Am I bonkers?

domane

Gracie's mum
Jul 31, 2005
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#1
Well... I mean am I more bonkers than I know I am already, because Jill wants to take Albi hunting.... and she wants me to go too.... And I'm considering it?!!!

Now I have never BEEN hunting and I'm betting Gracie hasn't been either. The thought of going has always terrified me, but now not so much. And Jill assures me that we won't have to jump anything if we don't want to. So.... tell me all about hunting, I'm clueless. I see from pics of mates that you have to look smart!
 

Trewsers

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Oct 13, 2004
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#2
Yes you are quite mad! Lol only kidding!!! How thrilling. You don't have to jump stuff, I had a friend who used to try and persuade me on a yard we were on, she went regularly (she was a fab rider ). I believe you can miss the scary bits if you want to! Yes you do need to be spammed up lol everyone always looks super smart and groomed. Go for it!:):D
 
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Bodshi

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Apr 23, 2009
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#5
You know those brakes you've worked so hard on and the horse listening to you - well forget all that and just relax, go with the flow and give up all thought, control and anything else to staying on and staying alive.

You must trust your horse 100% because at the end of the day it is the only thing that will keep you alive.
Agree wholeheartedly with this! The first time I took a friend hunting she was astounded that people were struggling with their over-excited horses and yet the hunt carried on regardless (we are on a super safety conscious yard where everyone makes sure everyone else is fine before even considering changing pace on a hack, so it was a shock to her system :p ) Most horses love it, many of the excited ones are just all fired up waiting for the first gallop and settle down when they get going, but I have seen some horses that really couldn't cope, the worst was one that reared and went over backwards shortly after we set off, resulting in the rider being picked up by the air ambulance. Also, very sadly, one pony had a heart attack and collapsed and died one time I went out.

I think Grace would love it. I've never seen a cob/traditional lose it's mind, it's always been the bigger posher horses (sorry, no offence to cobs, but you know what I mean).

Some packs have 'newcomers' meets which are at a slightly slower pace (well, that's what they say anyway) so you can see whether you enjoy it before committing to a full blown meet, but it's quite late in the season for that. By now most of the regulars will be quite fit, so I'd advise you to get as fit as you can before you go because no doubt Grace and Albi will be fired on adrenaline and do their best to keep up, but they might be knackered afterwards. This is my problem with Raf now, because even if he does come sound from his cellulitis, we haven't been out since before Christmas and I don't think he would be fit enough now (although I have to wrap him up in cotton wool a bit because of his PPID).

I think you'll have a great time, as long as you take @Frances144's advice and just sit tight, cling on and enjoy. Just don't overtake the Field Master lol.

This is a good website for tips https://www.horseandhound.co.uk/hunting/beginners-guide-to-hunting-etiquette-98752
 

chunky monkey

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May 2, 2007
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#6
A friend of mine went hunting regularly and they didn't jump the big stuff so they had to find the nearest gate quite a lot. Which ment that sometimes they got left behind. They then had to navigate there way to catch up.
I've never been and don't think it's something I'd entertain as I'm not a good rider. I just about hang on for a fun ride. Attempting to avoid people to keep horse calm. Hunting with a group for me would be dangerous. I'd be deposited within the first 5 minutes, with horse galloping off into the sunset.
 

Pete's Mum

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Jun 4, 2014
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#7
If I'm not mistaken, you've had to work really hard on your confidence? And it was fairly recently tested by G? Apologies if I've got you mixed up with someone else!

I would be *very* hesitant to consider it, if I were you unless your hard-won confidence is incredibly robust. I'm not sure it would be worth the riskof undoing all your hard work :)

If you do decide to go, good luck & hope you have fun!
 
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Mary Poppins

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Oct 10, 2004
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#8
Honestly, I think that you are completely bonkers to even think about it! I would go and watch a hunt before you commit to going. Yes you don't have to jump, but you are basically galloping with at last 20 (probably more) other riders and many do not have any brakes or control over their horses. You basically have to 'go with the flow', and ride at whatever pace the group is going at. That is fine if you are ultra confident and enjoy that sort of thing, but if you have suffered confidence issues and been nervous in the past, I really don't think hunting is a good idea. Also, in my experience, once a horse has been hunting and got into their heads that riding in company means galloping as a herd, it can be difficult to get them to listen to you out hacking when you might not want that to happen. I do think hunting looks fun, but the people who I know who hunt are complete adrenalin junkies and love the fast and furious life.
 
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Skib

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Dec 21, 2003
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#9
I would agree with Mary P. I have mentioned before Jane Shilling's book Fox in the Cupboard - how she learned to ride as an adult and eventually was introduced to and then taken hunting. You can pick it up 2nd hand for under £5.

As for horse behaviour being changed by huntng. Yes. it seems so. A year ago I had some lessons on a delightful horse that had a sharer. The sharer took her hunting and at my lesson the next day in an indoor school the mare was very forward going - not that happy to stay in walk - and fizzy compared to her normal self. I like forward going horses so didnt think this a bad thing, but the RI attributed it to the mare having hunted the day before. And when I first mounted and the mare asked went forward so briskly, that did worry me a little until I heard the explanation.

If you do hunt wear a bp and or air vest - It is a high risk recreation.
 

MrC

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#10
Having hunted and been to many common rides (much bigger field than any hunt will see) I would say only go if you are prepared for flat out gallop and the very real chance of rudeness from other riders. If you have that firmly in mind and are fine with it then I’d say go and have a great day out.

I recently took my friend who is nervy on Logan to a common riding and he’d never seen the like and was the most well behaved 7yr old there that day. He was being ridden in a loop ring. Snaffle but my friend didn’t need the extra brakes all day as he just went when the rest went and stopped when they did.

Chances are she will run out of puff fairly quickly then will calm down but be prepared for some excitability. Best thing to do would be skip your reins at the first gallop, balance yourself and enjoy the ride.

I have no confidence issues however, fortunate never to have had them so I will admit I don’t get the whole scared to do stuff side of things but I may give you more confidence in yourself if you go and have a good day :)
 

Bodshi

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Apr 23, 2009
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#11
Also, in my experience, once a horse has been hunting and got into their heads that riding in company means galloping as a herd, it can be difficult to get them to listen to you out hacking when you might not want that to happen. I do think hunting looks fun, but the people who I know who hunt are complete adrenalin junkies and love the fast and furious life.
As for horse behaviour being changed by huntng. Yes. it seems so. A year ago I had some lessons on a delightful horse that had a sharer. The sharer took her hunting and at my lesson the next day in an indoor school the mare was very forward going - not that happy to stay in walk - and fizzy compared to her normal self. I like forward going horses so didnt think this a bad thing, but the RI attributed it to the mare having hunted the day before. And when I first mounted and the mare asked went forward so briskly, that did worry me a little until I heard the explanation..
I don't have any problem with Raf, he knows the difference between being allowed to gallop on a hunt and going out hacking. I think the clue might be in the second part of the paragraph - the riders who are complete adrenalin junkies! Jack had allegedly been hunting in Ireland before he came over here and I must admit he could be strong in a group gallop, maybe that was the reason. But if he'd been a hunter in Ireland he probably didn't know anything else, whereas Raf was used to hacking and pleasure rides (the ones where you don't ride in a group) before he went hunting.

Whilst it's true that a horse having been hunting might be a little bit forward going afterwards, it's usually only very temporary and just requires a reminder that actually life is back to normal now. The mare probably still had adrenaline in her veins - they do say some horses continue hunting for 24 hours. I'm a bit surprised she was used in a lesson the next day to be honest, I always give Raf a day off to chill and recuperate, but I'm not a seasoned hunter, just a rather soft leisure rider with a rather flaky horse!

ETA What I meant to say is that most horse insurance policies don’t cover hunting as standard, so you may want to check yours.
 
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chunky monkey

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#12
I agree with you bodshi. Riding the next day for a lesson is a bit much. My friend who hunted use to give a light lunge to help take down any inflamation or stiffness. A light 10 minute hack would be acceptable but a lesson. I feel for the horse.
I often light lunge the next day after I've been on a fun ride. It helps to spot if theres any niggles or lameness.
 
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Frances144

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#13
I think when your hunting, rather like love and war, all is fair. Yes there are certain social rules and a few hunt traditions but it is purely survival of the fittest, even with the best behaved hunt. You look after yourself, your horse looks after himself and everything else is extra.

It is exhilerating, exciting and bloody terrifying. I didn’t jump, we rarely saw Charlie so it was really an exceedingly fast paced galloping dogwalk really over all terrain with health and safety be damned that took all day. I rode ex-army horses who hunted twice a week and a whipper-in’s horse. Once I rode an Icelandic horse (not mine but hired) and that was the safest I felt all day. I could’ve ruled the world on that horse.

It is a very long day. If your horse is not super-fit, then that is not fair on the horse. You just hurt everytime you think for a week afterwards. There is a special riding/hunting hurt too. The hunt is not considerate and does not stop for anyone. They tend to go further and further away from where they started or where the horse boxes are left so even if you think you’ve had enough and you’re going home, you may still have a two hour ride home.
 
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Bodshi

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Apr 23, 2009
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#14
It is a very long day.
Actually that is another very good point - if you're a lady of a certain age, like me (and it also seems to apply to some younger folk), you have to learn not to be shy of peeing in relatively public places, like on the other side of a wall from where everyone is gathered. The club secretary of my favourite pack follows the hunt on foot (ie in the quad) and watches out for riderless horses at any stop, she then trails the rider to hopefully catch a picture of them in the act to put on the FB page - tastefully of course, they're not full-on pics of people peeing, maybe just a headshot or a backside with breeches being pulled up :p I can never make it through a full day without a pit stop :oops:
 

OwnedbyChanter

With out my boys life would be bland
Apr 16, 2009
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#15
I use to hunt my Arab on Dartmoor. I would never take ginger. She was good and fast as hell super fur and brave.

A lot of people under estimate how fit a horse needs to be. A fun ride even over 10m is not the same as you control the pace. The hunt controls the pace and it is not like the old fox hunting when you could spend a fair bit of time stood around waiting for a scent this is full on all the time.

I did enjoy it but it is scary people cut In front just before a fence or you are jumping next to each other.
 

Lissie

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Jan 18, 2016
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#16
I hunt every weekend and totally love it. Things I'd say 1 you need a fit horse, plenty of hacking, slow and fast work. Taking a not fully fit horse out is more risk to pulling something, I put lots of early morning rides in to get Lottie as fit as she is to keep her sound. I recently took Lottie to a 5.5 farm ride and did it about 40/45 mins I'd want to be able to go at that pace on a horse without knackering if taking it hunting.

2 you need to be used to riding fast in company, hunting is not the time to be testing your breaks or seeing what your horse is like with lots of others. It all depends on the hunt if you have to jump or not with my hunt you do have to jump at least some stuff, rails, ditches. If you aren't confident with that don't go. Hunts tend to be very welcoming and encouraging but also we're all out for a nice day and it does get annoying when people come out and have a flap, can't keep up, can't jump, horse won't queue, reverses into others, they cut people up etc etc. And people do get told off for all these things and quite rightly so. You don't turn up to do a dressage test or eventing if you're not ready or prepared it's no diferent.

3 yes it is every man for himself, the hunt does it's best to look after everyone but it is a hunt we're not going to all stop because someone has fell off it's a case of shouting loose horse someone usually the kids will catch it lead it back and then it's a case of jumping back on and galloping like mad to catch up. To me that's fun and I've lead many a horse back and jumped some crazy stuff catching up. To me that's fun but wouldn't be for everyone.

4 You can be out for hours once hounds are running going quite far from where the boxes are parked. You can go back at any time but remember you could be miles from where you started. I've got lost before!

5 yes be smart, I'm a stickler for turnout, it's respect to the hunt and landowners. It doesn't Have to be expensive but clean, tidy and no blingyor coloured tack.

Check out the hunts in your area they are all a little different. For example I go with the pack that's known for lots of jumping and fast I had 1 day visiting a neighbouring pack and it wasn't as fast. I think your in Shropshire feel free to pm as I know most of the packs and which are fast and slow, which you have to jump with and those you don't.

Really hunting proper is not the time to see how your horse is out hunting or you if you've never done it before or struggle with confidence. Much better to start off with slow and steady hound exercise and autumn hunting to get the horse used to "the job".

Taking your horse out hunting without the prep of fast fun rides in company, hound exercise and autumn hunting can make some horses turn a little excited after. Hunters aren't made like this and a true hunter won't behave like this. Mine is quietat home and a joy to hunt but she's a ready made hunter so it doesn't blow her brains.

Most importantly if you do go have fun, there's nothing better than the sound of hounds and galloping along on your horse!