The New Hunter! Good or Bad

I just returned from the Bluegrass Classic Show.  I am a little frustrated with the judging in the hunter divisions.  I am not a hunter person, but what I saw does not define the true hunter.  I know that judging is an opinion, but it should be based on a set of standards.   Okay, here’s what I saw.   I saw horses that had their tails set, trotting level or above level (up and down), and were set like an English or Classic horse.   These horses were winning!  The horse that actually stood out, and looked “Hunter Pleasure” did not place even after a clean ride.

If  a horse is that animated, why aren’t they showing in the English or Classic Pleasure divisions?   Do we have that many riders in our discipline that are just not interested in riding Saddleseat?

32 Responses to The New Hunter! Good or Bad

  1. blondie says:

    This is not new. These type of horses have been winning for years! The true hunter is being overlooked and now I see this happening in the western division as well. Western horses are shod like classic horses and are moving more like parade horses. Judges and trainers, please let’s get back to standards!

  2. Jennifer says:

    I thought the horses that won in the WP ladies championship and the HP Grand championship were more appropriate placings.
    I think as the population ages they are more comfortable riding in a hunt seat saddle vs. a saddle seat saddle, hence the increase in hunters.
    It has also been discussed that these are ‘show’ hunters not working hunters so a difference in way of going is acceptable.
    As far as western, that is all over the board :)

  3. Vintage_Rider says:

    It still depends on the judge IMO.

    AMHA has repeatedly, in the last two years sent out emails specific to enforcing the hunter standards. To some avail, but not much. I don’t mind a high kneed hunter if it is covering ground, not up and down like a piston, rounded, and meets the standards as such.

    I don’t know that aging populations has anything to do with this though either. A million times we have talked about the almost non-existence of Park horses, that they are brought down to EP classes for a win, and EP are brought down to hunter for the same reason.

    I’ve been blessed not to see too many “parade” western horses, but have had my jaw drop more than once when there is an ad for a former EP winner “starting his next career in western” shudder….

  4. StacyGRS says:

    Why do you cringe when you see an English horse starting a western career? Just curious…personally, I love seeing a horse that can do various things and do them well. but I also have no problem with a western horse with motion as long as it’s not hot or being held in the bridle like a parade horse but settled and content in it’s new job. Having sat to jogs on horses with motion and those without, I love riding one with and find those without to be stiffer and more jarring. The ‘bounce’ is usually shock absorbing and smooth, IMO:)So, I’m curious to know the other view…
    Stacy

  5. forty says:

    I’ve never posted on here before, but I saw this and felt like I could join in. I’ve shown two fancy hunters the past couple seasons and it’s tough when I read about how some people think they don’t belong in the hunter pleasure division. Both of my horses were started saddleseat, and one of them was shown park/EP for a good couple years. I didn’t ride one of them while they were saddleseat, but by just looking at him you can tell he can’t hold his head up comfortably. The other one I did show saddleseat for some time, but he too had a disadvantageous neck/shoulder set up, and holding his head up stressed him out and caused him to get very stiff. Letting this horse put his head down freed up his back end (he’s got a serious motor now!) and eliminated a lot of bad habits (rearing,head bobbing, sidestepping, etc.). I can’t help how much natural motion these horses have, but I can make sure that they are comfortable and happy with what they’re doing. I agree with Vintage_Rider, as long as they’re covering ground and round there should be a place for fancy hunters in the show ring. If it becomes a serious issue, maybe there could be a special division for the “show hunters” separate from the “working hunters”, so the ones that fit the true hunter standard don’t get overlooked or underappreciated? Sorry this is so long, I get carried away when I talk about my horses :-)

  6. StacyGRS says:

    BTW…glad someone liked the hunter that won the GC HP at Bluegrass…we bred him and I loved him in that division:)He is out of a RWC Ladies park horse and by an Open EP and PD WC…that said, we made him a HP horse because it was where he was happy. His full brother thrives in the PD division, but his personality was very different from his brother’s. He was capable of raising up (which often is not the case with HP horses and why they end up where they do)and being a classic horse…or maybe even EP in some circumstances, but he was not his happiest there. He was happiest carrying himself in a little lower frame and, while he has some motion, he ALWAYS followed the rule of trotting twice as long as he did high. I’d venture to say his stride was more than twice as long as high…he covered alot of ground in a step and had a very forward stride. That, IMO, combined with wanting to have his head a little lower, and not being a guy that embraced being bright eyed, but was his happiest when he was comforted and relaxed, made him a stellar candidate for the division. That said, he can be a wonderful HP horse and if he makes mistakes or has issues in a class he will, and should, and did, get beat. So, I think people have to realize that the judge does not always get to put their favorite first…they have to take mistakes and problems into consideration. I think people see a higher trotting horse beat another and think the judge prefers that when it may have won because the one(s) the judge DID prefer had situations that had to be considered.
    I didn’t see any of the Bluegrass show, but I do know the GC HP well and I also know that I thought that mare that was reserve in the Championship (IIRC she won alot at Oklahoma last year) was lovely. I just adored her at OKC last year…thought she was a standout in quality, consistency, and she took a very nice step. These are hunter PLEASURE horses, remember…not hunters. It is based, obviously, on the Hunter division but these horses are never expected to jump or BE Hunters if they don’t want to. We still have a hunter division for those.
    Stacy

  7. StacyGRS says:

    We already have that separation…we have a Hunter division and a Hunter Pleasure division.

    Stacy

  8. I am with Stacy on this. I understand the point that Vintage is making, but some horses, after a period of time in one division, clearly would be better suited for another. I don’t think too many “cut-down” EP horses drop to Hunter just because someone wants to try something new..it is too much work to develop a good neckset for EP to move that horse over unless they clearly would work better with their head lower. Having said that, yes, I agree that some judges are pinning horses that are too high, too hot and with a wrong headset for Hunter.
    Should we split the Hunter classes? I think we have too many divisions as it is, but it is an idea that has certainly been brought up before. Open Hunter was supposed to be the class that provided for the working hunter, but hardly anyone shows in it. Heck, Hunter Hack is so speedy and high now that it has completely lost sight of what it was originally supposed to show, which was a solid, calm using hunter with clearly defined gaits who was a pleasure to ride.

  9. Sorry, not Hunter Hack, but Road Hack.

  10. Vintage_Rider says:

    I knew I’d start a ruckus with that post. LOL

    I shudder Stacy, because even as you say, it happens successfully, I’d hate to see our wonderful, hooky, laid back, smooth going western horses start looking like every other division only slower. And I do totally disagree with the “bounce” being smoother. Especially if they have hocks! Trying to correctly “sit” that trot and look like you could hold a glass of champagne without spilling it is certainly a challenge for me, if not for the pros out there.

  11. Trisha says:

    I was also at the Bluegrass show and have to disagree. You have to consider the quality of the horse before assuming the judge solely judged based on the motion of the horse. There was a huge variety of horses in both type and quality that entered the show ring. Calling my horse a park hunter would be laughable (except maybe during his victory pass, but that still would deserve a giggle) and I won 9 horse class with him; his headset is nearly always low and doesn’t carry more weight than on his feet than a plate. Two of the “real hunters” in my class had soundness issues behind, so even if they had perfect classes it wouldn’t have helped them much because soundness is, in fact, important.

    Though I do agree that many current hunters are really not hunters, but their movement could easily extend if they change how the horse was shod. Most horses really couldn’t switch from pleasure to hunt, keep the same shoes, and still move like a hunter.

    A lot of people are finding that their horses are a lot happier when you aren’t forcing their head up so you can show them English pleasure. And I’m sure a lot of riders are also happier not having to work nearly as hard keeping their heads up where the horse can’t really keep it naturally.

  12. sportymorgan says:

    I’m coming at this from a different angle, as someone who is part of the Sport Morgan world and would not generally be interested in breed shows.

    I do belong to the AMHA and get the “Letter to Judges” every year, and I don’t see that the judges are listening. At all. When it comes to Hunter Pleasure.

    The number one thing that would “naturalize” the HP and WP divisions would be to take away the long toes, the weighted shoes, etc. Especially in HP, you want a ground-covering horse, and a horse in weighted shoes/long toes is going to expend energy picking up its feet rather than covering ground, so if anything, having a “package” on it should make it LESS likely to win, not MORE, as is currently the case. I am not saying that Morgans should move flat, because most just don’t, but see how they would move barefoot or shod like most hunt seat and western riders, outside the breed show world, shoe their horses.

  13. Carley says:

    My whole training philosophy is based around the idea that a horse should love their job. A happy horse is going to do a job better and more correctly than one being forced into division standards. Let them tell you the job they want to do.
    My current hunter was shown successfully as a pleasure driving three year old and started under saddle as an EP prospect. When I got him, the first thing I did was long-line him without a check to see where he naturally wanted to carry himself. It amazed me how much he relaxed and softenend once he was allowed to drop his head down and lengthen his stride. He still trots almost level, but he floats down a rail in half the number of strides that it takes most horses.
    He was one of the hunters in the open and ladies classes at bluegrass. Did he win? He won the stallions and geldings class. I have a few opinions about how the ladies classes and grand championship got pinned, but thats another story for another day. I really like the horse that won the GC. He’s a very nice hunter, still upheaded but doesn’t sacrifice or lose his nice way of going for a larger trot.
    It seems to me that one of the biggest problems is when horses are over-shod. When trotting big becomes more important than quality of gait, thats when things get ugly. Fortunately, I think these horses are usually weeded out by the time we get to a regional or national level. Usually because of secondary training issues that go hand-in-hand with trying to over shoe a horse.
    One of my favorite quotes is, “its not how high they trot, its how they trot high” that should be a rule to live by. Quality of gait and how the horses uses itself will ultimately determine how big they’re going to move.

  14. morgansforfun says:

    Here are the judging standards for the Hunter Pleasure Division.

    The Morgan Hunter Pleasure horse shall demonstrate proper Morgan type and conformation but should exhibit a lower, more relaxed head-carriage than the English Pleasure horse. (I am not seeing this!)

    He should have ground-covering gaits that would be
    comfortable for horse and rider over extended periods of time. (I define ground covering as moving forward in a rolling manner NOT up-and-down!) An English Pleasure horse is strong up and down, but traditionally, is not considered ground covering.

    The Hunter Pleasure horse may travel with his nose slightly ahead of the vertical and give a long, ground-covering impression. A Morgan Hunter Pleasure horse should not carry his head behind the vertical. (Several horses that placed at the top were way behind the vertical. I thought this was penalized!!!)

  15. blondie says:

    Totally agree with you sportymorgan! I had to chuckle at a recent show steward who was measuring feet when exiting the ring. The comment was made about measuring another western horse with classic feet. What a shock it was to the steward that my horse wears aluminum plates and measured just over 4″ !

  16. StacyGRS says:

    I disagree, Morgansforfun. I find it hard to believe that if you compared an English Pleasure Champion and a Hunter Pleasure Champion, side by side, that you could not see a difference. It may not be AS BIG of a difference as you’d like, but they are lower, they are more relaxed. If you can find me one hunter that puts it’s head where a good EP or park horse puts theirs I’ll change my mind…but I cannot think of 1.
    And, perhaps the horses behind the vertical WERE penalized. As was the one NOT behind the vertical that got a wrong lead, the other not behind that wasn’t sound, the other one not behind that didn’t walk well, the other one not behind that was choppy going, etc, etc. Just because a horse wins does not mean it’s the judges ideal. They have to take into consideration every part of each horse and if one is hot looking, one isn’t sound, one makes mistakes, and one is behind the vertical in a 4 horse class, they still pick a winner. If they pick the lame one, people assume they didn’t notice it was lame. They noticed. If they pick the one with mistakes, people assume they’re overlooking mistakes for their friends or don’t care about mistakes. They’re not and they do. If they pick the hot one people are outraged at what a hot horse they tied. If they pick the one behind the vertical then they must like horses that way. Simply not the case. They may not like a horse behind the vertical but they dislike that less than they dislike one that isn’t sound and another that messes up too often, etc, etc. EVERY horse in the show ring has flaws. Spectators do not have to scrutinize each one like the judges do. So, spectators tend to miss some of the things that judges don’t have the option to overlook. They have to make a choice and they have very little time to sit down and weigh the pros and cons. They have to take it all into consideration pretty quickly and make a call. I think judges are adhering, for the most part…but they can only do what they can do. When you watch and see a horse you don’t care for win, you have to look at what the options were for the judge. Someone has to win.
    Stacy

  17. morgansforfun says:

    Stacey,

    I’m just providing information based on a direct observation.

    I agree, every part of the horse must be looked at in order to make a justifiable decision, but when a skilled spectator is thrown off by the judging, one begins to question what?/from what barn?/why? horses are being placed in the order that the judge calls.

    I seriously doubt the judge had time to analyze each horse for signs of lameness in a 15 horse hunter class that lasted approximately 10 minutes. (Yes, significant lameness problems can easily be identified.) The next correct thing the judge should have done was to apply the breed/USEF standards, and narrow the standards based on the horses that were competing in the arena. I was clearly not seeing this in the hunter division.

    Which leads me to my next thought….Politics!

    I have shared my thoughts, and now I am done with this discussion. As clearly mentioned, I am just not a fan of the new HUNTER ENGLISH PLEASURE!

  18. Liz says:

    New to this board and discussion, but I have to agree with you, Morgansforfun. I don’t buy that there is a hybridized “show” or “pleasure” hunter. In my opinion, a horse going under hunt seat should go like a hunt seat horse, not a EP or Classic horse costumed as a hunter. Triple ditto for the western division. Each division has its traditions and its correct frame and it just isn’t justifiable, again IMO, to ignore same. A Morgan hunter or western horse needn’t go as a daisy-cutter, but a rounded, ground-covering stride for the hunter and a rounded though shorter stride for western is certainly correct, while the piston motion isn’t. For the record, I rode saddleseat for quite a few years and enjoyed it at the time, although I can no longer appreciate it. I now ride hunter, dressage and western, and would be very sorry to see the first and third of those divisions hybridized as appears to be happening.

  19. StacyGRS says:

    You are correct…you can’t do a ‘lameness exam’ in a 10 minute class, but pretty obvious unsoundness…not big limping but a funny stride due to a horse being off in some fashion…gets overlooked by alot of people and yet is pretty glaring to someone trained to look for it.
    After lameness, the next thing to go to is class specs. but, while looking at those things mistakes/issues come up often and, unless they’re very minor, can’t just be ignored for what the judge likes. Mistakes often are a large factor is deciding placings, unfortunately.
    And, there is always personal preference…there’s room for it in there as well. It may not be the same as your’s. That doesn’t make it dishonest in any way, just different. A show like Bluegrass this year (which is one that had been brought up) the judges have to explain and justify their reasons to learner judges in many of the classes with the judges school heads overlooking them. Politics is just a bit of a big leap, IMO…but it is all too often the one people want to jump to:( I always wonder why people hesitate to go ask the judge after the show what they were looking for…or why something happened in a certain class. I think most of them have reasons (that people may or may not agree with) that come from an honest place. Not all, but most. And learning what they are will help everyone. Even if you’re not looking to change to suit that judges criteria, knowing what may have gotten the fav. knocked down or another put ahead is good info for showing.
    There are certainly Morgan Hunter Pleasure horses that are too up and down, too upheaded, not appropriate. Absolutely!! And there are classic horse that are too hot, EP horses that are too…whatever. And they will manage to win here and there when the others mess up or aren’t on their game. But, for the most part, IMO, the creme rises to the top and as the year progresses and everyone gets their act together/new combos get organized the best tend to win and those that snuck in there sneak in less and less.
    I agree that the hunters do need to take a round step…and a choppy hunter is something I am very much against. They have to take a smooth, ground covering step…but if they do that, then I don’t much care if they put their knee up a little to do it. The motion just has to be FORWARD not up and down, for me. Personally (and this is where the issue is…there IS room for PERSONALLY without it having a political or ill intent) I think a round strided Morgan, with SOME motion…but still going twice as long as high, and a MORGAN headset (IOW a good Morgan shoulder, which is a priority in every Morgan class judged) is beautiful…I love the good ones.
    That said, if we want the Hunter Pleasure division to be a HUNTER division, then we should eliminate either the Hunter or the Hunter Pleasure because to have them both would be redundant.
    Stacy

  20. RaeOfLight says:

    I’ve been lurking on this thread for some time wanting to jump in but having too much to say to type it out on my phone. Now that I’m getting around to it I hope I can sum up my thoughts in a few short statements.

    I’m with Stacy and SportyMorgan on this. I don’t mind a big step on a Hunter or WP horse (although I haven’t always thought this way and may change my mind again in the future). Frankly a correct shoulder and front end will encourage this type of motion. I’m not looking at the actual USEF specs here, but in my mind choosing a division for a horse is more about how he wants to show himself; bright and snappy for the SS horses, forward and round for Hunt, and relaxed in WP.

    Shoeing is another factor to consider. I don’t mind a horse in any division having corrective wedges or even slight weighting. But packages that are designed to encourage up and down motion have no place on a WP or Hunt entry (unless perhaps that horse is showing across multiple divisions which rarely happens, but like Stacy I LOVE it when I see a horse that can be competitive in multiple divisions).

    When it comes to judging, I don’t think height of motion should be considered in any division except Park and perhaps EP (a horse that shuffles along in a classic class is most likely not a SS horse period and shouldn’t win but not strictly because of low motion). If a horse is winning Classic, Hunt or WP simply because it trots high I would disagree strongly with that judging choice.

    However, like Stacy mentioned there are multiple factors to consider. I distinctly remember watching a few Hunt and Classic classes at Bluegrass and thinking to myself that no matter who was pinned someone was going to complain. There was a wide spectrum of horses at Bluegrass when it came to quality and manners. Often the higher quality, better trained, more mannerly, better turned out horses were the ones that many would place in the category of trotting too high for their division. But do you then pin the low quality, ill-mannered, or frumpy entries? You’re either going to catch flak for pinning the fancy horses, or pinning the lesser quality horses. Had the choice been mine it would have pained me just a bit to pin the high stepping entries that were perhaps too much for their division. But I would have done it 9 times out of 10 simply because they were better quality and had the better performances (they were mannerly, performed their gaites, etc).

    -Erin

  21. StacyGRS says:

    That’s sort of the bummer sometimes when judging. You have to place the class and often it makes it look like you are OK with something when you’re not…but you had to knock the options out of the running for one reason or another. And you never really get the chance to explain that unless someone asks. So, often people walk away thinking you ‘like’ a certain trait when you really don’t.
    Stacy

  22. Liz says:

    Stacy, you make some good points. Agree as previously stated that Morgans are not and should not be daisycutters. Also agree the problems of placing a class sometimes being a choice among less than what the judge would prefer to see.

    I am a bit puzzled by your comment “That said, if we want the Hunter Pleasure division to be a HUNTER division, then we should eliminate either the Hunter or the Hunter Pleasure because to have them both would be redundant.” What is a Hunter Pleasure horse if not a Hunter (hunt seat) ridden for pleasure? Honestly, right now the HP division seems to be full of horses that the trainers don’t think could win in the EP or Classic divisions. But that doesn’t make them hunt seat horses. The Hunter division right now is focused on over fences classes. If the HP class were to be eliminated, then the Hunter class would have to be expanded to include the exhibitors who ride hunt seat but don’t jump. Or would you simply tell them there is no place for them in the Morgan show world? Having read your reasoned posts, it would be hard to believe that you would advocate such a step,

  23. StacyGRS says:

    I would not make it so there is not a spot for the Hunter riders that don’t jump…but…the premise of a Hunter division (if that’s what we’re going for. Traditional and what Hunters are intended to be)is jumping:)I mean, there are Hack classes, but, you don’t go to a ‘real hunter show’ and see many classes that don’t involve jumping. And the flat classes that do exist are about being built for and capable of jumping.Therefore, they never loose sight of the traditions and direction of their horses.And that’s the end goal. Most hunt riders not showing at breed shows want to jump…or they do Dressage if they want to show and not jump. But there is not a whole world of Hunter classes you can do without jumping. If you want to follow tradition.
    Our breed shows have put in a Hunter Pleasure division. These horses are not ever expected to jump (although they can if they choose) so they don’t HAVE to gear themselves towards that. IMO, to have it be a little different from the Hunter division is logical…it’s a little ‘fancier’ if you will. Simply hacking ‘daisy cutters’ would make for a pretty boring division. We added extensions to the gaits (no Hunter class I was ever in called for an extended trot or canter. They DID call for a hand gallop, because it was often a part in the hunter o/f courses.), type and confirmation count the same as they do in an EP class, and horses and people make careers out of ‘going around in circles’ (to use the negative words of some). SO…it is only natural that there is going to be more to it than simply cruising around on a loose rein. Or there would be little challenge or sport to it. Hunter flat classes at Hunter shows offer little in the way of excitement to watch or show in or challenge to ride or train for. They are not the main course, they are a ‘side dish’ and it would be hard to make a worthwhile main course/division out of a ‘side dish’ without upping the ante of that dish, so to speak.
    So, no…I don’t think we should eliminate our division for those that don’t jump. I think we should keep both divisions and understand that they are not the same. They have a similar base, but they are different divisions. One is Hunter, one is Hunter PLEASURE…judged on a higher level of training and performance on the flatwork instead of being the groundwork for the fences classes. A division where we’ve added ‘fancy’…shadbellies, breastcollars, hoof black and long, impractical-in-the-hunt-fields tails, extensions of gait, etc, etc. But the Hunter division still DOES exist for those that want the traditional Hunters. Most Morgan shows don’t set the fences over 3′ (less than twice what my Labrador jumps in agility:)and jumping is, after all, the traditional end game of true Hunters. I think that’s my issue with people claiming they want tradition…tradition dictates that Hunters that show, jump…but they want a whole division dictated to flat work. IMO, it’s a little like saying you want a whole division based on first level Dressage with no goal of second level or higher. Flatwork is the beginning work to jumping like First Level Dressage is the beginning work to Upper Level Dressage.
    Sadly, I don’t think I’m doing a great job of explaining this, but I gave it a shot:)
    Stacy

  24. StacyGRS says:

    Please, however…make no mistake. I DO NOT think a good HP horse should be trappy going, up and down-y, hot, etc. I said before and I will say again…their motion needs to be smooth and rolling and go twice as long as high. Believe it or not, I have been more against some of the not so good ones than many. But, I often think they win because the better horses in the class gave the judge no choice…not because the judge thought they were the best. It happens in every division, it’s what showing is about. If the best one always won then there would be no reason to ever show against the same horse twice..the best one is still the best one. Once a year we could all submit a video, or just have a Grand National and no other shows. but part of it is having the best one AND getting the job done! A trappy going horse is not a good hunter…and not really a great anything:) But it’s a horse and it has a person that wants to show it and they’ve chosen a division to put it in. It wouldn’t look any less trappy classic and I wouldn’t like it any more there…personally. But they all have imperfections and you do the best you can and enjoy showing them…imperfections and all. I think that’s what people loose sight of. People are just looking to show their horses…not every horse I put in a Pleasure class represents what I consider to be the ideal EP horse…but I try to make them the best they can be at it, prepare them so that they are there doing their job when the better EP horses mess up, and hope their owner/rider is enjoying and learning from the experience and getting out of it what they want from the sport. They’re not all ideal…most aren’t…but if they have someone having a ball showing them, then that’s OK. And if they do their job happily and with enthusiasm and the stunning one with the perfect motion can’t get it right, then I think they should be rewarded.
    Stacy

  25. RaeOfLight says:

    I like your explanation, Stacy, about the focus and tradition of hunters outside of the breed shows, and the purpose of “on the flat” classes as preparing for fences, etc. I feel educated. Thank you, well said.

  26. Stacy nails it again. Great discussion.

  27. morgansforfun says:

    Stacy,

    Great post! I agree with your explanation. This is very logical to me. Thanks for sharing :)

  28. sportymorgan says:

    Just a couple of follow-up issues…

    The “behind the vertical” comments made me laugh. Just ask the people who show Morgans in dressage; they are so good at curling up behind the bit that it’s a perpetual issue. I do wonder, with the HP horses, whether some of that curling is from using very narrow bits/double bridle. I have been told that a HP horse who goes nicely in a snaffle will be penalized, which is very odd given that on the sport side, snaffles are the bit of choice; in fact in dressage you can’t show in anything but a snaffle until 3rd level.

    I also went to youtube and had a look at a few videos of HP classes. One thing that struck me is how many riders are basically riding in a saddleseat position, in a “chair seat” with legs stuck out in front of them and sometimes not on the sides of the horse. I know that in HP, rider equitation does not count, but it still looked strange to me. Maybe it’s mostly the ex-saddleseat horses that are ridden this way.

  29. StacyGRS says:

    I think it’s ex saddle seat RIDERS that ride that way:):)I don’t think it’s a matter of the horses needing to be ridden that way, but alot of the riders simply riding that way. It’s hard to swap back and forth and not have one of your ‘seats’ be not up to par. As a kid I was a hunt rider trying to learn hunt seat…for a while I looked like a hunt rider riding saddle seat. For the last 20 years I’ve ridden more saddle seat horses on a daily basis than hunt seat. While my pony hunter trainers would be very disappointed, I now tend to ride more like a saddle seat rider.
    I think also, Morgans are go-ers…alot more so than most Warmbloods or QH’s and legs wrapping around the bellies of the ‘slower breeds’ is helpful to keep them engaged, I think sometimes it translates to just what our zippy Morgans want to hear…FASTER!:)
    Stacy

  30. RaeOfLight says:

    Equilink, if you’re referring to my comments on quality, I’m not saying there’s no training issues at hand. BUT, when people talk about how to solve problems like this they usually say something to the effect of “until the judging changes, the entries won’t change.” My point was that the options at Bluegrass didn’t offer the judge an option. The judges have to pin the class in front of them. It was either to pin the high trotting horses (perhaps not necessarily because they’re high trotting) or pin the horses that would make great 4-H horses, but don’t belong in an A-rated breed show (not that a horse can’t do both, but I think there is a threshold of quality that is expected at breed shows).

  31. StacyGRS says:

    I agree, ROL…and I also…somewhat…agree equilink;)There are certainly cases where some know no other way. That said, I grew up as a H/J kid…thru and thru…I know the difference and there are plenty of other trainers out there that also didn’t start out saddle seat. And when I rode my Morgan in a Carol Lavelle clinic she didn’t think she’d be able to get the “Morgan motion” out of him…she said “these horses just bend their knee more than a WB or TB…but it’s not a bad thing, you just have to understand it…” So, I don’t know that GM could make our hunters go like the ones in the open Hunter world…MORE like them, maybe…likely…but still distinctively Morgan. It’s not a bad thing:)
    BUT…IMO, your first sentence says it all…the IDEALLY conformed Morgan… That’s an elite few…most are not ideally conformed. We work with what we have;)
    Stacy

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