AQHA Hunter Classes vs. USEF Hunter Classes

I just purchased a 3 year old AQHA mare by Artful Move. She currently stands at 16 hands. I am hoping to get some input and advice concerning both circuits (USEF & AQHA) and where my horse would excel. She has a 1/2 brother that is doing well on the USEF circuit in the hunter classes that he has entered so far. Let me know what you think :slight_smile:

The big difference is Open is for horses of any breed or combination that specialize in style over fences at a good pace. AQHA (or any breed restricted Hunter class) is for horses that first are that specific breed and also display style and pace as the breed type and breed specific conformation allow. Styles such as “headset” and pace can be very different between breeds and open too.

No idea how this one would go in either venue, need to see her over a course. AQHA style is very “headset” oriented compared to Open where overall movement is more desirable then head placement. In all these, mares poll is below the withers and nose behind the vertical, she can’t jump from that position and can’t open up her stride from there.

Most of the Artful horses can go well without their nose at their knees and get a decent pace. Like to see this one allowed to go on and see what she can do. Might take a bit to convince her she can go less…oh…“framed” and allowed to open her step. Offhand she looks fairly well balanced, not downhill and should be able to do it.

She also appears to need to muscle up more overall, not more weight just better distributed. Moving more freely with less “frame” should allow her to use herself better and take care of that. So will a little more age, she looks a bit immature. Probably needs a little more time before going into regular training over fences several days a week. Many QH folk like to show them as Junior Horses, horses age not riders. Then breed them or sell them with a record. Sometimes they push a bit too hard to get those Jr Horse points before they age out. Not all, off course, but a consideration when buying young QHs.

Question, is her 1/2 brother out of the same mare? If so, how have her other babies done? If it’s by the same sire, they are just by the same sire. Not considered 1/2 siblings unless out if the same mare. That’s because a stud can produce 40 or more foals every year, the mare just one plus the mare raises the baby giving it her attributes in attitude and willingness to accept training.


Thank you for your reply. Her 1/2 brother is out of the same mare. There are only three babies that I know of, and he is the only one showing so far. My mare is the second, and there is a yearling that is third. This is her 1/2 brother

Can you use that trainer for yours? If Stella moves like that and gets the training and management the horse in the video got? It’s an Open horse for sure…that trip is around an 80, maybe more, I doubt much less in most classes.

Who is the mother and how is she bred?

I agree with F8. She’s very nice, just needs some redirection to get her stretching her neck out. She seems a bit short-necked and the “frame” doesn’t help that impression at all. It makes her look tense and fussy. She needs to stretch her head and neck out (not down).

She definitely looks more USEF suited on the flat. In her “westerny” video, her trot is suited to AQHA HUS, but her canter would knock her down. She looks much better going up and forward.
Artful Move certainly is considered one of the great sires of AQHA “fence” horses with many branching out to USEF. Chocolua did under saddle, but really excelled more over fences.
It’s hard to say, but I bet your filly could do both AQHA and USEF over fences. She probably wouldn’t be as competitive in AQHA hunter under saddle as she would in USEF flat classes.
She’s super cute!!

I have an AQHA by Art I Sweet (who is by Artful Move).

I purchased him as a three year old w/ 90 days undersaddle of QH training. It did take some time for us to undo some of that. It took him a full year to understand that I was not going to kill him for taking a 12’ step! He wanted to stay in an 8-10’ step at the canter. I had to let him mature mentally before re-introducing the 12’ step. He’s had no issues since. I have only shown on the Open/USEF circuit so far with him but I am looking into dipping my toes into some AQHA shows later this year.

As a three year old, my guy was 16.1 and a bit gangly. He just made 8 and has matured into a lovely 17h horse. You’ll see big changes in her as she matures :slight_smile:

Him as a three year old:

Him a couple months ago:

Good luck and update us on your ventures!

PS…work decided to block youtube as of yesterday…I’ll look at the videos this evening at home :slight_smile:

I dont have her in my possession yet, she is being picked up on Monday.The video is from the sale barn she was at. I have my own trainer and plan on addressing those things. She is only lightly started, and the video over x-rails was the first time she was jumping. I dont plan on doing anything other than flat work until at least 4 1/2 or 5, so she will have plenty of time to work on the things mentioned and really muscle up and balance herself. Thank you for your opinions :slight_smile:

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Her Dam is Choc’s Debutante by Chocolua

You do realize that there is a penalty for joining COTH and asking about a new horse, don’t you?

You MUST post updates with pictures and videos at regular intervals or we will never speak to you again;).

Look forward to following your progress and watching this nice filly blossom for you.


Congratulations! I just finished horse shopping and was looking exactly for a Quarter with not too much breed show HUS training. Yours would have been one on my short list! As others have said, that headset stuff changes them and ruins their stifles IMO.

Yours should be fine for both, if you let her forget the HUS headset. The AQHA has made a tremendous effort to raise the bar for their hunters (over fences). We have an excellent AQHA trainers here who come to the local shows and their horses and rounds fit right in.

Quarter horses can be great over fences. I love them. Here is one of mine over a little 2’9" jump with my pro. He went all the way to the 3’6" when he was younger.

ETA, wow, that Chocolua in the video is NICE!!!

Thank you everyone for your kind words and advice. I will keep everyone posted on her. I cant wait until she is here :slight_smile:

Congrats! I have an 6 y/o appendix out of Artful Investment (Artful Move). She did AQHA stuff before me but is transitioning over very well to USEF hunter. She has a great stride. Have fun with your new mare!

I bred Chocs Debutante (Abby). She was an awesome AQHA HUS, Over Fences and Pleasure Driving mare. Her mother Parisian (TB) was the best minded broodmare I ever had. Unfortunately, Abby’s full brother passed away as a yearling, and she didn’t have any other foals. Your mare should get bigger. Abby was 16.2h when she matured. I hope you do awesome things with her baby!!!

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I bred Chocs Debutante (Abby). She was an awesome AQHA HUS, Over Fences and Pleasure Driving mare. Her mother Parisian (TB) was the best minded broodmare I ever had. Unfortunately, Abby’s full brother passed away as a yearling, and she didn’t have any other foals. Your mare should get bigger. Abby was 16.2h when she matured. I hope you do awesome things with her baby!!![/QUOTE]

WOW, the power of COTH strikes again. There’s a reason we all say the horse world is a small one. Who knew the dams breeder would pop up on here. OP now has a support group;)

That’s beyond AMAZING that you saw this post. I’m actually floored lol, especially with the amount of posts that are created daily. That is great information that I wouldn’t have been able to get probably anywhere else! I cant wait to see what this mare can do, she has all the potential in the world in my eyes, especially with her great breeding. I promise to keep everyone posted :smiley:

In aiming your mare at both AQHA and USEF, in AQHA, smoothness and manners around the course are as important as jumping form. There are Green WH at 2’6" and Progressive at 2’9", but baby behavior is not appreciated in those. So I would first work more toward the local nice H-J schooling shows and the USEF Baby Green, which generally offer better schooling opportunities at the shows. Then, when she is steady and soft around the BG courses, you could hook up at the AQHA shows with one of the top over-fence trainers like Lainie DeBoer or Chuck Briggs for AQHA-specific coaching or pro rides, and aim for the known AQHA Circuits that have good judges and good courses, for your mare’s Green eligibility period there.

Although COTHer Baker Blanket’s buckskin mare won it all at the Ammy AQHA World Show with a big, big flowing stride, that is not always the judging norm, and it would depend on how your mare develops for whether she can show both AQHA/USEF concurrently, and appear effortless around the course while getting the USEF distances.

Another good goal is the Huntfield AQHA Hunter Derby series, which have amateur and even novice/select height divisions. They are quality and lots of fun.

I really like her. Good luck which whatever path you take.

I like her. I actually saw her sale video as I was searching for mine (and still am), as I am purposefully looking for one that can do AQHA and USEF. You found a mare that is royally bred for H/J when it comes to QH. I don’t think she can do AQHA on the flat, as she just doesn’t have that type of stride, but when she brings her head up, her stride opens up and smooths out nicely.

Personally, from what I have seen, a nice USEF horse that can give a steady eddy type of ride can move over to AQHA more easily than a steady eddy AQHA horse who isn’t very fancy can move over to USEF. AQHA places much more of an emphasis on manners than style in all classes, and if they have a mis-step they are out usually. But if they are well behaved, that style is rewarded, especially at the big shows.

I will be taking my new baby when I get it to schooling shows first, then my trainer will show it AQHA green/progressive, then I will add in my amateur classes, then we will do some A shows as well. I would say that is the order that a lot of people who mix the 2 circuits together usually combine them, as the level of competition seems to flow that way.

Good luck!!! The sale barn she was in, while a sale barn, was a good barn with a good trainer. She was well taken care of there.

She arrived yesterday and is everything that I hoped for and more!