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A Hunter is a horse that is suitable for carrying a person to hounds and the
breed or type of horse used will vary according to the quarry hunted or the
type of country. However in some countries, in particular England, Ireland
and the United States, a particular horse type that is most suitable for the
job, has emerged. The English Hunter is of good conformation, sound in bone
and limb and capable of carrying a person safely over varied terrain, at
different paces, clearing any obstacles that may cross its path. The
Thoroughbred may be perfect for galloping over open grassland with hedges,
whereas the cob might be more befitting for heavy plough and trappy country.
Whatever the horse type it will need good conformation in order to withstand
the work expected from it; good manners and paces making it a comfortable
ride over long periods of time.
The hunter may be any colour and any height over 14.2h.h.. It should have a
well set on head and neck, giving good length of rein; well sloped
shoulders; strong, shortish back with well sprung ribs and great depth
through the girth; strong loins; powerful hind quarters; strong limbs with
large joints and plenty of bone; strong well shaped feet.
In British show classes a lightweight hunter is capable of carrying up to 12
stone 7 lb; a middleweight between 12 stone 7lb and 14 stone; and a
heavyweight over 14 stone. There are also some ladies hunter classes, which
are ridden sidesaddle; the small hunter class is for horses between 14.2h.h.
and 15.2h.h.. Lastly there are working hunter classes where a small course
of natural fences is expected to be jumped.