Chapter by F. S. Peer.
The organization of many new hunt-clubs throughout the eastern states, during the last ten years, has greatly increased the demand for horses suitable for cross-country riding. The demand for high-class saddle-horses - other than the gaited horse of Kentucky - and ladies' and gentlemen's hacks (a horse for both riding and driving), has always been so poorly supplied that only comparatively few people who require them can be suited. The others must take up with trotting-bred horses, and other make-shifts that are poor substitutes, indeed, for the real thing. The breeding of the hunter is well within the range of the ordinary farmer. Many nondescript mares suitable, when coupled with good sires, for breeding hunters are already in the country, and might be utilized.
The requirements in a saddle-horse, or hunter, are such that they are produced only by a special line of breeding, as we shall presently attempt to show. The prices paid for them would indicate that they bring a greater return for the money invested in the animals for producing them, than any other class of horses. This is especially the case with farmers of moderate means, and limited experience in breeding. Almost any well-bred farm-mares of suitable conformation, - even grade draft-mares and such general-purpose animals as are found on all farms, - make very excellent broodmares for producing this class of animals. If, on account of injury or blemishes, these thoroughbred grades fail to sell for the purposes intended, still they are the very best horses a farmer can have on the place for light road- and for light farm-work.
The one thing essential is to obtain the use of a thoroughbred (running-horse) for a sire. He may usually be secured at a moderate price from racing establishments. I refer to such horses as have become injured or incapacitated for track work, but are still valuable for breeding purposes.