This hunter/jumper riding instructor interview is the second video in a series of educational videos intended to teach children about different horse sports.
For the video series, I ask each horse sport instructor the same seven or eight questions in an interview format and then do a little hands on learning as a way to help to expose a whole new generation of kids to different horse sports in 4-5 minute long informational videos.
The questions I ask each instructor:
- What is your experience with the sport?
- What level of experience do you recommend a kid have before they start learning your sport?
- What basic skills do you teach kids in the first few lessons?
- What do you wear to lessons?
- What type of tack and equipment do you need?
- What types of horses/ponies are good for the sport?
- What types of competitions are there in the sport?
- What do you wear in competitions?
We have filmed interviews with combined driving, hunter, show jumper, eventing, polo, and equestrian vaulting instructors. I will post those videos as the editing is completed.
Hunter Riding Instructor Interview
View the video on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gq-d4PXPf9g
My name is Susan DiFelice. I’m from Allpony, the horsemanship for kids website. Today I’m talking to Beverly Burnett about riding Hunters.
Can you tell me a bit about your background with Hunters?
I’ve been riding for 50-plus years. Most everybody that does hunters starts beginner riders so you don’t have to have any riding experience. It’s a lot about safety. It’s a lot about learning to read nonverbal communication from an animal.
What do you teach in the first few Hunter riding lessons?
Usually we introduce you to the horse, teach you how to lead them, teach you how to groom them properly, and take care of them pick and out their feet. Then we help you learn to put the saddle on, the bridle on, and either me or another person will lead the horse or pony so you get used to riding.
And then we try to teach balance exercises. So as you’re going along you are working on your position and your independence of body parts, but you’re also again learning to communicate with an animal.
Do you learn to walk, trot, and canter?
As you get better and better you learn the three gates.
What should a kid wear to their first Hunter lesson?
So you’re going to need an ASTM approved riding helmet. We try to have a number of those on hand and you can borrow one of our helmets. You need hard-soled shoes with a heel and closed toes. And no shorts, you need to wear long pants.
What types of tack and equipment do you use in Hunters?
What types of horses and ponies make a good Hunters?
Right now there’s a dominance of warmbloods, but any animal that has an ability or desire to jump has a good work ethic, and is quiet and safe to work around, can do the job of a hunter.
What types of competitions are there in Hunters?
So in Hunters, we have classes that start as low as (jumping) poles classes that you’re just riding on the flat or under saddle, and it goes on up to three foot six and four feet. If you hang with it long enough and then you could end up being in the Olympics. It’s the only Olympic sport that men and women compete at equally.
What do you wear in competitions for hunters?
It’s a very traditional sport. So we like people to be dressed and conservative colors such as navy or dark blue coats, white shirts, and light-colored pants, and tall boots. Sometimes you might wear spurs which are just an additional aid to help your horse. And of course the ever-present helmet.
If you’re under the age of 12, and you ride ponies, do you wear something different?
You still have the dark coat and light pants with the white shirt, and you wear jodphurs, which are long pants that go all the way to ankle. You wear paddock boots, which are short boots, and then you wear a garter strap that goes around right below your knee. That’s a leather strap that helps you grip on the saddle.
Hunter jumper shows have hunters and jumpers – two different sports combined together in one horse show. Bev, can you tell me the difference between hunters and jumpers?
Traditionally people start riding in the English sport either in saddle horses are Hunters. If you start in the hunters your may aspire to go onto the jumpers or you may stay in the hunters. You can sort of major in the hunters, which is more artsy type, subjective riding, or you can move into the jumper which is judged objectively with time and faults. So that’s the difference in the two sports.
This is a sport you can do the rest of your life.