I've done this. Not that particular ditch, and I'm no expert having done it only a handful of times, but I have been there, in the muck, rain and weird stuff we wouldn't think of doing. These horses rock. They are well trained, sensible, and the reason the people are not galloping at these things is because THAT would be dangerous. Give the horse time to assess what he is being asked to do, and let them do it however they feel they can. What you don't see is the scouting part. Where, exactly, should we cross this thing, should we jump from a gallop or walk and jump from a standstill. Where can we safely get across - the staff do this, then the rest follow.
I doubt this a training session, the people on foot are there because that's how they prefer to experience a day of hunting, and they are helpful for the riders.
My experience was not for the faint of heart, but it really did show me that horses are capable of incredible things, and they love it. And the people involved respect the sport and all the animals involved, including the foxes.
The pack are harriers and I heard them in the background. There are always a lot of foot followers who thoroughly enjoy an encouraging whoop. The horses seem to be not bothered in the least by their duckings, and seem to take it all in stride - I'd not worry about them for a minute - the riders, maybe! These people and horses love this, or they would all be in a dressage arena. Look at their expressions as the horses finish their task - all calm, so, no, no harm here IMO.
Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique
Some of those riders would have been better served with a submarine than a horse! I would dread continuing the hunt while drenched from head to toe.
I suspect that there was probably a man with a long whip on the approach side to give a little bit of enthusiasm to those who wanted naught to do with the ditch. I remember watching a post-event schooling session at a water jump, with the course designer standing by with a bull whip. The horses weren't touched with the whip, as the firecracker pop was ample to restore their forward momentum.
"I couldn't fix your brakes, so I made your horn louder."
The first time I hunted in Ireland, (on a half broke 4 year old) and we got to our first ditch, I truly believed that it was not possible for a horse to jump it. They did slow down to a walk since the banks were sloped, the ditches were about 5 feet deep and maybe 15 feet wide. I grabbed mane, closed my eyes, and hoped to heaven the horse wouldn't jump and I could just go back home. It was quite something. One poor lady on a fat little horse didn't quite have the 'scope' to make it, and found themselves at the bottom of two ditches during the course of the day. They pulled the horse out, shoved the lady back on, and the two of them galloped like blazes to catch up. They are crazy.
I can't see the video because youtube is blocked, but I am assuming it might be something from the Scarteen or similar big banks country, although if it were so, then you would see a lot of good horsemanship and very capable horses and riders. I can't tell, not being able to see the video, so I am only going on the comments.
Re going slowly up to the banks instead of cantering like one poster has said above. The whole point is that you approach slowly, allowing the horse plenty of time to sum up the question. The good, experienced riders school their horses over these ditches riderless, before they ever expect them to tackle them with a rider on board.
The horses know how to sum up these questions and take some time to settle themselves on the lip, get their balance and then launch themselves over. The rider's job is to not touch their mouths (hold mane or neck strap if necessary) and sit quietly and allow the horse to decide to work out the question.
Anyone who has ever ridden a properly schooled hunt horse for that sort of country and I have been lucky enough to have had the chance once or twice will appreciate just how much schooling has gone in to creating these independent minded, clever ditch jumpers.
I am surprised by the mention of standing martingales - that would be very unusual in Ireland - running martingales are the norm, standing ones would be quite restrictive.
Sometimes horsemanship is about what your horse would willingly do for you, but you don't ask him to.
Exactly- my horses will do pretty much anything I ask them to, but I gain that trust by not asking them to do stupid things that could get them (and me) really hurt like diving head first into a ditch.
“While the rest of the species is descended from apes, redheads are descended from cats.” Mark Twain
We trail ride over a ditch like this.. The horses walk down just like that and jump from where they are comfortable. Even Nanny does it and there is something about her being smaller that makes it easier for her to go in further and jump less. I have always thought it was pretty inviting, no? Never had a horse refuse it..
"Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
--- The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.
well, since the crossing was a bit slow, the advance group leaving could have proven disastrous for the back field.....
I could see that but the hunting I did in the 80s (not sure it has changed since then) the front field would not have stuck around - and you are right I didn't hear any hounds on the tape either. Hence my thought they may have been training.