By Real Riderz
Biased, fat-phobic, and incorrect. Is that what truly defines the Hunter/Equitation world?
Before this post gets, hate, no I am not anti hunter/eq. As a matter of fact, I myself have started my riding career in the hunters and the equitation (and later jumpers). I have seen injustice in just about any discipline and actually any sport.
Let’s start with definitions. Hunters is esentially judging the way of going of the horse. Judges look for great jump and movement. They also look for calmess and ease. In the equiation, the riders are the one being judged. But don’t be fooled! A good basic position means nothing if the rider has not established a good level communication with the horse (e.g. it’s not good if the horse is “above the bit” aka with his/her nose stuck up in the air).
So why the hate? People claim thaat hunter riders have gotten sloppier over the years, with people “climbing up the neck” during the jump and sliding their legs back. Not to mention, the drug usage and over-lunging in the sport. Hunters seem to be on the spotlight here because of the need to achieve a tranquil horse. In addition, many claim that the winner is pre-determined by the judge’s bias, epecially in the higher catagories like international derbies and Big Eq. We rarely see a winner who we don’t already know of. But is it bias or is it just bceause the winner is the one with the most experience, thus why they performed the best.
After the 2021 Medal Finals, winner Grace Debney recieved backlash. Some people were saying she didn’t deserve the win and that she didn’t ride the best. This can seen on a Facebook post of her winning round where some people stated that she “simply was not the best.” At the end of the day everyone will have an opinion of who deserves the win more, but there can be only one winner.
Sure, there are times when a judge will miss a rider on the incorrect diagonal or even a rider with a bit of a chip to one of the jumps. Judges may also miss riders with great rides riding under unknown names. It’s an undeniable fact which may happen or may not happen. This is just the human factor. Having several judges helps reduce this error as there are more than just a pair of eyes on the rider at the
When it comes to hunter riding, just like with eq there will be bias. We may never even know about it. There will be drugging scandals and cruel trainers. However, this is in all disciplines. Not to say that this is ok, but let’s give at least some respect to the riders and horses out there that are using both disciplines correctly: to improve riding (the horse’s jump in hunters and the rider’s position/control in the equitation). There’s no wondering why riders with a background in competing for technique rather than just time do well at the top of the sport (just look at the American and Germans!)