Hunter/Jumper FAQ -- copy, link, add useful info here!

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Great idea…how to do hunter princess hair should be #1.

Doing Hunter Look with Short Hair

MGP, I can grant that for short hair. It’s in the References already, but this might help.

Can I also request that we put a short summary in the title of our posts on this thread to quickly reference what it’s about?

“Illegal” versus “Unconventional” Tack

There is NO SUCH THING as “illegal” tack in the hunters, with the exception of a martingale in the under saddle.

That said, the rule book says that “unconventional tack may be penalized at the judge’s discretion,” AND there are some “illegalities” in the equitation, the most notable being no martingales in flat classes. I’ve noted the other exceptions below.

What does this mean for you if you are thinking of dabbling in Hunterland? Here’s some examples (not meant to be exhaustive):

Most Conventional

  • D snaffle
  • Standing martingale
  • Laced or braided reins
Conventional, but not currently "trendy"
  • Full cheek snaffle
  • Eggbutt snaffle
  • Pelham (unless you are in the eq)
  • Breastplate
Pretty unconventional
  • Kimberwicke (some judges tolerate them, most hate them)
  • Fixed reinsets on bit, i.e. the Myler snaffles with hooks, aka "cheater gags"
  • Rubber reins
  • Full bridle (I've seen it, but ONLY in the eq)
Very, very unconventional
  • Gag (specifically prohibited in the USET)
  • Elevator
  • Hackamore (specifically prohibited in the USET)
  • Drop, flash or figure 8 noseband (Thanks, Chef Jade, for pointing this out!)
  • Running martingale (unless it's the USET eq class, where you speficially cannot use a standing)
  • "old fashioned" breastplate (where it goes straight across the horse's shoulders and chest)
It should be noted that those snaffle cheeks can hide a multitude of sins inside the mouth. No one checks the mouthpiece. It's the cheeks that give the illusion of the "snaffle mouth." You could have a segunda in there for all anyone knows.

It should also be noted that above is only for hunters and equitation. The jumpers have their own sets of rules, and much "unconventional tack is fair game. However, Chef Jade very fairly adds the following information(I’ve edited a bit to make it clearer):

  • Classes offering less than $1000 in total prize money-No martingale restrictions, draw reins allowed.
  • Classes offering $1000-4999: Standing & runnign martignales allowed when used in the conventional manner. No draw reins allowed.
  • Classes offering $5000 or greater, or "young Horse" classes: Running martingales used in the conventional manner only.

Bows on Pony Kids

Some people like them, some people hate them. However:

If you choose to put bows on any child, please make sure the bows do not, repeat, DO NOT, cover the child’s back number in any way!

All judges hate that.

Thank you.

1 Like

Rust breeches have been “coming back in style” for the past 5 years. There have been at least 30 or so threads on this. I feel that it is more a reflection of a very dedicated group of fans than an actual fashion trend, but it comes up enough that it should probably be included. A review of the amateur rule might also be appropriate, along with the hypothetical-but-not-really judging question that seeks to validate why a horse without lead changes or which adds the step should pin above one who has changes and/or makes the step but has other errors.

Hunter Princess Hair

The back story: I never got to be the Hunter Princess when I was young because I was too busy getting other people and horses to the ring. But I dug deep and figured it out all by my lonesome.

Here’s my technique:

Put all your hair in a pony tail at the base of your skull… almost. You want to put the pony tail holder on loosely, not taking a second lap around the gathered hair. You also want to leave your pony tail “folded” so the end is still in the loose pony tail holder. If the sides of your hair are short, you want to part it in the middle.

With hair gathered, put your hairnet over everything, folded pony tail and all.

Fish out the pony tail holder from beneath the net, leaving all your hair inside.

Here’s one step that separates the men from the boys: Make sure the elastic is next to your skull, and spread out your hair within the net so that all you see next to the side of your face is net, not elastic.

Spread the bottom edges of your hair down just to your ear lobes if you wish to wear earrings or over your ear lobes if not (or if it’s cold out!).

Now remake your original pony tail, putting the pony tail holder again at the base of your skull. This is the other boys/men step to get right. You want to make sure you have your hair evenly spread so all you see is hair, not strands or gaps. You also want to make sure the sides, or at least the bottom edge is pulled reasonably tight. This will keep the “sides of your head” below your helmet from bulging out.

When you redo your pony tail, you will have less of an actual tail. No problem. For the sake of comfort, fan it out a bit.

Now, with helmet near by, lean over, fold that fanned out puppy back up, and put on your helmet on from back to front, more or less. You will capture the pony tail in the base of your helmet or the back part of the harness.

This works for shoulder-length or so hair. You don’t need a comb, a mirror or even lots of time. Perfect for do-it-yourself Hunter Princesses.

Approximate jumper fence heights in metrics

1.00 = 3’3
1.05 = 3’5
1.10 = 3’7
1.15 = 3’9
1.20 = 3’11
1.25 = 4’1
1.30 = 4’3
1.35 = 4’5
1.40 = 4’7
1.45 = 4’9
1.50 = 4’11
1.55 = 5’1
1.60 = 5’3

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Amateur Status

From the USEF rulebook at Current as of 3/26/09

GR1306 Amateur Status

  1. Regardless of one’s equestrian skills and/or accomplishments, a person is an amateur for all competitions conducted under Federation rules who after his/her 18th birthday, as defined in GR101, has not engaged in any of the following activities which would make him/her a professional. Exception: In the Dressage Division, individuals are only eligible to compete as amateurs from the beginning of the calendar year in which they reach age 22.
    [COLOR=blue]Translation: It doesn’t matter how good you are (or aren’t): as long as you do any of the following, you’re a pro.

a. Accepts remuneration for riding, driving, showing, training, schooling or conducting clinics or seminars.

b. Accepts remuneration for giving riding or driving lessons, lessons in showmanship, instructions in equitation or horse training. (Persons acting as counselors at summer camps, who are not hired in the exclusive capacity of riding instructors are excluded and persons giving instruction and training to the handicapped).

c. Accepts remuneration for employment in other capacity (e.g., secretary, bookkeeper, veterinarian, groom, farrier) and gives instruction, rides, drives, shows, trains or schools horses, other than horses actually owned or leased by him/her, when his/her employer or a member of the family of said employer or a corporation which a member of his/her family controls, owns, boards or trains said horses.
Translation: You can’t say you’re just getting paid for being the bookkeeper if you ride a horse for which your boss receives money. It’s a bummer, but someone used this loophole, and that’s why it’s closed.

d. Accepts remuneration for the use of his or her name, photograph or other form of personal association as a horseman in connection with any advertisement or article to be sold.
Translation: Sponsorship. See Exhibit A, Brianne Goutal.[/FONT][/SIZE]

e. Accepts prize money in equitation or showmanship classes. Prize money may be accepted by amateur riders in Dressage.

f. Rides, drives or shows, any horse for which he/she or a member of his/her family or a corporation which a member of his/her family controls, receives remuneration for boarding, training, riding, driving or showing. (A family member of a trainer may not absolve themselves of this rule by entering into a lease or any other agreement for a horse owned by a client of the trainer).
Translation: Again, if you are the daughter of the trainer, you cannot ride a horse that your parent receives money to board.

g. Gives instruction to any person or rides, drives or shows any horse, for which activity another person in his/her family or corporation which a member of his/her family controls will receive remuneration for the activity. (A family member of a trainer may not absolve themselves of this rule by entering into a lease or any other agreement for a horse owned by a client of the trainer).
Translation: You cannot give lessons to your parent’s boarders on the grounds that they are paying the farm, not you, even if you never see a dime.

h. Accepts remuneration, as defined in GR1306.2d, for selling horses/ponies, acts as a paid agent in the sale of horses/ponies or takes horses/ponies on consignment for the purpose of sale or training other than those owned wholly or in part by him/her or by a member of his/her family or farm/ranch/syndicate/partnership/corporation which he/she or a member of his/her family controls.
Translation: You can buy and sell horses for profit, but they have to be your own, not a commission.

i. Advertising professional services such as training or giving lessons by way of business cards, print ads, or internet.
Translation: If you say you’re a trainer, you’re a pro, even if nobody has hired you yet.

j. For Amateurs in Jumper Sections, see JP117.

k. For Amateurs in Eventing sections, see EV Appendix 3 - Participation in Horse Trials.

  1. The following activities do not affect the amateur status of a person who is otherwise qualified:

a. The writing of books or articles pertaining to horses.[/FONT][/SIZE]

b. Accepting remuneration for officiating as a judge, steward, technical delegate, course designer, announcer or participating as a TV commentator, or accepting bona fide remuneration for services as a veterinarian, groom, farrier, tack shop operator or breeder, or for accepting bona fide remuneration for boarding services.

c. Accepting reimbursement for expenses without profit.

d. Accepting a token of appreciation, other than money, for riding, driving or showing in halter/in hand. (Note: Horse board, prize money, partial support or objects of more than $300 are considered remuneration, not small tokens of appreciation). (Also note: accepting any amount of money, whether more or less than $300, is considered remuneration.) Prize money won by an amateur-owner rider/driver/handler in any class (other than equitation or showmanship) is not considered remuneration.

e. Having the occupation of veterinarian, groom, farrier or owning a tack shop or breeding or boarding stable in itself, does not affect the amateur status of a person who is otherwise qualified.

f. Any person who is serving an internship for college credit through his/her respective, accredited college program, and who has never held professional status, can accept reimbursement for expenses without profit.

Got questions? Call USEF to explain your particular situation at 859-258-2472. They will be happy to help you.


[quote=mvp;3975095]The back story: I never got to be the Hunter Princess when I was young because I was too busy getting other people and horses to the ring. But I dug deep and figured it out all by my lonesome.

Here’s my technique:[/quote]

I’m afraid that reading that summary took me longer than the “normal” HP technique…:smiley:

USEF Eq. tests

The USEF Equitation tests from the online rulebook.

  1. Halt (4 to 6 seconds) or halt and back. BOD 1/13/08 Effective 4/1/08

  2. Hand gallop.

  3. Figure eight at trot, demonstrating change of diagonals. At left diagonal, rider should be sitting the saddle when left front leg is on the ground; at right diagonal, rider should be sitting the saddle when right front leg is on the ground; when circling clockwise at a trot, rider should be on left diagonal; when circling counterclockwise, rider should be on the right diagonal.

  4. Figure eight at canter on correct lead, demonstrating simple change of lead. This is a change whereby the horse is brought back into a walk or trot (either is acceptable unless the judge specifies) and restarted into a canter on the opposite lead. Figures to be commenced in center of two circles so that one change of lead is shown.

  5. Work collectively or individually at a walk, trot and/or canter.

  6. Jump low obstacles at a trot as well as at a canter. The maximum height and spread for a trot jump is 3’ for horses, 2’ for ponies.

  7. Jump obstacles on figure eight course.

  8. Question(s) regarding basic horsemanship, tack and equipment and conformation.

  9. Ride without stirrups, riders must be allowed option to cross stirrups.

  10. Jump low obstacles at a walk as well as at a canter. The maximum height and spread for a walk jump is 2’.

  11. Dismount and mount. Individually.

  12. Turn on the forehand.

  13. Figure eight at canter on correct lead demonstrating flying change of lead.

  14. Execute serpentine at a trot and/or canter on correct lead demonstrating simple or flying changes of lead. (See EQ113.4 for simple change.)

  15. Change leads on a line demonstrating a simple or flying change of lead. (See EQ113.4 for simple change.)

  16. Change horses. (Note: this test is the equivalent of two tests.)

  17. Canter on counter lead. (Note: no more than twelve horses may counter canter at one time.)

  18. Turn on the haunches from the walk.

  19. Demonstration ride of approximately one minute. Rider must advise judge beforehand what ride he plans to demonstrate.

[QUOTE=Sing Mia Song;3973781]There is NO SUCH THING as “illegal” tack in the hunters.
Very, very unconventional

Add: Figure eight nosebands or dropped nosebands

That isn’t true!!! No standing martingales in classes with $5000 in prize money or higher or classes desginated as Young Horse classes. Standing and Running martinglaes are only allowed in classes b/t $1000 and $4999 in prize money. No draw reins except in classes $1000 and below, where any type of martigale is also allowed. And these are RESTRICTIONS not RECCOMENDATIONS! [/QUOTE].

Jade, you are absolutely correct–my bad! I will amend my post right now. Thanks!


Since when are running martingales restricted to jumper classes under $5000?

Standing martingales do have such restrictions.

That was meant to say that only standings or runnings were admitted in that category, not that they were only admitted in that category. I’ve clarified above.

Thank god for the editing button!

The edit button is a most handy feature! :yes:

Medal Specs.

Does anyone have the link for the ASPCA and Passoa USEF medal specs?

I have looked and I can’t find it where I am looking…if i find it I will post it…


USEF Medal and ASPCA Maclay specs are both in the USEF rulebook, online at under Rule EQ 112.

[QUOTE=MHM;3998535]USEF Medal and ASPCA Maclay specs are both in the USEF rulebook, online at under Rule EQ 112.[/QUOTE]

I don’t know what was wrong with me today I search three times and before I could find it!

Attention college bound riders!

If you are a rider in high school and are interested in competing in hunterseat equitation on a team at the college or university of your choice please read below for basic information.

There are 2 programs with different formats. NCAA Varsity Equestrian and the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA).

Information on NCAA Varsity Equestrian:

NCAA Varsity Equestrian Official Website:

From the website, “In 1998, equestrian was classified as an NCAA emerging sport. Currently 23 colleges and universities offer equestrian as a varsity sport and more continue to add the program to their athletic department each year. Schools compete in a head to head format, where each team is required to ride the same horse and judges’ scores are compared across horses. The host school provides the horses and tack at each competition. The format includes hunt seat equitation on the flat and over fences, western horsemanship and reining. The USEF, the national governing body for equestrian sports, in conjunction with the AQHA have been influential in the development of the sport and its rules.”

2008-2009 Varsity Equestrian Rulebook:

Current schools participating in NCAA Varsity Equestrian:

Information on IHSA:

IHSA Official Website:

From the website, “The Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) has grown and developed since it was established in 1967 through the prototype competition program Bob Cacchione (with the help of his professor Jack Fritz) started when he was an 18-year-old sophomore at Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey… Today, from its beginning with just two intercollegiate competing colleges, the IHSA is an organization that encompasses 29 Regions in 9 Zones with more than 300 member colleges in 45 states and Canada – representing more than 6,500 riders in both Hunter Seat Equitation, Western Horsemanship, and Reining. In 1999 the original organization was dissolved and IHSA Inc was incorporated as a non-profit organization… Highly praised for its structure of competition, the IHSA allows riders with various degrees of experience in the hunter and western rider disciplines to compete individually or on a team. Competition plays a role, but student enthusiasm and team spirit are the major objectives. Emphasis is on learning, sportsmanship and fun.”

IHSA Rulebook:

Current schools participating in IHSA:

IHSA Alumni Program (for riders who competed in IHSA as undergraduates):

Also check out for show results and articles on IHSA teams throughout the country.

There are quite a few threads involving both programs that may help answer some of your questions. Try searching IHSA or NCAA. :slight_smile: