Friday, October 8, 2010

Royal Melb Show - hunters

Well, I just got back from a rather disappointing Royal Show on Tuesday a couple of weeks ago. I had intended to stay all day, but that wasn't really possible.

By the time 2.30pm had rolled around, I had seen a whole four classes (three hunting, one ASH) and was waiting on the second ASH class. Fifteen minutes after the time when the second ASH class was supposed to start, they dismantled the two rings, and announced the lunch time entertainment (monster trucks, BMXs, etc). So I'm not sure if there were no entries in the classes I was waiting for (unlikely), or if they just majorly screwed up, but I was in a pretty miserable mood by that time anyway and decided it was time to go.

Of course I missed the main classes I wanted to catch (Working ASH), but hopefully they will have full coverage on the Horse Deals website.

So, enough of my blathering. Pics after the jump!

Note: My camera is horrible and not built for sport photography (or any sort of photography, but that's for another post). So yes, most of these are blurry. The colour is awful too. But, if you would like to use these as a reference, please feel free. Just remember to credit me as photographer. :)

These pictures are from the hunting classes. This class was called 'Noel Mason Memorial Qualified Hunters Plate'. I don't claim to know anything at all about hunting, so I'm not sure what the judge was looking for. There was a mix of male and female riders. All horses had braided manes and tails (though one horse had a roached mane with braided forelock).

Tackwise,  no boots were worn. Saddles were jumping-style; bridles were snaffles (mostly eggbuts and loose-rings, but I do see a Dutch gag and an elevator bit now that I'm looking through the photos), and some used a flash/hanoverian noseband. The saddlepads were club-related, as were the 'uniforms' worn by the riders. Some riders were numbers on their backs (tied around their waist with a white piece of string), while others had number holders on their horses. Many had a running martingale on, too.

The class consisted of six solid jumps, about 1.2-ish metres tall. The poles were not loose and don't fall like poles in show jumping, but there were a couple of instances of horses refusing and smacking the jump with their bodies, causing a need for a rebuild by the field crew.

The class involved riding up to where the judge and steward were standing. I'm not sure what the riders were told - perhaps the path to follow? The riders did salute at first.

Next they trotted off then broke into a canter, circled the arena and then took the eight jumps (two were jumped twice).

Jump, jump, jump!

Once the riders finished the course, they headed right back into the line up. After everyone had had their turn, the mounted steward led them into the centre of the arena for the presentation of the ribbons.

The next class I watched was 'Pairs Jumping Contest'. Most of the horses from the previous class were there. The class followed mostly the same pattern as the previous class. The goal was for both horses to depart and land together over each jump. This was obviously difficult for horses that were quick different in stride length and/or size.

Next up, the ASH class!

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