Tips for Hunt Seat Equitation at Region Two

AQHA Professional Horsewoman and Team Wrangler member Jessica Johnson offers suggestions on improving hunt seat equitation patterns.

The American Quarter Horse Journal

AQHA Professional Horsewoman Jessica Johnson talks about body position in hunt seat equitation September 16 during the 2016 Merial AQHA Region Two Championship Show. (Journal photo)

Hunt seat equitation is about showing your individual horse and showing off your skill at riding him.

That’s what exhibitors at the 2016 Merial AQHA Region Two Championship Show learned September 16 during a clinic with AQHA Professional Horsewoman Jessica Johnson.

Jessica – a four-time world champion in hunt seat equitation as an amateur and a two-time world champion as a youth – said each horse is an individual and must be ridden as such.

“Think about how your horse is built and find a style that works well for your horse,” Jessica said, from the size of your circles to the placement of your pattern in the arena. “Not every horse will work the same size pattern.”

Here are more of Jessica’s tips from the Region Two Championship in Rapid City, South Dakota.

When you’re planning your pattern, try trotting through the whole thing to keep your horse from anticipating it.

Make the pattern even. If there are two circles, they should be the same size. Make your circles round not oval 

Always look up and plan where you're going.

Elements should flow from one to next in fluid transitions.

Stay in frame when horse stops. Don't let him wallow around.

Keep your horse in frame throughout pattern. Keep a consistent rhythm.

Maintain your own position. Keep a straight line from shoulders to hip to heel. Keep your body balanced with a nice bend in elbow and your ears over shoulders. Don't break your wrists.