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What Do You Look For In a Field Hunter?

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  • What Do You Look For In a Field Hunter?

    What is your shopping criteria for a genuine Field Hunter? A Fox Hunting horse not a show horse cross over. A 1st flight all day horse.

  • #2
    I think there are lot of personal preference for that. When I recently went looking I started out with TB. I knew it would have the endurance and athleticism that I wanted. I also looked for one that had a good brain.

    So ended up with an OTTB that was lightly steeplechased.
    A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it.

    Comment


    • #3
      I don't see why you are limiting it to only those that are not a show horse crossover... I think field hunters are better when they are schooled enough to show, and vice-versa.

      Anyway....It depends on what hunt in order to determine the "best" horse for it. If you are with a hunt that goes 4-5 hours with mostly galloping and jumps 20-30+ fences, you are going to want a TB, light WB, or TB/WB cross. If you are a with a hunt that goes for 2-3 hours, with not that much jumping, you can get a draft-x in addition to the above. It also depends on rider skill, the type of territory, etc.

      However, in ALL of mine, they had better be 1) sane, 2) sound, 3) have good feet, 4) good movers, 5) great jumpers, 6) trainable, 7) load easily, 8) stand quietly, and 9) be attractive.
      Cherry Blossom Farm - Show & Field Hunters, Side Saddles

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      • #4
        To the above mentioned I would add no jigging or rein snatching, rooting. This just becomes so tiresome.
        "Your best can be worn at any length"- Jason Mraz

        Comment


        • #5
          To add one more thing to SidesaddleRider's list: short.

          Because I often whip in & have to dismount frequently to pull cactus out of hound paws, etc, I need something I can get back on easily when tired.

          I'm 5'5" and very unlimber. My previous horse was 17.3. I *could* mount from the ground but it was ungainly, uncomfortable for us both, and time-consuming.

          The current mare is probably 15.0. I can definitely get on her from the ground if I have to.

          While I belong to two packs, I hunt primarily with one that goes out for 2.5-3 hours in trappy country with fits & starts, so I bought with that in mind. She isn't fried by the gallop, stop, gallop, stop of hunting behind beagles.

          She's a TBx, so if we go out with the foxhounds, we might not be in the front, but she's got the stamina to go all day.

          Oh, I just thought of one more thing: decent enough withers so the saddle doesn't feel like it's rolling side to side. I've got enough to think about!
          ~ Horse Box Lovers Clique ~

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          • #6
            Originally posted by rivenoak View Post
            Oh, I just thought of one more thing: decent enough withers so the saddle doesn't feel like it's rolling side to side. I've got enough to think about!
            That is an excellent point!
            Cherry Blossom Farm - Show & Field Hunters, Side Saddles

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            • #7
              I does depend on the hunt,

              But once you get past the sane, sound part, I want any horse I ride or drive to have, above all else, a good sense of self preservation. I want him to be smart enough to assess the situation ahead, and not get into anything he can't get out of. His job is to look ahead six strides, go "yep Mom, I got it" and get safely to the other side of whatever, or go "You have to be kidding, ain't no way" with enough time that I can go to plan b.

              My current horse, while not hunting at present, is wonderful cross country. He knows where his feet are, he is not clumsy. My job is to stay in the middle and let him take care of the rest of it, which he does brilliantly.

              I riden many more horses in my lifetime than the average rider has a chance to throw a leg over, and riding those that don't even hold their own lives in high regard is nothing I'd ever want to have out in the hunt field.

              And every good horse I've ever had, possessed great feet, and a great mind, a good eye, but was not ( current horse excepted) too much of a looker.

              But as my dear Irish grandpa used to say, "Child, I d'naugh givaa tinker's damn if he's a pretty head, you'll not be ridin' his head" .

              "Heart and hooves" were most important to grandpa. I don't stray far from that.

              Comment


              • #8
                All above is good, but to add one more thing: really *good conformation* because if I put all the time and effort into making a field hunter, I want it to stay sound for at least several years, not just for one season.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by xeroxchick View Post
                  All above is good, but to add one more thing: really *good conformation* because if I put all the time and effort into making a field hunter, I want it to stay sound for at least several years, not just for one season.
                  Conformation is included in my "sound" and "attractive" requirements. If they don't have good conformation, they don't stay sound, nor look very good.
                  Cherry Blossom Farm - Show & Field Hunters, Side Saddles

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                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    So if your looking to soley hunt 1st flight,run hard decent size jumps, paperchase, hunter trial...

                    do the terms big, young, dressage, elegant,classy, pretty,attractive mover, well made in the ring, easy to get on the bit" sound.

                    Versus,

                    Hound sense, self preservation, safe jump, good bone, quality feet, great common sense, stays all day, comfortable mover, good mouth, sound.

                    And remember only in the reins of the beholder is there a "Perfect Horse"...

                    I'm trying to get a feel why there are some conflicts.

                    To me a 1st Flight Horse, has to have real bonified experiance, is a professional @ his/her job for 2 years.
                    Wonderful Meet Manners, sound, quality feet, good bone self preservation, hound sense, good shipper, decent mouth, good back that saddles fit well on. Moves like a well oiled machine doesn't waste space or gait. Cardio healthy, recovers quickly, preserves energy. knows where their feet are, doesn't make a Big Move if startled. Jumps from any gait. Keeps the shoes on!! no nonesense shipper.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by judybigredpony View Post
                      Hound sense, self preservation, safe jump, good bone, quality feet, great common sense, stays all day, comfortable mover, good mouth, sound.
                      ...
                      To me a 1st Flight Horse, has to have real bonified experiance, is a professional @ his/her job for 2 years.
                      Wonderful Meet Manners, sound, quality feet, good bone self preservation, hound sense, good shipper, decent mouth, good back that saddles fit well on. Moves like a well oiled machine doesn't waste space or gait. Cardio healthy, recovers quickly, preserves energy. knows where their feet are, doesn't make a Big Move if startled. Jumps from any gait. Keeps the shoes on!! no nonesense shipper.
                      These are the descriptions that would interest me, as I hunt first, then do things like dressage second.

                      Personally, I don't care if a horse has been out with hounds; I've started a few in the field myself & I'm ok with that. If they haven't hunted, I would like to know that they've been in company, even if it's a trail ride or a hack class at a show.
                      ~ Horse Box Lovers Clique ~

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Thank you, we have been working on some sale projects w/ a few genuine 1st flight finished made horses...no not a sales pitch....a frustration on what "some" buyers seem to want in a 1st flight fox hunter...people who claim they want to be in the Masters pocket, keep up and have a horse for 5+ hours over big country w/ legit size jumps, Virginia or MD, not non jumping or small territories...then they throw out the auto lead swap card, on the bit in a frame, soft supple, show ring/dressage type movers, have to be elegant...no one mentions feet bone hound sense thrifty economical movers or safe sane jumpers, they seem to want Beauty and Elegance and Precense...create a picture....OK Then..

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I would like to add a small item to sidesaddle's excellent list-a horse that doesn't need a lot of maintainence or tuning. It's a lot to ask of a horse, but when you work full time and keep your own horses, the days just get short and you run out of time.

                          A TB with a good sense of humor-you can't beat it.

                          And judy-I prefer my hunters to be "hunter ring broke" too. If they need to add the stride, that's okay, and if they need a simple change, that's okay too-depending on the price.

                          Here in Carolina, I'm sure you can't get the same money for a field hunter you could in VA or MD. If they can check off the boxes (step and changes) well enough to get around at a quality schooling show, you would have more market, of course.

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            A true 1st flight horse should have his own eye and get to where he needs to safely jump anything...whether it needs to add, lengthen or chip...and a true foxhunter has the trust to let his horse navigate.
                            A balanced horse will naturally swap leads where needed and any OTTB who raced already comes w/ a lead swap.

                            Show Ring hunters will get penalized to chip or add, rub or stand off....show hunters don't usually have to open gates, jump out of a trot, run up n down banks, jump in front behind or in the middle except in hunt Team Class.
                            And Show Hunters don't usually wear 10LBs of steel heavy hunt shoes w/ Borium or heel caulks and go in froze, wet sticky, slippy, gluey, dry, stone bruising inconsistant rocky footing.
                            I've made both and some cross over, but the 'AA' show quality horses you sure has heck don't usually want to risk hunting hard 2-3 times week over Big Territory for risk of injury, season after season.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by 2ndyrgal View Post
                              ...

                              And every good horse I've ever had, possessed great feet, and a great mind, a good eye, but was not ( current horse excepted) too much of a looker.

                              But as my dear Irish grandpa used to say, "Child, I d'naugh givaa tinker's damn if he's a pretty head, you'll not be ridin' his head" .

                              "Heart and hooves" were most important to grandpa. I don't stray far from that.
                              Oh, how grand to have an Irish (horsey) grandfather. What other pearls of wisdom do you remember? (Sorry, off the track here but it struck me as such a fine thing to read about!) And I concur with all that about the first field horses, I think I've got one, judging by those descriptions.
                              Proud & Permanent Student Of The Long Road
                              Read me: EN (http://eventingnation.com/author/annemarch/) and HJU (http://horsejunkiesunited.com/author/holly-covey/)

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                More from Grandpa, regarding &quot;free&quot; horses, hounds, etc..

                                "Great Day in th' mornin' child! (upon seeing me, at the ripe old age of 16, with my first "free" project horse) "Have a'no'tol'ya' tha' if it eats or shites, it isnna' free?!"

                                I still use this when turning down free horses, dogs, etc.


                                (Upon meeting my first husband)

                                "GodALmighty! What a lilty that one is".


                                My Grandpa lived about 5 minutes away from our house when I was a child, so we always counted on him and Grandma to be at our birthday party. On the day of my 6th birthday, my party came and went, and not a sign of Grandpa. I was crushed, cried, and went to sit and sulk out on the back stoop. As the sun set, I heard my Grandpa's familiar whistling, and looked out over the back yard hedge to the alley. I saw the very top of my Grandpa's cap, bobbing up and down as he whistled merrily. Before I could run to open the back gate, Grandpa simply jumped the hedge with the little chestnut and white pony mare he was riding, trotted up the back walk, jumped down, and handed me her reins, and with the best Irish twinkle in his eye, gave me a wink.

                                Father Was Not Pleased. Not one bit.


                                My Grandpa taught me how to ride, shoot, bet on races, drink shine, and play a mean game of pool.


                                Gave me the worst strapping I ever received (well deserved).

                                God I miss him.

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