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Hunter Pleasure

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  • Hunter Pleasure

    What are they looking for in an Open Hunter Pleasure class? I don't mean stock type hunters.

  • #2
    Hunter pleasure is very similar to the hack portion of a hunter division, only it's JUST the hack, and horses have been bred to excel in this division (without necessarily ever having seen a jump).

    In a hunter pleasure class, basically the judge is looking for what horse looks the most pleasurable to ride, as though they were returning from a hunt. (Well, that was the original premise).

    Depending on the show, there may be "stock type/horse" and "pleasure type/horse" hunter pleasure. The "pleasure horses" are generally regarded to be Arabs, Saddlebreds, Morgans, etc. The way the horses in the two groupings carry themselves will be different; stock horses tend to have a more level topline and probably more of a daisy cutter movement, whereas the pleasure horses have a more upright headseat (as their conformation lends itself) and will also have movement with more knee action (even above level). Again, it depends on where you are.

    PS - For an open class, see if the judge is more of an "English judge" or a "western judge;" this will likely help you determine (to an extent) which type of above horse will be most likely to pin. Of course, if it's an actual hunter judge, that's different, too, and you're probably in luck!
    If we have to nail on talent, it's not talent.
    Founder, Higher Standards Leather Care Addicts Anonymous


    • #3
      It kind of depends on what (type) of show, but I ususally think of it as looking for the most enjoyable horse to go W/T/C.
      "Radar, the man's ex-cavalry: if he sees four flies having a meeting, he knows they're talking about a horse!" Cptn. BJ Hunnicutt, M*A*S*H Season 4, Episode "Dear Mildred"


      • Original Poster

        Do they ask for anything besides W/T/C/ ?


        • #5
          USEF added an English Pleasure section to the rulebook this year -- http://www.usef.org/documents/ruleBook/2010/11-EP.pdf --

          In my area, the specs for pleasure hunters vary -- I've seen pleasure divisions include hunter hack or bridle path hack classes -- See HU109 http://www.usef.org/documents/ruleBook/2010/16-HU.pdf --

          One local association runs it with w/t, w/t/c, and 2'6 o/f classes -- I think they may ask riders to halt or back in the flat classes --
          "I never mind if an adult uses safety stirrups." GM


          • #6
            The phrase going through the judge's mind is, "Which horse would I want to be riding?"
            They are looking for the best mover who is quiet, calm, & responsive. Your horse should go on a light to loose rein and respond calmly to all commands quickly (3 seconds or less). A quiet and responsive horse should beat a good mover who misses a cue.
            "In the beginning, the universe was created. This made a lot of people angry and has widely been considered as a bad move." -Douglas Adams


            • #7
              Its usually a flat class, simple to English Pleasure. You see the class termed as "Hunter Pleasure" in most Morgan/Arab/Saddlebred type shows. They're looking for a horses with not particularly expressive easy flowing gaits, a relaxed headset, etc
              Rural Property Specialist
              Keller Williams Realtors

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              • #8
                IME, they often ask for the hand gallop as well as W/T/C and back. The horse should look like a pleasure to ride in the hunt field-quiet but forward and willing, preferably on a slightly looser rein than you would use in a flat equitation class. Quick, crisp transitions are important as well.


                • #9
                  It's basically a hack class with looser reins. As other posters have said, the best mover that is the quietest and most responsive wins. A fancy mover that goes in a tighter frame will get beat by a slightly less fancy mover in a looser frame on a loose rein.
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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by nightmoves View Post
                    Do they ask for anything besides W/T/C/ ?
                    At an open show in Hunter Pleasure expect to walk, trot, and canter and know that they can ask for just about anything, including and not limited to an extended trot, a hand gallop, a halt from any gait, an up or down transition to/from any gait (canter from a walk or even a halt for instance), back, walk on a loose rein- those are the ones I have experienced off the top of my head.

                    I disagree on the looser reins comments. Arabian, Morgan and Saddlebred hunter pleasure horses are definatly ridden with contact on the reins. It is when you have the stock horses that are primarily western pleasure horses that are ridden with western loose reins in hunter tack. Which type of horse will win primarily depends on what type of judge you have- what their breed background and preference is.