Horses which are considered hunters differ significantly from open hacks. Traditionally a hack was a horse which was ridden by a gentleman on his short journey from the stables to the hunt field. Once at the hunt, the gentleman would change from his hack to his hunter.

A hunter horse, therefore, should be a horse with sufficient bone and substance (without being overweight) to give the appearance of being able to carry their rider for a full day's riding over varying, and sometimes rough, terrain. The hunter should be a bold, powerful and strong workhorse comprising quality breeding and exceptional manners.

Today, hunter horses are shown either under saddle or in-hand, with ridden classes divided into either show hunter and/or working hunter classes.

Click on the following links for a full description of the features of Hunter Horses:

Judges and Competitor's Guide to the Hunter Horse: Click Here
Example of a Show Hunter Horse and Workout:

Further information can also be found on the Guidelines page of this website

A “show hunter” is a hunter horse which is shown only on the flat - either in hand or under saddle.

A show hunter horse is not required to demonstrate an ability to jump, however, he should nonetheless prove himself to be a versatile horse, which is well conformed and has the ability to carry weight for extended periods of time on the hunt field.

Show hunters are judged on type, manners and style. Whilst an attractive horse is desirable, a plain horse which is of true hunter type should always win over a horse of obvious hack type.

Both riders and horses should be neatly turned out to a standard which would be expected in any show ring, however, equipment must be workmanlike. For example, ribboned browbands, lapel pins, white girths and/or excessive make up are not acceptable in the hunter ring.

A “Working Hunter” is a hunter horse, over the age of four years, who, in addition to the qualities of a show hunter described above, has the ability to negotiate a jumping course of natural fences.

There are three phases involved in a Working Hunter Class.

Jumping Phase
A Working Hunter Class will comprise first of a Jumping Phase, which should include a minimum of 2 natural fences.
* 50% of the total marks for a Working Hunter Class will be awarded to the Jumping Phase.

Flatwork Phase
The second phase of a Working Hunter class is a work out on the flat, which should be similar to the workout asked in a Show Hunter Class.
* 30% of the total marks for a Working Hunter Class will be awarded to the Flatwork phase.

Conformation Phase
The final phase of a Working Hunter class is the Conformation phase, in which horses will be assessed on their conformation. It may be necessary for the horse to be stripped of its saddle for a judge to award an accurate conformation mark.
* 20% of the total marks of the class will be awarded to the Conformation phase.


(photo credit Allira Fontana Photography)

Click on the following links for information on Working Hunter Horses.

Judges and Competitors Guide to the Working Hunter
Working Hunter Scorecard