Set­ting a Clas­sic Handy Hunter Course

Practical Horseman - - Inside Your Ride -

Alan Lohman is a rider, trainer and course de­signer. When he be­gan lay­ing out the cour­ses for the 2017 USHJA In­ter­na­tional Hunter Derby Cham­pi­onship, he knew he wanted to help the horses show their best.

“My phi­los­o­phy is I wouldn’t set a fence that I wouldn’t want to jump or ride my­self,” he ex­plained. “I go off of feel so much, the flow of the course. Hunters are sup­posed to be able to gal­lop and have a smooth track and jump well, so I don’t want a course that’s bro­ken up or rough. I want it to be invit­ing.”

Alan is based out of his own Lohman Sta­bles in Poolesville, Mary­land. He de­signs cour­ses at ma­jor com­pe­ti­tions, in­clud­ing the Pin Oak Horse Show, the Penn­syl­va­nia Na­tional Horse Show, the Hamp­ton Clas­sic and Devon, among oth­ers. Of the Derby, he said, “I wanted to set a few dif­fer­ent ob­sta­cles that would help the judges judge that class: Set some del­i­cate jumps and some more solid jumps, so we can see which horse is the real horse and which ones are not quite as good a jumper as they might ap­pear to be.”

For the Derby, fences were set at heights from 3-foot-9 to 4-foot-1 with two high-op­tion ox­ers set at 4-foot-6. The fence ma­te­ri­als were de­signed to be invit­ing, Alan said. “There wasn’t any­thing very spooky. This is a cham­pi­onship class, so I didn’t want any one fence to de­ter­mine the class.”

Alan cre­ated a clas­sic handy course that would re­ward the pair that could both show off the gal­lop and ma­neu­ver the handy in­side turns. “The trick at the end will be to gal­lop and turn,” Alan con­cluded. “And I de­signed the course for that.”

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