Wonder how many of the people on this thread who are yelling "CRUEL" would say the same if I posted a photo of a NZ hunter galloping down to a ditch/full height wire fence.... like we jump when out hunting over here? Fences are fully strained up and battened (no way would I ever jump a non-battened fence - not that I have hunted in many years now). There are usually spars set in the fences (either 3/4 or full height) but many of the experienced hunters - well, they dont go over the spars.
Our ditches arent that wide tho' - usually between 2' and 4' - but can be on both sides.
The few Irish that went out with the pack I rode with as a teen certainly took a look at the wire fences ... and then jumped anyway. As people say, it's what you are used to and what your horses are bred/trained/used to. The old (very very very experienced) hunter that I rode as a teen ("Big Boy") was perfectly calm/quiet when getting him fit for the season (all that road-walking, trotting and cantering in plowed fields certainly made me fit and trim as well ). But you could not hold him on a hunt - just go along for the ride with the odd "shut your eyes and hang on!!!" thrown in every hour or so...
The old (very very very experienced) hunter that I rode as a teen ("Big Boy") was perfectly calm/quiet when getting him fit for the season (all that road-walking, trotting and cantering in plowed fields certainly made me fit and trim as well ). But you could not hold him on a hunt - just go along for the ride with the odd "shut your eyes and hang on!!!" thrown in every hour or so...
My old eventing pony, probably a Connemara cross would agree. He could consistently score 67% in the dressage ring when he was ohsogood but xc was his thing. He knew flags and would look for the next set on landing from a jump. He graciously agreed to let me steer on the odd chance that I had a different course in mind and express my opinion as to how a fence should be jumped. Otherwise it was "I got this"
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I just realized why that scene looked familiar. I used to own a farm in Chesapeake, VA, back when I was still in the military. One night, after coming home very late, I discovered my cows had escaped and there I was, without a second thought, saddling up at midnight and running my horse across fields, over and through several boggy drainage ditches (we lived near the Great Dismal Swamp). Yes, we got wet. My horse was in great shape at that time so no ill effects. Just a smallish QH gelding, nothing special, but he can jump. He did (and still does) anything I ask of him. Even rounding up cattle in the middle of the night and driving them back home down a two lane road with steep ditches on either side (traffic had to stop for us).
At least those guys in Éire were riding in daylight on familiar paths.
OK, OK, folks. There is obviously a big divide here - let's just agree that the horse world is so varied there is something for everybody. Those who have not hunted the big stuff cannot imagine it, and that is their right.
However --- none of what what was shown is anywhere near being cruel -
or you know who would be right onto it with a huge hullabaloo.
I've hunted since I was eleven, on three continents ...these are true country people who love and fiercly protect the country way of life and all its creatures.
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