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  1. #1
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    Default Opinions needed: Show Hunters vs. Field Hunters

    Do you think the show hunters (mainly apparel, tack etc...) of today are based on the "traditions" of the foxhunting field?? Are there any similarities between the two in this day and age?

    Opinions and commentary would be appreciated!

    Thanks!



  2. #2
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    I think the only tradition that is left is that the riders where tall black boots.



  3. #3
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    Both ride horses.



  4. #4
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    I guess, once you're plastered with mud, they all look the same!



  5. #5
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    Well, over the decades I have known a fair number of horses that did both, successfully, because their riders did both. It seems these days that there are a whole lot more show riders who have zero experience outside of the ring, and so they enjoy what they know.

    The whole counting strides thing got way out of hand. When I showed in the 70s, one observed and counted other horses' strides as a means of comparison, to determine what you would do on your own horse to achieve a smooth and even round. And it used to be that a more forward pace was rewarded- now, the few I've seen lately, boil down to western pleasure over fences to me.

    I haven't seen an appointments class in eons, do they even still offer them? As for the tack, most saddles don't even come with dee rings on them any more unless like me you special order (dee rings on both sides this time!). And attire- well, that was already pretty different some time ago except for appointments classes- and hunting purists just hate those black field boots that got their start in the show ring.



  6. #6
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    With the loss of an outside course as one of the O/F classes in a division back in the 70's any relationship between the award winning show ring hunter of today and modern field hunter is moot. The first cousin, if not indeed a sibling, of a modern field hunter is a 3 Day event horse.



  7. #7
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    Show hunters has nothing in common with field hunters anymore. The way the riders ride would get them killed in the hunt field, so it's probably a good thing. The cat in heat/praying mantis pose over fences is terrifying to watch.

    Though I was pleased to read of an outside course (was it in a recent issue of COTH?) at a horse show. It would be nice if that made its way back into hunter shows again.

    I think eventing is probably a better comparison these days.... but even then.. with the short format - even that sport no longer resembles what it once was.

    God - I'm depressed.



  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elghund2 View Post
    Both ride horses.




  9. #9
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    The two are in total contrast. Not to mention that most true "show hunters" and "hunter riders" would lose their minds if asked to jump something on uneven footing or (gasp) without a ground line!
    And god forbid there are loose dogs everywhere!
    "Perhaps the final test of anybody's love of dogs is their willingness to permit them to make a camping ground of the bed" -Henry T. Merwin



  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaegermonster View Post
    The two are in total contrast. Not to mention that most true "show hunters" and "hunter riders" would lose their minds if asked to jump something on uneven footing or (gasp) without a ground line!
    And god forbid there are loose dogs everywhere!

    LOL, I just put down a recent COTH in which a most successful dressage rider opted out of either riding or schooling due to wet/poor footing- don't recall the specifics right now. I'd never be able to ride, much less hunt, if perfect footing were required. Different strokes eh?

    And while the new under the lights Hunter Classics are a step in the right direction those courses need to have roaming cow/calf herds loose on course, a half dozen hounds wandering & unflagged barb wire on the ground somewhere. When that starts to happen I'll pay to watch the class. And they should at least be jumping right behind each other and not have the arena all to themselves.



  11. #11
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    I know right? I took my young mare (who I hunt on and whip in off of) to a hunter schooling show last month (which I do regularly) and while I was schooling in the ring, a white paper napkin came blowing by. Some woman came out in front of me screaming at the top of her lungs that I should STOP before this napkin spooked my horse. I Just looked at her like she was nuts and started laughing. Of course everyone else out there came to a screeching halt and needed water to recover from the shock.
    It's amazing
    "Perhaps the final test of anybody's love of dogs is their willingness to permit them to make a camping ground of the bed" -Henry T. Merwin



  12. #12
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    Good one, we need to add paper trash and of course glass bottles strewn around to the course!!!!

    Bonus points- I think I read in COTH "options" could be earned by taking certains routes. I offer opening your flask, taking a nip, recapping your flask and putting it back in your pocket or sandwich case while at a canter on the long end of the arena. More bonus points if you remove a glove first and don't drop it during the exercise!!!



  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by SLW View Post
    ... those courses need to have roaming cow/calf herds loose on course, a half dozen hounds wandering & unflagged barb wire on the ground somewhere.....And they should at least be jumping right behind each other and not have the arena all to themselves.

    I dunno, guys; that sounds pretty much like the schooling area to me! The show hunter ring may be all that you say, but I think that if you can survive schooling in the early mornin before the show starts - with 10 trainers running their riders around a full course, all in different directions , and at least one small clueless child blundering around on a pony looking for a safe place to stand - you'd be just FINE out in the hunt field.
    Incredible Invisible



  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by J Swan View Post
    Show hunters has nothing in common with field hunters anymore. The way the riders ride would get them killed in the hunt field, so it's probably a good thing. The cat in heat/praying mantis pose over fences is terrifying to watch.

    Though I was pleased to read of an outside course (was it in a recent issue of COTH?) at a horse show. It would be nice if that made its way back into hunter shows again.(
    Yes, (at a few shows) outside courses do still exist and there is a Hunter Derby series with good prize money that is attracting top hunter riders and some GP jumper riders. The series seems very popular with fans and riders and USEF/USHJA seems very committed to this new endeavor. See the most recent COTH for the great account of Aaron Vale leaping off his horse to do a lead-over.

    Y'all are right, and funny as all get-out, but, lets not get too carried away. I show in the hunters, on my foxhunter, and she is as brave and capable a horse as I have ever met. Her mom is a bit of a wimp, and no great equitator, but please god, just shoot me if I ever do that ridiculous "cat in heat/praying mantis pose over fences".

    I agree, hunters has strayed from its roots, but for many of us, the lasting value is that its a competition to judge and celebrate the HORSE, not the rider.



  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quin View Post
    I dunno, guys; that sounds pretty much like the schooling area to me! The show hunter ring may be all that you say, but I think that if you can survive schooling in the early mornin before the show starts - with 10 trainers running their riders around a full course, all in different directions , and at least one small clueless child blundering around on a pony looking for a safe place to stand - you'd be just FINE out in the hunt field.
    Ah yes, memories of the schooling ring at shows are dribbling back to me! It is not a place for cowards for sure.



  16. #16
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    Geez, Ray. No one is denigrating hunters. We all know of horses that still do both. Don't be so sensitive.

    These days - the two activities have little to nothing in common. The style of riding in the show ring is detrimental - and even dangerous - in the hunt field. The show hunters may not be able to traverse uneven terrain at speed - because the horse and rider is always stuck in the arena. Many field hunters will lack the flash and style to be competitive in the show ring.

    It's not unique to hunters. Lots of people are stuck in an arena these days - with few to no opportunities to go for a good gallop xc - and even if they did - they lack the skill sets to do it competently.

    It seems specialization is the name of the game these days. The field hunter that shows during the summer is the exception, not the rule. That isn't intended to be derogatory; it's just a fact.



  17. #17
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    well, I know one thing, if I took my 1/2 clyde 1/2 TB in a hunter ring, I would probubally get laughed out of the ring, but is the best hunter i have ever sat on. He was hunting first flight after 3 times out and loving every minute of it and then made the transition with me as I became a whip. Who was the horse who lead the huntsman's horse past scary cows, garbage cans, etc or give greenies endless leads over training level ditches at camp? Waldo, or "Uncle Waldo" as he soon became known. This is the type of horse that couldn't do a "teacup" canter if his very life depended on it, but would probubaly walk through the gates of hell if i asked him.
    PS I will pay very good money to see hounds added to hunter classes
    It's psychosomatic. You need a lobotomy. I'll get a saw.



  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Equibrit View Post
    I guess, once you're plastered with mud, they all look the same!

    A show Hunter muddy? Oh the shame....



  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quin View Post
    I dunno, guys; that sounds pretty much like the schooling area to me! The show hunter ring may be all that you say, but I think that if you can survive schooling in the early mornin before the show starts - with 10 trainers running their riders around a full course, all in different directions , and at least one small clueless child blundering around on a pony looking for a safe place to stand - you'd be just FINE out in the hunt field.
    Now I have to agree there, too bad hunter shows don't have some schooling area rules like events do. But I have said at many hunter shows that the schooling area is a great training experience for young horses.
    "Perhaps the final test of anybody's love of dogs is their willingness to permit them to make a camping ground of the bed" -Henry T. Merwin



  20. #20
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    This bashing is really uncalled for and unnecessary.

    Believe it or not, I have a very successful show hunter (is typically top 10 in the zone every year) who is also a fabulous field hunter. I don't hunt her very much anymore though because she is just too valuable and I don't want anything to happen to her (like getting kicked by another horse, stubbling and hurting herself, whatever). The reality is that the show hunters of today, if they are good, just cost too much to take out in the hunt field. Liken it to taking a $100K automobile cross country, you just would not do it.

    When I decide to retire her from the show ring, I will hunt her again. And she is as good in the hunt field as she is in the ring. So quit bashing all the hunters out there.



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