...So what is this all about?
The sport of horse riding has been around for hundreds of years; it exists with lengthy history from chariot races to hunting to the battlefeild. In the modern era it serves as both a professional career and a hobby for many, providing a industry that has 100 plus billion dollar affect on the U.S economy and provides nearly a million and half jobs, not to mention hundreds of apprenticeships.
Even with over nine million horses roaming around the US, the horse sport has become more and more unknown to the general population in recent years.
The Alaskan horse community is no small thing in itself. While there is no accurate count of horses in the state, we have many active and thriving competitive circuits, clubs, and events, including and not limited to: Rodeo, Barrel Racing, AQHA, Pony Club, Gymkhana, Dressage, and Hunter Jumper. These events are held all over too, from Fairbanks to Anchorage to Ninilchik- horses are statewide and many of these events are not only open to the public but free to attend.
While the Alaska Hunter Jumper Association strives to promote all horse sport we clearly find our 'home' in the sport of Hunter/Jumper.
So...what is Hunter/Jumper?
Hunter/Jumper or short handed to 'H/J' is, at the most basic level, an 'event' in which horses are jumped over a series of fences set at heights between 18" to 4', depending on the class. Each H/J show in Alaska offers three different types of classes: Hunters, Jumpers, and Equitation.
Show jumping is an internation sport and is what most people think of when they think of english riding. Jumpers are "...based entirely on a numerical score determined only by whether the horse attempts the obstacle, clears it, and finishes the course in the allotted time." (1)
"Hunters are judged subjectively on the degree to which they meet an ideal standard of manners, style, and way of going." (1) Hunter classes are judged on the horse and his performance over fences- the idea going back to the ideal feild hunter.
In contrast to Hunters, Equitation is judged on the rider's position and effectiviness in riding the horse - it is the riders style, correctness, performance, and control of the horse.
Where are these events held?
In Alaska we are very lucky to have an active H/J community and show circuit! Each year we have 3-5 shows, most being held at the France Equestrian Center at the Alaska State Fairgrounds in Palmer or in Anchorage at the William Chamberlain Clark Equestrian Center.
The show dates are avai liable at AlaskaStateHorseshows.com each year.
They are free to attend and open to the public. There are stands enough to hold a large crowd and fantastic concession stand offering food and drink at every show. They run 3-4 days per event.
- - and, of course, one of these shows is our benefit show.