Pre-Greens Question

I am a dressage rider. I currently have a 16.3 Dutch warmblood who I think would excel in the hunters. He is quiet and has a big, ground-covering stride. Very nice jump and knows his leads/changes.

Thinking about starting him in a pre-green class, what do judges look for in these classes?

The same thing they look for in all hunter classes: looks, movement, rhythm, way of going, style of jump, lead changes, striding, etc, etc.

However, has he done any hunter shows, or practiced over full courses? If he hasn’t, I would not start him out in the pre-greens at 3’, since it is already halfway through the year, and you’ll be breaking his first-year PG status. Most of the horses you will be showing him against will be pretty well into the swing of things. I personally would start him first in the 2’6" Baby Greens, and see how he does there for a couple of shows, and then if he felt really confident move him up to the 3’ PG.

Do you plan to show him, or are you going to have a pro ride him? If a pro, I would ask for their opinion on what division would be best to start him out in, and they can give you an assessment of his abilities/likelihood to succeed in the hunter ring.

They are looking for consistency- this means a nice even rhythm and stride. Correct distances to the jumps, ability get down the lines in the numbers while looking in control, straightness to the fences.

“pre-green” will also be different if you are looking at a local schooling show(could be cross rails) vs. a rated show (where you will have solid fences and the criteria will mean that the horse has not shown normally over 3’6(the pre-greens are a zone regulation and not a usef- so each zone is slightly different but normally the classes are about 3ft)

Hunter judges look for consistency, rhythm, balance, and some brilliance. The trot must not have too much break in the knee, and the canter has to go somewhere. You say he has a ground-covering stride. So on a 4 stride line you have to be able to shorten his stride to make the numbers, and still look smooth and steady. He has to pick up his knees at the fence. Some big horses don’t try much over a smaller fence, but you still don’t want to start at 3’ until you have developed everything else. I would recommend finding a competent trainer and have him evaluated. Go to some hunter shows and see what the judges like. Good luck, hunters are fun.