Getting Noticed in Huge Huntseat Eq classes

So I’ve got a question for past or present successful huntseat eq riders, or anyone who has knowledge on this topic….how do you get noticed when there are at least 10 other girls who all look exactly like you? As a 14-17 huntseat eq rider, I’ve noticed that almost every single rider in the classes I go in appears perfect. It must be horrible trying to judge them! I worked a lot over the winter on really pulling my shoulders back, stretching my neck up, and making sure I don’t get lost on the rail when riding in big groups. I’m not gonna lie, I was kind of disappointed when my show results didn’t reflect the work I did. It kind of takes a toll on my confidence. Does anyone have any tips on how I can “stand out” more?

14 Responses to Getting Noticed in Huge Huntseat Eq classes

  1. MorganCrest says:


    It has been quite a few years since I have been able to show in an Equ. class except for at Local Schooling Shows which most of time offer and Adult Equ. Anyhow I was one of the top competitors back in 1990-1998 in the East Coast Equ. riders. What I am saying is strictly my opinion. I’m sure lots of people have different thoughts. Especially in today’s show world.

    Getting lost is easy to do in big classes however I found that judges also frown on the ones that are constantly cutting corners and coming off every chance they get. Equ. is not just about sitting pretty it is also the ability to be able to make your horse perform as it should. So coming off the real may seam as if your horse does not like the rail. I could go on and on… So let me try and narrow it down.

    Steady legs, heels down and I mean down, toes in, Legs back.(You sould be able to draw a straight line from your shoulder to you hip/elbow to you heal) Shoulders back but not arching back( Practice Lifting shoulders up back and down) (Roll on to your pelvic bone this will help with the sitting up straight it may look like your butt is sticking out but that’s ok to an extent), look up and in the direction your going… Thumbs up..(A good training aid is placing a crop directly across the top of your fist closing it with your thumb. (This does not allow you to roll your wrist.) You should have a straight line from the bit throw your wrist to your elbow/hip. (That gives you an idea were your hands should be. A true hunter head set should put your hands about three maybe four inches above the withers.)

    Attire is another big thing more these days… Be neat and tidy.

    Your Horse:
    Some people think as long as I look good it doesn’t matter what my horse looks like. Your Equ horse should not look any different then your pleasure horse. I don’t mean so much confirmation wise but presentation wise.

    I m sure I could go on and on as I love a good Equ. rider… If you would like to email me a picture or a video I would be more then happy to critic it for you.

    P.S. Video tape yourself and watch it over and over every time you will find something you want to improve…

    I hope this helps.. Good Luck

  2. Karen Clark says:

    MorganCrest, those are excellent points and I have just one more to add. When you enter the ring you should exude confidence……Look and act like a winner, not like someone trying to win.

  3. ak4793 says:

    I never really thought about that. I guess it must be kinda obvious when a rider is trying to be seen, as opposed to one that just happens to have great passes right in front of the judge. haha. I think my eq is pretty good, I just have problems keeping my feet back. I’m leaving for a local show tomorrow where I’ll be showing a horse that has had basically a year off and threw me the day before yesterday! Oddly, I’m really excited! I just love showing equitation so much- I don’t care what horse I’m riding! I love the challenge of making a non-push button horse appear easy and equitated! Thanks for the tips so far! :-)

  4. MorganCrest says:

    I will have to agree with you… You’re a better rider if you can take a challenge then pay $25K for a push button… KarenClark also made a good point ride like a winner do not try to be one… Your first impression has to be your best. Some will say be the first one in some will say be the last on in the ring… First you get a standard last your probably what sticks however going last is sometimes hard because by the time you get into the ring there are already 10-15 others so when your entering you sometimes have no choice but to hug the rail??? Take your pick!?!

    I’ve also been told that a judge will mark there card 1-6 based on your first look. And basically they work thru those to find there placing. I’m not a judge but that’s some input that I have had. Also if you have patterns nail them. When you back a good Equ. rider will always look over there shoulder before backing there horse.

    Good Luck at the show this weekend! Let me know how you do!

  5. ak4793 says:

    So I just got back from the show and it was pretty fun! My friend and I have been working to prepare this rather green saddleseat mare for this show, and for only being in the full bridle for about 2 or 3 weeks, and not really knowing how to canter, she did pretty well! I somehow ended up having to show her in a road hack class…..that was interesting! It was all fine until we had to road trot…and then halt….and then back 4 steps. She did not like that one bit! She improved throughout the course of the show though. The horse that I mentioned earlier that I was going to show eq, I ended up just showing pleasure, due to scheduling issues. He was so good! I couldn’t believe it when we were announced second out of a field of 11 or 12 horses! :-D

  6. MorganCrest says:

    Well Congrats on the second…. I’s love to see if any of the tech I mentioned help you in the equ ring. Keep me posted. Good Luck!

  7. RWL says:

    When I showed Huntseat Equitation, the classes were HUGE. Ususally always 20+. My biggest piece of advise it you is GET SEEN!!!! Make the judge see you, if they aren’t looking try something else! It’s all about ring presence. You won’t stand out to the judge if you are stuck on the rail in a pack of 8 horses getting covered up.

    Ride agressive and show confidence!

    Good Luck =)

  8. ak4793 says:

    Good news guys! I took your advice into consideration and it really helped. I think before I was trying TOO hard to be seen, and not worrying enough about my presence and form. I ended up winning the AMHA huntseat medal and getting reserve in the eq.championship at NY Regional! Thanks for the replies! :-)

  9. bella92290 says:

    ak, saw your classes, you did a very nice job, congrats!

  10. GraceMorgn says:


    I went out to Terry’s website to see your pictures. Congrats on your reserve championship.

    You said that you have been working really hard on your upper body and it shows. You are very square and project down the rail, which is great.

    You said you want to know how you can stand out in large classes. There is one thing that I see that could use improvement and that is your lower leg.

    Your heel should be under your hip more and you should try to really stretch your heel straight down to the ground. Be careful that you don’t push your whole foot forward, but that you keep the stirrup leather straight up and down. It will help if you stretch your whole leg from your hip. It will keep your thigh tight, your knee in, your leg long and your heel down. You might even be able to shorten your stirrup a half hole to make it easier.

    Are you showing at Nationals?


  11. ak4793 says:

    Thanks guys! and thank you for the advice ashley! I’m so happy that my upper body is improving! In the past I’ve had problems with my left hand turning in, but I feel like it’s starting to get better.
    *sighs* Ahh yes, my lower leg. We’re starting to focus on that now that my left hand is getting better. I have a tendency to lean back too far and throw my feet out in front of me, so I’m going to start really working on balance to avoid that. I’m definitely going to try and get my heels down further, too (I recently started doing up-downs on my staircase every night). And yes indeedy, I am showing at Nationals! I’M SO EXCITED!!!

  12. Tea says:

    You have received some great advice. I want to add one thing that many people don’t pay too much attention to. Saddle fit. The wrong saddle can make your effort to ride your best a real chore. Getting your leg back to where it should be can be near impossible in the wrong saddle. I’ve noticed – and not just at Morgan shows – that many hunter riders who are riding with their legs too forward would benefit from a different saddle. I know that fitting theses Morgan beasties can be difficult but don’t forget you in the equation. Your saddle should fit both of you.

    Good luck at Nationals!

  13. MorganCrest says:

    Congrats on your wins! I agree you have get that heel down and leg under you! Might I add your one of few that smiled :) and looked as if they were having fun! Good Luck at Nationals. BTW who is your trainer?

  14. ak4793 says:

    Thank you! I was having SOOO much fun and I love doing patterns. My trainers are Keith Friday and Alicia Groff. They’re so amazing. Sometimes I think they know me better than I do! haha

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