In your Hunter Round Leave a Good Impression… Do a nice circle!
After your hunter round is done, you should do a final closing circle. If the course ends at the opposite end of the ring from the in/out gate then no circle is necessary.
Remember you are being judged from the moment you enter the ring until you leave the ring. There is no start line. So your finish circle does form part of the course and you can use the circle to put a tidy end to your hunter round. If the circle is done poorly it will reflect badly on you and your horse.
Think of it as a final way to show the judge your horse’s best gate. If your horse has a spectacular trot, then you can use this to show the judge one last time. Of course, you should do a proper, balanced transition and then seamlessly go into a trot.
Some riders feel the need to do a sitting trot to show off their horse, or in the case of an equitation ride, show off their equitation – good idea if you can sit the trot. But it has been my experience that not many people can do a proper sitting trot – so stay away from sitting trot if you can.
Other Show Ring Tips
Keep your contact through the final circle. I have seen riders drop the reins after the last fence, so elated to have completed the course, only to have the horse trip because of the lost contact. Keep your reins! Keep riding and once you are out of the competition hunter ring, then give your horse his much deserved praise.
Your horse deserves a pat and quite possibly a sugar cube but please refrain from dramatic demonstration of emotion. It detracts from the overall smoothness of the hunter round to exclaim for all the parents in the trailer parking and the stabling areas that your horse was a “good boy”. Save that for outside the ring.