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Newbie invited roading: what to expect?

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  • Newbie invited roading: what to expect?

    Hi folks -- our hunting barnmate has been trying to convert mr. asterix for a year now, and seems to have finally convinced him to dip a toe in via roading next weekend. Mr. asterix was very fixated on the lack of a dress code for this event since as a strictly recreational trail rider he doesn't own, or wish to own, "fancy" clothes to ride in...

    so he forgot to ask some other pertinent questions...

    what can we expect in terms of speed and distance/time out?

    One of our two horses is coming back into work now, and while he'd be fine with 1-2 hours at a moderate clip with walk breaks, he is NOT ready for 4 hours out, at any speed.

    I'd love to bring both horses but only if it's reasonable for the less fit one....


    Both horses are eventers, the older/less fit one has been out hunting before I bought him (so presumably will not have a meltdown about the hounds, and is generally EXTREMELY sensible and well-mannered), and the younger one was started by a foxhunter who seems to have made him entirely dog and horse proof, as best I can tell (this guy regularly supplies his hunt with young horses so knew what he was about).

    The big man -- my lost prince

    The little brother, now my main man

  • #2
    Go. Have Fun!

    Roading is slower and easier than cubhunting, which is easier than formal hunting. There is a progression of fitness.

    Roading is just getting the hounds out for a walk-about, occasionally a trot-about on the back roads without the actual hunting. It is for a short time, which changes as the hounds gain fitness.
    The hound puppies are coupled with collars to the old steady hounds. The puppies think everything is soo exciting. The old hounds make the puppies pay attention to the rules and the huntsman. The puppies complain and may try to lay down in protest. The old hounds tell them to get over it, and keep going.. The puppies get up and start learning. Occasionally, the pack may tangent off into the bushes, and the whips have to bring them back to the huntsman.

    The lucky few who are invited to road, get to be close to the hounds and have more opportunity to learn the personalities of each hound. One gets to learn more about the sport and what is really going on in front of you. The puppies are really funny, and the old hounds roll their eyes at the youngsters.. Then every once in a while, a fox will take advantage of the situation for tormenting the pack. There is a well developed sense of humor in foxes..

    All in all, it is a great experience, and the food afterwards is great! You and Mr.Asterix will have a great time. Maybe, then you will try cubbing, and you will join us in the fun.

    Please let me know when you want to come down to our hunt. We would love to have you!
    Intermediate Riding Skills


    • Original Poster

      Thank you!!!
      Sounds eminently doable from both a horse and rider point of view, and I see our friend's evil plan in getting mr. asterix intrigued by the workings of the sport.

      Once he's hooked, who knows! I suspect both horses will love it.
      The big man -- my lost prince

      The little brother, now my main man


      • #4
        From a real newbie...

        Hey Asterix,

        Here's the cheat sheet, from someone infinitely less experienced/serious than Whicker (Flamesuit on as I offend serious foxhunters ()

        1) Roading is like trailriding, but more fun, and with a bunch of hounds. Sometimes only walk-trot, even. No need for concern(although I do know the MFH in question, so perhaps scratch that...)

        2) Roading is informal, designed to acclimate newbies of all species--hounds, horses, and humans. Impeccable behavior is not expected on the part of any of these--that's why they're roading. Completely out of control behavior and/or inappropriate dress is of course discouraged, but not completely unknown, and in the case of polite, gracious, committed horsepeople such as you and Mr. Asterix, even that would probably be greeted with a tolerant smile.

        In any event, both your horses and your husband ( however attired), are well within the bounds of accepted behavior--you should have absolutely no worries on that score.

        3) The hunt I think you're talking about is one of the most open, least formal around. Known for friendly folks and abundant adult beverages.

        4) It's always ( i think) acceptable not to stay out the whole time, and plenty of people turn back early, even in regular hunting season ( rider is cold and miserable; horse isn't behaving, horse is tired, etc.) . No worries here either.

        You will have a blast, and Mr. Asterix will love it--all these adrenaline junkies do. Keep me posted!

        PM or email me --


        • #5
          #2 doesn't apply to all hunts. Just want to clarify that some hunts really don't want inexperienced horses out roading who might kick hounds or otherwise interfere with training and prefer that people train their horses to hunt somewhere else. Depends on the hunt.


          • #6
            You also should check with the secretary at the hunt for what to expect. I know a couple of huntsmen that if the hounds leave the kennels then they are hunting. They may call it roading but its hunting.
            A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it.


            • #7
              Remember hunts vary

              But this time of year due to the heat, roading is pretty informal. Make sure you have proper footwear and a helmet and aren't sloppy looking. Breeches and a nice polo will be fine.

              As always though, there is quite a variance from hunt to hunt with some hunts being more formal than others. Be sure to ask a member or call the secretary to be sure.
              -Painted Wings

              Set youself apart from the crowd, ride a paint horse, you're sure to be spotted


              • #8
                Yes, definitely check in with the hunt secretary. Ask about attire as well--- given the delightful weather in August in DC, I wouldn't think anything "fancy" would be required--lot of hunts in warm weather climes don't require jackets even for cubbing before September. As a non-member, I usually dress for roading as I would for a clinic--collared polo, tall boots, reasonably decent but non-fancy schooling britches--but I've seen plenty worse.

                Also, if the weather there is its typical heat/humidity combo, no one will be moving too fast or staying out too long.


                • #9
                  Asterix, would you be going out with your neighboring hunt, the one who hunts Waredaca? If so, they are a great group, fairly casual and so not worked up about attire and such.

                  We are your next-up-the-road hunt, in Frederick County. For our roading, which takes place from our kennel, we mostly walk and trot the first week. In our second week or so, there could be a bit of cantering AND some standing around, as we tend to work on casting hounds and gathering them up.

                  Our attire is simply neat, relatively clean, and tidy. We wear half chaps or boots, breeches, polos, helmets.
                  And of course, folks bring a snack and beverage! Nothing like downing a (1!)beer at 9am on a hot August Sunday!

                  Mr. Asterix will love it! It's so great to have men out and involved! YAY!
                  One thing you can give and still keep is your word.


                  • Original Poster

                    Kate, that's the hunt indeed -- and as patterson noted, I know they have a rep for being both good fun and fairly fearless once they are actually hunting.

                    Now I have to convince mr. Asterix that it is worth getting up really early on a Sat for this -- he is not ready for hunting at full speed, but has a guy's disdain for anything sedate -- leaves a fairly narrow window between "boring" and "you crazy horse women are out of control"

                    I think he'd find it fascinating.

                    If I manage to get him out the door I'll let you all know!
                    The big man -- my lost prince

                    The little brother, now my main man


                    • #11
                      Please tell Mr Asterix that Mr KateDB had never touched a horse before April 2007, attended his first hunt November 2007 and now hunts full time, leading second field on occasion.
                      He TOTALLY finds it worth it to get out of bed, and is completely hooked!
                      If Mr. Asterix isn't careful, he could also be like Mr. KateDB and now be on the hunt committee, do workdays, show hounds, etc.etc. AND your huntsman (who is also our huntsman) is VERY persuasive!
                      I really hope he comes out...I'll bet he won't regret it!!!
                      One thing you can give and still keep is your word.


                      • #12
                        Our roading was done on foot or bicycles.
                        ... _. ._ .._. .._


                        • Original Poster

                          Kate, I showed him your post and he laughed out loud...but he has declared Saturday "working on the boat" day (we own a tiny, decrepit sailboat that is not really functional right now)...next weekend is Waredaca HT, where I will compete and he will run SJ warmup as per usual....
                          but perhaps the following weekend!!!
                          The big man -- my lost prince

                          The little brother, now my main man


                          • #14
                            Well, this is easily overcome....Come up to us on Sunday to road, instead!

                            (I'll be coaching at Waredaca on that Sunday and will make a point of working on Mr. Asterix!)
                            One thing you can give and still keep is your word.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by KateDB View Post
                              Well, this is easily overcome....Come up to us on Sunday to road, instead!

                              (I'll be coaching at Waredaca on that Sunday and will make a point of working on Mr. Asterix!)
                              Yes! Come out! This Sunday is Vernon's big debute with the hounds. I am sooo excited. Mr. Asterix will love it...and that huntsman is a hoot!


                              • #16
                                One thing I don't think anyone mentioned is to find out (or maybe you already know) where roading will occur. Some hunts actually trot up and down the road, in which case you would need some traction on your shoes, or a good shoulder to stay on. The shoulder of the road is not always great because of high grass and debris (bottles etc).

                                Our roading is done in tracks cut around fields, we don't actually go on the road. Walk/trot from 30 minutes working our way up to a longer time (hour+) as hounds get more fit.

                                Or maybe this is old news and you've already gone!! Have fun.
                                Cheryl Microutsicos, in the heart of Virginia


                                • #17
                                  As promised, I introduced myself to Mr. A. What a nice fellow and boy, does he run the warm up VERY well!
                                  Invitation stands for y'all to come up.
                                  We road Thursday 6.30pm and Sunday 8am, but only for another week, as our Opening Cub is August 28th! Any questions, PM me (though i am not great about checking, I'll make a point to do so, but there are also several Waredaca folks who can point you in my direction, too!)!
                                  One thing you can give and still keep is your word.


                                  • Original Poster

                                    Hi Kate! Yes, he loves running warmup and is very good at it. I was announcing in the hut when we saw a rider headed over without a helmet...stadium judge said, oh, we have to flag her down... I said, nope, no need, mr. Asterix will stop her in her tracks....

                                    Sadly we can't take you up on your kind offer -- I wiped out last Wednesday (freak accident, horse stepped on slippery footing) and knocked myself out, so can't ride for 2 weeks...plus we are in Maine this weekend...

                                    But I think we are going to see if we can go cubbing.

                                    I am also going to make sure my younger horse gets out hunting properly this season (probably not with me as I am a newbie too). He needs to either decide he does, too, like show jumping, or have a new job, and I figure hunting might hit both those paths.

                                    He loves jumping natural fences, is very calm in a group and with dogs, and is a gorgeous big sound boy with perfect manners under saddle and on the ground....
                                    The big man -- my lost prince

                                    The little brother, now my main man


                                    • #19
                                      Jingles for you! Hoping your 2 weeks goes quickly and without further incident!


                                      • #20
                                        Hope you are recovering well, and can enjoy your vacation!
                                        Not to worry, y'all will just have to come cubbing, then.
                                        There are plenty of folks around who would be appropriate to take your younger horse out, if you aren't feeling up to it! But sounds like he might enjoy that job!
                                        One thing you can give and still keep is your word.