Saturday, September 20, 2014

Arabian Hunter Pleasure tack and turnout

Even though it's been a long time since I sat on a "real" hunter, I'll always be a hunter girl at heart.  Because of this, I am fascinated by the all the different ways various breeds approach hunter classes.  This post covers attire, tack and turnout requirements for the Arabian Hunter Pleasure division.  Quoted information comes from the USEF Arabian, Half-Arabian and Anglo Arabian rulebook, and the photos were taken at the 2014 CAHC Fall Show in Castle Rock, Colorado.
Riders wear "informal attire" consisting of a conservatively colored hunt coat, light colored breeches or jods, boots and a hunt cap, derby or other protective headgear.  Gloves may be worn but are not required, and spurs and crops are also permitted. 
Bridles should be of a "light, show type" with a regular cavesson and no bling.  In fact, ornamentation of any kind is strictly prohibited.
Acceptable bits include snaffles, pelhams, full bridles and kimberwickes.
Breastplates are allowed but not required.  Martingales and tie-downs are forbidden.
The "type of English saddle is optional, but forward seat" is recommended, and saddleseat saddles are not permitted.  There are no specific rules regarding pads, but shaped fleece pads are always a popular (and conservative!) option.
Like USEF hunters, Arabian Hunter Pleasure horses usually show in braids.  However, since Arabians have long manes, tiny, individual braids are not a practical option.  Instead the mane is contained in a single, running braid that lies just below the horse's crest.
Tails may also be braided.  Just remember, it's perfectly acceptable to have a braided mane with a loose tail but not vice versa!
As far as actual performance goes, this is a pretty basic rail class.  Horses perform four gaits (walk, trot, canter and hand gallop) in a group in both directions of the arena.  They may also be asked to halt on the rail and perform a rein back.  
It's been a long time since I've written a Performance Spotlight post like this.  As always, your questions, comments are corrections are welcome!


  1. Have you ever seen a marawari or kathawari doing any type of english or western riding in the show ring? I just bought a new pony and he is a kathawari. I want to show him in performance but don't know if I'd have document the breed doing the thing or not. Do you have any suggestions?

  2. Thanks for the post. I'm definitely going to use this for reference for my show next month :)

  3. I could totally do this with Booger...

  4. The Palomino Arabian (the second picture) is stepping on his tail....and I think he knows it. :)

  5. hrm i can never get my running braids to be so tiny and neat... love the expression on the grey!

  6. Being a hunter person at heart I'm very surprised to see kimberwick bits accepted in hunter classes(though personally, I have never seen anything wrong with them). A lot seems to have changed since I rode competitively.

    1. You still wouldn't see a kimberwicke in the hunter ring at a USEF hunter/jumper show. I don't think they're illegal, but it's simply just not done. Breed shows are another thing entirely. There are lots of kimberwickes in the Arabian and Stock Horse Hunter classes.