Home' Horse Deals Magazine : Horse Deals January 2013 Contents -jan13
opportunity to show that your horse can come calmly and softly
back through the paces without being strong on the bit. However
safety is paramount.
How should a hunter be presented? Traditionally and historically
we do have to present the Hunters a little plainer that the Open
Horses, however we also have some freedom to set our own trends.
I personally use sharks teeth and bars or checkers on her rump,
subtle highlighter on her face and points, and of course the usual
false tail, black hooves and white socks. The saddlery should
match the colour of the horse, the bridle should be plain with a flat
noseband and browband and the numnah should match the tack
colour. I think you need to step back and evaluate what suits your
horse the best and what will enhance their ring appeal. For instance,
Radiance’s bridle has extra width on the noseband and browband as
this is what suits her head shape.
What should a rider wear in Show Hunter classes? Again we can
adapt the trends of Australian Showing attire to our dress without
losing the historical and appropriate dress rules of the English Hunter
ring. We have some great, innovative suppliers here in Australia that
bring some exciting concepts to our rings. Greg and Samantha
Watson and The Australian Hunter Horse Association website
have great articles and information on attire. Within reason we can
individualise our outfits with varying shades and patterns of check
and tweed, contrasting collars and matching breeches and gloves. I
treated myself to a custom made cane, which has an antique antler
tip and engraved silver plate with both Radiance’s and my name on
it for EA Nationals from Greg Watson canes. It’s my lucky cane now!
There are many horses which are borderline Show Hunter or
open, what should be the determining factor here, when one
judge says it’s Open and another says it’s Hunter? Unfortunately
there is no decisive answer here, as showing is such a subjective
sport. At the end of the day we are all at the mercy of one
person’s opinion and whether we agree or disagree with that
decision is irrelevant. We can certainly consider attributes
like bone, substance, movement, temperament and work
when considering if a horse is a true Hunter or not but
I believe, ultimately, that it is the overall individual
picture and combination of these considerations
that define a Hunter.
What attributes do you look for in a good Show Hunter? I think most
importantly a modern day Australian Show Hunter has to be a quality
animal. In regards to their conformation, they need to have good bone
and substance, with a big frame, deep chest and ribcage, while still
being refined enough to be a show animal. They must have straight
limbs, a high neck set to ensure they can carry themselves. They have
to have ring presence, be bright and attractive.
Tell us about HV Radiance? I purchased Radiance at the end of 2010
through a professional dressage trainer, Janet Dillon Smith, who had
done a wonderful job and educated her to Novice level. She had only
been to a few small dressage days so the show ring was a baptism
of fire for her! She has frozen semen Warmblood breeding on both
sides of her pedigree, being by Rotspon and out of a Welchstern mare.
She only stands 14.33⁄4hh, her size is what I love the most about her,
Warmblood trainability and movement in a small size! We had a great
season in 2011/2012 as she was 2nd at Brisbane Royal 2011 in the
Heavyweight Show Hunter Galloway class, Champion Preliminary
Show Hunter Galloway at Pacific Coast and Dubbo Hack Champs
2011, National AHHA Show Hunter Galloway of the Year 2011, Runner
Up at EA HOTY, SHC NSW HOTY, ESH Show Horse Championships
2012 and most recently and thrillingly, Runner Up at EA Nationals 2012.
She is just a beautiful mare to own and spend time with. She has a true
personality and is very intelligent. She is so much fun to ride.
What gave her the edge over the other hunters when it counted
most? I think her education, movement and quality really shines and
makes her stand out. She can really pull out the tricks when needed,
great flying changes, a breathtaking lengthened trot and a really strong,
bold collected gallop. She is just a quality mare and has a real ring
presence. She is getting really consistent with her work and I trust her
to give me a great ride. I just think she is very eyecatching and her true
to type Hunter attributes really set her apart.
How should a show hunter work compared to an open horse?
A Show Hunter needs to be a very forward moving horse. When you
put the leg on and ask for another gear, the Hunter needs to respond
and go forward, particularly in the gallop. Ideally a Hunter is a horse
you would ride to hounds all day, a horse you would not want to be
kicking and coaxing along. A Show Hunter has to be bright and uphill,
really work out of the bridle and give a good ride. They need to be
forward without being strong on the bit. They need to be consistent,
calm and very importantly give as a close to a faultless workout as
possible. Manners are of extreme consideration in a Hunter workout.
A Hunter needs to stand in the line, walk away relaxed and be free and
calm in their work.
What type of workout should be expected in the hunter ring? A
good, strong gallop is important. The horse needs to be collected
and really bowl along. Of course there are many opinions on what is
“correct” in a Hunter workout and there are purists whom only consider
the English style of Hunter Showing as correct but I like to see four
good paces, a good lengthened trot, simple walk through or flying
changes and a good walk. The work needs to flow however; it is a
Hunter workout, not a dressage test. Big movement is lovely but the
Hunter needs also to move freely without too much extravagance or
suspension. Long sweeping strides are essential without too much
cadence, essentially a horse you could ride comfortably all day.
Some judges ask for a gallop others want a lengthen stride what is
the norm? I think it depends on the judge’s preference, the conditions
and the space provided to work in. I personally believe the rider should
be up out of the saddle and on the horse’s neck. The gallop is a great
Runner Up National
Show Hunter Galloway,
HV Radiance and
opportunities. Melbourne and Adelaide have many in their line ups...
8 to 10 for open Champion hack, hunters have 3! Hunters pay the
same money etc so give them the opportunity, include a gelding and
mare class, and include ladies, gent and child’s, even a Thoroughbred
hunter, like the opens have, it’s a long way to travel and expense for
two classes compared to the opens, who have several.
Why do you think Show Hunters are increasing in popularity? I
think hunters are becoming more popular, as especially the younger
generation don’t have to compete against professionals as yet.
Do you agree that a horse should only be shown as a Show Hunter
or an Open horse or should it be left up to the judge on the day?
I think it should be left to the competitor to choose if they are hunter
or not, at the moment there are many judges, that don’t have the
experience or knowledge to make the decision and
vice versa, it’s an opinion, let the competitor decide,
if they aren’t bringing home the ribbons, they should
What will the future of Show Hunters be in your
opinion? Show Hunters, I see as a major draw card
for many events, last year at the EA Nationals, the
stands were full for Show Hunters and not opens, the
format was changed this year to combine both. The
proof is history now, with the event this year being a
near sell out, a fantastic event, combining open and hunters with riding
events, everyone loved it, I feel the Show Hunters and opens are equal
and this surely proves it.
photo: Lorelle Mercer
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