Katie Jer­ram-Hunnable

Katie Jer­ram-Hunnable on op­por­tu­ni­ties and pre­sen­ta­tion for­mats

Horse & Hound - - Contents -

JUDG­ING con­for­ma­tion at the fi­nal of the SEIB Search

For A Star series was a de­light. The qual­ity and stan­dards have soared over its 22 years and this year proved again that am­a­teurs can have pro­fes­sional stan­dards and at­ti­tudes.

This series is one of the best things in show­ing and reach­ing the fi­nal at Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) has be­come some­thing ev­ery am­a­teur should as­pire to.

Ev­ery pro­fes­sional starts as an am­a­teur, which is some­thing those who com­plain about pro­fes­sion­als “block­ing” their chances should re­mem­ber.

Com­plaints that riders qual­i­fied horses for HOYS and de­lib­er­ately didn’t take them — par­tic­u­larly in the light­weight hunters — were ridicu­lous. For ex­am­ple, we had three qual­i­fied; one horse was sold be­fore HOYS and an­other had stitches in its leg. There was also an am­a­teur rider who couldn’t com­pete, again for a gen­uine rea­son.

In the maxi cobs, one rider ap­par­ently with­drew be­cause a horse suf­fered an al­ler­gic re­ac­tion. With horses, things hap­pen. And if they hap­pen at the pin­na­cle of the sea­son, there’s noth­ing you can do about it.

Get­ting a ticket to HOYS isn’t a right. Ev­ery year there are horses that you ex­pect to see there, but don’t qual­ify be­cause they have a run of sec­ond places. I don’t know whether to be amazed or amused by riders who as­sume that ev­ery time we take a horse out, it wins. We don’t just bring home red rosettes; there are plenty of pink and brown ones, too!


IF you and your horse have the right at­tributes, you will get there. You’ll never for­get your first qual­i­fi­ca­tion; mine was at Lin­coln county show on a 13.2hh called Pend­ley Wizard and, as an am­a­teur show­ing fam­ily, we couldn’t be­lieve it.

Those born into the pro­fes­sional show­ing world still have to earn their places. I was talk­ing to a fel­low pro­fes­sional and saw how hard his son worked ev­ery day on the yard. He was achiev­ing his own suc­cess not be­cause he was handed top rides on a plate, but be­cause he was learn­ing his job through ded­i­cated graft.


EVEN if you get there, things don’t al­ways go to plan. The HOYS at­mos­phere is re­ally unique, so here’s a sug­ges­tion for 2019 — courtesy of my hus­band, Chris Hunnable. Call­ing in the top ten in re­verse or­der height­ens the at­mos­phere, but means those at the top have to stand for ages to get their rosettes — so why not re­vamp the sys­tem?

If ev­ery horse got its rosette as it was called for­ward, the ex­cite­ment would re­main but the wait­ing time would be re­duced. There’s a fine line be­tween sparkle and go­ing over the edge, but while man­ners are im­por­tant, we can’t ex­pect show an­i­mals to stand like po­lice horses, es­pe­cially if they have to stand through nine rounds of ap­plause be­fore get­ting a win­ner’s rosette.

How many ad­vanced dres­sage horses would stand per­fectly at the end of a test for the length of a HOYS pre­sen­ta­tion? Not many, and they don’t have the same dis­trac­tions.

Katie Jer­ram-Hunnable has pro­duced top class show horses in all sec­tions, in­clud­ing sev­eral for The Queen. She is a lead­ing com­peti­tor, a pop­u­lar trainer and a judge.

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