The Horseman Thief Pouter
Hasan Yahya, Ph.ds
Horseman Thief Pouters are a type of pouter pigeon used for hundreds of years to capture other pigeons as a sport. The sport of using pigeons to capture other pigeons appears to have its roots in Spain and it spread Northward through Europe to other regions where it eventually reached Great Britain. The Horseman Thief Pouter is the type of thief pouter most commonly used in this region. To many of the people using these birds in the thief sport, Horseman are referred to by their vernacular name: “Big Doos”.
The history of the Horseman Thief Pouter can be traced back with some degree of certainty to the 17th century. Their stronghold has been based in and around Glasgow, Scotland. They are now considered to be a Scottish breed by fanciers around the world. They were first imported into North America in 2004.
Horseman thief pouter in some old records of the breed indicate that it was created as a cross between a pouter and the now “extinct” breed known as the Horseman ( a breed said to look halfway between a carrier and a dragoon).
Historically, from the year 1735 John Moore wrote the following of Horseman Pouters:
“The Powting Horseman…. a Bastard strain . . . They are a very merry Pigeon upon a house and by often dashing off are good to pitch stray Pigeons. . . Blue and Blue Pieds are most noted to be genuine and good.”
Horseman Thief Pouters remain today a mix of various breeds and well-bred individuals are adept at capturing other pigeons. As was done historically they are often cross-bred to better improve their skills as working birds and therefore come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors.
A modern day quote from a seasoned Glasgow, Scotland pigeon man on the “Big Doos” (AKA Horseman Thief pouters):
“We flew every type of pigeon as long as it could charm the opposite sex and shift finish its work in the holers.”
There are three types of Horseman Pouters: show, flying, and working. It is possible that a show Horseman could be a good thief pigeon, but that can be hit or miss since the drive to thieve, and fly is not necessarily what their breeder’s strive for. There are some breeders who select for both show and performance in their birds. These birds are termed “dual purpose” Horseman thief pouters.
The flying Horseman pouters are flown for the pleasure of their owners, but the working Horseman thief pouters birds are bred to fly well and bring other pigeons back to their lofts. Flying and thieving skills are the two main attributes of the working birds.
Description of the Horseman pouters, in terms of its body, it is a wedge shaped, smooth and hard in the hand, but not overly large or wide. Back to be full but not round [AKA roach backed] to avoid side boarding with the cover feathers over the back. Keel to be straight and flow smoothly from the waist to the hip/leg joint, without extending much past the edge of the wings on a side view, carrying through in a smooth flowing line to the vent area. See side view for proper look. Brunner Pouter size and shape and type are a serious fault for being too small and thin. Norwich Cropper body size and type is a serious fault. The Horseman must be handled by the judge in order to feel the shape and condition of the body and keel.
In terms of its height, From the high spot of the skull to ball of foot the ideal is 10 inches. The actual height range will vary from 9 inches to 11 inches. Its head, is oval and neat with a slight forehead rising from the wattle in a flowing line. Its wings, held tight to the body with the flights resting on the tail and ending ½ to ¾ inch from the end of the tail. See side view drawing for better understanding. Flight tips should not cross over each other.
The length of neck/crop/globe starting at the top of the shoulders to be in proportion with the birds over all size. The crop/globe shall be well sprung from the waist and be well balanced with the rest of the bird. There should be enough back globe for an over all round crop/globe. The crop/globe must be under complete control at all times, neither too small nor too large, with the beak resting on the crop/globe. Birds close to the ideal height will often times have a less distinct break at the waist. While this is a fault it is minor in comparison to a bird that is considerably taller even with a good break at the waist.
Its tall flows smoothly from the body and is held tightly together roughly one and a half feathers wide. (see the picture). Its feather is hard and tight feathering, in good flying condition. Hock, thigh and vent feathering can be slightly looser than the body feathering.
Its legs are strong, straight and free of feathers below the hocks; set wide on the body. See front view for better understanding. Thighs are visible with no noticeable hinge at the body junction. Length must be balanced with the over all bird. Legs that are too long or too short for the birds size are faults. www.dryahyatv.com
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