Saturday, February 21, 2015

FAQ, Part 14

Is a Happy Mouth or Nathe bit acceptable for the hunter ring?

Yes, it is fairly common to see hunters ridden in white plastic bits. Judges are unlikely to penalize a horse for going in a soft bit, and while the colour can stand out in contrast to the horse and bridle, it is of little consequence on a well-turned-out horse. Bit material is not regulated, provided it is humane.

How can I tell which classes are in a hunter division?

The horse show's prize list should outline which classes are included in each division. Generally, a hunter division will have anywhere from two to four over fences classes as well as one under saddle (flat) class. Certain shows might offer a handy class, a model class, or a stake class as part of a division.

In the prize list or schedule, the jumping classes will usually be denoted by either "over fences" or "o/f" (the class specified as a handy or a stake is also over fences), while the under saddle could be represented by "u/s". For equitation divisions, "on the flat" or "flat" is used in place of "under saddle".

Are flexible stirrups permitted in the hunter ring?

Jointed or flexible stirrups are permitted for hunter classes. For equitation and medal classes in Canada, however, black branches are not permissible (light-coloured branches are fine), though the stirrups may still be jointed. USEF rules allow black joints for equitation classes as long as the entire stirrup iron is not black.

Can you braid just the tail for a hunter class?

Braiding the tail is usually done for especially formal classes, so it is typically done in cases when the mane is already expected to be braided. If the horse show is formal enough to braid anything, the mane should be braided. At schooling shows where braiding is not expected, some riders might practice braiding the tail for fun, but otherwise it is typical to braid either just the mane or both the mane and tail.

Which is better for a hunter, a high or a low score?

When numerical scoring is used in the hunter ring, it is based on an ideal score of 100, so a higher score is a better score.

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