Hunter jumps at a model horse show tend to be a little bit boring. The vast majority include two conservatively colored picket fence type wing standards, a pole, a gate, another pole as a ground line and a few flowers for decoration.
There's nothing wrong with that, and that description accurately describes a lot of real hunter jumps.
The USEF rule book states: Obstacles must simulate those found in the hunting field such as natural post and rail, brush, stone wall, white board fence or gate, chicken coop, aiken, hedge, oxer, etc. Chicken coops hinged at the top and free at the bottom; triple bars and hogs back; striped rails; targets; any spread over 4’ and square oxers are prohibited.It goes on to say: All obstacles must be at least 20’ wide or have wings at least 24” wide that are at least 12” higher than the obstacle and a ground line is required for all obstacles. (Exception: Handy Hunter classes). There are additional rules regarding jump heights and depth of jump cups, but as actual fence design and construction--that's it.
What all this means is, performance showers can get a lot more creative with the design of their hunter jumps. The Colorado Horse Park in Parker, Colorado has some of the prettiest hunter jumps around. These pictures were taken at several different hunter shows held there over the course of 2011.
At first glance some of these jumps almost look like they belong in the jumper ring. However, those poles aren't quite striped...Instead they've been painted to resemble the bark of an aspen tree!
The big brick wall standards do in fact double as jumper fences on occasion...as do these grey pillars.
For those who like plants, there's no need to restrict the greenery to a few flower pots.
Perhaps the CHP's most distinctive jump standards are these tree trunks.
Here's a closer view, showing the track for the jump cups.
Like all jump components, these standards can be set up in a multitude of ways with different poles and fill elements.Sometimes they're even combined to make two jumps in one.
Hunter jumps can be just as elaborate--and beautiful--as those found in the jumper ring. Particularly in the new age of the Hunter Derby, there's no need for us model horse folk to stick to the same old boring formula!
P.S. Thank you to everyone for your kind words and support regarding Darcy's recent health crisis. I am pleased to report she has been seizure-free for almost thirty six hours.