If you’re looking to buy a hunter for the coming season, but are struggling to navigate the hunters for sale currently on the market, take at look at our top tips from the benefits of miles on the clock to not being swayed by flashy movers.
1. Many failed competition horses are re-sold as “hunters”. This is not always a good thing as the fault that ended their competitive career can sometimes reappear on the hunting field.
2. If you buy a horse at a sale and he was advertised as a “good hunter’, you would have legal redress if he acted up the first time he saw hounds.
3. If a horse is advertised as having hunted with a particular pack, ask hunt members if he is known to them.
4. Some horse dealers specialise in hunters and you could save yourself a lot of time and money by going to this type of yard to find your horse. The horse dealer will be able to assess the kind of horse you need, and he should be able to offer a selection for you to try.
5. Do not expect to be allowed a day’s hunting as a trial. Very few sellers, private or trade, will let a stranger take a horse out hunting because of the obvious risks to horse and rider.
6. The best way to buy a hunter is through recommendation. If a horse you like isn’t being openly advertised, it’s always worth asking the owner if they would be prepared to sell.
7. When you buy a hunter privately always get some sort of statement in writing or verbally in front of a witness. Ask clearly whether the horse has hunted, how often and with which pack. In case of problems later this can be presented in court and you would have a good case if there has been deliberate misrepresentation by the seller.
8. Do not expect a horse that has only hunted quietly with a slow pack to tackle Leicestershire hedges confidently on your first outing together.
9. Do not be swayed by flashy looks when you buy a hunter. The aim is to enjoy your sport and the best-looking hunters are not always the safest ones.
10. Unless you are an experienced rider, it is better to go for an older horse with some miles on the clock. It takes skill and knowledge to introduce a young horse to hounds and, if this is done badly, the repercussions will stay to haunt you.
Never been hunting, but would love to have a go? Take a look at our guide for beginners