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The modern show ring hunter’s roots were established in Europe when gentry rode across the countryside hunting for game, often aided by dogs used to track the prey. The horses were necessary to carry their riders many miles over the varied terrain of the countryside in pursuit of their game, often negotiating the creeks, ditches, walls, and fences they encountered along the way. Although somewhat recreational from its beginning, the task of the working hunter became less rugged and more refined and competitive, thus the show ring hunter was born.

Subjectively judged, the modern show ring hunter must still exhibit the traits desired of a good field hunter— calm disposition, good manners, smooth gaits, steady way of going, and pleasant and efficient jumping ability— but must do so with style, presence and superior technique. Conformation, athleticism, disposition, and jumping form all combine to define a winning show ring hunter. A wide range of sections and classes is offered for hunter riders in today’s show ring, both over fences and on the flat.

Additionally, hunter classes exist for virtually every breed of horse or pony and for any level of rider. More recently, a new international-level class was created with the goal of bringing tradition and basic riding principles back to the sport of showing hunters. The International Hunter Derby tests a horse’s keenness, athleticism, and handiness as it negotiates obstacles typically encountered while galloping in the open field.


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Hunter Department
[email protected]
859 225 6969

The United States Hunter Jumper Association

Recognized National Affiliate Association

The USHJA, as the National Affiliate for the Hunter/Jumper discipline, promotes the sport and the well-being of its participants, offers broad based education for its members, and provides the framework for the conduct of the sport.

You can visit the United States Hunter Jumper Association at their website:


Hunter Programs

Adequan/USEF Junior Hunter National Championships

6/1/2022 through 5/31/2023
A National Championship designed to encourage and promote the basic training and development of Junior Hunters.

Emerson Burr Horsemanship Grant

A grant program designed to promote horsemanship amongst Pony riders across the U.S. Tests are offered in 10 zones as well as during the USEF Pony Finals presented by Honor Hill Farms.

Sallie B. Wheeler/USEF/USHJA Hunter Breeding National Championship

8/22/2020 through 8/26/2020
A USEF National Championship designed to showcase young hunter horses and increase awareness of not only the Hunter Breeding division, but their talented handlers and breeders.

USEF Pony Finals presented by Honor Hill Farms

8/8/2023 through 8/13/2023
A multifaceted event designed to showcase the talent of Hunter and Jumper ponies as well as young Pony Medal riders.

Additional Resources

Guidelines for Combining and Dividing Hunter Sections

Cheat sheet for how to combine and divide Hunter sections and classes.

How It Works: The Channel System

An overview and background on the Channel System changes implemented in the 2023 competition year.

USEF Hunter Discipline Sponsorship Opportunities

A packet which includes sponsorship opportunities within the Hunter Discipline at USEF for National Championships and Events.

Hunter Point Tabulation

How to calculate HOTY points in the Hunter and Hunter Breeding divisions.

USHJA Zone Specifications

Specifications for all zone sections for the Hunter, Hunter/Jumping Seat Equitation and Jumper divisions.