Think of the hunter round of being composed of five parts:
- the start
- the approach
- the course
- the finish
- the exit
If you work on each of these you will get a winning round.
Although there is no specific points assigned to each of the five parts, a bad impression in any one these components can have lasting effects on your placings.
The Start of the Hunter Round
You must remember your hunter round begins as soon as your horse enters the ring. Unlike jumpers where there is a definite start/finish line. The start is from the ingate to the approach to the first fence.
A lot of good things can happen even before you get to the first fence. A course can be won (or lost) before the first jump is even taken. Suppose you come into the competition arena and pick up your invitational circle – ON THE WRONG LEAD.
Maybe if you are in a green, novice or maiden class a wrong lead may not rate high on the evolutionary scale, but, if you are up against horses with good form, who know their leads, well, you may have to go back home and do some more schooling.
Introduction to You
I think the start of the round as an introduction to you and your horse. Think of it as the, “Hi, how are you? My name is the winner of the class. ” portion of the judge/competitor interaction. It is up to you to make a good impression. Whether you like it or not you can make a favorable or not-so-favorable impression before you even get to the first jump.
You know the old saying:
You only have one chance to make a good first impression
Well this is it. From the ingate to the approach of the first fence. Have your horse turned out well, going forward and prepared for the up coming course.
What’s your most memorable experience with a winning entrance to a course?
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