Thursday, July 22, 2010

Quarter Horse hunters revisited

Thank you to everyone who left a comment on my recent post about Quarter Horse Hunter Under Saddle classes. As promised, here are the pictures showing how one horse made the transition from the Under Saddle ring to the Over Fences competition.
It was impossible not to notice this big bay gelding at the Rocky Mountain Quarter Horse Association Youth and Amateur Show held last month at the Colorado Horse Park in Parker, Colorado. With his elegant looks, long sweeping strides and imposing height, he literally towered over the competition in the Hunter Under Saddle ring.
Because of this, I was really pleased to see that he was one of the few horses that moved over to the Hunter ring after the completion of the Hunter Under Saddle division.
Here he is showing Under Saddle...
and Over Fences. If you look closely, you may notice several differences including a new rider, a breastplate and a fitted saddle pad.
Of course, the most obvious difference is the headset. In the Under Saddle classes this horse's headset varied from level to way below level.
Over fences the range was significantly higher. Around the ends of the ring, he was level...
but as he approached the fences, that head came right up. He's also much more engaged behind. Look at the right hind leg. It's stepping way up under his body.
Over fences, I found his form to be somewhat disappointing. Like many naturally low-headed horses, he was a bit slow with his front end. Ideally, you'd like to see both knees up and even but that's hard to get with a horse that's used to travelling on its forehand. He's not round either, but I wouldn't expect him to be over a fence this small.
I'm not sure any of this has any relevance to model horses, but I hope it was interesting anyway! As always, comments are welcome.


  1. Oh wow...George Morris would be killing this boy on his form. I personally like him much better going level and using his butt.

  2. Ahaha, yeah, I thought of George Morris right away too. Pretty horse, but he looks really unhappy and can't jump.

  3. In all fairness, I strongly suspect that this horse is a better jumper than that one picture indicates. It's a really small jump, his hind feet are still on the ground and he's pretty much just stepping over it. Also, his rider rode him to a deep spot which *always* makes the front end look worse. She (the rider) did not appear to have a lot of over fences experience and spent a lot of time schooling in the ring before the class started. He packed her around willingly, but looked hot, tired and cranky by the end of his second jumping round.

    Were he schooled in a less downhill frame and ridden by a better rider over bigger fences, I think he'd look miles better. He probably wouldn't be a superstar, but he's not the worst I've ever seen.

    And I should mention--he did win the class. Most of his jumps looked better than this one. Unfortunately I didn't get pictures of any of those!

  4. One thing that seldom varied was his sour expression. Poor guy! It's our job to educate them in a way that they learn to love their job...

    This was a "Fail" for sure.

  5. Thank you for posting these pictures!
    Yes, this fellow does not look quite happy...But like you said he been showing all day and that really can bother horses.
    He sure is handsome though-anything big and bay is pretty in my book.

    My boy is going to be started on jumps next year, hopefully he'll be a decent jumper, his sire jumped but I doubt that would help my boy any.

  6. I look at these pictures and always think I would feel as though I would fall off the front of them! Give me an uphill British hunter working in an outline any day!

  7. He certainly is carrying the rider round the jumps. She doesn't seem to be more than a passenger does she! He is lovely but my tastes go to cobby horses. Clydesdale cross would be my ultimate! Maybe one day. Thanks for the photos.

  8. Thank you so much for these two posts about quarter horse hunters! I have a Thoroughbred hunter and just bought a quarter horse as a project horse. I don't care for the really low headset and I hope to show both my boys in the more traditional hunter classes where they do well if they are ridden with contact and a more level headset.