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AQHA Hunter under saddle

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    AQHA Hunter under saddle

    So, have a QH gelding that will be showing hunter under saddle. Not my favorite class, but a way to get him in the ring in english tack, before we are ready to start showing over fences. Also the over fences classes at the QH shows around here are few & far between.

    Most people use the fleece pads w/ the square area for the numbers. I hate them. Is a good fitted pad w/ the number on your back acceptable in HUS?

    I know it seems absurd, but if you're going to go to the shows, might as well use the conventional tack of the discipline. Or just go to local schooling shows where it doesn't really matter as much (or cost as much).

    You can get one of these saddle pads for like fifty bucks, probably cheaper if you can find used on like fb marketplace. I would post an iso on a bunch of aqha pages.
    Let me apologize in advance.


      Original Poster

      Not the cost so much, just think they are ugly. Would rather use just a conventional fitted pad, w/ my number on the back. Just not sure if it is OK. Couldn't find anything specific in the rulebook.

      Falls in the same vein as the fake tails for me. I think they are silly in the performance classes for the most part. Not going to do it. Maybe I'll start a trend?


        If it's not specified in the rulebook, then you don't have to have it. However, it seems to me that there is an exceptional degree of conformity among the competitors in AQHA HUS. So, if you're going to take this thing seriously, then conform.
        "Facts are meaningless. You can use facts to prove anything
        that's even remotely true."

        Homer Simpson


          Unless your horse is the best mover by 100 miles, don't start a trend. Stick with the number pad.
          Only two emotions belong in the saddle: One is a sense of humor. The other is patience.


            I'm pretty sure it is in the rule book that a pad with numbers on both sides are required in the flat classes. Double check on the on fence classes.
            SSTACK has the standard pad that people use, at Congress we would sell hundreds of them


              'SHW310.3 Saddles must be black and/or brown leather of traditional hunting or forward seat type, knee insert on the skirt is optional. Saddle pads should fit size and shape, except when necessary to accommodate numbers on both sides, for which a square pad or suitable attachment may be used. Saddle pads and attachments shall be white or natural color with no ornamentation.'

              It's not required. Whether it makes a difference is up to the judges. It is unlikely that a good ride would not be placed, but it's human nature to wonder if some detail got them the gate if all else appeared equal.


                It's "recommended" meaning, if you don't have it you are probably not going to be used on the card. Also, a judge could choose to dismiss you if the number is not seen easily from the center of the ring.

                SHW300.7 Failure by exhibitor to wear correct number(s) in a visible manner shall result in disqualification. It is recommended the visible numbers be on both sides of the horse when showing in the under saddle classes, excluding the over fence classes.

                as for the tail... well... if your tail is braided and your horse has a nice thick, long natural tail, you might get away with it. Otherwise the horse will be looked at as not being properly fitted or prepared for the class. You won't get disqualified, but you also probably would not be viewed as a "serious" competitor.

                I don't have a tail for my horse, mainly because she's white, so they're super expensive, and we only very rarely show hunt seat anymore, but also because she has such a massive tail and quiet, low tail carriage, it's not super noticeable when she goes without, but... if I were going to a big show, I'd 100% have one in.
                The ninja monkeys are plotting my demise as we speak....


                  Now if you're just showing at a local open show, ignore all of that. You can definitely wear a fitted pad, with a number on your back and no tail. It's only at the AQHA shows that it's a really big deal.
                  The ninja monkeys are plotting my demise as we speak....


                    Original Poster

                    thank you all. I am going to get one of the hated number pads. Tail, nope, never. I can see being considered not serious if I don't braid, etc, but the tail thing just bugs the snot out of me. It is a tail. Some are blessed w/ nicer ones than others, but an overfull fake tail would be a hinderance in the hunt field, so putting one in is silly IMO. There are far better things to spend several hundred dollars on.

                    Watched a sale video on a horse the other day, part of it had a fake tail in, part was natural. The horse had an adequate tail, nothing spectacular, but it looked so much nicer than the fake tail that was swishing around the hindlegs, grabbing at them. The real tail just floated along quietly behind the horse.

                    To me impeccable turnout is a requirement, but fake tail is not part of that. I can see the reasoning for the number pads, much as I dislike them. If a judge will not use a horse for lack of a fake tail, then they need to be retraining judges or getting different ones.


                      To each their own, but if you seem to hate everything about the conventional way of turning out and showing for AQHA HUS then... don't? Go show a small schooling show where it doesn't matter if your purpose is only to get your horse into a ring on the flat prior to getting him over fences down the road. Seems absurd to me to be on an internet forum bitching incessantly about how it's done and for sure a waste of your time and money if you're just going to be miserable about the whole process.

                      Veni vidi vici. With a paint pony, nonetheless.


                        OP, what if you put a baby pad underneath your fitted fleece pad and pinned the number to that? I know I have one of those smaller, old school ones that would work. Let me know if you want me to lend it to you and I'll set up a saddle and pad combo that I have in mind, send you a pick and then send you the pad if you would like to use it.

                        I'm all for spending the least possible money to get a young horse into the ring for some experience... without looking as cheap as I am. I get it.
                        The armchair saddler
                        Politically Pro-Cat


                          Originally posted by Arelle View Post
                          To each their own, but if you seem to hate everything about the conventional way of turning out and showing for AQHA HUS then... don't? Go show a small schooling show where it doesn't matter if your purpose is only to get your horse into a ring on the flat prior to getting him over fences down the road. Seems absurd to me to be on an internet forum bitching incessantly about how it's done and for sure a waste of your time and money if you're just going to be miserable about the whole process.
                          Preach it sister!

                          Seriously, what is the point of OP showing in a HUS class if all they do is complain about it? I am so tired of everyone bashing AQHA classes or trends. Every discipline does things differently, if you don't like it, then don't sign up to show in it.

                          OP, if you are going to show in this class, you conform out of respect for the judges you are showing to. No, you do not need a fake tail but it completes the look of a properly turned out HUS horse. As another poster said, not having a tail in looks like you don't know what you're doing and that you didn't do your homework.

                          You are in the show ring, not a hunt field, now is not the time to try and go against the grain...chances are you'll leave a bad impression on the judges.


                            Original Poster

                            Have to agree to disagree I guess. I am willing to conform on most aspects. The tail is just not one. I frankly find them distracting from the horse's movement.

                            All I really wanted to know was if a number pad was required, it or something similar is. The reasoning behind it is sound also. So, no, I don't find them particularly elegant. But will happily comply with it.

                            As far as people bashing aqha;. I think it is a great organization on the whole, but there are problems. If it is getting bashed as much as you say, maybe it should take a look at why.

                            A big draw for the breed is it's versatility. A big reason the ranch riding class is so popular is it is accessible to such a wide variety of horses.

                            ​​​​​​Each breed & discipline has it's own issues. Some of the issues AQHA has had are definitely improving.

                            Fake tail not required, only place I can find in the rule book states where they are NOT allowed & I don't think it is disrespectful to the judge to go in with a gleaming, well braided, well kept horse with a natural tail & tack. That to me is good turnout. It is disrespectful to me as a competitor to judge my horse on his tail.

                            If there is a practical reason for a fake tail, I would be happy to hear it. The only reasons I have heard have had more to do with hiding something than anything else. I don't need an appliance to keep my horse from wringing his tail.


                              The "practical reason" for the fake tails was when people were still nerve blocking tails, and those who did not want to do that would hang a fake tail in to help weigh down the tail to lower it. (Because as we know, a judge cannot tell if a horse is engaged and collected unless it's tail lies flat to it's butt ) Before fake tails, people used to never let tails out of their tail bag and picked them out by hand, never a brush. Fake tails were just easier, and when weight was allowed, and tails were inspected at the World Shows for blocking, became the norm. Spread to the USEF world also.

                              The judges asked for the side number pads in English rail classes, as exhibitors used to pin numbers to their coat,( never saw number strings at a QH show), so numbers were never shifted side to side like at H-J shows.

                              Great progress is being made with the AQHA English Special Events, Working Hunter Under Saddle, and holding Quarter Horse Show fence classes remotely at open H-J shows. You can read all about it on the AQHA English Special Event Facebook page. .
                              Comprehensive Equestrian Site Planning and Facility Design


                                Original Poster

                                Thank you, I will look there. Not many AQHA OF classes close, & have been having a hard time finding any affiliated classes at the regular H/J shows.

                                I was very happy to hear about the working hunter under when they did that, but haven't seen it in my area yet.


                                  Per Justin Billings at AQHA, Working Hunter Under Saddle is pending a computer code, as it has to be programmed into all the ancillary point counting categories also. Maybe early next year. However, it can only be held if there are over fence classes, and horses have to have shown and receive a score in a fence class to enter, Hunter Hack counts as a fence class.
                                  Comprehensive Equestrian Site Planning and Facility Design


                                    Originally posted by appendix100 View Post

                                    All I really wanted to know was if a number pad was required, it or something similar is. The reasoning behind it is sound also. So, no, I don't find them particularly elegant. But will happily comply with it.

                                    Couldn't find anything specific in the rulebook.

                                    As already posted, it's very specific in the rulebook. Make sure you read carefully for your specific events, because most everything is spelled out. Online rulebook is found here. You can also download the app right on your phone and have search function with it.

                                    As already discussed, no, you don't have to have a number pad for HUS, but it is the trend. As you know, going with the trends do increase your likelihood in a JUDGED event. Yes the horse's performance is ultimately what should win a class, but if you have two competitors that are pretty equal, the one that is "better turned out" will "beat" the other. I also prefer the look of a fitted white pad myself, but the number pad really does function well to do what it's intended and hold your number on each side of the horse so the judge doesn't have to wait to see your back number until your back is to them.

                                    Originally posted by appendix100 View Post
                                    Watched a sale video on a horse the other day, part of it had a fake tail in, part was natural. The horse had an adequate tail, nothing spectacular, but it looked so much nicer than the fake tail that was swishing around the hindlegs, grabbing at them. The real tail just floated along quietly behind the horse.

                                    Fake tails are not required in the hunter classes, but again, it is "the look" that is the trend for the class right now.
                                    However, I will agree that fake tails sometimes seem to be distracting. Those, in my opinion, are folks who are NOT using the proper fake tail for that horse. It shouldn't distract from the horse's movement. It should indeed enhance the horse and look natural. If it's catching in the legs, it might be too thick for the space between that horse's legs. If it's swinging unnaturally, then they probably didn't attach it correctly. I feel if you are going to use a fake tail, then do it right so it looks natural.

                                    I showed AQHA this year for the first time myself (and read that rulebook cover to cover multiple times) The tail I used for my horse was much less full than what is the trend for AQHA Hunter, but it was fine for me for my first year. I may send it back over the winter to have a little more added for fullness but I haven't decided yet.

                                    I also did NOT braid his tail for any of the shows for the Hunter classes, because frankly I didn't have time! I usually had another Western event before or after where a braided tail was NOT customary, so I chose to not braid, which is what everyone else did too b/c we were all in the same boat. I showed with a natural mane for ranch horse (his primary event) so I just did a neat running braid for English, which was quick enough to do and undo. I also didn't use any hoof polish when I did showmanship because I knew I wouldn't be able to get it all removed before ranch horse (where hoof polish is illegal).

                                    So some of what you do will also be based on if you do any other classes with your horse.

                                    Of course, its your horse so do what you want. But if you do come from an English background, you know how heavily "tradition" can be preferred. Same goes for showing AQHA.
                                    It is not enough to know how to ride; one must know how to fall.