What the Judge is Looking For – Refusals

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Creative Commons License photo credit: carterse

When showing in the hunter jumper ring the hunter judge will score you a major error if your horse refuses. There are many different types of errors that are considered disobediences and marked as major errors.

 Major Errors Include:

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Creative Commons License photo credit: sskennel

A horse is considered to have refused when it stops in front of an obstacle, without jumping it. Please note that if your horse steps back, even just one step, whether the rider asked the horse to go back or not, it is considered a refusal.

Run out

A horse is considered to have ‘run out’ when the horse, or any part of the horse, goes past the extended line of the obstacle.  This can be seen in novice classes where clever school horses have perfected the art of veering past the fence with a bulging shoulder.

Resistance/stopping on course

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Bucking on Course is a Major Error

Creative Commons License photo credit: Thowra_uk

A resistance is a catch-all phrase to encompass other displays of disobediences that can occur on course. This can include a horse stopping on course, for any reason, halting, rearing, stepping back or other displays. If your horse stops on course, for any reason it will be counted as a disobedience and scored as such.


It is permissible to make a courtesy circle at the beginning of your round and also to complete your round with a finishing circle. Any other circles on course will be counted as a disobedience.

Discussion on Disobediences

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2 Responses to What the Judge is Looking For – Refusals

  1. Pingback: Hunter Jumper Scoring the Hunter Round | The Hunter Judge

  2. Sara Carter says:

    SO happy to see my image used in a great, informative post. It really means a lot to me to know they are put to good use.
    I have so many other great shots (I’m an experienced photojournalist turned stay-at-home and horse show mom) I don’t know what to do with. My daughter has ridden in rated shows since about 1998, so I have amassed quite a collection of shots. I do have refusals, falls, as well as some amazing ways horses adapt to the conditions their riders expose them to. I have developed the knack for catching horses in their finest moments.

    (Most recently this one https://plus.google.com/103042888288268340988/posts/hbmPBmNbu78
    You’ll have to read the explanation
    This one:
    “He just does this kick when he goes over the jump,” said the rider…)

    Please feel free to use any of my images for your educational/informational purposes and let me know if there is any specific shot you would like me to try and get. Always up for a horse show photo challenge.

    Sara Carter

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