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Hunter buyers and trainers........

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  • Hunter buyers and trainers........

    I have a two year old gelding who was bred by a very well known hunter breeder by a well known hunter stallion. He is Holsteiner with no close up TB blood. My plan was to market him this year or next as a hunter prospect but I am not sure that is his first calling. He is absolutely beautiful with a head and neck to die for, very good conformation, big movement although not really flat, a great big canter stride, probably mature 16-16.2. Being purebred holsteiner I feel confident the jump is there. My dilema is that he certainly does not fall into the "quiet" category. He isn't hot but he is very, very "looky". He doesn't jump on top of you but he is super careful and I would even say he is fairly fearful. He walks around on the end of the rope (not pulling and pretty much being a gentlemen) blowing and bowing up his neck looking at every thing! Is this not the kind of horse I should market as a hunter? I am not as familiar with the discipline so it is tough for me to make the call. What do you look for when looking at a very fancy prospect.....and this guy is fancy...just reminds me of a halter bred arab!

  • #2
    Well he is only 2 so he very well might quiet down. Also--it sounds like he could use some ground work and desensitizing exercises. Although our barn/myself have not used it I have heard many people talk about the benefits of programs such as Lynn Palm and Parelli (sp?) with a young horse. Warmbloods to tend to be spookier and a tad on the hot side as babies and they also mature MUCH slower.

    Give it time and do A LOT of ground work and then see what you have. Use this summer when its warmer to take him to a lot of different places--don't give him the option to spook/turn away/be obnoxious. Make him walk past things, use a chain and keep him in check, spin him in a circle near the object he is shying from, do not allow the almost stallion like behaviors he is exhibiting (might have a vet look into that). Try a supplement such as Quiessence perhaps?

    If he is still on the hot side he might make a scopey strong jumper and if he seems to quiet down a bit he might make a beautiful conformation/hunter horse. It is hard to tell you for sure what to market him as at this point.

    Good luck!


    • Original Poster

      Thanks HJ, I was thinking maybe he needs more time.....he gets quite alot of ground work here and I am in the middle of a construction zone most of the time. Lots and lots of big trucks, cats, loud diesel noises. He seems to have so many of the qualities of a super fancy hunter...it's hard to give up on that dream for him! The lookiness is just part of his personality. I think I could expose him until the cows come home and he would still be looky. I suppose that bodes well for pulling your legs up tight over the jumps.....but not if you are scared of the fake flowers!


      • #4
        Maybe. Here's what to consider:

        He sounds great except for the mind. He might get better, but if not, just know that he will have a very, very tough time in the discipline.

        These horses need great, not just good, trainers. They also need good, patient ammies who will ride well, pay well and wait.

        The hot ones that don't get easy enough for an amateur get lunged alot and (though no one admits it) drugged.

        They also get passed around more often.

        All that being said, none of this means your horse can't be made into a great hunter. He might get there with time and thoughtful training. But marketing a young one without the laid-back mind that does well with the unobtrusive ride most hunter buyers (and trainers!) want is tough.

        Do what you can to get him brave and "been there, done that" on the ground before he leaves you farm. If you can afford to keep him until he is started under saddled, he might do better in the long run.

        Best of luck to you and your nice horse both!
        The armchair saddler
        Politically Pro-Cat


        • #5
          i had one just like this wicked cute, unbelievable jump but had a spook and a wicked buck. i broke him to tack and taught him to jump on a lounge line. we took him everywhere. schooled all the local h/j shows. went to hits ocala and did the ticketed warmups twice maybe three times a week with a pro. he got better, and we sold him for a profit last year. he is doing really well in the pre-greens now. good luck, wait and see, he is still so young, i bought my tb as an unbroke 4 yr.old colt!

          ride it like you stole it! "ralph hill"


          • #6
            I will probably get put on a flaming pile of dry wood here but this is exactly the reason that warm-bloods are not warm. The spooky factor is high in a percentage that are reacting from a very hot-blooded horse that sense "go, run, now!! " and a cold blooded horse that waits a second to determine if he can take down an attacker. Sometimes the cross is a very confused and a mixture of the worst of both worlds, not saying this is the animal you are describing.
            It is hard to reconcile the inherent disposition with a category or division that you hoped to breed for. It is a trainers dream to get a straight forward, quiet, great moving, great jumping young horse. I've had one or two really spooky horses that were ultimately reliable. Warmbloods can be quirkier than TBs . The few that insist on being silly or sullen seem to stay that way forever.


            • #7
              Although it's really hard to say since he is soo young, but if he is spooky on the ground while just being led, he may not make a good jumper either. I'm not saying the talent isn't there. But, a lot of times people think if their horse isn't that bombproof laid back hunter to stick him in the jumpers. Which isn't always successful. Jumper horses need to be brave and confident, there are a lot of challenges in those courses including bright coulourful and sometimes oddly shaped jumps.


              • #8
                I think two is awfully young to say he is too hot for the discipline. Geeezzz...it takes time to get them acclimated. He is only two...that's like being an infant in the world of a potential "hunter' career.

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                • #9
                  I agree with the fact that he's young and he may just be a late bloomer. I have full siblings here, I put the on the ground, and they react to things differently-sometimes as different as night and day.

                  Some of the foals that come out of my super talented TB mare, she has been bred to Wb's and Wb crosses are just late mental bloomers. Her now 6 year old daughter is just getting finished by me this year. She is not spooky, bold in fact, too bold, so we just let her mentally mature.

                  Give him time and try not to pigeon hole him.


                  • Original Poster

                    It sounds like most agree I should wait a couple of years to see how he matures. I do have concerns that he won't be brave or confident enough to be successful as a jumper (or a hunter). I was actually thinking he would make a lovely dressage horse. I will start really getting him out and exposing him to as much as is possible and see how he does......I see this horse as one who would do very will with a talented professional ride....don't we wish that for all of our horses!


                    • #11
                      Another vote that he is young and could very well turn around. when my mare was a just turning 4 year old, I wondered the very same thing. She is quiet, but can be a bit reactive when fresh, and has always had a spook. However, as she's matured and gotten older, she has settled down A LOT, and while the reactive when fresh and tendency to spook is still a part of her, she is also super quiet and a typical ammy hunter's ride when in work.

                      I got a 4 yr old (not WB) gelding in last fall that was super looky and almost fearful. But he was barely broke and clearly hadn't been exposed to much. I did a lot of desensitization, ponied him off a quiet horse on trails, through areas that had thick bushes to brush his legs and spooky stuff to go through. Now, he is the quietest horse on the farm.

                      Another case, my friend has an OTTB that does want to be quiet and she is a hunter type through and through. However, she requires more of a program and when she feels is being attacked, she does have a stronger fight/flight instinct. We believe she should still be a hunter, but she has to be in a specific program. She's NOT spooky, just a bit more "busy" than what is popular for a hunter.

                      I've seen some top WB hunters that are looky and have that spook, and it actually can work to their advantage if the trainer does a great job. JT's "In Disguise" was one of my fave hunters ever, and he could be tough on the ground to work around, very looky, would break off the cross-ties if you looked at him funny, I once watched him refuse a tiny jump because he had to jump it backwards (wall was on the other side) and that same attitude just made him jump knees to eyeballs.

                      I'd give him a chance to grow up and get more exposed before writing him off as a hunter. Obviously, if he has the jump for the hunter ring, the fact he's not the best mover or isn't the quietest around, won't do him in, but he'll need the right rider/program. But if he doesn't have the movement, jump or temperament, then he'll need a new job.


                      • #12
                        I bought a three year old WB, who had a nasty spook. After a year and half of riding and taking him to shows, the spook is almost gone.
                        Give him time, some WBs take a while to mature.


                        • #13
                          One of the most talented horses I've ever sat on was bred to do dressage. He was a huge spook and made a shoddy dressage horse b/c he was terrified of the white fence around the ring. They tried him jumping and he was just as terrified of the poles as he was the fence outside the ring, making him an unbelievable jumping horse for a talented rider. Having a bit of a "spook" is what makes some horses the unbelievable jumpers that they are. While that horse would never make a competent regular Ammy horse, he was unbeatable with a pro aboard winning a GP in WEF. He'd be coming up to a 5' oxer spooking at the flowers on the ground outside of the ring see the jump for a stride and rocket over it. Depends on the horse. Like everyone else said 2 is VERY early to judge a horses mentality and don't be put off by a little spook.


                          • #14
                            young horse

                            Have you had a conversation with the breeder? They can give you alot of insight to the typical developement of the Stallion's offspring. Information you get from them might help you with a potential training problem or traits that show up early and then disapear....etc
                            Also, you can't go wrong with correct slow dressage work as it is the foundation for Hunters and Jumpers.


                            • #15
                              If he were 6 and having this problem, you might be justified to be concerned, but a WB at 2 hasn't even thought of maturing mentally yet - they just take longer than other breeds to get themselves together but if you can wait it out I am sure you will end up with a lovely horse.


                              • #16
                                there are things that u can do...

                                I bought an Oldenburg a couple years ago who was just saddle broke and three years old. She was the spookiest thing ever on the ground and a pain in the butt to handle (she had tons of talent though). I rode her in the round pen long enough to make sure she had brakes, after that we just trail rode for a year. I took this horse EVERYWHERE- shows, trails, down the road ... A year later, when she entered the show ring, she did great. I bought this mare for a decent price because the breeder didnt know if she would ever be quiet enough for the hunter ring or have enough of a brain for the jumpers. I sold her for a huge profit a couple years later when she was doing level 5 jumpers to an event rider who wanted something with a brain. Horses learn to get used to their surrondings and the more you do with them as babies the better. Your horse is young, with the right training he will come around. Good Luck!


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by SherwoodAcres View Post
                                  Although it's really hard to say since he is soo young, but if he is spooky on the ground while just being led, he may not make a good jumper either. I'm not saying the talent isn't there. But, a lot of times people think if their horse isn't that bombproof laid back hunter to stick him in the jumpers. Which isn't always successful. Jumper horses need to be brave and confident, there are a lot of challenges in those courses including bright coulourful and sometimes oddly shaped jumps.
                                  absolutely. I have a warmblood type horse that is super spooky and am having a tough time getting around those gosh darn terrifying colors and standards found in the jumper ring.
                                  Horse power

                                  Horse" pow`er\ (Noun) The extraordinary capacity of a horse to elevate the human spirit.