Interested in Becoming Involved in Hunting near Charlotte, NC!
I'm new to the forum and am interested in becoming involved in fox hunting. What would be the best way to go about getting involved?
I am married, mid-twenties, and am located just south of Charlotte, NC in Fort Mill, SC. I've ridden for 15+ years primarily dressage and hunter under saddle. I did take jumping lessons in high school as well as rode for a couple years on my college's collegiate team. Therefore, I do feel like skill wise I am capable of riding hill toppers or second flight.
However, I am without a suitable hunter horse at the moment and probably will be for the next 2-3 years. I do own a few horses I'm just not sure if they are cut for hunting.
My show horse that is an Arabian does sport horse in hand, sport horse under saddle, and dressage but isn't really cut out for jumping and has never enjoyed trail rides. The other is a semi-retired Arabian, who is in his early 20's, that would have probably loved hunting but I'm worried at this point he might be a little old for it. Finally, there is a retired TWH that isn't an option at all.
Therefore, even though I won't be able to participate by riding in the field is there other ways I can make myself useful? I'd like to be able to be more involved with the horse community outside of showing especially since my horses are at my house and not boarded somewhere else.
If so, does anyone have any recommendations for hunts in my area? Preferably with moderately priced membership fees as my husband and I are on a budget. Also, if you have a recommendation for a hunt can you include the best person to contact I assume it will be the Secretary of the club.
Sorry this has gotten so long or if I have some of the terminology wrong but I really look forward to hearing back!
You might get more response here if you edit your title to indicate the geographic location, but you'll get the most/best feedback by contacting your local clubs directly.
Something to consider is joining as a social member for season or two and volunteering within the club. There are a lot of moving parts in hunting: from learning how to actually hunt, to helping with hound exercise and training, to taking care of the fixtures, and meeting all the members and attending the many social events. Social membership is a lot cheaper than fully subscribing, while still getting you invited to everything and providing the opportunity to cap in a few hunts. If you're a competent rider, you can generally network your way into a mount--at minimum for hound exercise and trail rides. Hunt clubs also run on volunteers, so it's a great way to meet people, do interesting things, and learn about the sport to see if it's something you want to do.
There are a couple of threads on here that have described others first experiences with hunting, including mine
I strongly recommend a visit to Hunter's Rest (www.huntersrest.net) to try out hunting. She has made hunt horses that will allow you to see and experience hunting form the saddle, with the guidance of her years of experience. She's in Virginia, in the heart of VA hunt country. You'll have a wonderful experience, even if you don't get to see a fox. Staying there to ride and hunt is a bit like going to grown-ups fox hunting camp
OK, end of gushing review...
As WildBlue says, check out the map on the MFHA web site for hunts nearest you. There may be someone closer who can provide you with that experience. And you can find out about car following. Or contact the master of the hunt nearest you to inquire about a day that would be best for a first time visit, and perhaps get the opportunity to introduce yourself to members at the breakfast.
Many hunts have introductory clinics as well, usually in the fall.
Best of luck to you! It's a wonderful experience, unlike anything else on horseback.
Thanks for the replies and I will definitely check into both websites!
At the bare minimum I'd love to volunteer and help where needed but I agree I think a social membership would probably be most appropriate at this point. Although, if I ended up being able to cap in some that would fantastic too
I'll look into hunts near me and again if anyone has any feedback on ones near me I'd love to hear it.
The Great White North, where we get taxed out the wazoo
I was down that way last month- you might get in touch with either the Green Creek Foxhounds or the Tryon Hunt. Both in the tryon area so not super far away. I was only out with the Green Creek but it was a beautiful area and extremely nice and welcoming folks.
I agree social membership is a good way to get involved- and that typically includes the ability to cap with the hunt (still paying the capping fee). And any and all help you might wish to volunteer would be very much appreciated. I've been at any number of hunts where many of the 'stalwarts' were social members who rode rarely to never, but were still enthusiastic supporters, serving stirrup cups at the meet, car following, helping with hunt balls, hunt breakfasts and such, helping with hounds including walking puppies, etc. And you can enjoy quite a bit of hunting by car following.