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FAQs Show-Hunter

Answers to some common questions about Show Hunter events at Woodhill Sands.



  • What is Show Hunter judged on?

    A show hunter is judged on jumping style, way of going, manners and ability to maintain an even pace over a course of at least eight fences. These are naturally styled with easy take off type fences with simple verticals and oxers and are of appearance such as pickets, natural rails, brushes and small walls. Courses are designed to favour smoothness, accuracy and a flowing performance. Riders do not walk the courses because they know what the distances will be from the course plan. The requirements include not only smooth riding, but as close to total control as possible. The horse should have a certain pace and rhythm to keep it jumping out of it’s stride and arriving at a perfect take off distance for each fence, neither too short nor too long.


  • What are the different classes for Show Hunter?

    Introductory Classes: These classes are open to any pony or horse. There may be some restrictions at some shows – for example age of rider or level of competition. The introductory classes are intended to be a schooling division and are a great way of starting out in Show Hunter. The horse does not have to be registered with Equestrian Sports New Zealand (ESNZ) but must pay additional fees to the organising committee of the show – these change from year to year so please find the latest requirements on the ESNZ website.

    Recognised classes – Horses (HOYQ): To enter these classes you must be a member of ESNZ and your horse must be registered with ESNZ. Please see the ESNZ website for the requirements of entering these classes.

    Junior: Fence maximum 1.00m. Open to all horses regardless of previous experience. Ridden by riders until the end of the show season calendar year that they reach the age of 21 years. Ponies are not eligible. A horse competing in Junior classes may also enter any other HOYQ class.

    Amateur: Fence maximum 1.00m. Open to all horses regardless of previous experience, ridden by riders from the first day of the season during which they turn 22 years of age or older and who meet the criteria of Amateur rule in the ESNZ Show Hunter rules.

    HOYQ (Horse of the Year Show Qualifying Classes – previously known as Open): Fences maximum 1.20m. Open to all horses regardless of experience and/or eligibility of rider. Horses in these classes may compete in Junior or Amateur if rider eligibility is met.

    Recognised classes – ponies. There are three (3) categories available for ponies:
    Category A Pony
    - Ponies 133 cm and under, 3.05 m (10’) stride, Fence height max 70cm
    Category B Pony - Ponies over 133 cm up to and including 143 cm, 3.20 m (10’6”) stride, Fence height max 80cm Category C Pony - Ponies over 143 cm up to and including 148 cm, 3.35 m (11’) stride, Fence height max 1.00m

    Ponies may compete in other categories but NOT for High Points classes where they must jump in their own category.

    HOYQ (Horse of the Year Show Qualifying Classes – previously known as Open) - Open to all ponies regardless of experience. Fence maximum 1.00m. Classes will be run at various fence heights. Ponies must have a current height certificate to compete.

A link to the ESNZ Introduction to Show Hunter booklet can be downloaded here

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