Working Hunter Demonstration starring sydney, summer, and blue

May 3 2017 started out as a beautiful, sunny day across Central Scotland and turned into a glorious afternoon. Not until the evening did it get cool enough to think about popping a jumper or jacket in the car (just in case). Boy, were we grateful we had them as we enjoyed learning from Blyth Brewster about how a Working Hunter competition is run and judged.

We met at Blyth's equestrian centre at Broom Farm, just outside of Cambuskenneth near Stirling where not only were we treated to an impressive display of equestrian expertise by our competitors, but also to a wealth of knowledge from Blyth who clearly explained how working hunter classes are judged.

Four of our club members bravely volunteered their services as demonstration competitors, though one had to withdraw before the demonstration started as the equine part of the team was a little lame. The demonstration was one of a number of Glenbrae events that is open to the public and was well attended by an enthusiastic, if slightly chilly, audience.

We learned about the different types of fences, the likely terrain of the courses, and how to walk the course effectively.

Blyth's knowledge was tremendous, her explanations were easy to understand and her sense of humour clearly resonated with the audience.

We weren't sure how many pigs and sheep our horses had encountered while jumping over fences, but they didn't seem fazed by these ones...

Did we mention that Broom Farm is in an enviable location? It sits beneath the Wallace Monument, beside the river Forth, and has lovely views in every direction. You can even see Stirling Castle over the river.

Blyth explained that often you get Working Hunter fences where your horse has to trust you and jump through brush or greenery. Here she showed us how we can make it a bit easier when practising by removing the centre greenery.

Sometimes you get 'wobbly' fences so you need to get your horse used to jumping fences that look a little precarious.

As the sun starting to sink down our fearless partnerships started warming up for the jumping component of the competition.

And with a bit more explaining of how things work, we were off into the jumping.

The next section was about controlling your horse and presenting him or her in the best possible way while walking, trotting, cantering and galloping around the arena.

Blyth was giving us tips and tricks to make sure that both rider and horse look their best from the judge's perspective.

This section seemed to be provoke some very serious faces...

... for both riders and horses...

... as well as a lot of fun!

Next it was time to take the tack off and let the judge get a good look at what was underneath. Bling encrusted headgear just won't cut it in a working hunter competition!

Then it was on to the aerobic part of the competition - the bit where the humans run round the arena showing off their equine companions to best advantage. The audience seemed to be enjoying this part of the demonstration immensely...

After all that exertion, there was only one thing left to do.

Get the results and some final tips and get the (hot) drinks in!

Thank you to everyone who came along, to our wonderful volunteer competitors, and to Blyth.


© Copyright S Osborne, 2016. All rights reserved.

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