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MD Riders- Potomac? Plus other questions from a novice!

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  • MD Riders- Potomac? Plus other questions from a novice!

    Has anyone hunted with them at, I believe, their kennels location? Dickerson, MD I think. I'm going to their foxchasing clinic this Saturday with my TB, luckily it's casual attire, and hoping to have a great and educational time! I've never done this before, but have been DYING to try hunting out, and this seems like a fantastic opportunity. Plus, my TB shouldn't be so frisky since it isn't bitter cold out.

    So my first question, has anyone been to this hunt? I want to know what to expect in terms of the terrain and obstacles. I'm sure my TB will be okay, since he'll be with others and more likely to be brave, but it's nice to know ahead!

    Second, I'm trying to figure out whether I should do the jumping group (fences no higher than 3'3") or the flat one (trot/canter only). We've only done limited obstacles out cross country and I've only had him do 3' in the ring. Granted, he's super athletic and always overjumps them by a foot or so with LOTS of power... https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?p...&id=1050633285 I just don't know if the hunt will have this kind of thing again and I want to take full advantage of it so I can hopefully go hunting this winter. It's more me than him, so I'm sure he'd go right through in a pack, but what do you guys recommend? If I go in the jump group and don't think we can handle a jump, or he refuses, can we go around? What kinds of fences do you see out on the hunt field? Just split rail fences and logs mostly at that height?

    Next! My TB is good with dogs, has never made weird eyes or offered to kick any of mine or the farm's nutty dogs that run around, but has anyone ever had a horse kick at the hounds? I know that's a big no-no, but horses are unpredictable- what are the chances of this happening?

    And last (I think), what should I wear in the awful heat for casual attire? Can my horse wear his boots and a square white pad? Should I wear boots, breeches, and a polo shirt?

    Thank you guys so much! Pictures of typical fences our height would be fantastic! I wish I could go see first what the fences look like, but when they're having the walk through and talk through the fields the evening before, I'll still be at the FEH competition.
    Last edited by Crown Royal; Jul. 10, 2011, 08:17 PM.

  • #2
    I think I went to the version of that clinic a couple of years ago, but I was taking a young horse in the non-jumping group so can't tell you about obstacles.

    If you wear boots breeches and a polo shirt you'll definitely blend in. Staff will likely be in red polos so pick any other color.

    Fox hunters don't tend to wear square white pads, so if you want to blend in, see if you have one in a muted color. On the other hand, looking like a visitor might encourage people to introduce themselves, so there's no need to blend in too much

    If your horse does wear boots, somebody will probably explain to you why few hunters wear boots but those reasons don't really apply to a clinic mini hunt so wear whatever makes you comfortable.

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    • #3
      Well, I think I first hunted with Potomac in 1977 or 78. Nice bunch of people and great huntsman in Larry Pitts with a lovely pack of hounds.

      I'll give you a short answer- I'd recommend going with the flat group and worrying about jumps much later. Far more important is your horse's ability to handle the terrain and the group dynamic. The jumping's the easy part and you can worry about that later. Plus, no, if you're going with the jumping group, you likely don't have the option of going around, nor would you want to as preparation for 'real' hunting. And you want to set your horse up for success, not failure- throwing everything at even the best horse at once is fraught with peril.

      It's good that your horse is familiar with dogs- but again when introduced to the pack he may have a bit more of a reaction to 30 or so hounds. If you have the opportunity to go on hound exercise with Potomac or another Maryland hunt, that would be a good way to introduce the horse to that aspect.

      As for what to wear, well, what's the dress code for the event? If it is casual, then wear what you are comfortable in. Whatever tack, pads, etc that your horse is used to, use it- one caveat being that 'bitting up' is often prudent for a day of hunting- but you want to try the horse in the bit before you actually hunt in it.

      As for boots on your horse- I've never had a need to put boots on a horse for hunting, obviously if there is a need, do so, but be aware that if mud, debris, etc gets in those boots it can cause a heckuva lot more damage than if the horse just dinged himself minorly going bootless. Especially true for a several hour day of hunting, and Larry is not one to come in early!

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      • Original Poster

        #4
        Thank you everyone! The more advice the better! He doesn't need boots, I just have some that I like to put on him for schooling. So it would probably be better without? That would make sense, since we could end up going through water and stuff that could make it uncomfortable! My close friend is going with me now (she hunts ALOT) and said she thinks Lexus will be fine in the first flight group for the mock hunt- her horse is very brave and they'll be together for a while beforehand to get acquainted. I know if he has a buddy he'll be MUCH more confident and stick to their side. So do horses typically have any issues with the fences? Beverly- you said the fences are the easy part? When he has something to focus on and a job to do, he's better and easier to deal with...so I'm hoping that the jumps will get his attention. I saw a couple pictures and they were little little coops. I also found the email address given for questions and emailed about the types of fences.

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        • #5
          Well, you know your horse better than I do and if your experienced friend who also knows your horse better than I do says go first flight, then kick on!

          Yes, it's true tb's might generally do better if they have something to focus on- but moving at speed over uneven terrain gives them plenty to focus on. For jumping in the hunt field, the issue is, can your tb patiently (more or less) wait his turn if there are 10, 15, 20 riders ahead. But again, if your experienced friend is there to keep you company that's a plus.

          I say the fences are the easy part because well, they are- if your horse can jump, it can jump. Which is why it's pretty standard to start young horses in the nonjumping fields to work them into the game. But in the hunting setting, again, it's the up and down hills, bobbing and weaving at speed through woods, with a whole bunch of other horses, stopping and standing for a while when hounds lose the trail, etc- those are what you and your horse spend far more time doing than jumping. In other words- if your horse jumps just fine but can't handle the crowds or the terrain or something else about hunting, well, you'll be miserable 99% of the time!

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          • #6
            I was a member at Potomac back in the late 90s. Nice hunting fixtures, good group of people, Larry is a gem. I assume the clinic is at the kennels? Pretty hilly terrain, coops are decent size but inviting and not in trappy conditions. I lived hacking distance from the kennels back then and rode out across territory on a regular basis. Great place to school a horse.

            Have fun!
            Life would be infinitely better if pinatas suddenly appeared throughout the day.

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