What the Judge Is Looking For, Nail the First Fence

how to win a hunter round, what the judge is looking for, winning hunter class

“Nail” the First Fence

What makes a winning hunter round?

A winning hunter round is more than a beautiful jump and excellent movement. You have to “nail” each fence, that’s what the judge is looking for. Getting to the first fence correctly, in a positive, confident manner, sets the tone for the rest of the course.  A sloppy tentative ride to the first fence leaves the horse with no confidence which will show throughout the rest of the hunter round.

On the other hand an aggressive, elbow flapping approach can also leave an impression on the judge. The approach to your first fence should show a horse that has confidence, ability and class to carry out the job. The judge should be thinking, “I’d like to ride this horse”.

If your pace needs some minor adjustments, make them in an discrete diplomatic fashion. While you are on course, you should be giving the impression that your round is smooth and rhythmic, sudden changes, pulling, kicking, big body movements will be noticeable and detract from the overall flow of your round.

Getting to the first fence.  How do you make a good impression?
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About Laura

Laura Kelland-May is the founder of Thistle Ridge Skill Builders Development Program. She more than trains horses, she trains people to train their horses. In addition she is a Sr. Judge and can offer insight into What the Judge Is Looking For. Follow her here and get more tips.
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