Thursday, March 12, 2015

You can put a horse in hunter tack...

the look of eagles.
or the look of, "i'd rather be trail riding...down that trail back there."

...but lord have mercy, that does not make him a hunter horse!

We had a ballin' dressage school yesterday since I figured I should let my dressage saddle know I was still alive. Plus I had just sent in my membership fees for the Northeastern PA Horsemen's Association with the intention of winning the shit out of their dressage shows for a year end award. Love me some ribbons.

But anyway, Bobby was totally on point because he's ten now, and ten year olds are grown up horses.

Sometimes.

After a flawless warm up, we ran through Novice A because that's probably the first eventing test we'll be riding this year. Just to finish off the ride with something fun, I asked for some trot half pass. He was fucking amazing to the right. I tried it to the left and....well, we couldn't even really leg yield very in that direction. Oh well.

Then, to see if I could, I asked him for a half pass at the canter going right. Whaaaaaaat. Dudes, I totally got it for all its three steps of glory before we ran out of arena. I was pretty giddy. It might have been embarrassing if I'd been riding with someone else. And if I ever got embarrassed for giggling on my horse. Which I don't.

"what, lady? what the fuck do you want? just feed me that cookie already."

Today I was excited to get back to some jumping. I set up a long two stride line (either 2'6" to 3' or vice versa) and a 2'6" vertical on the diagonal. I also dressed Bobby up in a hunter horse outfit for some early preparation for this summer.

I left my reins a little longer and loopier than I usually do warming up to try to encourage a little nose poking out. Bobby was all, "Whatevs. Look at me win the hack class." And I was all, "Bobby, please. You immediately lose the hack class on looks alone. Get some control over those ears."

Once we started jumping, I was feeling pretty lost without my super thick rubber reins in my hands. I felt like I didn't know where to hold my reins, and like I had no control over my horse. Bobby was happy to accommodate my confusion by not really steering or slowing down. On the forehand? Counter bent? We dominated those things.


But he jumped everything without issue--it was just a little fast, and eventually got a little flat because 2'6" is insulting to Robert right now. I want the outdoor to melt!

I think the next time I trade the running for a standing, I'll also try out a pelham. Even if I never use the curb rein, maybe the feeling of two reins in my hands will make me more comfortable. Damn you hunt seat riders and your minimal tack!

17 comments:

  1. As a reformed Hunter Princess, I will tell you that you can still have contact in the hunter ring! If you throw it all away out of nowhere, your horse will be confused. While you don't want him as packaged up as he would be for a dressage test, you still want to ride him the way he goes best. A pelham is not a bad idea and might help give you the brakes you need O/F, too! Oh, and no martingales at all in the hack. Sorry dude.

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    1. The no martingales on flat I knew, but I also know there's no jumping Bobby without a martingale of any sort. Just wait for my hunter questions post. SUCH CONFUSION.

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    2. IT WILL BE OK I BELIEVE IN YOU.

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    3. IT WILL TOTALLY BE OKAY I WILL ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS

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  2. Yup, you don't have to throw away all your contact! The trick is floating the reins a little when Bobby is being soft and quiet, so you make it look easy and pretty :) Pelhalm is totally okay in hunters if you feel you need it and it will help y'all. Most judges will prefer a D ring over a pelhalm, but really at the local level it's all about your trip so I wouldn't worry about it.

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  3. Well, I can tell you he looks damn cute as a hunter pony.

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  4. Looking forward to Bobby's escapades in hunterland

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  5. I have no love for braided reins...but yay dressup!

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  6. Laced reins are the worst when it's time to clean them.

    If you watch a hack class with good riders and nice horses, you'll see that the contact in the OUTSIDE rein is pretty much the same as you'd expect it to be in training level dressage, because outside rein contact is important to keeping the horse engaged and straight and all those fun things. So they do everything from inside leg to outside rein (which is, of course, correct--I can get frowny-face at some of the hunters' jumping positions, but their flatwork, if they're good, is usually on point). And then you float the inside rein a bit, because inside reins don't do much in a frame like that anyway, if the horse is going correctly.

    Over fences, you need to be able to ride in essentially the same frame, which means steering off the seat and leg. That's REALLY hard to do well, I think, and so you see a lot of hunters taking the long spot because the rider isn't holding to the base. Hunter riding is HARD, especially when the jumps get to 3'6"+, which is why the really good show hunters sell for squillions of dollars. And it's why I ride jumpers. :)

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    1. EXCELLENT tip! Thank you!

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    2. Any old time. Feel free to hit me up on FB or whatever--I think we're both friends with SB. Always happy to e-coach.

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  7. aww he looks cute in hunter tack! good luck with it all - and the pelham might not be a bad idea haha

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  8. Jeesh, it's about time rober grew up!

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  9. Wheeee moar dressing up & always moar satin and ribbons. Enter all the things!

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