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Spinoff--hunt trail rides and proper etiquette

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  • Spinoff--hunt trail rides and proper etiquette

    Last summer and early fall I took advantage of the local hunt trail rides (which took place six days a week!) and really enjoyed myself. My young horse learned how to cope with a crowd, as well as how to behave around hounds. I also got to meet many of the landowners and hunt members. My BO assured me I was welcome to ride out with them as much as I wanted to, and that anyone was welcome to participate in the trail rides until cubbing began.

    Although I know I would have enjoyed cubbing and hunting regularly, with the event season and my busy work schedule I only managed to cap a couple of times last season. So, once the trail rides ceased, I pretty much dropped out of the picture.

    Recently one of my fellow boarders, who is a hunt member and etiquette maven, told me that I really should join on some level or at least contribute some funds to the hunt if I want to do the trail rides again this summer.

    Is that something I should consider? I wouldn't hesitate to do it if I thought I'd be hunting more regularly, but in all honesty I think I'm going to be concentrating on eventing again this season. Still, I would love to again take advantage of the daily opportunity to get some good hacking in with hounds.

    I'd really like to do the right thing here, so any advice would be greatly appreciated!

  • #2
    Are these trail rides 'free' hunt-organized activities, or do they charge a fee for nonmembers? If the former, then yes, even though you were told you were welcome to come any time, it would be friendly to make some small contribution to help feed the hounds as a thank you for being welcome at the trail rides. If the latter, then you are paying as you go for the benefit of the hunt and no additional donation would be warranted in my opinion- although donations to a hunt are always welcome!

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Originally posted by Beverley View Post
      Are these trail rides 'free' hunt-organized activities, or do they charge a fee for nonmembers? If the former, then yes, even though you were told you were welcome to come any time, it would be friendly to make some small contribution to help feed the hounds as a thank you for being welcome at the trail rides. If the latter, then you are paying as you go for the benefit of the hunt and no additional donation would be warranted in my opinion- although donations to a hunt are always welcome!
      They are free to anyone who wants to come along, no donation or fee required. I will probably just do their lowest-tier membership option so as not to make anyone upset.. Still, if they really do want donations/memberships, it would be great if it were more explicit! Now I feel bad about tagging along all last summer!

      Comment


      • #4
        Your answer may be to sponsor or provide a hunt breakfast during the season as a thankyou. That way you can express your gratitude with no real burden.
        ... _. ._ .._. .._

        Comment


        • #5
          It is always nice to think of the hounds! If you go frequently w/o being a member, I agree with making a small contribution. And if you don't go frequently, take a big box or two of dog biscuits when you do go. I know our huntsman really likes when people contribute those after a hunt.

          Comment


          • #6
            Since they are free seems like giving it a try sans any donation last year was reasonable.

            Perhaps your boarder friend mentioned only this year insofar as "if you are going to join us again, a small donation would be kind."

            Hope you do get back to enjoy the rides!

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Fergs View Post
              They are free to anyone who wants to come along, no donation or fee required. I will probably just do their lowest-tier membership option so as not to make anyone upset.. Still, if they really do want donations/memberships, it would be great if it were more explicit! Now I feel bad about tagging along all last summer!
              Ah, well, sometimes the subtle intricacies of etiquette are...really, really subtle. As a general prospect, hunt trail rides are a relatively new invention, a means of attracting prospective members as well as a means of getting some good group mileage on green horses. So it might be fair to say that the typical 'hunting etiquette' as it applies to such activities hasn't really been worked through yet. But, remembering that it is a 'hunt activity,' and having had your one summer at it (and you shouldn't feel bad about that!), now is the time to decide your level of participation in the coming year. The lowest tier membership option is a good way to show your support- but just showing up at a trail ride with a check made out to the hunt and offering it to help with hound feed would be an equally good show of support. As the opportunity arises, a friendly chat with the Master about how much you are enjoying the trail rides, and the occasional hunting, would be politic...there are several possible ways to play it, but big picture, yes, it would be polite to help feed the hounds in some small way.

              It's kinda like pot luck dinners- sometimes a group has a monthly pot luck, and all are encouraged to attend whether or not they bring a dish, but sooner or later, people notice if you keep showing up to eat and never bring a dish to share.

              Comment


              • #8
                I wouldn't take it as a requirement to join the hunt. I would look at it as an opportunity to do some hunting if you are interested. The trail rides serve several purposes including getting some people interested in hunting. It is also your opportunity to decide if it is something you want to try and is this the group you want to try it with.

                Before I joined my first hunt, I trail rode with a lot of hunts to get a feel for them.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Beverly +1

                  running a hunt is a never ending search for support.
                  support necessary for the feed, the vet and a LONG list of GL#s for expense.
                  FREE hunt activities are never free to the club. those activities with fees hopefully cover their costs.
                  insurance for hunter paces; as an example of costs one might overlook.
                  most "open" activities are an interview with membership [dues] in the back of everyones mind.
                  if you enjoy the hunt activities support the hunt.
                  the "6 day a week" hunt trail rides you describe sound like roading.
                  getting hounds, horses, and riders ready for the beginning of informal hunting [cubbing].
                  [between roading and formal hunting]
                  members are often encouraged to bring prospective members to these "non public" activities.
                  [only non public to the extent it occur off the public road]
                  but the ones posted at the feed store, etc. are the real open activities.
                  some regular support [is there a social membership?] would be helpful.

                  there are many posts on hunting and eventing as compatible seasonal sport.
                  Last edited by armandh; Aug. 1, 2008, 09:07 AM.
                  more hay, less grain

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    just my 2 cents....

                    I second the suggestions that all hunts have & need fundraisers and that you should support any club locally financially if you can. Or help clear trails or work on a hunt activity or work/help anywhere you can. If money isn't available then sweat equity works too. Sweat equity actually can be wonderfully funner too!

                    But ya know what I really liked is that you even thought about it and thought to ask! How classy!!! So many don't.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      An alternative idea...

                      How about clearing up any confusion, and simply going straight to the top - probably the MFH, or the President, depending on how your particular hunt seems to be structured - in person?

                      You could thank them profusely for their hospitality, explain how grateful you are to be included and accepted, and explain that you'd like to show your appreciation in some constructive way; ask if a cheque towards the kennels, or perhaps offering to host a hunt breakfast, or getting involved in some other physical way, would be acceptable.

                      JMO - and NOT directed at the OP, but about the type of pussyfooting over such stuff in general: I think it's counter-productive to tiptoe speculatively around the "rules," imagined, ancient, current, projected, or otherwise. I hear so much grumbling and muttering about them, simply because less experienced members are sometimes intimidated so, rather than asking, they guess, frequently inaccurately: much better to be clear and constructive, I suggest, and that way fewer feathers are ruffled, there's less likelihood of misunderstanding, and occasionally it's even enlightening all round - the movers and shakers realise that what they take as rote, isn't, and the newbies learn the ropes in a positive manner.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Learning those ropes...every club needs a rule book

                        private packs don't [he who has the gold makes the rules] but it might help.
                        clubs need a rule book just as companies need that employee handbook.
                        then any member can have the [consistent] answer at hand.
                        I got one when I first started hunting [1990] and saw additions up to a complete rewrite 2 years ago.
                        months of hard work by a board sub committee first brought the board together on the minute details, but then provided a base of knowledge for everyone.
                        learning bits and pieces of hunt culture by osmosis just won't do.
                        more hay, less grain

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by armandh View Post
                          private packs don't [he who has the gold makes the rules] but it might help.
                          clubs need a rule book just as companies need that employee handbook.
                          then any member can have the [consistent] answer at hand.
                          I got one when I first started hunting [1990] and saw additions up to a complete rewrite 2 years ago.
                          months of hard work by a board sub committee first brought the board together on the minute details, but then provided a base of knowledge for everyone.
                          learning bits and pieces of hunt culture by osmosis just won't do.
                          "learning bits and pieces of hunt culture by osmosis just won't do"....SO true. It's a charming and archaic concept, but unrealistic and - as I already mentioned - counterproductive. Ugh.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Etiquette would surely demand some gift to demonstrate your appreciation for the permission to trail ride with them. (Just as when your friend invites you to her home, you bring a bottle of wine or some treats etc.) If you plan on continuing to ride with them on trail rides etc, you might want to look into the membership structure and join "at the bottom rung." Otherwise contributing to the club in some other manner makes sense.
                            F O.B
                            Resident racing historian ~~~ Re-riders Clique
                            Founder of the Mighty Thoroughbred Clique

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              These are all such helpful posts; thank you! I've decided to do the lowest-tier membership option, and perhaps also ask how I might help feed the hounds otherwise. I hadn't thought of that, and it's a great suggestion.

                              AMEN to those of you who agree with me that some of the rules of etiquette are needlessly vague! I would so much rather someone tell me outright that I'm doing something wrong or how to do something right than to have someone just roll their eyes and be annoyed by my bad etiquette.

                              As for the season, I may just have to plan my event entries around the good fixtures...

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