Hunter jumper horses usually refer to various types of horses rather than breeds. Hunters, as the name suggests, are types of horses suitable for foxhunting, while jumpers are types of horses that are specifically taught to jump over various obstacles, both high and wide.
A hunter jumper is also capable of jumping over obstacles, but what makes it different is the way it moves and performs the jump. To understand this, you need to first take a deeper look at what hunter horses are.
What are hunter horses?
As mentioned before, hunter horses refer to type of horses that are best suitable for hunting. Their work involves carrying the rider for many miles over different terrains without faltering, routinely jumping over and clearing obstacles like ditches, logs, fences, stone walls, and creeks of various heights and depths.
Such horses have long, purposeful strides, a cooperative attitude, and a conservative jumping style.
A hunter jumper horse’s event is often characterized by fences of up to four feet as obstacles, with lots of open space in between for the horse to strut around. The horse is judged by its jumping style, the way it moves, its temperament, looks, and many other characteristics.
They are fairly businesslike and look sturdy, and the events are either short courses with fences or show rings. The areas where such events are held have a natural look and feel, similar to what a hunter horse experiences when riding with a hunter in the open.
In contrast to a hunter jumper horse, a pure jumper horse is more flamboyant in the way it moves. It can quickly and elegantly move across a maze of obstacles, even those with tight turns and irregular spaces in between.
The aim of such obstacle course is to see which horse clears in the fastest time, with no limits on the jumping style as long as the jump is done neatly without hitting or knocking down the obstacles.
Why the demand for hunter jumper horses?
Despite their rather rigid definition, hunter jumper horses can come from several breeds. Nevertheless, field hunters that are ridden for foxhunting are either thoroughbred crosses or thoroughbreds. They are bred to have stamina, speed, size, and, most importantly, elegance and temperament befitting a hunter horse.
However, the roster for hunter jumpers has reduced significantly over the years despite the fact that so many hunt clubs are active in the United States.
The reason for this reduction in hunter jumper supply is encroachment of rural land by subdivisions. A lot of the jumpers you see out there today are actually showing jumper horses- the kinds that are meant to jump and maneuver around brightly colored obstacle courses.
Many people who think that they have hunter jumpers actually have show jumper horses. The lack of supply over the years has led to an increase in demand for real hunter jumper horses that have stamina, strength, and agility of a foxhunting horse.
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Brad is a guest blogger interested in writing sports and fitness related articles. He is passion about his writings and has written hundreds of sports related articles for several blogs.