Are Canter Leads Important

hunter judge, Laura Kelland-May, What the judge is looking for,

A winning trip in the hunter ring can be defined as a horse that flows from one jump to the next in a steady rhythmic fashion and jumps the fences in round forward athletic fashion. This does not mean fast and over paced but in an forward steady 3 beat canter.

The lead change is part of that steady rhythmic pattern. Cantering around the end of the show ring on the wrong lead, leaves the horse and rider unbalanced and unable to get to the next fence in a steady rhythm and usually results in a poor fence adding to a reduced score.

If, in the novice divisions, a rider does a tidy lead change through trot some judges may prefer this to staying on the wrong lead, or disunited lead, and being unbalanced through the corner. The key here is tidy. This means 2 or 3 steps of balanced trot through a change.

If you do a change through trot, let it be balanced and quick. Not running 10 steps with the horse’s head up. A couple of trot steps then up into a balanced canter can save your round from being a disaster to a possible training ride.




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What the judge is looking for graphic

What the Judge is looking for – Equitation

Judging equitation can be difficult sometimes and what the judge is looking for can be difficult to understand, particularly if you haven’t shown before or are new to going to a horse show.

First things first –

  1. you have to jump all the jumps. If you come in and do not get to a jump, refuse, or have a poor take off spot, it will knock you out of the placings.
  2. you have to have a secure lower leg and deep heel. When you enter the horse show arena, the judge may scan your heels. Those without a secure heel may be shelved and get lower placings. Even in an equitation class not over fences your lower leg and deep heel will be a factor.
  3. you have to have a secure, independent seat. If you come into the horse show arena and are not balanced and correct in your position at the walk, trot and canter then you may be dropped down in the placings.



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Horse Watching –

Improve Your Eye by Watching Horses

You can educate your eye by watching horses and riders during their training sessions. Take a look at this simple one minute video that reveals some things about this horse and rider.

Watching horses and riders help me understand the exercises and program they need to follow to improve. If you watch horses enough and apply your knowledge your ‘eye’ will develop and you can see the changes that are happening and the changes that need to happen to improve.

There is always room for improvement. When you demand more from yourself, and when you expect more from yourself you improve your standards and the improved standard becomes your “new normal”.

Get out there and demand more from yourself and become a disciplined rider. Discipline while your train every day so when you get to the competition, it happens automatically.

What I see with this horse and rider is some real improvement between 13s and 20 seconds. Here we see the horse going into steady rhythmic carriage and the rider is soft and allowing with her body and elbow.

What do you like about this horse rider combination?

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The Ultimate Equitation Tips Collection

Are you looking for equitation tips? Here is a list of some of my favourite equitation posts.

horse riding, horse training, thistle ridge stables, laura kelland-may, hunter jumper, hunter judge, how to improve my riding position

To your riding success

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