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Horseman Pouters

One of the Last True Dual Purpose Pigeon Breeds

The Horseman Thief Pouter is a relatively new breed to the US having been introduced in 2004 with four pairs of imports and has since been rapidly growing in popularity being exhibited in good numbers at all the major shows. 

The origin of the Horseman Pouter is a mystery but many believe the breed was originally created as a cross between a Continental type Pouter and the now extinct breed known as the Horseman. The ancient Horseman is said to have looked somewhere between a Carrier and a Dragoon. It was a swift flying breed. The original cross was called the "Powting Horseman" which is how the name "Horseman Pouter" began. It is very possible that the birds came through Spain to Scotland in the 17th or 18th Century. The earliest reference that can be found is from Thomas Moore when he refers to the breed in 1735 when he says, “The Norwich Cropper appears to be a derivative of the "Powting Horseman." A quote from Jimmy Dolier's book, "Horseman Pouters," on page 80 says the Horseman is made up of one part Racing Homer with three parts Pouter. The actual word " Horseman" is the Scottish word for Highway Robber and the birds were originally used to catch food (in the form of other pigeons) for the table. 

Horseman Pouters have an upright stance, upright and round globe with slightly long legs. They are not as extreme as most of the Pouter breeds, which gives them the streamlined look of the flying breed they were originally created to be. The standard calls for a bird around 10" high, so they are not a large breed. They make very good parents and rarely have any crop problems

Besides proper structure, the main focus in breeding is put on sex drive, intelligence, agility, flying ability, homing instinct and the ability and intent to seduce other pigeons, which results in a great temperament in the loft, show pen and in flying and clapping around outside in the yard and in the air. The Pouter breeds in general are very promiscuous and entertaining birds and the Horseman Pouter is much more so. This type of selective breeding makes for real characters in the loft, show pen and outside in the yard. There's never a dull moment with a Horseman around. Horseman really know how to put on a show, not only for other pigeons but for the show judges and their owners. 

Horseman Pouters are truly one of the last dual purpose Pigeon breeds. They make excellent show birds standing truly royal and proud, blowing, strutting and showing a lot of fire in the show pens. There has been a growing amount of competition at the national shows each year with Horseman being among the most popular Pouters. It's great fun and a challenge breeding them to the show standard.

Horseman also come in a large array of beautiful colors. We have the three base colors of Blues, Ash Reds and Browns in the patterns Bar, Checker and T-Checker. Also the modifiers Dilute, Grizzle, Spread, White Grizzle, Indigo, Andalusian, Almond, Reduced, Dominate Opal, Recessive Red, Tortoiseshell and Powder. 

Since the Horseman is made up of one part Racing Homer with three parts Pouter one top judge in the UK said he looks for a longer legged Homer look with an apple size globe. The body is also extended but not to the extreme. They should have the feel in the hand of a small racer, with tight, high quality feathering and strong muscles. 

Being a true dual purpose breed if you like to fly your Horseman they are as entertaining as a kit of rollers. No, they don't roll, but what they do is let loose and express that fire and showmanship they are bred for in the air and on the ground! Around the yard they will clap, glide and show off by blowing. Many times they will take off in a kit and route out like Homers and all come back at once from seemingly nowhere clapping and blowing. It's quite a performance!

Countless Fanciers in Scotland fly Horseman Pouters in competition, with the aim of capturing other Flyers' birds. This has been common practice in the cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh for many years. The sport has it's origins in Spain with different versions with essentially the same basic principles being practiced in cities around the world. The sport consists of the the cock or hen enticing a rival bird back to its home loft by a variety of strategies. Upon entering the loft, it is captured and becomes the property of the capturer. Seduction is the most common method. A hen in a particularly attractive condition seduces another person's amorous cock back to her loft or to his, depending on which one wins. 

Today working and exhibition birds are probably Scotland’s national breed, with their popularity constantly growing with entries of 300 Horseman at some of the larger shows. 

Here in the US they are one of the fastest growing breeds, soon to be a major factor. We already have a national club, The  Horseman Pouter Club of North American formed in 2006. See

And yes they are as purebred as any other Pouter breed. I was talking to one of the biggest names in Pouters and told him that I kept Horseman and he said "oh those Silesian crosses.." What? I guess since they are new to the US there's a lot of misinformation going around.

I love them and think they will soon be the most popular Pouter breed in the US. They are great show birds with many challenges. they come in a vast array of colors. They have great personalities that will endure themselves to you. They are great for beginners and experts and are never are expensive (I may be the last one to spend big bucks on them). Many of the breeders will distribute quality birds at a very reasonable price. It's not going to cost you an arm and a leg to get competitive birds. They are great fliers that entertain you in the air as much as rollers with their puffing, clapping and show-boating. To me they are the way a Pouter was created to be.

Other Horseman Articles:

Horseman Doo Kits

Horseman Counterfeits

 Pictured below are some of our breeders. None of these birds on this page are for sale. To see what we currently have up for sale go to our sale page.

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One of our breeder cocks, #925, the 09 Lancaster National Champion. Lancaster was one of the best Horseman shows in American history.

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#948 Brown Bar hen. She is out of two imports, the Moran cock and the Boyd hen.



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Blue Bar cock #926 - One of my favorites. He is carries brown and dilute

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Blonde hen #2168

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Cock #711 was reserve National champion at Lancaster.

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#54 Blue Bar Grizzle hen - reserve champ Pouter at Tucson with 52 Horseman on exhibit.


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#438 - Spread Ash Red cock

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#4215 - Young Andalusian cock 


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#743 - Red Check hen

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#736 - Old Chocolate hen 


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#747 - Old Chocolate hen


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#822 - 2010 Red Bar cock

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#602 - Blue Bar Grizzle hen

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#602 a Blue Bar Grizzle old hen


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Tortoiseshell cock

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A young Brown Bar Indigo

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Recessive Red hen

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Recessive Red Grizzle cock


Please look at the following videos from a big show in Scotland. These birds are how I aspire to breed in my Horseman in both type and personality. They were both bred by Pat Moran, one of the top breeders in the world.

Black cock

Brown Bar hen


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This Horseman is as near to the ideal as any I have ever seen. She won the UK National Young Bird Show in Nottingham this year.

In some shows in the UK there are 200-300 Horseman entered. This Brown Bar hen, bred and owned by Pat Moran did well in such a show. She won Champion Horseman and then Champion Pouter and kept going to take Best bird of the whole show over all other Pigeon breeds.


The following photos were taken by Graeme Boyd at Blackpool in the UK

Blue bar of Rixon & Harrison (BOB)

Blue Cheq of Rixon & Harrison

Black of Scott Morrison

Nottingham UK - photos by Graeme Boyd
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UK Standard


Their history can be traced back with some degree of certainly to at least the 17th Century, possibly earlier. At one time a 'working thief pigeon' in and around areas of Old London. For the past 80 - 100 years, their stronghold has been based in and around the Glasgow region. Now considered by many to be a true Scottish breed. Believed to be an ancestor of the English Pouter.

Overall Impression:

Cheery and lively, responsive to chat.


Height 9" - 1 0" Length 1 2" - 1 3", tip of beak to end of tail.

Head: Ova and neat, beak resting on crop.

Eye: Red/orange/yellow.

Beak: Dark in Selfs. Fleshy in Dilutes and Whites accepted. Medium Wattle.

Neck: Crop rounded, well sprung from waist and to be in relation to body.

Body: Strong, firm.

Wings: Tight to body, slightly parted approximately %" from end to tai

Feathers: Strong and hard in good flying condition.

Legs: Strong appearance, free of feathers, proportionate to body.


All colours accepted, including all Grizzles and Self-White.


Too tall and too upright.

Too low and too long.

Bull eyes. Marked or odd eyes. Stained in solids.

Small Wattle, Long Beak. Small Crop, overblown.

Distorted and crop-bound.

Skinny, Prominent keel. Too heavy and wide. Too long, crossed flights.

Droopy wings. Dirty, dull and broken.


Height/Length: 10

Head/Eye: 5

Beak: 5

Crop/Neck: 20

Body: 10

Wings: 10

Feathers: 5

Legs: 5

Colour: 20

Nature: 10

Total: 100 

American Standard

ORIGIN: The history of the Horseman Thief Pouter can be traced back with some degree of certainty to the 17th century, possibly earlier. At one time a ‘working thief pigeon’ in and around areas of London. For the past 100 + years, 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.  

OVERALL IMPRESSION:  An alert and lively breed, responsive to human chat as well as to other birds in the loft or judging pens. One could call a good working Horseman ‘pushy’ for the way they keep cooing, bowing and working at other birds or people.  


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. Taller than 12 inches is a serious fault even if the bird is proportionate in over all size. Shorter than nine inches is a serious fault.  

LENGTH/STATION: Not to be more than 12 to 13 inches long from the tip of beak to the end of tail. The Horseman can be broken down into three parts. First part being the head to the waist, which is at the top of the wing butts/shoulder where the globe hits the body. Second part being from the waist down to the vent area where the back of the thighs join the lower body. Lastly from this vent area to the tip of the tail. In a well balanced bird the first part will be slightly more than either parts two or three, which should be roughly the same length. When stationing the eyes should be roughly perpendicular to the end of the toe nails. Eyes over any part of the toes or foot mean they are too erect.  

HEAD: Oval and neat with a slight forehead rising from the wattle in a flowing line.  

EYES & CERES: Eyes to be bright and vibrant with a noticeable shine. All varieties to have the same red/orange colored eyes with the exception of pure white birds [absolutely no color including on the beak] can have either orange or bull eyes. Brown pattern birds have a ‘false pearl’ eye and shall not be cut points based on their eye color alone. The eye ceres shall be small, smooth and fine in texture.  

BEAK & WATTLE: Medium wattle size, to be smooth and without coarseness. Medium beak length with color to match feather color (Black, Horn, Fleshy).  

NECK, CROP /GLOBE: 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.  

BODY:  Body to be 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.  

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.  

TAIL: Flows smoothly from the body and is held tightly together roughly one and a half feathers wide.  

FEATHER: Hard and tight feathering, in good flying condition. Hock, thigh and vent feathering can be slightly looser than the body feathering.  

LEGS: 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.  

COLORS: All known colors (normal and rare) are recognized, including Self White. Any white markings, flights or pied markings are a fault.  

NATURE: Alert and lively while performing constantly in the judging pen. They must be responsive to the judge, as well as to other birds when being judged.  


MINOR: Too tall in height; Too upright [perpendicular]; Stained beak; Very small wattle; Small crop/globe that does not balance with the birds size; Body too thin (Brunner body); Large or flat head; Very narrow leg set; No waist (break of globe at waist); Worn feathers (sign of ‘working’ and to be a slight deduction and not a serious fault); Colored or stained beak or a few scattered colored feathers on Orange Eyed Whites.  

MAJOR: Too low slung in station; Too long in length; Too short in height; Long length of beak; Very coarse wattle; Out of control globe; Over blowing or too large of a globe [should not be Norwich Cropper globe size]; Too short of neck/crop/globe; Pear shaped globe; No back globe; Too thick in body; Prominent or deep keel; Roached or severe ‘V’ shaped backed; Long or crossed flights; Drooping wings and flights; Side boarding; Wild, nervous or not performing; Length of leg too long or short for proper proportion/balance;  Norwich Cropper size or type; Too erect in station; Feathered feet; Pigmy legs [AKA cow hocked]; Hinged legs at the body [obvious signs of hip joint]; White or pied markings or flights; Dirty, broken or missing feathers [other than feathers worn from ‘working’ as a thief Pouter should]; Body mites or feather lice.  

DISQUALIFICATIONS: Any sign of sickness; Obvious sign of crossbreeding; Crooked toes; Colored or stained beak on Bull Eyed (Recessive) White [colored beak means they are some pied combination and not recessive white].  


Height/Length 10

Head/Eye 5        

Beak/Wattle 5

Neck/Crop/Globe 20

Body 10

Wings/Tail 10

Feathers 5

Legs 5        

Color 20

Nature 10

TOTAL: 100  

Band/Ring size: 8


Finalized 8/22/09  jtp


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