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Is it possible that there were 5' walls?

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  • Is it possible that there were 5' walls?

    I was at a function the other night and I heard a person claiming he had ridden with the Firestone Hunt (Ohio) in the 60s, and they regularly jumped 5' stone walls. I thought "Hmmm, somehow I don't think so, but I don't hunt, so what do I know?" Is it possible that this happened, or was it a bunch of BS?
    Donald Trump - proven liar, cheat, traitor and sexual predator! Hillary Clinton won in 2016, but we have all lost.

  • #2
    Unless you talk to someone who was actually out in their hunt country with a measuring tape during that time period you will never know. Personally, I never hunted there so I can't say either, but I do the jumpers (and thus measure fences/have a reasonable sense of jump height) as well as fox hunt and I also have been on foot next to various coops/fences in our own hunt country, and I can say that it is extremely common for people to overestimate the size of an obstacle. Sometimes people vastly overestimate. Nonetheless, as someone who has gotten older and more careful in recent times, I can quite sympathize with the sensation of how fences can, on occasion, seem bigger than they are. In some instances the reverse is true--adrenaline and the momentum of a marvelous chase might change perception in the other direction!


    • #3
      Could be the approach to the wall was a fooler - aka Rider Psyche.
      I used to ride a cross country course that had a Novice height (2'9") table you rode uphill to.
      Cantering uphill to that one made it look the size of a boxcar!
      *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
      Steppin' Out 1988-2004
      Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
      Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015


      • #4
        I hunted with Middleburg at Creek Hill a few years ago and jumped a large stone wall. Every time I tell the story, the height increases. I imagine 50 years from now it will also be 5 feet


        • #5
          Some hunts are known for big imposing fences, others are not. After hunting less ambitious country for a while, I went out with Keswick and was astonished by the size of the coops we galloped down to; and some of the coops with riders that the field jumped without letting down the rider.

          But a point to consider - most stone walls in hunt country are dry stack stone walls, which means that they have to be roughly triangular - wider at the base and narrower as they go up. To truly have a 5' stone wall, the base would have to be pretty darn wide - I'm thinking 8'? (Any engineers, feel free to correct me.) Can't imagine the average hunting horse jumping that height AND width. The other option is that it was a 5' mortared or cemented stone wall, with a base only slightly wider than the top. If there's anyone out there that jumps THAT in the hunt field; all I have to say is, their ovaries are a lot bigger than mine, and a lot bigger than they ever were, even at my youngest and most reckless. AND they have one heck of a hunting horse.
          The plural of anecdote is not data.


          • #6
            I'm no engineer-- but I am in an area with a lot of stacked stone walls (basically all the original fencing locally was stone walls) and even in their prime none were ever 4', never mind 5'. In fact, it's fairly rare for anyone's fence to be 5'-- even most horse fence is more like 4'-4'6. I hunted a little bit with Elkridge Harford as a kid and remembered the fences as gigantic. After going back more recently on my Prelim horse, used to bigger fences, most were closer to 3' than 3'6 or 4'. And the biggest were the post and rail fences, not the coops and walls.


            • Original Poster

              Yes, it seems a bit far-fetched to think that foxhunters were jumping 5' fences. Let's face it, how many people do you know who have EVER jumped a 5' fence?
              Donald Trump - proven liar, cheat, traitor and sexual predator! Hillary Clinton won in 2016, but we have all lost.


              • #8
                could he be talking about the base of stone-walls?

                I'm in stonewall country (seriously, what else can residents of MA do with all that ledge beside make pretty walls?) and while I haven't seen a lot of 5ft TALL walls, I've seen puh-LENTY of five-foot wide rock wall fences and cordwood fences. Heck, my first outing at Myopia my crazy barn-mate (who hunted with Myopia hunt) encouraged me, at a ripe 17 y/o on a feisty 15h fresh OTTB, to jump that massive stonewall formation that's right along the trail. It's at least a five foot spread and a 3'6" base, or I recall it as such - it was huge and it rode HUGE. My horse sure let me know what he thought of that one, taking off farting and bucking immediately on landing around the turn.

                I've capped at a few hunts now and some of them are biiig - like we're jumping into a paddock big, but I haven't seen a 5ft solid fence. I've seen max, 4ft now that I think about it - but it was hedge.
                AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012


                • Original Poster

                  He meant five feet high. I said, "Wow, five feet -- that's really high!." He agreed.
                  Donald Trump - proven liar, cheat, traitor and sexual predator! Hillary Clinton won in 2016, but we have all lost.


                  • #10
                    In my part of the world there's a lot of "back in the day we jumped 5' hedges all day long" and some of the English hunts certainly seem to jump some whopper hedges.

                    Some things do grow in the telling . . .


                    • #11
                      Jump heights always get higher in the telling. There was one coop, which I helped build, at one hunt that was 3' 9" from one side and about 2" from the other due to the terrain.

                      There was a stone wall at Piedmont that once was part of their hunter pace course that when you stood next to it was about 3' 4" but there was a small ditch in front. So it looked imposing but the ditch wasn't really in play.

                      There was another I think in Orange County's territory that was imposing. You jumped a small coop and then had a bending up hill line to a stone wall with a half round on top. It looked really big but was only 3' 3" or so.

                      There are some big coops out there and how big they look depends on placement. A 3' coop between two big trees looks small. A 3' stone wall with nothing around looks much bigger.

                      I know Rappahannock Hunt builds coops at 3' 3" but they settle after a couple of years.
                      A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it.


                      • #12
                        The highest I ever jumped was a measured 4' fence, and that was in Unionville, PA - home of the Cheshire Hounds. I was on a large pony and it felt like my pony was being shot into orbit. And that fence was famous for having spectators, and for most riders - even those on big horses - opting to go through the gate nearby.

                        I think the person you were chatting with had an inflated idea of the size of their hunt's fences. It was probably only 3'8". Hunts won't take their Fields over fences that are in the realm of upper level jumper territory. Too much liability. Plus farmers don't build 5' walls. Not even in Hunt County, and much less so in Ohio. So... BS is the appropriate call.


                        • #13
                          Think I'm on the side of "it gets higher the more the story is told." My own greatest exploits as a young and dumb whipper-in included jumping pick-up trucks and picnic tables. And then there was the time I thought I'd be really hot stuff and jump a rail fence after the Blessing of the Hounds --fell off --but my mare returned when I whistled for her --first and only time she ever came to a whistle.


                          • #14
                            I was looking for the legendary Ledbury Hunt hedges and found this to entertain everyone

                            "Good young horses are bred, but good advanced horses are trained" Sam Griffiths


                            • #15
                              I think it wold be possible to have an almost 5' drop after a fence - would make for good story telling.
                              Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


                              • Original Poster

                                Originally posted by Willesdon View Post
                                I was looking for the legendary Ledbury Hunt hedges and found this to entertain everyone

                                Did anyone NOT fall off?
                                Donald Trump - proven liar, cheat, traitor and sexual predator! Hillary Clinton won in 2016, but we have all lost.


                                • #17
                                  I think everyone fell off at least twice!


                                  • #18
                                    I think that video explains it all. Port (or whatever beverage of choice was in his flask) may have been the culprit in making that fence grow in size...
                                    Give and Hazard All is now available!


                                    • #19
                                      I watched that video, and just rolled my eyes. Sorry but I'm an old (Northern Virginia and Main Line Pennsylvania hunt) whip and this was just a bunch of people playing at jumping their horses over fences, and yakking away. A total and utter lack of *real* hunting being shown. Not once did I see..or even hear... the hounds running a line, and most of the time the rider was with a group that seemed to be by themselves strung out well behind the Field - which I never saw except at the beginning of the video. All the Field Masters I've ever known would have had a fit about that. You can't have a field strung out all over the territory.

                                      What was worse was people jumping over fences while an open gate was right there as well! Any real foxhunter knows to take the open gate and save their horse the effort of a fence. At the point where someone is jumping when an opening is nearby, it then become larking.

                                      ASAIC this video was not a good depiction of hunting. It was just a bunch of people galloping around a countryside popping fences.

                                      Sorry. Being a bit of a hunt curmudgeon today.


                                      • #20
                                        re: hunt curmudgeon --
                                        oh my flipping god, the broken board with the shard of wood -- WHAT -- who in their right mind jumps that?! i can just see a stifle puncture waiting to happen..

                                        ok, back to your regularly programmed scheduling.. is that normal?! in no hunt i've ever participated in, has someone jumped a broken fence.
                                        AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012