Hunt Seat Equitation
The Hunt seat style of riding is derived from the hunt field.
In equitation competition, flat classes (those that do not including jumping) include judging at the walk, trot, and canter in both directions, and the competitors may be asked to ride without stirrups. It is correct for the riders to have a light and steady contact with their horse's mouth the entire ride. Loss of a stirrup or dropping the reins are also faults, and may be cause for elimination.
In over fences classes (classes in which the horse and rider jump obstacles), the competitor rides over a course of at least six jumps (usually more). Fence height may go up to 3'6". Classes often require at least one flying lead change, and one or more combinations. The rider is judged not only on position and effectiveness of aids, but should also maintain an even, forward pace and meet each fence at an appropriate distance.
At the highest level of hunt seat equitation are the national Maclay finals and USEF Medal classes in the United States, and the CET (Canadian Equestrian Team) Medal and Jump Canada Medal in Canada. These championships and their qualifying classes may include bending lines, roll back turns, narrow fences, and fences with a long approach to test the rider. Fences must be at least 3'6" and may be up to 5' wide, and the course must have at least eight obstacles and at least one combination. The course may include liverpool or open water elements, depending on the class specifications.
Equitation tests may be chosen by the judge to help place the top riders. These tests are required in the medal classes. Tests may include a halt for several seconds, rein back, demonstration of the hand gallop, figure-8 at the trot or canter with correct diagonals or leads (simple change of lead or flying), trotting or cantering low fences (up to 3'), jump obstacles at the walk (up to 2'), jumping fences on a figure-8, oral questions regarding tack, equipment, conformation, and basic horsemanship, riding without stirrups, performing a turn on the forehand or haunches, and a serpentine at the trot or canter with flying changes. Riders may also be asked to switch horses at higher levels of competition, such as at a national final. Switching of horses is no longer common at smaller competitions due to the risks involved.
An equitation round in 2004 callbacks
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