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Course Design Resources

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  • Course Design Resources

    I am interested in learning more about course design for hunter/jumper shows, but am a bit unsure of where to start. I've started keeping pictures & drawings of courses at shows I go to (as a spectator or competitor) but wondered where else to find other ideas. Suggestions?
    A proud friend of bar.ka.

  • #2


    • #3
      Originally posted by Hunter Mom View Post
      I am interested in learning more about course design for hunter/jumper shows, but am a bit unsure of where to start. I've started keeping pictures & drawings of courses at shows I go to (as a spectator or competitor) but wondered where else to find other ideas. Suggestions?
      You should find a local course designer and ask if you can assist them at a show.

      It's a great way to learn.


      • #4
        I've found this site very useful in designing our courses at home: http://course-designers.com/course_plans.htm
        Ryu Equestrian & Facebook Page
        Breeding Horses Today, for the Equestrian Sport of Tomorrow.
        Osteen & Gainesville, Florida.


        • #5
          I would have thought there might be an easy answer to your question...but having just done several searches, maybe not...I'll try again later, when I have more time.

          There are several excellent books by jumper course designers--hunter course design is a harder search.

          But start with the USEF rule book, which lists course requirements for all divisions.
          Inner Bay Equestrian


          • #6
            I am also looking for hunter course design ideas. I did a book search and couldn't really come up with anything either.


            • #7
              Linda Allen did a video (DVD) on course design a few years ago. It's excellent, and goes into a lot of detail about the practical aspect of designing - things like how to choose jump materials, provide instructions for the crew that will actually physically build the course, etc. She has obviously designed at the highest level but the information is remarkably down to earth, right down to the suggestion of having plastic baggies on hand to protect your course plan in the event of rain!


              And if you are really ambitious... I think this must be just about the coolest grad school in the world: http://www.arno-gego.de/shop_content...e283c762e1048c

              It's my goal to attend in my retirement!!
              We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.


              • #8
                What I'm looking for - which I guess doesn't exist - would be a book with just sample hunter courses that could be used at home and at shows. Most things I find seem to be geared towards jumpers.


                • #9
                  I have that same problem.

                  I like to come up with different courses for all of our hunter shows, that are more than outside, diagonal, outside, diagonal; reverse and repeat.

                  To add to that, I have to come up with an eq/mini medal course, and I don't usually have a jump crew on hand. We set the jumps the day before a show, and the lines don't change, just the heights. It's a PITA.

                  There aren't many resources out there for hunter courses, so I look at the jumper courses and adapt them.

                  ETA - I'd be glad to email my courses to anyone interested - especially in exchange for some fresh ideas!

                  Originally Posted by JSwan
                  I love feral children. They taste like chicken.


                  • #10
                    I think the reason that there aren't more resources on hunter course design is that in a hunter class, the course is supposed to be simply a backdrop. It's not supposed to pose any huge questions; it's supposed to create a stage where the rider can showcase a beautiful moving, good jumping horse to its best advantage.

                    The outside/diagonal/outside/diagonal or the few variations on that theme - singles on the quarter line, perhaps an end jump if the ring is big enough, an in and out or possibly a simple bending line - don't require all that much "design."

                    Of course the outlier in the hunter ring from that perspective is the Handy, where those shorter turns, halts, leading over jumps etc can make even a fairly simple design pretty challenging to ride well.

                    Eq courses (and jumper courses, obviously) are supposed to pose questions for the rider and horse to answer. The course is therefore much more variable; hence there is a lot more material written about how to construct a good course that separates the best riders without putting any horses in harm's way nor frightening/injuring any of the less-well-prepared competitors.

                    Most shows that use their hunter courses for equitation as well have the same challenge with respect to not being able to move jumps. That is where those singles on the quarter line, an end jump and some rollbacks can be very useful. Even the standard 4 lines in a hunter course can be made into a challenging eq test. particularly if the class specs allow testing within the jumping round (trot fences, showing a halt, counter cantering jumps, etc.)
                    We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.


                    • #11
                      Not sure where you are located but on April 30 Olaf Petersen is hosting a course designing clinic at Palermo Show Stable in Bedminster, New Jersey. Here's the address to more information and registration form:


                      and the address to Palermo's website:


                      It sounds as though it would be an amazing experience - it might not be a possibility for you at all, but just thought I would bring it to your attention in case you were anywhere near NJ.


                      • Original Poster

                        Wish I was in the area, but we'll be at a show in Kansas City that weekend.
                        A proud friend of bar.ka.


                        • #13
                          This is my friend's website. He is a course designer and does lots of the top shows in Ireland. The site also has input from a lot of other course designers. http://www.course-designers.com/


                          • #14
                            The best source for Hunter and Equitation courses is the USHJA site. Follow this link to Glenn Moody Tips and Sample Courses: http://www.ushja.org/content/affilia...owsinabox.aspx


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by rabbit View Post
                              The best source for Hunter and Equitation courses is the USHJA site. Follow this link to Glenn Moody Tips and Sample Courses: www.ushja.org/content/affiliates/horseshowsinabox.aspx

                              Originally Posted by JSwan
                              I love feral children. They taste like chicken.