Hunted. Hunting. Hunter.
The following ad was sent to us by a concerned reader due to the horse’s unpleasing aesthetics. Seriously, someone beat that horse with the ugly stick. I was all ready to make fun of it with comments such as “what the hell are the sellers thinking,” “someone beat that horse with the ugly stick”, “who’s going to pay $3000 for that” and so on and so forth. But then I started looking into what’s desired in a hunter mount and this horse may not be the worst option ever.
The first thing you want to look for when purchasing a hunter prospect is the way it moves. Ideally, the hunter horse has kind of flat gaits, with minimal flexion of the joints (opposite of the expressive gaits one would look for in a dressage prospect). (Check out wiki here for more info, or here is an insightful article from HorseChannel.com)
I give you: Exhibit A
Now, I wouldn’t necessarily say that horse has a nice “long, sweeping stride” but he looks like he’d be pretty damn happy to go ’round the course in a long and low-type frame.
The next thing they look for in a nice little hunter horse, is his jump. You want the hunter horse to have cute, neatly tucked up knees. You want them to be efficient in the air – that is to say no “hang time” over the fence. While no jumping shots were provided, this little guy has quite the high point of shoulder, giving him the appearance of a fairly open shoulder angle which would theoretically allow him the freedom of movement to jump properly.
Unfortunately, when you draw in some lines and really examine the angle, it’s not that great. And honestly, with such a high point of shoulder he’s got quite a bit of almost vertical chest – my expertise isn’t conformation (that’s JG’s area) but I am wondering how that would affect his jump. Would it hinder his range of motion? Maybe cause him to dangle a leg over the fences? Or would it not affect him? Plus, when you look at the whole of him; the short neck, the less-than-ideal neck/shoulder attachment, the unclean throatlatch, the short back (which isn’t always a bad thing) and the weak gaskins…
he’s…well… goddam someone beat that horse with the ugly stick! I’m sorry, I’m sure he’s got a lovely personality. He is 3… that can be an awkward age… maybe he’ll grow out of some of those faults!
Whoever priced him at $3,000 was smoking crack.