The Cambray Stables boasted several hundreds of purebred horse flesh suited to all kinds of terrains and sports traditionally pursued by the lords of the manor and their peer group. Most of these horses were highly trained field hunters, or hunters, as they were often referred to. The string of hunters at Cambray were a mixture of Thoroughbreds and an equal number of Irish Hunters, to suit whatever terrain of the targeted hunt.
Other types of horses, more suited to hauling carriages, were also kept in large numbers but were separately kept in their own stable section which was overseen by the Head Coachman.
The stables held at least fifty hunters, besides carriage horses. During the hunting season, not a single hack was to be seen either in the stables or in the kennels. Everything went ahunting, or in harness; but the stud and any of the hunters that were required to go to London to the hammer on a particular day.
A field hunter, or a fox hunter, was a type of horse used in the hunt field for fox hunting. It may have been of any breed, but it was necessary that it possessed stamina, a level head, and bravery. The horse had a safe jump, so as not to get caught on any of the solid obstacles found in the hunt field. The type of terrain was also an important factor: wide open, flat land was generally best for horses of a Thoroughbred type, while rockier, more unforgiving land may have been best suited by a draft-cross or tougher breed. Some of the best field hunters were from Ireland, most notably the Irish Horse.
The horses, called "field hunters" or hunters, ridden by followers of the hunt, were a prominent feature of many hunts, although others were conducted on foot (and those hunts with a field of horseback-mounted riders may also have foot followers). Horses on hunts can range from specially bred and trained field hunters to casual hunt attendees riding a wide variety of horse and pony types. Draft and Thoroughbred crosses were commonly used as hunters, although purebred Thoroughbreds and horses of many different breeds were also used. Some hunts with unique territories favoured certain traits in field hunters, for example, when hunting coyote in the western U.S., a faster horse with more stamina is required to keep up, as coyotes are faster than foxes and inhabit larger territories. Hunters had to be well-mannered, have the athletic ability to clear large obstacles such as wide ditches, tall fences, and rock walls, and have the stamina to keep up with the hounds.
Dependent on terrain, and to accommodate different levels of ability, hunts generally had alternative routes that did not involve jumping. The hunt would at times be divided into two groups, with one group, the First Field, that took a more direct but demanding route that involves jumps over obstacles while another group, the Second Field (also called Hilltoppers or Gaters), took longer but less challenging routes that utilised gates or other types of access on the flat.
Predominately known for its racehorse lineage the Thoroughbred is a symbol of speed and stamina and it’s bloodlines are the single greatest influence on the world’s horse population. Henry imported Spanish horses of Barb influence to enhance the local running stock.
All modern Thoroughbreds carry the genetics of three stallions imported into England from the Middle East in the late 17th and early 18th centuries: the Byerly Turk (1680s), the Darley Arabian (1704), and the Godolphin Arabian (1729). All modern Thoroughbreds trace back to these imported stallions. Other stallions of oriental breeding were less influential but still noteworthy. Two of these were the Alcock Arabian and the Brownlow Turk, thought to be largely responsible for the grey coat colour in Thoroughbreds. Others include the D'Arcy's White Turk, Leedes Arabian, and Curwen Bay Barb. Since the 1770′s more and more Arabian blood as been introduced to refine the Thoroughbred line.
Size: The typical Thoroughbred ranges between 15.2 and 17.0 hands high, averaging 16 hands high or 64 inches (1.6 m).
Colours: Always solid colours, they are most often bay, "brown" (dark bay), chestnut, black, or grey. Less common colours include roan and palomino. White is very rare, but is a recognised colour separate from grey. The face and lower legs may be marked with white, but white will generally not appear on the body. Coat patterns that have more than one colour on the body, such as Pinto or Appaloosa, do not exist in the Thoroughbred.
Features: Good quality Thoroughbreds have a well-chiseled head on a long neck, high withers, a deep chest, a short back, good depth of hindquarters, a lean body, and long legs. Thoroughbreds are classified among the "hot-blooded" breeds, which are animals bred for agility and speed and are generally considered spirited and bold.
Irish Hunter (Draught Horse)
The Irish Draught Horse breed was bred to be docile, yet strong. They were required not only to perform the farm work of pulling carts and ploughing, but they were also used as riding and hunt horses, and during the Great European Wars, as army artillery horses. Irish Draughts were bred to be economical to keep, surviving on grass and gorse, and on any boiled turnips, oats and bran left over from cattle feed.
Type & Character: The Irish Draught Horse is an active, short-shinned, powerful horse with substance and quality. It is proud of bearing, deep of girth and strong of back and quarters. Standing over a lot of ground, it has an exceptionally strong and sound constitution. It has an intelligent and gentle nature and is noted for its docility and sense.
Height: Stallions: 15.3 h.h. to 16.3 h.h. approx. Mares: 15.1 h.h. to 16.1 h.h. approx.
Bone: Good, strong, clean bone.
Head: Good, bold eyes, set well-apart, long, well-set ears, wide of forehead. Head is generous and pleasant, not coarse or hatchet-headed, though a slight Roman nose is possible. The jaw bones have enough room to take the gullet and allow ease of breathing.
Shoulders, Neck and Front: Shoulders are clean-cut and not loaded, withers well-defined, not coarse; the neck set in high and carried proudly. The chest is not too broad and beefy, the forearms are long and muscular, not caught in at the elbow; the knee large and generous, set near the ground; the cannon bone straight and short, with plenty of flat, clean bone, never back of the knee (calf kneed), i.e. not sloping forward from knee to fetlock. The legs are clean and hard, with a little hair possible at the back of the fetlock as necessary protection; the pastern strong and in proportion, not short and upright nor too long and weak. The hoof is generous and sound, not boxy or contracted and there is plenty of room at the heel.
Back, Hindquarters, Body & Hind Legs: The back is powerful, the girth very deep, the loins must not be weak but the mares must have enough room to carry the foal. The croup to buttocks is long and sloping, not short and rounded or flat topped; hips not wide and plain; thighs strong and powerful and at least as wide from the back view as the hips; the second thighs long and well developed; the hock near the ground and generous, points not too close together or wide apart but straight, they should not be out behind the horse but should be in line from the back and the quarters to the heel to the ground, they should not be over bent or in any way weak. The cannon bone, etc., as for the foreleg short and strong.
Action: Smooth and free but without exaggeration and not heavy or ponderous. Walk and trot is straight and true with good flexion in the hocks and freedom of the shoulders.
Colour: Any solid colour, including greys. White leg markings, above the knees or hocks are not desirable.
The Anglo-Arabian Horse
The Anglo-Arabian horse is a Thoroughbred (prefix Anglo) crossed with an Arabian horse. The cross can be made between a Thoroughbred stallion and Arabian mare, or vice-versa. It can also be a cross between a Thoroughbred and an Anglo-Arab, an Arabian and an Anglo-Arab, or between two Anglo-Arabians. No matter what the cross, the Anglo-Arabian must have at least 25% percent Arabian blood to be considered an Anglo-Arabian.
As a result of the different crosses that can be made to produce an Anglo-Arabian, their size and appearance is variable, though on average a bit taller than the average Arabian and of somewhat less refined type. The largest horses are usually produced by breeding a Thoroughbred mare to an Arabian stallion. The best examples of this breed inherit the refinement, bone, endurance and stamina of the Arabian, and the speed and scope of the Thoroughbred.
The horses are usually between 15.2 and 16.3 hands high (62 to 69 inches at the withers), and mainly chestnut, bay, brown, or grey. The best of the breed have more of an Arabian-type conformation, though they should not look entirely like either a Thoroughbred or an Arabian. They have a long neck, prominent withers, a short and strong body (more sturdy than the Thoroughbred), and a deep chest. They have fine heads, although not overly dished in profile, and have strong bone.
Height: Between 15.2 and 16.3 hands high
Country of Origin: Britain
Type/Use: Riding, Sporthorse
Colour: Bay, brown, chestnut, or grey.