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Hunters and Jumpers by Rob Daniels

Within the discipline of show jumping there are two distinct subdisciplines: hunters and jumpers. On a jumping course, it is up to the rider to cue the horse when it reaches the best take-off point. Connecting your horse from the hind legs, through the back to the bit will prevent most of resistance problems that horses have with jumping.


Hunt seat is a term that describes equitation in the English-style of riding. Hunters and jumpers are first schooled thoroughly on the flat, with ground rails/cavaletti work, then moved on to unrushed fence work.


Hunter horse events differ from the standard jumper events. Hunters is more about form than speed. Hunter horses are trained to calmly jump any obstacle in their way and are judged on their appearance, style and jumping ability. The most beautiful horse with the smoothest round and the best jumping efforts should end up the winner.


Hunter horse events differ from the standard jumper events. The horses used in the competition are show hunters, and are judged on their movement, way of going, manners, and jumping form. A horse that displays good jumping form will have its neck and back rounded over the fence with its knees folded squarely and tight. It is also important that the horses body stays straight while jumping, and that the horse stays in the center of the jump. Hunter courses are generally less demanding than jumper classes since style and manners are critical in this form of show jumping. Precision is important when showing in a hunter class if a horse ticks, or touches, the fence he is jumping with his fore or hind legs, a fault is added to the score.


Judging of show jumpers is less subjective, with the fastest clear round winning. In Jumper classes, horse and rider aim to complete the course within a designated time limit and without collecting any jumping faults. In addition to the faster speed of jumper class competition, courses in jumper classes are also composed of more varied obstacles. As long as the horse clears the fences in a jumper competition, the style does not matter what it looked like. In the case of a draw, the horse with the fastest time ranks higher.


The dynamics and beauty of horse and rider soaring over fences make jumping a thrilling sight. Natural abilities and precise training prepare horse and rider for entry in the many different types of jumping competitions. In all jumper classes, a fall and going 'off course' (not following the assigned route) results in elimination. All jumper classes use the same scoring systems. As horses and riders move up through the jumper ranks, the fences get bigger and more difficult. Judging of show jumpers is less subjective, with the fastest clear round winning. In the jumper ring riders don't have to be the most graceful rider, and horses doesn't have to be the smoothest mover to win a jumper class.


In all hunter and jumper classes, the third refusal brings elimination. Often hunters and jumpers show in divisions or a series of classes where horses accumulate points in an effort to win a championship.


About the Author:
Rob Daniels has been an equestrian rider for 25 years. He has studied various disciplines additional articles are available at: Riding Stable - http://www.riding-stable.com and Horse Stall http://www.horse-stall.net



About the Author