How much work do you think a hunter needs during the season?
I have a new horse (super horse, had him 2mths now) and a new job. The new job means that I can only get out to ride 3 days during the week (usually 45-50min, sometimes an hour), then Sat, hunt Sun. Fortunately the horse is a good sort and this seems plenty of work to keep his head in the game. However, the last two weeks the rides have dropped way back due to weather, lack of daylight and work. I noticed at the last hunt that he seemed to have lost a bit of fitness – the previous hunt was cancelled, and he’d been ridden a grand total of 6 times in two weeks. The rides I did get in were shorter and more in the way of schooling or a walk out than fitness/hill work as he has a few contact issues I was trying to work through.
Now he wasn’t a lathered mess or anything, he didn’t feel tired (I was tired well before he was), he jumped great, I just noticed his recovery wasn’t quite as quick. It was reasonably steep country for the hunt (lots of the early in the season hunts are on virtually flat – rolling land). I tend to ride close to the front for a run (which generally aren’t that long), then drop back for a while, then move up again, so we’re not going h*ll-for-leather for hours.
My question is – should I pay to have him ridden one day a week? Rider is great, I’m just wondering if it’s money I should be spending or can I get away with it? There are only 5 more weeks of hunting, but the weather is getting worse and daylight is virtually non-existent. While I know that I should ride in the rain it is extremely hard to be motivated when it’s still dark (I ride before work). It would relieve a bit of stress for me – worrying that I’m not doing enough.
Incidentally my new horse is awesome, aside from being mostly white
Our horses hunt twice a week, and apart from that, don't get ridden at all. If for any reason a hunt is cancelled I will ride one, lead one during that week in lieu of their hunt.
I do try to make sure the horses hunt reasonably hard each day though.
I hunt 1-2 times a week. Current hunter is very hot to ride out hunting but getting better. He in general keeps his level of fitness well as is turned out 24/7.
He gets a half hour walk the day after hunting then the next day or two off. Then will get a flat school to re establish control the day before the next hunt if hunting twice that week. If only hunting once he will also get a forward ride over country or possibly a jump school in order to replace the missing hunt.
Are there any young'uns where you board that you'd trust with him? A lot of those kids would happily work him for free, and some are quite good riders to boot. I'm working one right now once a week (also for free) to keep him fit, but my fitness benefits as well so it's a win-win.