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Could somebody talk to me about hunting?
18

LeoTheLateBloomer · 06/01/2012 21:00

I've been invited to go hunting by a friend. I will be riding one of her ponies who has never hunted (neither have I) and I've only riden this particular pony a couple of times with my 20mo DD so nothing more than a walk.

She's invited me on this particular hunt because she says it's not a fast one and would be a good introduction for the pony who won't really go faster than a canter.

I'm planning on taking her out on my own before the hunt so we can get to know each other a bit better, but it's so long since I rode regularly that I'm lacking a fair bit of confidence.

Could you reassure me that it won't be scary? Is there any particular 'hunt etiquette' I should know about?

TIA

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boxoftricks · 06/01/2012 21:12

Will your friend be able to enlighten you? I don't hunt myself, but live in 'hunting lands' The only rule I know is that if the horse you are riding is new to hunting then you should tie a green ribbon in to its tail. And if the horse might kick, a red ribbon.
Thats all I know though, sorry! I'm sure googling might bring some stuff up though.

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fivegomadindorset · 06/01/2012 21:13

Stick with your friend.
Find out who the field master is and do not pass him or master or hounds.
That is pretty much about it.

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Booboostoo · 06/01/2012 21:17

I don't hunt so can't help much, so I hope someone else comes on soon, but to be honest from what you say it doesn't sound like a very wise thing to do.

Do you feel comfortable dealing with the pony if she got strong or got wound up by the hunt? If you are a bit worried about going out on your own on her, the hunt situation will be 100% faster and 100% potentially more exciting for the pony.

If either the pony had hunted and was more certain to remain calm and responsive, or you had been riding her on long, fast hacks and knew each other well, I think it would make more sense to try hunting. However from what you describe I think you might be putting yourself at a bit of risk for no good reason.

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Ponyofdoom · 06/01/2012 21:17

Hunts vary a lot, both from pack to pack and between days within packs. Hopefully your friend is experienced enough to know her pony and the particular hunt, in which case you will be fine, so long as you are a confident rider at all paces. Most ponies become far perkier when hunting so I would be surprised if this one does not find an extra gear or three! I assume you have the correct kit (ratcatcher(tweed) coat, stock or darkish tie, cream breeches and black or brown boots would be fine for most packs if you dont have a black or navy coat.) Stick with everyone else, don't get ahead of the field Master, be careful not to gallop on crops or through livestock, thank car drivers, close any gates that you open, keep your pony away from others if you suspect it might kick. That's all I can think of at the moment but fire away if you have any other questions.

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marialuisa · 06/01/2012 21:20

Sounds like you should check that jumping is optional at this meet, if you feel uncomfortable you will then be able to join the non-jumping field. Otherwise make sure you get the right level of warmth, especially feet as I find you go from freezing cold to raosting ad back sevral times. I also needto take sweets in my pocket and some water.

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LeoTheLateBloomer · 06/01/2012 21:20

Thanks everyone.
I'll chat more to my friend about it. I'm certain she wouldn't have asked me if she didn't think I was capable but there's a lot more too it than I had first thought.
I'm able to borrow all the kit but that's the last of my worries now!

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boxoftricks · 06/01/2012 21:21

//www.vlhunt.com/wp-content/uploads/hunting-rules.pdf this has been produced by one hunt. some good info possibly?

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RoughShooting · 06/01/2012 21:23

Even if it hasn't hunted, is it safe, mannerly with good brakes? If not, I would suggest that you try a day's hunting on something that is first, so you can work out what is going on without barging past people in gateways or whatever if you don't have enough control. If the pony is generally well-mannered with good brakes, then you should be fine. Stay at the back, always shut gates if in doubt, don't get too pissed (hipflasks on offer plus whatever's at the meet!), take a Mars bar in your pocket to keep your energy up, don't gossip loudly when hanging around (because the hounds are working even if it seems like nothing's going on), and have fun!

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Eve · 06/01/2012 21:25

A syringe of calmer for it & hip flask for you?

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Ponyofdoom · 06/01/2012 21:41

Oh and put a stronger bit in just in case, something with guaranteed brakes eg a dutch gag. Nothing worse than no brakes. Make sure the reins have good grips and that you wear decent riding gloves. I had to go home once as my reins were worn and covered in horse sweat and with bare hands I simply could not hold the horse. Most hunts do jump though many have a non -jumping field Master, but best to check this if you dont want to jump.

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Ponyofdoom · 06/01/2012 21:41

PS it will be very scary but that is half the fun!

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Butkin · 07/01/2012 14:04

Most things covered here - presumably your friend is an experienced hunter and will know the score.

She will need to ring the Secretary beforehand and check it is OK for you to come and work out how much it will cost. This should be paid to the secretary immediately upon arrival. Friendly packs will make sure you're introduced to regulars and probably the Master and, most importantly, the Field Master.

You will be following the Field Master as part of the field and always go the way they go - even if some more experience people go off in different directions (on point...).

As regards gear presumably your friend will help you out. Normally blue/black jacket at this time of year, buff jods, long black boots, hat, body protector (optional), gloves. Pony may need to be part clipped beforehand and green ribbon in tail if novice.

Don't try and do too much socialising on your first go. Start by parking yourself with your friend a bit away from the other horses at the meet and if necessary keep them walking. However accept whatever food/drink is offered with a smile! Thank the host if you know who they are.

The hounds will leave first - usually at 11am - and the field will go just after. Try to keep at the back but don't get detached.

If you don't plan to jump try to find out from the secretary if there is an experienced person in a similar situation who can guide you round the country avoiding jumps - there always will be (sometimes followed by children if a Saturday).

What sort of pack is it - fox of harrier?

Good luck and have fun!

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Mirage · 07/01/2012 17:56

Have fun,ime huntspeople are very friendly and help each other out.My 8 year old went 'properly' for the first time yesterday and is well and truly hooked.I put a report of our day on the 'riding log' thread on Tackroom.

Don't forget to make your pony face the hounds,if it kicks a hound you will not be popular.If you are going through a gate say 'gate please' to the person behind you,if you are the last through,make sure you shut it.There is no shame in staying at the back and going through gates if you don't jump.It's a good idea to have your friends mobile number and a phone with you in case you get split up,take some sweets or something to eat,and a hip flask.You'll need a hair net-Superdrug do them cheaper than equestrian stores.If you want to wear a body protector do,I saw a nasty accident yesterday where someone wasn't wearing one.No one will look down on you if you do wear one.

Have a good time and find out who the photographers are-you'll want some good photos of your day!

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MitchierInge · 07/01/2012 22:13

Envy
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Pixel · 07/01/2012 23:01

Never mind Envy, if you are so keen can you not borrow or hire a horse for hunting? Lots of people do. Or ride the pink pony! (have you not heard of hunting pink?Grin).

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MitchierInge · 07/01/2012 23:06

haha! yeah, I spoke to someone today about borrowing one (hiring is quite expensive I think) but not taking pony, although I bet he'd take it in his stride and be fine I am mentally scarred from all the bolting and bucking of his earlier days - do not want to rock that boat

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Olderyetwilder · 08/01/2012 13:07

GD's pony is still really wired from hunting on Tuesday. She was a very good girl, but she seems to think she's off hunting again every time a dog barks. Off to do lots of schooling to hopefully get her mind back on the job!

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Mirage · 08/01/2012 14:14

Grin Olderyetwider,dpony is a bit more 'forward going' after her day out on Friday.We've just been on a 2.5 hour hack and she wanted to keep going.

DD1 was totally ache and pain free after her day hunting,unlike her poor old mother.We've had loads of lovely photos forwarded to us,as DD1 and her friend were the only children out,so got a fair bit of attention.DD1 is hooked and desperate to go again.

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