The Countryman's Weekly

Hunting Horses

Hunting Horses
April 25
08:00 2018

WEB6-25-04-18Do all horses suit hunting?

By Georgie Archer.

EVERYONE who has ever hunted will have an idea of what characteristics they prefer in a hunting horse. Obviously, what constitutes an ‘ideal’ feature depends on the individual. A taller rider may feel more comfortable on a taller or chunkier steed, while the opposite may be the case for a more petite rider.

However, there are a few general guidelines that can be followed to find an ideal hunting horse and to establish whether your own is well suited to the hunting field. Furthermore, the type of hunting best suited to a horse will depend on the surrounding topography, with hilly areas requiring different equine builds and abilities to flatter areas.

Generally, a horse of an athletic build is preferred for hunting, as those with the physical ability to gallop and the fitness to stay out all day tend to be more athletic. For country that requires jumping, especially of large hedges, a thoroughbred type such as an Irish Sport Horse is often ideal.

Irish Sport Horses have enough thoroughbred blood to have a good gallop and enough Irish Draught (or equivalent) to give them a solid structure and calmer temperament. National Hunt horses are required to jump fences and ditches in their racing careers and, therefore, the historic links between these horses and hunting are unsurprising. Practising jumping rustic and natural fences in the countryside with the support of equine friends builds the foundations of a successful National Hunt horse’s career.

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