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Picking a hunter weanling

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    Picking a hunter weanling

    Any advice on picking out a weanling for the hunters. I am finding it very hard to judge movement. I saw one beautiful flat knee I thought I would love but then found my self questioning elasticity of the step. The more elastic step looked like too much knee. Then some look beautiful at 12 weeks but much more knee at 6 months. Any advice?

    #2
    I would recommend not looking at movement first. Instead, look at the dam first and then the stallion. Is the dam the type of hunter you want? Did she jump/show/perform at the level that you wish for the foal ? Does she have enough step, scope, athleticism? Research the stallion as well. What have the stallions offspring accomplished ? What characteristics do the stallion consistently throw ? Then look at the foal. Is the foal correct ? Is it the foal a good type that shows athleticism and quality? Movement changed with foals and movement does not a hunter make. Good luck with your search !
    www.threewishesfarm.com
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      Original Poster

      #3
      Thank you!

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        #4
        A lot of the hunter is also temperament. In fact, I think it's the #1 characteristic I would look for in a well bred hunter (from known hunter lines). you want something unflappable and athletic, that will jump round for the sheer joy of it but not be hot.

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          Original Poster

          #5
          Any signs as a weanling? They are all pretty playfu

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            #6
            I personally think it is a crap shoot. My very well bred hunter (with the best dam on the planet - a top show hunter) turned out to have soundness issues her entire life. She showed twice before she broke down. She's now a very expensive pasture ornament. My 2-year old that I bought at 6 months looks promising. No idea if he can jump but he's a cute mover (he moved good at 6 months) and I like his brain. We'll see if he turns into a hunter. No idea if he can jump well. If not I will use him as a pleasure horse. Both horses were well bred (full warmbloods bred to hunter/jumper stallions). Just never know.

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              Original Poster

              #7
              Yes that is an issue

              Comment


                #8
                Good advice above. Look to the parents and any siblings. Decent breeders should know which ring their babies may be best suited for, don't be afraid to ask for their opinion. They should also be honest about predicted temperament. Knowingly selling a hot horse to an ammy hunter owner is just asking for it to get passed around, however, temperament on the ground doesn't always translate to under saddle.

                You should also be clear in what you want. Pro ride vs ammy ride? Hack winner vs spectacular jump?

                I've done it three times now.
                First one unfortunately colicked twice as a yearling and we ended up euthanizing. We were looking for a versatile, athletic WB. He was very correct conformation wise. Average mover. Jumper lines. Great brain. One full brother competed in the jumpers up to 1.45m. One full brother in the 3'6" hunters. Other full brother did lower level eventing with his ammy owner. Full sister dabbled in everything from eventing to hunters as a pro's personal horse. I think we would have gotten what we were looking for.

                Second one was purchased as a yearling. He's now my 11yo A/O hunter. The mare was correct and a good mover. Stallion was Cabardino. Two full siblings were on site, one younger and one older. Breeder believed that the one we purchased was the most athletic of the bunch, but also the "spunkiest". She was right. I have a framed photo of him rodeo bucking at a show last summer, I'm laughing. He isn't an easy ride, but he's brave and always gets a piece of the hack. He had a big, elastic step as a yearling that he still has 10 years later.

                Third one was purchased as a weanling. She's now three and started undersaddle. We were looking for a great mover with good/great conformation with the goal of showing in the Cup classes at RAWF. Unfortunately those were cancelled because of the pandemic. The mare and stallion were on site, I liked both of them. A full sibling was 5 at the time and was lovely. To make our decision easier that breeder has all of her foals inspected by Westfalen NA/RPSI and posts all results publicly. The filly that we purchased had the highest scores that they had ever achieved as breeders. Beautiful flat kneed hunter movement. They also had lots of photos of her from birth to six months so we could see how she was growing. I'm very excited about her.

                I do know where you're coming from. Lots of foals have big expressive gaits that diminish as they grow. I've found that by 6-8 months their gait is more representative of how they will end up. If you aren't sure about the movement you can always roll the dice and wait a couple months to see if it was an awkward phase and go for another look. Look at the topline as well. Do they look like they want to push from behind and point their nose? Even when looking around? Or do they look they a high stepping giraffe?

                But yes, it is a crap shoot.

                Comment

                  Original Poster

                  #9
                  Thank you

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Yes, it is a crap shoot. I owned a fabulous hunter mare (winner at Devon, Cap Challenge), bred her to a very good Jumping Grand Prix horse with a wonderful temperament and I ended up with a beautiful, pretty, tall, elegant moving spook at everything with undertemined soundness problems. If I had my spurs in him full force, kept him in a Tunnel, I could get him over a 2’6” course and win, but many times I fell off. Lol.

                    Anyway, to me the canter tells a lot about a horse’s jump and future jump. Look at bloodlines for temperament and ability to jump, but focus on the canter. If you look at enough babies and watch the canter....you’ll know it when you see it. And then cross your fingers.

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                      #11
                      Selecting young horses, or breeding your own is such a gamble.

                      I've always bred for jumpers, and have gotten some nice hunters from doing this but as someone mentioned above.. don't really look at the movement on the weanlings and pay more attention to their personality. All the babies look super elastic and animated.

                      And the obvious, do some research on the parents and previous offspring if any.

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