Hunter/Jumper Horse Show Classes
Horse shows are divided into Divisions, which are determined by the skill level of the horse or rider, sometimes have age restrictions, and can be either open to professional riders or not.
The Divisions are comprised of classes. The classes may be judged on the horse (hunters under saddle or hunters) or the rider (equitation on the flat or over fences). There may be three to five classes in a division.
The shows also offer Medal Classes, Pleasure Classes, and Equitation classes.
Lead Line Division
The Lead Line Division is for youngsters just starting to ride. In these classes, the horses are led around on a lead shank led by an adult or older child. The rider still needs to perform and show that they can direct the pony or horse where to go and give the correct aids and signals. Lead liners will only be asked to walk and sometimes trot and may be asked to walk off the lead with the handler walking next to them. Lead liners must ride in correct English attire.
This division is for riders who have moved up from the lead-in classes and are ready to ride around the ring on their own, in a group. Some classes are judged on the horse and some on the rider. The division also offers an "Over Rails" class where the competitors ride over a course of poles on the ground. Sometimes there is a class where riders canter one at a time in one direction once around the arena. Walk/trot riders may not compete in any class that canters.
Crossrail Hunter Division
The canter is added to the flat classes and if the riders choose, they may jump simple courses of easy, little jumps. There are no age restrictions.
Short/Long Stirrup Division
This Division is for riders who are ready to show over a course of 2' fences. Short Stirrup refers to riders 12 & under, and Long Stirrup is for riders 13 & over. This Division may consist of a few over fences classes and flat classes to be shown at a walk, trot and canter. Riders in these classes may be asked to do a sitting trot as well.
Green Rider Division
This is the next step up. Green Riders jump 2'3" fences, which now include oxers, figure eight courses, and lead changes. Oh dear, that's a whole different page of information! The division is often broken into age groups and usually has big classes.
The jumper divisions are not judged but are timed. There can be several different levels or heights offered at a horse show. Most schooling shows offer Itty Bitty Jumpers (fence height at 2’3 – 2’6) and Level 1 Jumpers (fence height at 3′ – 3’3). There are usually three courses and no flat classes. Riders have a set amount of time to complete a course. Riders under the time allowed with no penalties (time faults, refusals or poles down) will move on to the jump off, which is a shortened course with less time allowed. The horse and rider with the fastest and clear round wins the class.