WEF – The “10” Hunter

WEF – The “10” Hunter

You see it in ads all the time.  “Horse is a 10+ jumper”  “This one is your hack winner!”  “His trot is totally a 10”.  Those kinds of descriptions usually describe pretty nice horses.

One of my favorite things about going to WEF and watching the hunter ring, is that you don’t really hear those phrases.. you see them.  You see them everywhere, because I’ve never been to a place with more nice horses in one ring.

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Say you’re chillin’ at the adult ring, watching fancy hunters step over tiny 3′.  Sure, 3′ is absolutely giant to me but when you’re a largeish warmblood kept in peak physical condition, you step over 3′.  But you step over 3′ absolutely beautifully.

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Then you cruise to the warm-up ring by the 3’6″ AO’s.  Oh, that horse just jumped a small warm-up jump like a freakin’ boss.  Must have been a fluke!

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Oh, that horse just jumped exactly the same over the same jump.  Must be a freakin’ amazing jumper.

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It’s not like I don’t see nice jumpers and movers in Texas… I do – just not all in the same division.  Or every division for that matter!

No such thing as an ugly head here :)
No such thing as an ugly head here 🙂
Beautiful jump
Beautiful jump

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Seeing pictures of bascule like these horses show might help you to realize why a lot of top level hunter riders ride the way they do.  No, their equitation is not always perfect.  You’ll see a lot of legs slipping back and “enthusiastic” releases… but if your horse jumps like this – there’s a reason for it!

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Keep in mind, none of these were pro horses in the pro divisions.  I watched a sprinkling of AA 3′ horses and AO 3’6″ horses.  So basically, they’re just like you and me… only they may or may not have a lot more resources than we do, haha.

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I really could take pictures like this all day.  It’s very exciting as a photographer to see a horse approaching a huge oxer, and you just know that it’s going to snap its knees up to its face.  No knocking my local shows at home, but you don’t see the fences, the height, or the quality of horse around here like you do at the Winter Equestrian Festival.

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Eventually I did pry myself away from the AO ring to stroll around the show some.  I accidentally found the children’s under saddle class going and snapped a few pictures of the gorgeous movers.  About halfway through the class, I went “oh I should video this!” so I have a short clip to show y’all.

Pay close attention to the bay at around :15 because he’s a freakishly amazing mover and I’m almost positive won the class.

Not every horse is a stunner (remember these are kids horses who also have to be safe and honest) but there are totally stunners in there.  More than one I wanted to steal with me to go back home!

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I don’t know if pictures and a short video really do much to share the class that you find at the hunter ring at WEF.  Even if the hunters aren’t your thing, you can’t deny that a fantastic jumping and moving horse can take your breath away!

23 thoughts on “WEF – The “10” Hunter

  1. Yep, saw some really coarse looking ch/aa horses this weekend at our shows. But I think the thermal horses are resting up for Woodside at the end of April.

  2. Beautiful photos, but then I’m like, how do you judge when every horse is pretty much perfect!? lol. I like that in eventing (and jumpers) more of the horse’s heart comes into play. And I think George Morris would disagree with you about the hunter position ha. (although really, in these photos, no one is doing that extremely over-exaggerated thing- they’re all doing a pretty good job of keeping their leg on behind the girth and their body with the horse’s motion! I’m thoroughly impressed.) But it is hard when a horse is jumping up that much- When Wiz was jumping like a crazy man at the last show, I definitely did the beautiful faux pas of the legs way back and body forward. But I don’t want to just be Ok with that, I want to keep improving!

    These are some amazing photos of some amazing gorgeous horses, I’d die if I got to ride one!

  3. English isn’t my thing, not just Hunters lol, but I definitely appreciate this. Ooh-la-la, all the pretty ponies!! Love all of the Bays, I’d be in heaven, haha!

  4. I’ve heard WEF draws even more impeccable ponies than Thermal, which I believe (and terrifies me), but I appreciate the video of the hack! It’s nice to get a sense of what “normal” looks like. I was initially terrified to see how Prair stacked up at Thermal having only ever heard warnings that “they all move like 10’s down there..” Which made for a nice surprise when she got some good ribbons in all the Under Saddle classes. We certainly don’t have the jump style to be competitive at WEF over fences in the rated divisions, but still, a girl can dream!!!!

  5. I have no desire to own another hunter but when I go to the big shows and wander into hunterland you can’t help but oooh and ahhhh!

  6. Nice form….lots of it. Great pics! I disagree though, some of these riders are pretty awful looking…yeah their horse does the job – but for %99 of them it’s because their trainers do all the leg work. So no, I don’t think having bad eq can get you a winning horse. It may allow you to win on the day, but the hard work was done by someone with a good seat and leg. Just my two cents. The pic with the girl laying on her horse – is the one I am specifically cringing at.

  7. Lauren, you’re a great photographer. And those horses. Where do I begin? All horses are beautiful, but those are exceptionally striking. Those tight knees! I love the app Houzz and can look through Pottery Barn catalogs and get swept away. Now I have a new place to go for my viewing pleasure–your blog. 🙂

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