Show Hunter is the breeding ground of our stars of the future, both riders and horses. It is a jumping discipline, jumped over a course of a maximum of ten fences. Show Hunter is judged on balance, style and rhythm.
The main reasons for promoting Show Hunter in New Zealand is to develop better schooled, smoother, safer jumping, more balanced and confident horses. It is the ideal arena for young or green horses to experience competition. To provide a competitive arena for less experienced riders or riders who are coming back into the sport after a break from competitive riding. It helps to develop smoother, balanced, sympathetic analytical riders and trainers. It gives more experienced riders the opportunity to compete and improve their riding skills without over stressing their horses.
The Show Hunter horse should wear the minimal amount of tack and be well groomed and well turned out. The judging of Show Hunters is a positive procedure emphasising style, manners of the horse and a quiet smooth way of covering the ground and jumping out of an even stride. The horse should arrive at each fence on a smooth flowing stride without noticeable adjustment from the rider. The horses knees should be tidy and above the horizontal from elbow to knee. The horse should show a proper bascule - head down, neck rounded into loose (not stiff) shoulders with the back following the arc of the jump and the hindquarters tipping generously to follow the same arc and the hind legs trailing tidily behind. Then moving off from the jump in a kind and steady pace.
A good Show Hunter round should look like it was a quiet, relaxed, pleasure ride for both the horse and rider, with no signs of tenseness or insecurity.
Show Hunter New Zealand has Horse of the Year titles for Open Horse, Open Pony Category's A, B & C, Junior Hunter and Amateur Hunter. Show Hunter New Zealand also runs a `High Points series' this competition runs through out New Zealand to find the highest pointed Show Hunter of the season this includes Open Horse, Junior Hunter, Amateur Hunter & Open Pony Hunter.