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Hunters or Jumpers?

· Hunters,Jumpers,Horse show

So what is the difference between Hunters and Jumpers? The biggest difference is in the way the two classes are judged. Hunter classes are subjective with the judges looking at style and movement, and in some cases confirmation of the horse. They are also judged on overall picture and quality of the rounds themselves. Jumpers on the other hand are judged objectively based on faults incurred for refusals, runouts, rails down, falls, and seconds over the optimum time.

Hunter classes were designed to test necessary qualities in a field hunter: good manners, efficient gaits, and a safe jumping style. Jumper classes tend to be more bold and fast-paced. Jumper classes tend to be less frustrating as they are objectively judged when the placings of a Hunter class could simply come down to a judge's preference and it often does. A common misconception is that Jumpers do not have or require the refinement and carefully honed skills of the Hunters but that is not true. Both classes require extreme sophistication and athleticism of both the horse and rider. They just might require slightly different skillsets.

So not only are they judged differently but they also require different attire and turnout of the horse and rider. Hunters are all about appearance and overall picture. Horses manes and tails must be neatly braided. The only other tack allowed is a standing martingale. Saddle pads must be fleece that is cut to the shape of the saddle with only about two inches showing around the saddle. Everything must be neat and tidy. Riders typically wear navy or black coats with cream or tan breeches and black gloves.

While Jumpers still must look neat and tidy - manes and tales do not have to be braided. Flash nosebands can be used as well as a running vs. a standing martingale. Saddle pads may be rectangular. You may also see Jumper horses with bonnets, bell boots, and shiny boots.

Many riders make the switch from Hunters to Jumpers and find that the learning curve can be a bit steep going either direction. It can be fun to challenge both yourself and your horse. It's always important when trying a new class or discipline that you understand the rules and conventions of the style.

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