Hello all, I have a few questions about resources to learn more about hunting. I have only gone as a guest a very few times, and have some friends who hunt but we're not longer in that area. So I am not an authority by any means and my pals who are authorities are not in the neighborhood.
The issue is, my husband is absolutely fascinated with foxhunting. He is a VERY novice rider and would not be ready to ride any time in the near future - and honestly, we do not have horses at the moment, nor even a barn for him to take lessons (we just moved back to Virginia, literally last week.) So how can I let him learn more about the sport in this situation? He has sort of hinted that he'd be willing to spend some time and effort learning to ride if he had the chance to hunt eventually (can't imagine why hunter/jumper shows don't appeal to my big tough Army officer husband? hehe) He is interested in every aspect, from the history of hunting to what actually takes place today, the traditions of tack and attire, etc. I have told him everything I know (didn't take very long) and he is still asking questions.
Are there any books or websites you could recommend for him? Are there any opportunities for a non-rider to learn more in person? (I saw the pictures and threads about the hound show - that is the sort of thing he would have loved!) I know at the hunt I had been a guest with, there was a group of walking/vehicle hilltoppers who were just enjoying the action and scenery. Do many hunts have that? How could we find out and possibly take part? I also plan to direct him to COTH as soon as his computer is unpacked - any threads with particularly good info on hunting in general?
This is vitally important as his other sporting interest is scuba diving. If I can't get him good and hooked on foxhunting, I will have to spend many good riding days sitting on the bottom of a local lake, blowing bubbles in cold dark water! Help!
While he is learning to ride he should road whip or go out hunting with a Basset or Beagle pack - very, very fun. They are around more than you think, too. That way he will become experienced in *hunting* and enjoy the sport while polishing his riding skills. He will also meet lots of people who can help him. Tell him "welcome!" from all of us!
Give him even half a chance and he will get hooked. Us military/ex military type guys are just helplessly attracted to activities and organizations that have structure, uniforms, history, codes of conduct, ideals of honor and duty, perhaps the perception of danger, and are filled with interesting and like minded individuals.
Joining the Masters of Foxhunting Association would be a good start and an excellent source of information and contacts.
Contact Hunters Rest immediately. She gives lessons and takes people hunting on her lease horses. She is one of the best resources in the Northern VA area and is very good at accessing a person's riding capability.
Yes there are truck followers. I do so since I am not in shape to ride and prefer my fox hunting crazy husband ride my horse.
You guys are awesome! I will definitely look into everything you all have mentioned. Northern VA is a bit away (we're below Richmond) but hey, a little driving never hurt anyone!
Hotspur, I think you hit the nail on the head. That is him to a T!
Equibrit - that's a GREAT idea. We had some great scuba friends in Texas and they were all "like pigs in s-it !" and I'm sure he will miss that. Now, to introduce him to some horse folks before he makes friends with any scuba folks... ;-)
I can't wait to share all this info with him. Thank you all!
Actually, it's Princess Anne Hunt, you are promoting it to queen...
But OP, I would highly recommend you check out the Caroline Hunt- I believe they are between Richmond and Fredericksburg and I might have it wrong, but I believe the MFH is retired military. Lt. Col., maybe. Marines, maybe. I think you can find their contact info through mfha.com. VERY friendly bunch and I bet they would enlist your husband for some fun chores right away, plus get him out cartopping to see what it's about asap.
Oh- also, go to www.mfha.com with hubby just to watch the video on the opening page. That will give you a very good intro!
Books, many, start with Riding to Hounds in America by Wadsworth, available from the COTH magazine for a few bucks.
Again, thank you all very much for the ideas! DH is sitting here with me and he says thanks too. We will definitely look into everything mentioned and Beverley, you can be sure that we'll both read the books. Thanks so much for the suggestions.
Liver Yang Rising, he DOES have a single brother, but that one's not so interested in riding. If perhaps you have an interest in things with engines, or flying in helicopters, then we could introduce you!
It is a bit of a hike, but do bring him up here for a lesson or a weekend - I have an array of adult male students - several ex military types. It's true that men prefer to ride with men (to a point) - it bums many of them out to take lessons with tween girls so its good for him to see that the hunt world is filled with interesting men (as well as women.)
Bless you, bless you, bless you ALL for saving me from a wetsuit and a scuba tank. The crazed husband is so excited, he doesn't know which direction to go first. He wants to go to tack shops, he wants to meet everyone, he wants to follow basset hounds around the VA countryside... you have given so many great suggestions and we are looking forward to exploring them!
JSwan, what a lovely offer. We get around quite a bit and if we're ever up your way, we'd love to join you. Thank you! (One good thing about our time in Texas - we got used to driving a lo-o-ong way for most activities. 2 hours is a casual jaunt! )
Hunter's Rest, we looked at your website after X-rab's suggestion. If not for his Army schedule, you might have found the husband on your doorstep this morning. He wants to come to 'foxhunting camp' - potential winery visits sealed the deal! I would love to bring him up and have you give him some lessons - thank you for the suggestion! We will definitely be in touch as soon as we've settled in. I think he'll probably be a bit braver if he's with other guys - pretty sure he is terrified of teenage girls.
Again, thank you all so much. I can't tell you how excited we both are to be back in the area and have so many opportunities to do the things we would like to do! We enjoyed Texas but wow.... nothing beats Virginia!
Princess Anne Hunt hunt has some meets near Charles City and isn't that far from you guys. Kennels along rt 5 I think closer to Williamsburg. Contact them to see if you can talk to someone about car following. Most Va. foxhunts start up on Sept 1 and go until mid march or april 1. I know they have car followers. I second Reedy Creek Hunt to. Their masters have a riding/teaching stable too! You are closer to them I think! FUN bunch I assure you!!
Good luck and give us followup reports puhlease!