|First Posted: July 2, 2009|
Sep 24, 2010
Irish Hunter/Irish Sport Horse
Ireland is a country known the world over for its outstanding horses, and the Irish Hunter is no exception. Excellent over fences, the solidly built Irish Hunter is a combination of Irish Draft horses and Thoroughbred. As the name implies, this horse is a popular hunting horse and is known as a horse suited to one and even two days of hunting per week during the hunting season. The general characteristics of Hunters call for a bold, intelligent horse with great stamina and jumping ability. Good conformation is also desirable due to the long hours endured by both horse and rider.
The Irish Hunter can be found in all colors except skewbald and piebald. The head is well proportioned, the eyes are large and expressive, ears are nicely shaped and long and the neck is lengthy and muscular with a slight arch. The classic Hunter is well-proportioned with a sloping shoulder, strong back and loins. A well-set head allows the horse to keep balance in all paces. Depending on the classification, Hunters stand at varying heights. There are five categories for the horses depending on weight of the rider and height of the horse: up to 175 lb., up to 196 lb., over 196 lb., small (14.2-15.2 hh), and lady's. In addition, there are sub-categories for show horses that are also used in the field: lightweight working Hunter, heavyweight working Hunter, and child's working Hunter.
The Irish Hunter is the result of crossing good weight-carrying mares, the Irish Draft and the Cleveland Bay, with Thoroughbred stallions.
Because the Thoroughbreds needed to breed quality Hunters are too expensive for the average breeder, the Hunters' Improvement and National Light Horse Breeding Society has for years matched selected Thoroughbred stallions for those members with the correct type of mare.
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