Do you ride/hunt to a 4* equivalent level, and have a full thoroughbred veteran capable of a sustained 2 minute lick for many hours while jumping full sized post and bound fences?
Piedmont is among the elite of Virginia which is the elite of the US. Among the top 3 hunts in the nation; probably in the top 10 in the entire world.
It ain't cheap to hunt with them.
Gee. I never thought of myself as a 4* rider but have hunted there a number of times over the decades. And yes, they do kick on! But in VA you have the luxury of any number of 'local' hunts in that neighborhood from which to choose, I've been lucky to hunt with all of them though not recently. It's really a question of what you're looking for in your preferred 'type' of hunt.
Piedmont is an excellent hunt but not quite as balls to the wall as they used to be. You do need to be comfortable with speed and jumping some big walls and fences (3' 6") or so. Like many hunts the terrain makes up a good part of the challenge. Some of those stone walls have been jumped so much in the same place that there are "ditches" in front of the walls.
Its doable but not for the timid rider or a horse with limited scope or step.
A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it.
With all due respect, you **do** ride to the (equivalent) 4* level. Seriously. : )
What I meant, of course, is that Piedmont isn't one to gently enter a (new?) sport, sort of like choosing an area championship division for your move-up to the next level!
I think foxhunters, in general, are by far the most proficient of all horse sports. And within that small crosssection, riders at Piedmont are best of the best, because the hounds/terrain/sport/game/fences demand it.
I ride to the 4 level, but my horse is a consistent 3 beast...miss hunting my TBs and Saddlebreds (really, Saddlebreds are tough as nails and gutsy horses) so it sounds like an end of the season/he's really in shape would be a good time to cap with them to see if we'd fit in.
Hunter's Rest post is quite apt, although you don't need a full TB -- you can make do with a high-blooded WB or light WB/TB (our Dutch WB/TBs and full Trakehners have had no problem keeping up when we are out with Piedmont for 4-5 hours, jumping more fences than I can keep count of). But a light horse is necessary, unless you want to go in after only an hour or two, as the majority of the draft-x's just can't keep up with the pace, and become dangerous jumping when so tired.
And, as a new member, expect to pay around $10k for the initiation fee + membership fee.
If you want to get a feel for them, you can cap with them up to four times. It is $200/cap, and you can apply that money towards your membership if you choose to join.
They are a good group of people, with nice open territory, which is very traditional VA-territory due to the amount of easements that have been enacted by large landowners. The fields are quite large, usually, and there is a lot of testosterone -- i.e., you find more men hunting with Piedmont than you typically do with many of the other local hunts, which I believe is due to the fact that it is such an adrenaline-rush to be out with them. Also, there are a lot of jump-racing TBs and jockeys that come out to get qualified for the point-to-point season.
Hmm, HR, I have hunted aside with Piedmont several times... maybe I am ready to do a 4* aside! LOL