Gack! pdq, I just got chills up my spine! This makes me feel very intrepid. Really, this is how it is First Flight and many times (w/o jumps) second flight with our hunt. Makes me remember hunting with Mr. Hardaway when there was absolutely just one flight and it was non-negotiable. So really depends on the hunt and six hour hunts are not uncommon.
Originally Posted by pdq
'Prancing around the arena?' You read all about dressage and you call it "prancing around the arena?" And all you know about hunting is "it takes place outside?"
Honey, you are SO NOT ready for an extreme sport like foxhunting. Foxhunting is rough, fast - killer fast at times - demands a well trained savvy horse that is unphased by anything and outstanding with the hounds, and a smart, athletic, well seated rider who is sharp, fast, and can think on their feet without warning. It is the hang-glider, bungee-cord jumping, riding-the-tube surfing sport that beats all equestrian sports - including racing and steeplechasing - for the adrenaline rush. And it is a PRIVATE sport - you have to be invited to cap, and receive an invite to hunt for a season.
If you want to find out what it's all about, hire a horse to carry you foxhunting, obtain an invitation and permission to cap with a local hunt, and see for yourself. Then decide if this is a sport you want to take up.
If you want to simply hack out all the time and have fun, join a local riding club that does trail rides. You don't need lessons for trail - although flatwork will certainly improve your riding and your horse's balance - and you might find that trail is the end goal that you and your horse need to be happy.
Do young people fox hunt as well as middle aged and older people? YES
Is fox hunting fun? YES
Do you really kill foxes? NO
I find myself wishing that I could hack outside all the time and just have fun! THEN DO THAT.
I considered eventing but my horse probably is not going to be a jumper. DEPENDING ON THE TYPE OF HUNT, YOU WILL HAVE TO JUMP SOLID FENCES
Is it hard to find a trainer for lessons? I SUGGEST GOOD LESSONS WITH A HUNTER/JUMPER TRAINER FOR CONFIDENCE OVER FENCES.
In addtion to the above, first & foremost - your horse MUST BE QUIET, POLITE AND MANNERLY IN A GROUP. It must be good around the hounds & not raise a hind leg to one. It must stand quietly at checks and not jig about.
I suggest you cap with a local hunt first, on one of their horses and see if this is your thing. Take your horse out on hunter paces/paper chases, organized trail rides, cross country rides, etc. It will be work!
Also as a Junior, you will need a Hunt member to sponsor your or have you ride in their back pocket for a bit.
It could take 1 - 2 seasons (an entire year) to see if you horse is cut out for hunting....or less...or more. A safe, sane horse is your priority and is what you owe your fellow riders out in the field.
I would recommend finding a trainer that actually hunts. Here in VA there are some barns that do regular riding lessons but then get their students out to hunt. You really need to develop some some riding skills.
Good luck and hope you give it a coupla tries! You'll get hooked I'm sure!
Just a thought too....do some research on these threads for a LOT of great info about our sport. Stuff has been covered that is priceless....look at topics such as threads on green horses, newbies, biting up, conditioning, etiquette...things like that. But my best suggestion is to find yourself an experienced foxhunter to mentor and guide you, advise you, work with you and your horse to get you prepared and help make you successful. Done right this is a ton of fun.....done carelessly or without preparation it can be scary or dangerous and not fun.
Let us know how you do!