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Second Season! After a really abreviated first season

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  • #21
    Congrats, it sounds like you are on the right track with your horse and hunting. If the Master or someone else, offers to let you ride up beside them maybe go ahead and give it a try to see if he will stop jigging. It would be a reward to your horse for a job well done. OTOH, my lil mare will often jig going in, especially this time of year when our hunts tend to be shorter and she still has some miles left to use.

    I use 1/2cc to 3/4cc of ace for my 18 year old mare who is starting her 4th season of hunting. I decided during one hound exercise this fall to not ace her thinking "she's older, has more miles, let's see how it goes." Ha, ha, ha, we didn't get 100 yards out of the kennel yard before she was doing her interpretation of a Levade. There was no one from Publishers Clearing House following me saying "You will win $1000 a day for life if you just ride through this spaz" so I headed back in. I let her chill for 10 minutes then headed back out, same song, different verse. I'm gobsmocked that such a small amount given 40 minutes before we hunt makes all the difference in the world.

    Happy Hunting!


    • Original Poster

      So, y’all I got married! And it was fun but with wedding planning and a honeymoon my riding was curtailed.

      So 2 weeks ago I had a lesson-bobcat, tractor, 4 wheeler all buzzing. Horse was wound up-as in 20 min to get his wraps off. I was tacking up at the trailer. But once I was on he was good. Same thing next week-except he was less wound up and there weren’t as many distractions. So tomorrow I’m taking him out cub hunting.

      I hope he will be good! I’ll ace him but of course fooled around and didn’t get the earplugs. I may try to finegale his ear bonnet this evening. I saw some expensive gear bonnets with polypropoline (sp) liner.

      wWords of advice and encouragement appreciated!!!



      • #23
        I would not suppress my horses hearing for hunting, and I wouldn't encourage anyone else to do so. I think horses need to hear what's going on around them while out hunting, especially they need to know if a hound is coming up behind them. If they are surprised, THAT'S when they are likely to kick. I wouldn't recommend that, but then again, the hounds are the most important part of hunting for me.
        One thing you can give and still keep is your word.


        • #24
          Congrats on the marriage! May it be long and happy.

          Sounds like things are going well! I don't have xany helpful feedback to offer, as you seem to be on a good track.

          I've enjoyed reading (rereading) this thread. I only hunted once last season (our first). She was perfect for about two hours, then cantered sideways at walking speed for the last 30 or 40 min when we walked back. She hadn't sweat for the first two hours, despite some decent little gallops and forwards trots (she's a magically fit mare). But then she drenched herself in that last half hour. Interested (whenever I get around to hunting again) to try asking her for more (moving her shoulders/hunches, etc) to see if I can get her back with me at the end when it gets slow again. Winnie's motto is already "walking is for chumps" even in dressage.


          • Original Poster

            Good idea MegBackInSaddle! And I'd say that is a big ol' win for you. Thank you for the congrats!

            I reread all these too-good advice and inspiration. Y'all they had to cancel the hunt because of a down pour! Then last weekend was Opening Hunt-as last year they have it in a very tight place-lots of trees, no place to take a baby to the edge of the group and do some circles (basically it's a peninsula into the river. So I didn't do that and I am glad.

            SO, apparently there are going to be few 3rd flights. One of the folk I talked to said 2nd was faster than it had been.

            Last year I thought I wanted to do 3rd for at least 1/2 a season if not the whole season-didn't work out. This year I thought maybe just two or three 3rd flights, and so far that's not worked out. I really do hesitate to throw him in 2nd-especially if they really do haul ass. I'm trying to wait for just one 3rd? Sigh. I dont' know.

            I feel like I'm spinning my wheels, waiting for stuff to be like it was (3rd flight every hunt, or at least most hunts) and it's not gonna happen.

            So, any of y'all start a horse in 2nd flight? How was it? What if they were wound up, did the extra speed seem to make it worse?

            What are your thoughts?

            I like bringing them along slowly, but it looks like it's not an option.

            Thanks for any advice!



            • #26
              I would check with the hunt secretary or one of the masters to see what your options might be. Sometimes there is an individual in the hunt who takes a slower pace and goes in early that might take on someone to nanny. If you ask, there may be someone that would be willing to take a slow 2nd or true 3rd flight, they just haven't because all of the others have graduated to a faster go.


              • #27
                My hunt doesn't have a third and second is faster than first...after all they have to go around. The speed... Yes it will rile them up, but it doesn't take a smart horse long to start watching the horses in front and decelerating on their own. They figure out the rules. The downside to second here is that there aren't too many folks who stay in second for good so it is half green and naughty horses with a few matriarchs at the front.

                I would skip the ear plugs. Have never seen them in the field and being startled by a hound coming from behind would be much worse if they couldnt hear it. I also count on my horse to point the way if I fall behind for any reason. His hearing is much better than mine.
                Equestrian and Sporting Oil Paintings
                Roxy 2001 APHA, Al Amir 2005 OTTB,
                Ten Purposes 2009 OTTB


                • #28
                  Ditto what Jawa offered, visit with the Hunt Secretary and see if there is a member who would buddy up with you for half a dozen hunts this season. From there, follow your gut, no sense in you or your horse being over faced which is different from pushing yourself a little bit once all the cards are in place.


                  • #29
                    KateDB--politely disagreeing with you on ear plugs. I use them every hunt --with vision that is nearly 360, William (my hunt horse) can easily see hounds coming up behind him --and he doesn't kick any way --or shall I say, never has. The ear plugs, I think, give him focus. His background was rodeo --he was a bull rider pick up horse, and a steer wrestling horse, and bronc riding pick up horse ---and a little successful in the cutting/sorting competitions. Those venues can be very, very loud. When I bought Will at an auction (ranch horse, not going-to-slaughter type auction), I was given every opportunity to try him out (7 day guarantee return for any reason). He was rock solid. But when we started "real" hunting in the fall of the first year I had him (bought him after hunt season) --he seemed agitated at the hunt --completely unlike him at any other venue (trail rides, mounted archery competitions) riding around the farm. I was in contact with his previous owner (you can find anyone on the www --and I had his coggins papers) --Joe told me about all the things Will had done in the 7 years he'd had him --when I asked why I was seeing a different horse on the hunt field, Joe said, "Did you put his ear plugs in?" Well, no, because I didn't know he wore them! I got a set from Amazon (sponge connected by a string that I braid into his forelock) and went hunting. Different horse. Good solid hilltopper his first year, second flight his second year, and this year he's rocking first flight. I think by next year we'll be riding the Master's Pocket --

                    Will can still hear ---he can hear me open the treat can in the trailer and rustle a bag to get an apple. What I don't think he can hear are the "high tones" ---but it also may be that in his pea-brain --earplugs = work ---a learned response. I've notice that in archery competitions he can be a little "frisky" --but the second I pick up my bow, he's all business.

                    And I know ear plugs must have an effect on a horse, because they are banned in some competitions (like dressage, I think). Easy enough to try ---and FYI --I personally wouldn't ride, let alone, hunt a horse that has to be ACEd ---each to their own.


                    • #30
                      Our one and only hunt really only had one field. It's a smallish club, and I went on a weekday hunt. As I mentioned above, the stopping and going, including some galloping, cantering,and trotting, was all fine. It was the relaxed walk at the end that gave us trouble.

                      I could've pretty easily predicted that. My girl is super relaxed XC, willing, eager, but incredibly responsive and soft. She can also stand all day long. But walking is our biggest challenge. She's not a super relaxed mare in general (OTTB, not spooky but sees EVERYTHING and is never *not* ready). And she likes to work.

                      I think it really depends on your horse. Speed does rile mine up, nor does waiting at a gate for our turn to go. But walking slowly in a group while others canter around, *after* we'd been rocking around for a while at speed? Definitely a challenge.


                      • Original Poster

                        Well Y'all,

                        There's a 3rd flight this Saturday and barring some weirdness-always a possibility-I'm going. I appreciate all your good advice. Actually there's a 3rd today but I have to work. Then there's one Christmas Eve and I plan to go that day. After that, we will see. I hope he will be happy and calm enough that I will feel ok about 2nd flight and there we will go.

                        I really miss hunting!

                        I don't think there will be a lot of 3rd flights-one of our masters doesn't like them. So I would love to move on to 2nd so I can hunt more.

                        I had a lesson Sunday and he was really good. The instructor was adamant that he was ready. So everyone cross most of your appendages on Saturday around 9 and I will let you know how it goes.

                        Best regards,


                        • #32
                          I think your one master is VERY short sighted in the not liking 3rd flight! It is a great way to introduce new horses, new fox hunters and youth. AND it can be a great way to keep people hunting in their dotage.

                          Most weekends we will have a 3rd flight. Holidays and High Holy Days their is a 3rd flight. If you call ahead of time, many times a 3rd flight can be arranged.

                          We need as many people out hunting as possible to continue the sport and it's traditions.


                          • Original Poster

                            Jawa, I agree 100% re: 3rd flight. That way you can have a fast 2nd flight and an ovaries to the wall 1st flight. And yet have a good place for all the folk you mention.

                            Also I don’t really see the downside of a 3rd since there are people who like to lead it and are good at it-stay out of hounds/huntsman’s way etc. But the Masters are the Masters-I really do wish this one would be out voted tho 😁.


                            • #34
                              Hope you got to hunt today and can share how it went.

                              For a club to remain viable, the smart clubs will provide what the dues paying members want. Years ago at our hunt the third field was for total newbies or green bean horses. Now days it's often the largest field, filled with "full riding" dues paying members that are new and long timers. As a Field Master for that group I access who is gathered that day and that determines the pace. If we have good footing, confident riders who just don't want to jump we are on the heels of second field. Otherwise, we stay on high ground and often parallel whips out to the side.

                              For myself, few things tick me off more that seeing someone jump a horse who doesn't have enough lessons under their belt to do it mostly correct. The saintly horse pays the price getting whacked in the mouth or having the rider fall back hard on the horses back.


                              • Original Poster

                                Well Y'all,

                                I went! And it was good. I am calling it a success-and I really am pleased, though of course there are things that I hope will correct.

                                First, and foremost he did not throw his Mama off! One big yay for that. I did ace him-1cc. He was still wound up at the beginning, but behaved. We trotted off-last of course in 3rd. I kept him in the back, with thank God a nice person on a total steady Eddie. He was good after watching 1 and 2 going off. So mostly we jigged at others walk and cantered at their trot. When everyone did canter he was still good. Stayed behind where I asked him to-away from the back end of other horses. A couple of times he walked. A couple of times he stood at a check. Mostly he jigged and we did trot circles-he didn't want to do a walk circle-mostly.

                                Super positive-could not have cared less about hounds popping out where ever and however they shot onto the field road or ran up behind us in the woods. Saw the pony and pony cart that he memorably saw last season on his very first hunt-didn't care. I don't know if he's seen cows before but when the stupid things saw us and ran along side (3 of em) and then ran up to the fence after we had thank God gotten through but had to stand around and wait for a whipper in to let them through the gate-again meh. He looked at them but that was it. Several other horses got wound up but he didn't care about that either.

                                We were out for 3 hours and about 30 min and I could tell he had had enough. We were hunting a roundabout way home. Lots of putting hounds in and waiting. We had to do the trot circles there in the back. We came to a fork and one way lead back to the trailers-my sweet friend on the steady Eddie asked if I wanted to go back? Yes! He turned away from the group with no issue-actually in front of the steady Eddie. He jigged for about a mile and then settled down to a forward, nice walk back to the trailer.

                                He was still wound up a bit at the trailer. And when we got home-about a 10 min drive-he was wound up there. Looked all around, trotted about. But seemed to settle down after about 15 min and eat his hay. I left him and the retired guy outside to walk around-they can go in the barn aisle at will and they had hay.

                                I plan to go back tomorrow.

                                Thank you all for the opinions and help!!


                                Oh and PS I enjoyed myself! Several times I looked around at the lovely countryside and I was on my cute little horse and I quit worrying (also using yoga to stay in the moment) and had fun :-)


                                • Original Poster

                                  Oh and SLW, a good 3rd flight field master is a beautiful thing! A fun group, skilled at predicting where the quarry will go. Lots of folk want to do just that, and I think that's great!


                                  • #37
                                    I loved reading your update and success!! Very happy that some things are really starting to come together for you and your horses and that you had fun!


                                    • Original Poster

                                      Well, more update-I went back Christmas Eve-and had another success! He was wound up. The flight was a bit different-there was another baby out on his first hunt. We didn't have our good old pilot horse and kind fellow hunter. I think the slow (even slower than Sat) pace at first was a bit difficult. As in we walked for most of the day with a bit of trot. We had seven in our group, 1st and 2nd combined had 3. (So yeah, 3rd is a good thing!!!!) Anyway, he handled it! By the end of the day we had some walking. We had some standing at checks! Coming in, he walked the last say 1/4 mile with intermittent walking before. Still good about the rest of the stuff. I thought he was looking at the pony cart but realized he was looking around to spot the whippers-in to be sure they weren't racing up behind him. He ignored the cart. He was literally dripping sweat when we got back. It was hot but I think that was nerves. He was better to untack and better when we got home-as in calmer.

                                      I am soooo pleased!!!

                                      BUT we are hunting Sunday, and there is no 3rd. I messaged my friend with the good old pilot horse and she is willing to go slow with me. It will probably be a bit harder with only one other horse but I hope we could do it. Now I need to ask the masters if that is acceptable. Cross your fingers!!! I really want to build on the success but I also feel adding speed would be detrimental.

                                      So here's hoping we can have a mini-3rd and that he will be ok with one other horse in the group.

                                      Thank you all so much for the encouragement-it sooooo helps!!!