Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Biggest Differences I've Noticed Between Hunters and Eventing

So there a few things I noticed the first time I went to an event...and the next one...and the next one. It seems that every time I go to a new venue or an event, I see more and more things that either gave me light bulb moments, confused me, or both.

1) No set ups at events.
You must understand, where I come from we spend HOURS setting up a beautiful seating area and staple drapes to the front of our barn and hang a big sign. When I got to Pine Top, I was completely unprepared. At first, everything looked so chaotic. Different color chairs here or there, no tack stalls, no grooming stalls. Saddles hanging outside the stalls, no beautiful tack trunks. My biggest issue was that I didn't bring seating. Oops.
My seating for the entire weekend...

2) The hairnets! Or lack thereof. I have just recently gotten more comfortable no wearing my hair over my ears. That one was odd. I still think everyone looks like a boy. Just a little.

3) Dubarry boots. What's up with those?? Not that I don't like them, I just don't understand why everyone has a pair.

4) Tack. We don't do breastplates, in fact, they are frowned upon. But let's just say I understand now why eventers use them :) I love my Antares breastplate! Nobody said I couldn't look fashionable...

Also is bits. Not a lot of hunters go in snaffles! Some do, and mine does, but when Betsy told me I needed to get Romeo a snaffle, I just laughed. My horse is going to go in a WHAT? Also, it took me a while to get used to eggbutts. Ehh I still think those look wonky. Romeo goes in a loose ring KK ultra now, and I do like that bit a lot :)

5) Horse medicine and practices. I will say one of the largest differences I have seen is in this category. First, we (in the hunters) use bute/equioxx a lot more freely than eventers do. I understand the whole debate on that, but everything that we use is under the legal limits. Maybe we read the med rules more closely, or maybe eventers choose not to use drugs. I can appreciate that. Another big thing is that, man...

eventers walk their horses like crazy! I feel like all y'all do is walk, walk, ice, and walk (whoa a little south came out). We don't ice much either. Then again, our horses are not doing as intense activities as yours. I really love this. I think keeping your horse moving is super important and I agree wholeheartedly.

6) No braiders. The first event I had to braid for was Chatt Hills in May. We asked who to contact or call to braid. Oh...we braid? ourselves? It went better than I thought, but still :) How do you think Johnny's braids looks so good? Shout out to his "Aunt" Mary who braids/dotes on him!

Hmm...those are all the big things I've noticed so far. If anyone else can think of anything, comment away!

I have learned a lot on this journey so far, and I hope I will learn a whole lot more on the way :)


  1. Like half of my barn has Dubarries too. They have stands at most of the bigger shows we go too, but maybe they broke into eventers first? They are mega expensive...

  2. I know! I was like ohhh those are cool. Then I looked at the tag. Seriously worth that much?? I'm not so sure...

  3. I have hunter wellies and love them to pieces. Try walking a wet XC course in sneakers and you'll understand why everyone has them or dubarrys ;)

  4. Dubarry boots are hot. I want a pair :P

  5. LOL at the braiding, I love braiding. Dubarrys are good because they're comfy and great for course walking, plus don't look to heinous.

    I find there is so much more to pack when you go eventing compared to a hunter show, but I have only ever done one day hunter shows.

  6. I'm about to experience the opposite side of what you're doing!!! I'm taking my pony man to a hunter jumper show and already the entry form process is completely different :) As in What do you mean I sign up for the classes once I get there??? Aren't I suppose to send in my check and form completely filled out before hand so they know what order to put me in?? ;) Though I'm quite excited to go do some jumper classes!!! hehehe

  7. you can if you want! no order :) plan on being there for many hours never knowing excactly when you are going to go. plus side is that if you don't feel ready, you can go later or earlier in the order as you choose. you can also add and scratch classes very easily! have so much fun! make sure to check your bill before you check out.

  8. veronica-

    good for you! i am still not very good at it yet. hopefully i will get better! maybe i should get some dubarry's for christmas ;)

    its true about packing!! i feel like i'm packing for a month long vacation instead of a weekend!

  9. I don't get the $700 boots, myself. Who can afford that? I will wear my high mud/wellies if it's really wet, but I ALWAYS strip them off and walk barefoot in the water complexes along the intended (and alternate) routes.

    I want to know how deep the water, how reliable the footing is, any big rocks, any holes, sucking mud or nice firm gravel, etc, so I know how fast I can blast or if I want to take it easy. I want the horse to always be willing to go when it comes to water, and the easiest way is for him to trust my judgement that I won't ask him to go through at a pace unsuitable for the footing.

    As for differences; in my experience (and I also am comparing against what I know of the AQHA show world, which I would NEVER do but knew kids and worked for a family that did):

    At an event, everyone wants everyone else to do WELL. We are riding with ourselves, against ourselves. So, crappy footing or unsafe-ish area, we tell everyone, because we want everyone to be fun and stay safe. A fence rides a certain way, an unexpected way, everyone lets each other know so they can have the best ride possible on THEIR horse, even if your ride didn't go as planned.

    Complete stranger you met that morning realized they forgot a girth/bridle/high boots? SOMEONE will lend it to you, AND trust you'll bring it back in the same condition. And you will.

    Complete strangers will cheer for everything you do. Every time, good round or bad, and wish you well as you go.

    Complete strangers will be happy to act as your backup groom, and smile as they do it =)

    People can leave their tack out and it will pretty much always still be there.

    No one clubs your winning horse with a crowbar(yes, I know the junior who had this happen to his Congress horse. They went out to dinner, and came back to a horse with a badly fractured skull.)

    Money and turnout doesn't obscure ability and talent.

    Eventing rocks!

  10. I seriously loved that response. I wish there was a "like" or "love" button. I need to start walking through the water! I have just been walking in riding boots but I think rain boots might be better.

    Hunters are pretty similar in a lot of cases. We care about everyone and want everyone to do well...well we might want to do just a tad bit better but you get the drift.

    Leaving the tack out was a big one for me! I still don't leave mine out, it makes me so nervous!!

    Oh my gosh about the crowbar. I could never imagine something like that happening! We believe in true sportsmanship.

  11. Poor thing was cleaning up all the points in ?yearling? halter(been awhile, can't remember his age group). They left for dinner, came back to find him down. He was somehow lifted into the trailer, rushed to the hospital, where the doctors were able to screw, wire and plate his skull back together. He had to have surgery every few months, since he was still growing. He ended up dying by 3 or so, it was just a devastating injury.

    On a funny eventing note, I've helped pull the one half size too small boots off a girl that had borrowed them from a complete stranger 10 minutes before cross. It was a riot, her scooting (OK, being drug) along the ground as we desperately tried to extricate her from them.

  12. In eventing ~ people only look down on you if you are not being fair to your horse. As long as your equipment is safe, and you are riding to the best of your ability and not overfaced yourself or your horse, people will root you on. They won't make fun of your coat being out of style, the wrong color, tack not the "latest thing". They'd rather spend the money on x-country schooling clinics ;-)

    Don't get me wrong, you do see people out there that belong in a school ring on a quiet horse for a hell of a lot longer before trying to do the sport, but that falls under the not being fair to your horse category.

    I think the people in eventing are by and large AWESOME.