse pulled double duty as a junior hunter a couple of times. Some people just can't afford separate mounts, even at the 3'6". My flat jumping, dressage moving, went in a pelham equitation horse even qualified for junior hunter finals. Not many horses jump like Rumba, and there is much more to a good high scoring hunter round than a round jump.

        As a side note, plenty of hunters go in pelhams, at the 3'6" and beyond. They're more traditional than d-rings anyway.
        "Are you yawning? You don't ride well enough to yawn. I can yawn, because I ride better than you. Meredith Michael Beerbaum can yawn. But you? Not so much..."
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        • #5
          At the three foot level, most people are not looking for the same type of horse you'd purchase for the working ring (or, these days, a hunter derby) unless they are planning to move up, like your new rider.

          Suitability for a child or typical adult is rewarded as much as quality most of the time in the childrens or adult rings. Thus you see a big focus on manners, tractability, and a consistent, accurate trip with a decent jumping style in these divisions... and that is usually enough to get good prizes. Of course, if there is a rider or two with both a beautiful, accurate ride AND a gorgeous mover with a stunning bascule, well, that's your winner/champion, but you don't see them every weekend, at least not in my area.
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          • #6
            JinxyFish313:

            "Are traditional hunter values - great movement, nice round jump, light contact, etc becoming non-important in the lower levels? Is there a shortage of quality hunter horses for this level?

            When I was doing the children's hunters everyone rode hunter type horses that just didn't have the jump or step or build for the 3'6". Sometimes you'd see some eq horses that were using it as a warm up."

            I'd guess that these not-fancy moving, hard-wared-up-in-the-face work horses are what people can afford. It may not be that no one "values" the beautiful hunter who hit the ground that way at all!
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            • #7
              From my limited (a LONG time ago) experience, I think the 3' classes (Children's and AAs), even at the A shows CAN be won by horses that aren't super fancy by simply a really good ride. To win at 3'6", you, generally, need the really fancy horse. I was at WIHS for the Children's and Adult Hunter finals and thought the horses there were all nice quality, but not necessarily fancy ones that would win in the "big" company, but then again, they aren't showing in those classes. My friend won a ribbon and she rode nice courses on a very pretty horse, that moves well, but doesn't always jump fabulous. She probably would have won or been very close on a REALLY fancy horse with her rides. She wins a lot at the A shows in the 3'.

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              • #8
                I have seen some pretty fancy horses at the 3' level, but like others have said that first you need to have a good round and sometimes those not so fancy ones are easier to get that done. I think I do see the fancy fancy horses at the 3' more in the adults than the childrens. It is also sometimes one of those things that goes in waves for a few years there are some very very nice horses and 20 in older childrens and only 8 so so horses in the youngers then all the sudden it flips around.

                I do know that they do want a more quiet round at the 3' and sometimes the ones that jump better can be a little more expressive. It just depends on the judge too. I know plenty of people who still want a good jumping horse at 3'.
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                • #9
                  Don't forget that the horses at the Childrens and Adult classes at Washington are not necessarily the very best ones out there in those divisions. They're the best of those who elect to qualify and enter those classes at that particular show.

                  No doubt there are some very nice horses there, but not everybody cares to chase points to qualify, or to show at that venue.

                  If you watch the Adult hunter divisions at WEF, for example, many of those horses are EXTREMELY fancy. The fanciest horse might not always win, since there is always the pilot error factor, but don't think for one minute there aren't plenty of very high quality animals out there doing the 3' divisions, whether or not they show at Washington.

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                  • #10
                    I just thought I would add, in several judging clinics I have attended, judges have said that in Children's Hunter classes and Adult Amateur classes, they take into account the reliability and the appropriateness of the horse for the rider nearly as much as 'fancyness' and movement. Obviously the fanciest horse will win, but a not so fancy horse that is really reliable and obviously a suitable mount for the rider will still pin.
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                    • #11
                      And to do well in those classes at that venue, the horses really need to be SERIOUSLY reliable! They haven't been shown in the ring or schooled by a professional in the ring beforehand. It is their one and only trip (two if they make the cutoff). I thought all those horses and riders were just amazing to get around! What a huge, scary ordeal! They schooled at about 4AM and showed at 9-10PM! I don't know how the riders managed to survive the whole thing, especially if they were fresh off Harrisburg. My hat is off to all of them!
                      One thing I did notice about the Finals classes at WIHS was that very many of the riders seemed to ride their horses forward down the diagonal and the 4 to 2 on the outside, when they looked like they should have ridden easy, so many of them were at least a bit tight jumping out of the lines.

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                      • #12
                        My horse served double duty in the 3' Adult divisions and we are now doing AOs and 1st Year Greens.

                        I think some of these equitation type horses are just fancier looking, and people associate fancier with better. Not always the case.
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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by MHM View Post
                          Don't forget that the horses at the Childrens and Adult classes at Washington are not necessarily the very best ones out there in those divisions. They're the best of those who elect to qualify and enter those classes at that particular show.

                          No doubt there are some very nice horses there, but not everybody cares to chase points to qualify, or to show at that venue.

                          If you watch the Adult hunter divisions at WEF, for example, many of those horses are EXTREMELY fancy. The fanciest horse might not always win, since there is always the pilot error factor, but don't think for one minute there aren't plenty of very high quality animals out there doing the 3' divisions, whether or not they show at Washington.
                          Agreed, I showed there and I was suprised about the lack of the highest quality horses there, I was used to showing against harder horses then the ones I showed against there. Id say miracle was one of the fanciest ones there (Love that mare). My horse on the other hand decided to pull his first rail of the year.


                          Anyways my guy isnt the fanciest one out there, but he is usually the winner or top three at AA shows if i manage not to truly mess up anything (saratoga, cap challenge, traverse city and wef). He did well in the second years and stuff and he jumps pretty well and mooves nice enough to pin in all his hacks. Hes a true hunter and I mean could fake an eq horse but hed still go around with his head too low for that stuff. Hes a prefect 3' horse

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                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            So what most of you are saying is that hunter type is not valued enough to put it ahead of getting kids in as many classes as possible without buying another horse and the fact that today's 3' riders are more suited to the eq type. Bleh. It didn't use to be that way, at least not where I'm from. How I miss living on long island.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Realistically, if you truly needed two horses to compete in the Childrens and the 3' eq, you would have very few people doing those divisions. Horses and showing are already ridiculously expensive...adding another horse (plus board and expenses) would only further limit showing to the people with really deep pockets.

                              I really can't support anyone seriously lamenting the fact that a three-foot kid who wants to play in both rings only needs ONE horse.

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                              • #16
                                I'm sorry, I guess I missed the memo saying only rich kids who can afford two horses should be allowed to show in more than one division.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  What about the possibility that they're using their jumper as an eq horse? I know I used my jumper mare for Eq and she wasn't the cutest hunter, usually near the bottom of the order on the rare occasion we did hunters as a warm up. She was a good girl for Eq and I don't see why I would have needed to buy a hunter since I didn't actually want to show hunters.

                                  I ended up retiring her and leasing a hunter and a jumper. They took turns putting me in the Eq ring. Of course the jumper did end up being a great hunter as he matured out of his green stage and graced the hunter ring as well. I don't see why one horse can't do ALL THREE. (although I would hesitate to enter all three during a single show, he might get worn out).

                                  *These weren't the fanciest, most expensive lease horses and I had a two-for-one deal since both were sale horses and trainer needed someone to get them noticed and show experience.

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                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Oh I'm not saying I think everyone should have two horses. I never had more than one at a time and did all of my 3' equitation on my large children's hunter pony (and pinned well). When I had a nice Children's horse I used him in the jumpers too.

                                    All I'm saying is the kind and quality of horse I saw last week was NOT what it was when I was showing in it, and it made me wonder what the deal is since you'd expect the horses in a $10k class @ Washington to be the cream of the crop.

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                                    • #19
                                      My DD has a horse that she did the 3' Children's hunters on this year as well as 3' and 3'3" medals at the A and AA shows on. The horse is really a 3'6" Junior Hunter, but this was DD's first year on him and she was not ready to do the 3'6".

                                      Many kids in our area use their 3' Children's horses for both hunters and eq. My DD is stepping up to Junior hunters next season and will also use her horse for some of the 3'6" medals. Her horse is very much the lovely hunter you are talking about, but we can not afford two horses so DD will have to make him work for the eq classes as well.

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                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by JinxyFish313 View Post
                                        Oh I'm not saying I think everyone should have two horses. I never had more than one at a time and did all of my 3' equitation on my large children's hunter pony (and pinned well). When I had a nice Children's horse I used him in the jumpers too.

                                        All I'm saying is the kind and quality of horse I saw last week was NOT what it was when I was showing in it, and it made me wonder what the deal is since you'd expect the horses in a $10k class @ Washington to be the cream of the crop.
                                        I think you have to remember that's its the Children's division. The point (nowadays, anyway) is to reward a consistant, easy ride that an intermediate child can enjoy. It isn't about showing off a backcracking, brilliant hunter. The superfancy horses have their place in the junior ring.

                                        And I don't think WIHS is necessarily the best place to be looking at the Children's horses. Certainly they're all nice horses, but just looking at the qualifying lists, a lot of the horses weren't even in the top ten in their zone. So while they are nice horses, I wouldn't necessarily say that the class at WIHS represented the best Children's Hunters in the country.

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