Can someone tell me a little more about what a Hunter Trial is like? More specifically the New England Hunter Trials?
I've been invited to the NE Hunter Trials by a member of the Green Mountain Hounds. I think this would be a great opportunity (if I can swing it) for my sale horse, get more exposure type of thing. It sounds very similar to our hunt's Master's Test that my horse and I did last season, but much bigger and more formal "show" atmosphere. I don't see an issue with the jumps and "events", moreso what is appropriate behavior of the rider (I do like to be talkative when I go xc at horse trials ).
Can I carry a riding crop as opposed to a hunt whip?
Bits: "Acceptable bits include snaffles, pelhams, kimberwicks, 3-rings and other bits customary in the hunt field at that time." I usually hunt him in a loose ring snaffle gag with 2 reins, I'm not the only one hunting with this bit (I wouldn't say it's popular, but I'm not a fashion-setter either), would it require the letter from my MFH?
I still feel like the FNG when it comes to foxhunting, so I'd like to be prepared before I embarrass myself, trainer or *gulp* hunt. Myself, I can deal with (lifelong experience there!), the other two...notsomuch.
I don't have a lot of answers to your questions, but I can tell you that I am attending. A few people from our hunt are going, including myself and my barn mate, both of whom are newbies to Hunter Trials. We did one "schooling" hunter trial that our hunt put on. I'm planning to do the "Novice" (2'9" max) level.
From what I know, it's approximately a 3 mile course. It's a lot like going out XC, but there are a few other elements, such as a gate opening/closing, Hold Hard, Gone away, and a Lead over. A main difference from Eventing is that you are judged on style over the fences You will get points for each fence or element. It's possible that talking loudly to yourself, or singing, may lose you some style points, but I don't really know!
I believe there are pictures of the courses up on the Green Mountain website.
I ride my horse in an eggbutt gag and I did have my Hunt Master sign off on it - I'm not sure if that was necessary but wanted to have it covered just in case. I'm also quite sure that a regular crop is fine - no hunt whip required.
I've also heard that it is a very welcoming and fun group. The Saturday night party sounds like a blast, and many people are staying to hunt on Monday. I'm expecting a really fun weekend.
I had a fantastic time! The course was beautiful, it was the peak of the foliage season in Vermont, the Green Mountain Hounds hunt people are so welcoming and nice. We had great accommodations for both ourselves and our horses with amazing people. It was a great day! And as a bonus, I came home with 2 ribbons! 4th in Qualified Novice, and 3rd in Teams!