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"Growing" your hunt...

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  • #41
    Originally posted by WildBlue View Post
    a dressage saddle?! bite your tongue!
    I swear, I only did it because it was a training ride and he'd outgrown my jumping saddle (*sobs* I loved that saddle). Since safety was the prime concern, I chose a saddle I knew fit over a borrowed saddle of unknown comfort, plus my horse hadn't been on a group ride outside a ring since 2003 as well as I'd only ridden him a handful of times in the last few years (I'm his only rider).

    Trust me, I'd NEVER actually attend a hunt in one, even to hilltop!
    I'm not arguing, I'm just explaining why I'm right
    Violence doesn't end violence. It extends it. Break the cycle.

    Comment


    • #42
      Back to the OP. I helped with pretty much all our junior activities in the last year. Something we saw was a very, very broad group in terms of riding ability and maturity. Some were not ready to leave the arena while others complained of boredom in first flight.

      If you have manpower for it, you might consider adding a small junior program that is somewhat competitive to be in, where kids are mentored by adult members and given small tasks and rewards. Meaning, have a way to encourage and reward the kids who really try hard and have an interest in hunting. Some kind of logical progression of involvement and responsibility, with--for example--shadowing a whipper-in during cubbing season being one of the prizes. Kind of a varsity vs jr varsity dynamic.

      ETA: And/or maybe a small trinket and recognition at the end of each season for "the junior who most exemplifies the best traditions of the hunt"? People like recognition.

      One of the balances we're still trying to find is providing these additional activities (junior hunts, paces, intro clinics, etc) without completely overloading and burning out staff and volunteers, particularly since it's pretty much the same pool of people who are tapped as mentors. We're finding that it's simply not possible to provide as much access as people say they want.
      Last edited by WildBlue; Feb. 23, 2013, 10:19 AM.
      ---------------------------

      Comment


      • #43
        another old duffer responds
        new members; they are where you find them
        one of our master emeritus found me while on a hack at the local park
        I think it was 1989

        over the years I have observed there may be some trainers who are not keen on their revenue streams [riders] having too much fun outside the lesson ring.
        fortunately there is a bit of cross the divide interest from/to event folk

        we've done the lot, even alternating the ball with a hunt dinner dance
        to be more inviting [less formal/expensive]

        of course the economy is no help; it is not an inexpensive hobby
        but not any where near golf or boating.

        the come as you are hunts and the dress code for hot or very cold temps
        is a bit more relaxed. At a check, I'm the old duffer on the right
        http://www.pbase.com/lesliegra/image/103789742
        .
        more hay, less grain

        Comment


        • #44
          I wish we could relax the dress code occasionally. I think it's a big barrier to entry when people think they need to invest in the clothes before they even know if they like hunting!

          We do the hunt clinics, hunter paces, off-season clinics, trail rides, have a new website and Facebook page, etc. We are, I think, a very welcoming hunt -- but it's hard to bring in new members.

          I thought eventers would be a natural cross over but some of them think hunting is dangerous (although our territories have pretty small fences) and others spend all their disposable income on events and lessons.

          I've picked up some good ideas here which I'm going to suggest at our next board meeting.
          Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
          EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.

          Comment


          • #45
            When I started hunting we used to see a lot of eventers out as well. I think now that the event season has pretty much become year round you see less crossover. Also eventers seem to have been infected with the "my horse is too valuable to take a chance hunting him." mentality that also infects the show hunters.
            A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it.

            Comment


            • #46
              Originally posted by armandh View Post
              another old duffer responds


              the come as you are hunts and the dress code for hot or very cold temps
              is a bit more relaxed. At a check, I'm the old duffer on the right
              http://www.pbase.com/lesliegra/image/103789742
              .
              I had forgotten how much I liked that pic of you
              tamara
              Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
              I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.

              Comment


              • #47
                Do any hunts have. "loaner closet" of jackets and shirts for guests? Most visitors can come up with reasonably appropriate boots amd helmets, but may not have the black coat and stock tie. I know I have a coat that's a bit too big for me, I bet many hunts could assemble a collection of attire to be loaned to guests...rather like the way restaurants once had jackets and ties for men...back in the days when they were required

                Comment


                • #48
                  Originally posted by Tamara in TN View Post
                  I had forgotten how much I liked that pic of you
                  tamara
                  I agree, you look maaaaaahvelous!

                  Comment


                  • #49
                    I keep all of my hunt coats in the tack room of my trailer. I've loaned out the black coat and tweeds a few times. I've also been the fortunate recipient of coats, helmets, girths, etc. from other hunt members.
                    A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it.

                    Comment


                    • #50
                      Originally posted by Hinderella View Post
                      Do any hunts have. "loaner closet" of jackets and shirts for guests?
                      The clubs I've hunted with and belong to don't have any sort of official loaner closet. But there are always club members with extras of almost everything, including stirrup leathers, reins, etc. And they are happy to loan stuff out. Not just to a visitor, but to someone who forgot something or had a rein or stirrup leather break. I always carry extra of almost everything.

                      For hunt trail rides and other functions people are just wearing whatever -jeans, t shirts, etc. So loaned stuff would tend to be tack or fly spray or something; maybe liniment or water to rinse down a hot horse. Cubbing and formal hunting would tend to be a forgotten stock tie or pin.
                      Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                      Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                      -Rudyard Kipling

                      Comment


                      • #51
                        Originally posted by Bogie View Post
                        I thought eventers would be a natural cross over but some of them think hunting is dangerous (although our territories have pretty small fences) and others spend all their disposable income on events and lessons.
                        That's what I found here, as well.

                        It's too bad. Hunting has a lot to offer horses & riders who event.
                        ~ Horse Box Lovers Clique ~

                        Comment


                        • #52
                          Thanks for some fantastic ideas!

                          Here's my input, from someone just aging out of 'intermediate memberships'. Extend the intermediate membership age! If your hunt doesn't have thiscatagory, you need it and it needs to be cheap, and it needs to go beyond 25. Most of us are just finishing grad school and finding work at 25, we're not established at that age like many generations before us were. More school is the norm now, so we need more time before our memberships go up.

                          Also, look at who brings the kids out. If its mostly families, then market to them, if its the coaches, then market to them. Offer Professional memberships to coaches who train riders and horses. If the pro is encouraging their students to come out, they usually stand to make money on trailering or training rides, and the hunt gets new blood but pro's can't afford full memberships much of the time. Create awards to recognize mentors and ambassadors that bring new blood in. Help organize trailer pooling on your website or FB page.

                          I LOVE the youth programs that have been suggested!

                          Comment


                          • #53
                            I hope to have a happy update in the fall because I think a lot of us are excited about our plans for the summer. I mentioned we've had a difficult time turning popular events like hunter paces into new hunt members, largely because we haven't been able to offer much beyond "get the right tack, attire, and capping fee, and come try it."

                            Hound walking is both free of charge and open to potential members but, truth be told, it's usually deadly dull trotting circles around a couple fields, and at most may include a short, slowish trail ride if a field master is present. *However*, we do have one summer evening hound walk per week followed by a potluck, and it does usually bring out 15 or 20 people (both riders and the unlucky souls who didn't get out of work in time to get their horse) and is usually a lot of fun. This year, we're going to make a real effort on specific evenings throughout the summer to have at least two experienced field masters present to lead mock hunts (one first field, one slower) around the fixture during the hound walking.

                            Attire in summer is completely casual, and the event is very social. Which means any unattended parents will immediately get scooped up and plied with wine and more information about the joys of foxhunting than they ever wanted to know... I think it sounds like a hoot.

                            I'm also hoping we'll see more potential members (especially maybe juniors who are in the area for college?) who aren't already friends with a member, training with a hunt-friendly trainer, etc. being able to network over the summer, which is when members tend to have the most free time and energy. For example, our members ended up with a couple of hunt horses available for catch ride last winter, but it was a dreadful time of year to locate a rider. The very nominal junior fees plus a free horse could have been a great opportunity to do a lot of hunting for little more than gas money.
                            ---------------------------

                            Comment


                            • #54
                              I am a fairly new (five years) foxhunter although I capped several times over the past 25 years with different hunts, depending upon where I lived.

                              It is about customer service, and once you have obtained the customer, keeping them coming back. People will forgive muddy footing, a bad scenting day, or even a blank day, if the folks are kind and the tailgate full of laughter afterwards.

                              I think I hunt as much for the folks as the fixture. No matter how many "rules" I seem to break they forgive me, and I keep getting invited to pay dues each year (I am a member but not with "colors"). There are many ways to pull kids and adult ammys who ride away from riding in the open. The loss of open space has impacted horse sports a great deal. As was pointed out, it's a sport, a privately funded one that requires some special equipment. It's not for everyone, but foxhunting has to continually reinvent in order to survive just like everything in the horse world.
                              Proud & Permanent Student Of The Long Road
                              Read me: EN (http://eventingnation.com/author/annemarch/) and HJU (http://horsejunkiesunited.com/author/holly-covey/)

                              Comment


                              • #55
                                Workin' 9-to-5

                                3 pages and no one has yet said anything about the problem of a 9-5 job getting in the way of rational people paying for a hunting subscription?

                                C'mon. Why pay a hunt subscription when I can only hunt 1 day a week on either a Sat or Sun? There's 2 or 3 weekdays in there that I'd be paying for that I can't go because I have a office job.

                                I see these trailers going by on weekdays mornings (they're off to the hunt) and I wonder what these people DO... work nights? Inherit it?

                                So, to answer why eventers (or others) don't cross over into hunting is because you could ride or have lessons after work on weekdays, and then compete on weekends. No fuss no muss, you get what you pay for out of show fees, and it fits the schedule of M-F/9-5'ers.

                                Really, if you have a desk job, how good of a hunter can you make yourself or your inexperience horse if you only hunt once per week (at most)??? Is that fair to the horse? Does that explain a previous poster who lamented the decline in how not-well-behaved hunters are 'these days'?

                                Until the reality of modern dual-income working folks is addressed, then I don't see how it fits.

                                Comment


                                • #56
                                  Originally posted by BarnField View Post
                                  3 pages and no one has yet said anything about the problem of a 9-5 job getting in the way of rational people paying for a hunting subscription?

                                  C'mon. Why pay a hunt subscription when I can only hunt 1 day a week on either a Sat or Sun? There's 2 or 3 weekdays in there that I'd be paying for that I can't go because I have a office job.

                                  Until the reality of modern dual-income working folks is addressed, then I don't see how it fits.
                                  Having held a job since 1975 and concurrently raised two kids, I'll be happy to speak to it. With a qualifier. We all know that horse folks just ain't rational. Foxhunters maybe in particular.

                                  As with anything else in life, it's about applying your available resources to your needs first, then your leisurely priorities. I used vacation days to hunt during the week. Or during initial cubhunting, when the meets were at 6 am, I got up at 3 am, got self and horse to meet, barn manager kindly took care of horse after hunting for me, got to shower and change and in the office by 10, working later to avoid having to take time off. I prefer hunting to eventing or showing or any other horse activity. The others for me are when I don't have hunting available. It's certainly understandable that eventers are less inclined to 'cross over' if available resources are committed to lessons/training/event fees- the shame is that there are a whole lot of eventers who therefore don't know just how much improvement for XC they and their horses will realize by going out and following hounds, even if only occasionally.

                                  Yes, you can make a hunter yourself, even if only hunting 1 day a week. You're making an eventer while working full time, yes? Not different. You can make any horse for any discipline at whatever speed/timetable is available to you, they are very cooperative that way. You can even get it fit for hunting and in the spring for pair racing. For me that involved lots of moonlit nights galloping- you make it work if it's something you really want to do.

                                  When you've taken a weekday off for formal season hunting beginning at say 10 or so, well, on a smashing 4 to 5 hour day, you find yourself just taking the horse and trailer with you to pick the kids up from school, and sometimes that also means taking the horse to soccer practice or whatever (or in my case, sometimes, teaching after school religion with horse munching hay in trailer in church parking lot and me still in muddy hunting attire. The kids loved it and the church poohbahs tolerated it. Your kids then help you take care of the horse at the barn before you head home for supper. Or they play with the barn cats while you're doing all the work.

                                  There are also many hunts who offer 'one day a week' subscriptions, or social subscriptions where you simply pay a capping fee when you are able to hunt. And really, these days, enough 'welcoming' or 'newcomer' hunts that anyone interested can give it a try on a weekend when there isn't an event. I just got a Facebook notice that a particular hunt is having an 'everybody come, western or English tack, we don't care' day this weekend or next.

                                  So, in summary, if I can do it as part of a dual-income household, I think anybody can!

                                  Comment


                                  • #57
                                    LOL, Beverly, you are one tough cookie

                                    I wholeheartedly applaud your post (and am impressed) but I still think that if all hunts expected such effort and made no accomodations for all their 9-5'ers that they'll see their membership rolls continue to drop and wonder why...

                                    The option for a reduced subscription for 1x a week hunting is a good one, I agree.

                                    Another reality of choosing to show or hunt is that hunting season falls during the time of year when it gets dark at 5 pm

                                    Show riders can actively train and take lessons under lights in an arena during this "off-season" or just take a break for winter.

                                    For hunters, I see lack of daylight as more of a big challenge.

                                    The "moonlight gallops" you mention may not be a reality for many boarders. Sure scares the heck out of me!

                                    And working in an arena under lights after 5 pm may not be the best type of work to keep fit or train a hunter. Again, possible I suppose, but great or good?

                                    So these are reasons why I can see 9-5'ers sticking to other disciplines besides hunting.

                                    Just trying to acknowledge some of the hurdles. And help from those that have been-there-done-that like Beverley are helpful for anyone who really wants to go for it

                                    Comment


                                    • #58
                                      Our hunt has a membership level that allows you to pay a reduced capping fee each time you hunt, rather than a set flat fee. That gives people the option to pay as they go. Most hunts don't want you to cap more than a handful of times -- if you're interested they want you to join up!

                                      I work for myself, which is why I can hunt a lot of Tuesdays. others in our hunt use their vacation days.

                                      Our membership dues are $550 per year (spring and fall seasons) so even if I don't hunt twice a week every week it costs me way less than eventing ever did. I cringe when I hear how much it costs to go to a recognized event now!

                                      Originally posted by BarnField View Post
                                      3 pages and no one has yet said anything about the problem of a 9-5 job getting in the way of rational people paying for a hunting subscription?

                                      C'mon. Why pay a hunt subscription when I can only hunt 1 day a week on either a Sat or Sun? There's 2 or 3 weekdays in there that I'd be paying for that I can't go because I have a office job.

                                      I see these trailers going by on weekdays mornings (they're off to the hunt) and I wonder what these people DO... work nights? Inherit it?

                                      So, to answer why eventers (or others) don't cross over into hunting is because you could ride or have lessons after work on weekdays, and then compete on weekends. No fuss no muss, you get what you pay for out of show fees, and it fits the schedule of M-F/9-5'ers.

                                      Really, if you have a desk job, how good of a hunter can you make yourself or your inexperience horse if you only hunt once per week (at most)??? Is that fair to the horse? Does that explain a previous poster who lamented the decline in how not-well-behaved hunters are 'these days'?

                                      Until the reality of modern dual-income working folks is addressed, then I don't see how it fits.
                                      Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                                      EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.

                                      Comment


                                      • #59
                                        My reasons for not hunting are pretty much 2-fold:

                                        #1 the lack of a hunt within a 60-90 minute drive of Scranton, PA
                                        #2 the 8:30-5 job with an hour commute each way to my home/barn.
                                        I'm sure the cost would end up being a hurdle too, but with point #1, that is sort of a moot point.

                                        I pretty much have all of the tack and attire (aside from a melton coat), and a pony who would most definitely rock the hunting thing (did awesome at her first hunter pace). I guess you could say that I'm all dressed up with no place to go
                                        The only thing the government needs to solve all of its problems is a Council of Common Sense.

                                        Comment


                                        • #60
                                          Originally posted by BarnField View Post
                                          3 pages and no one has yet said anything about the problem of a 9-5 job getting in the way of rational people paying for a hunting subscription?

                                          .
                                          I know plenty of folks, mostly women, who work full time, hunt, and some have small children to boot.

                                          They are by no means wealthy people with paid staff or grooms.

                                          If you want to hunt, or event, or do jumpers, or endurance - you manage your time and you do it. You have to keep a horse fit and trained to event or engage in any other activity - and people manage to do that. Hunting is no different.

                                          Heck, compared to the prices people pay to small local shows - the cost of a hunt subscription is peanuts. Yes, even if you're not able to hunt three days a week.

                                          I don't think your argument has merit. Dual income households are nothing new. Working women with a child or children and a horse is not exactly unusual.

                                          People make time for the activities they want to do - and if means going to the barn to do trot sets when you'd rather be at home, that's what you do.

                                          You make it seem as if foxhunters are all moneyed elites who can afford to have their servants peel their grapes for them.

                                          The truth is that most people work. Women and men. They come from all walks of life, and they fit riding in just like any other working adult. So don't say it can't be done - because thousands of people are doing it and have been for many decades. We're quite rational. We even have things like calendars and watches and can do things like put in for a vacation day or go hunting on a holiday.

                                          When I lived in an urban area I had a 12 hour day - IF I did not get stuck in DC traffic. I still managed to keep a horse fit, take lessons, and do some eventing. I boarded with a lot of folks who hunted and worked the same hours I did and they kept their horses fit just like I did. Some folks haul hours to go hunting, or to horse shows or events. We all have the same challenges. Time, fuel, cost, balancing family/horses/work.

                                          It can and is done. You just have to decide to do it.
                                          Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                                          Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                                          -Rudyard Kipling

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