Modern hunter classes were designed to test the qualities and attributes of a successful hunt horse negotiating natural obstacles (fences, hedges, stone walls). These classes are subjectively judged based on the horse’s performance over fences as well as its quality of movement under saddle on the flat.

Equitation classes are judged on the rider’s ability, form and skill to allow the horse to perform at its best, but the horse itself is not judged at all. The judging is subjectively based on the rider’s position, style, proficiency, accuracy, use of the aids, as well as an overall impression of complete and quiet control. Search for your favorite coach or by training topic.

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  • 2’ to 2’3” Level – Understanding Pace

    Geoff goes over the different gaits and how the rider’s body should be positioned in the canter to be balanced and to go with their horses. He wants the horses to keep the same speed so that everything looks smooth and even.

  • 2’ to 2’3” Level – Introducing a Jump

    Geoff starts the horses over “half” a crossrail with one pole at an angle. This allows the rider to do what’s best for the horse by choosing what part of the jump to ride towards. He says the horse should trot in a steady rhythm on a straight line and then stop after the jump, which teaches the h...

  • 2’ to 2’3” Level – Control Over Fences – Part 1

    The group does multiple fences with circles and stops in between to help the horses come back and then keep a steady rhythm. Geoff wants the riders to set a slow speed, maintain that speed and then bring the horse back after the jump. He stresses thinking ahead so that the riders are able to plan...

  • 2’ to 2’3” Level – Control Over Fences – Part 2

    The riders repeat the exercise, but Geoff says that the riders need to think ahead more quickly. Once they establish their pace, they should keep it and leave it alone. Before the jump they should be thinking about what they need to do after the landing. Then they need to promptly bring the horse...

  • 2’6” to 2’9” Level – Working Inside Leg to Outside Rein

    To build on the canter leads, Geoff talks about working with the inside leg and outside rein. The inside leg should tell the horse to go diagonally forward and out towards the outside rein, which are diagonal aids. Geoff prefers the outside rein to be an opening rein because it takes the horse fo...

  • 2’6” to 2’9” Level – Warm-up on the Flat

    Geoff has the group warm up on the flat. He stresses the importance of the walk and how it can be used to set the standard before going to a higher gait. They work on establishing a good pace at all gaits, which is slightly faster than most of the riders are comfortable doing. At the same time, t...

  • 2’6” to 2’9” Level – Picking up the Correct Canter Lead

    Geoff has a discussion about how to pick up the correct canter lead and then has the riders work on it in both directions. He wants riders to collect the walk, shift the weight off the inside shoulder and maintain that through the transition to canter. It is important for the rider to take her ti...

  • 2’6” to 2’9” Level – Warm-up Over Fences

    After warming up on the flat, Geoff has the riders jump a single fence, halt on the line, turn away from the inside of the arena and jump the fence in the opposite direction. The biggest issue the riders have is getting their horses stop after the jump because they are used to continuing around t...

  • 2’6” to 2’9” Level – Jumping and Backing Up – Part 1

    To help with the idea of stopping after the fence, Geoff has the riders stop straight, relax, back up a couple of steps and then go forward again. He asks the horse to back by bracing his heel slightly forward, closing his fingers on the reins and asking his horse to come up and back. When the ho...

  • 2’6” to 2’9” Level – Jumping and Backing Up – Part 2

    They continue working on stopping straight and backing after the jump. The horses start to balance back more so they can stop sooner. It is important that the moment the horse gives and backs up, the rider has to soften the hand to reward the horse and go forward. In some cases, the rider needs t...

  • 3’ Level – Warmup on the Flat – Part 1

    Geoff does a review of rider position as the group warms up on the flat. He also wants to make sure the horses work equally in both directions and that they stay relaxed and maintain a steady pace regardless of gait.

  • 3’ Level – Warmup on the Flat – Part 2

    Geoff does a review of rider position as the group warms up on the flat. He also wants to make sure the horses work equally in both directions and that they stay relaxed and maintain a steady pace regardless of gait.

  • Kristy Herrera Introduction

    Kristy introduces her series of hunter/jumper videos.

  • Helping a Rider that Pulls Out of the Corner

    Kristy Herrera explains and has a rider demonstrate how to help fix a rider that "pulls out of the corner." They start with cantering a ground pole and go to jumping a small fence. The focus is on having the rider get used to a forward hand position with a soft rein coming out of the corner. That...

  • Correcting a Horse that Drifts

    Kristy explains and has a rider demonstrate how to help a horse that drifts. They start on the flat using counter flexion to help keep the horse straight. Then they progress to cantering a cavalletti also using a counter bend and outside leg to help keep the horse from drifting to the outside. Th...

  • Improving Transitions on the Flat

    Kristy Herrera helps a rider work on transitions with a horse that can be fussy in the bridle. She wants the rider to maintain a steady contact and then add leg, having the horse move forward into the contact. She reminds the rider that in a down transition the leg has to go on first followed by ...

  • Retraining a Jumper to be a Hunter

    Kristy give valuable tips on how to take a horse that is used to being a show jumper and schooling it so that it is appropriate for the hunter ring. She talks about the differences in jumps and lines between the two disciplines. She also explains how they teach a horse to relax over small jumps a...

  • Riding Counter Canter

    Kristy Herrera explains and demonstrates counter canter. Even though counter canter isn't shown in the hunter ring, Kristy uses it in training as an exercise that helps the horse become stronger and more balanced on both leads in both directions.

  • Building a Mental Speedometer

    Kristy explains and demonstrates how to build a mental speedometer to control your pace on course to find better distances. She starts at a walk with "1 mph" and shows how to add and subtract pace through the trot and canter as she builds to a canter pace needed to jump a course.

  • Holly Hugo-Vidal Introduction

    Holly introduces her series of videos.

  • Fences on a Circle for Rhythm and Track

    Holly shares an exercise of three obstacles set side-by-side that are ridden on a circle. Riders first canter over a ground pole. When that is smooth, they advance to a vertical and eventually finish over an oxer. If they focus on maintaining the correct balance, rhythm and track, the distances u...

  • Fences on a Circle - Focal Points to Repair and Maintain the Canter

    The first of two focal points is set on the landing side of the jump, and the other about halfway around the circle. Riders determine if there are any canter issues before the first focal point, then repair the canter between the two focal points. When they pass the second focal point, they conce...

  • Fences on a Circle - Correcting a Horse That Falls In

    Holly explains how the demo horse falls to the inside of the circle on the left lead, making the distance a little short. To fix this issue, the rider applies her inside leg pushing the horse to the outside rein so he approaches the jump bending in the direction of the circle. This helps maintain...

  • Fences on a Circle - Advancing from Pole to Vertical to Oxer

    Riders know they can advance from each obstacle—the pole to the vertical to the oxer—when they can canter over each element a few times in correct balance, meeting solid distance so their horses jump smoothly.