So, every time I read a new thread it gets me thinking!
The thread about what you look for in a hunt horse made me wonder about the movement of field hunters. I am very familiar with what a show hunter should look like at the trot and canter (flat kneed, ground covering trot; big, open canter stride with their noses poked out - not really on their forehand but definately not sitting down behind). How many of you hunt horses that actually move like that? I was told, once upon a time, that a flat kneed mover uses less energy than a horse who has a lot of knee action so therefore, he can last longer on hunt day. Do you agree?
honestly in the on and off 33 years i have been hunting, i think i've seen every kind of mover out there. I truely believe the brain and the soundness is far more important . for years, our best whipper -in ( a tall man!) rode a 15 hand arab mare . they didn't jump ( we didn't have as many jumps then as we do now).......but they got the job done......it was a sight to see him silhouetted high up on a ridge top, tail straight up in the air , head high , knees, where ever.....she lasted til she was 23 years old....
Almost all of our hunt horses are excellent show hunter movers (I don't buy a bad mover or a bad jumper). I've never had a problem with tripping or being less than sure-footed. They may not move quite as well outside as in the ring, but they still move very well.
The worst thing about having a really good mover is only faced by the person riding behind you, as they have a tendency to kick up more mud/gravel/sand, etc. than "bad" movers. Don't ask my friends how they know.
I had a really ugly moving quarter horse that hunted for 20 seasons. Pigeon toed/ paddling, short strides. But a more athletic, handier mover and negotiator of the trappiest terrain or fences has never existed. He'd just pole bend his way through the woods, and you'd better keep your balance and a foot in each stirrup or he would happily dump you and continue following hounds on his own.
As he was only 15.2, one might get more mud in the face following SidesaddleRider's horse in the field. But at the end of the day (including after dark, sometimes), whether in the field or whipping in, he was still going.
My current 6 yo appendix is also a truly ugly mover. And has such an ugly front end- straight shoulders, knock knees- that I do not ever intend to school him over fences, though he has my permission to jump sagebrush, ditches and the like out hunting. Not many jumps out west, so not a problem. He'd be desirable to many despite his conformational flaws- my grandmother could hunt him.
I agree with the above. But I think that a good mover for foxhunting is one that feels comfortable in the saddle for hours on end. My favorite hunter is not the best behaved but he rides like a sofa. Really comfortable, even when he's jigging and being silly.
Set youself apart from the crowd, ride a paint horse, you're sure to be spotted