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"Growing" your hunt...

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  • #61
    Originally posted by JSwan View Post
    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.
    No elitism at all, that's a smear thrown about too often, and I don't agree with it at all.

    My question is how many weekday hunt fields are made up of 20-40 yr olds that work 9-5 full-time and commute and do not have good job flexibility?

    The question has *nothing* to do with elitism, and everything to do with a small pool of available riders that can or wish to hunt several times a week.

    The original post was abut expanding membership. Starting with Juniors is wonderful, but expect them to drop off somewhat after graduating and getting into the workforce, where they have little say about taking off every Tuesday and Thursday to go hunt - as entry level workers?

    Then, I merely was commenting that there is a huge group of people out there in the middle of their careers who are also in a tough position where hunting (as it is currently organized) may not really fit into their lives as well as other disciplines.

    Comment


    • #62
      Regular people do hunt during the week. We have many people with regular jobs who use vacation days to hunt during the week. We have people that work night shifts and hunt during the week. We have people that will come out and hunt in the morning and then go to work.

      Its done. It's just not a lot of retired or wealthy people out there, although their out there too.
      A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it.

      Comment


      • #63

        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?
        I happily pay to hunt one day a week. I know that my hunt subscription for the entire season cost less than going to the AEC's. I do work and only get out on Wednesdays which means that I miss the good weekend breakfasts, etc. However, I love the weekday hunt and look forward to it. I have given up the chance of alternating weekends off so that I can get Wednesdays off instead. Most of the trailers that you see go by probably have people that work other days. I know many of the people that I hunt with on Wednesday do work full-time jobs. They are just lucky in getting their schedules adjusted.

        Comment


        • #64
          Originally posted by BarnField View Post
          My question is how many weekday hunt fields are made up of 20-40 yr olds that work 9-5 full-time and commute and do not have good job flexibility?

          rely was commenting that there is a huge group of people out there in the middle of their careers who are also in a tough position where hunting (as it is currently organized) may not really fit into their lives as well as other disciplines.
          It is not possible for hunting to be organized any other way. So your comment makes no sense. It is a seasonal activity on private land - we must comply with federal and state game laws. It is HUNTING.

          If a 20-40 year old has no job flexibility and a long commute - their challenge is the same whether they are hunting or eventing or doing endurance. They have a long commute and no flexibility. I was once a 20-40 year old who had a long commute and no flexibility other than paid vacation.

          I managed to do all kinds of things with my horse. We had a blast. Your argument simply has no merit. A person starting out in life may not be able to afford to do much of anything. It's called life. Lots of folks have to take a break from horses when they first start out in life. I did - I can't think of any one of my friends who didn't take a break for some reason. It happens.

          I'm not sure it's a legitimate argument - the sport is actually less expensive than other horse disciplines.

          This is not a commercial, profit driven activity. (unlike shows) I keep explaining that to people but you don't get it. It's hunting. You may hunt to ride but the sport itself is hunting and is almost 100% regulated by wildlife management agencies, as well as its own internal code of ethics. New clubs are in fact starting up - I see the rosters growing - not diminishing. An economic downturn can affect the sport - but it affects the industry as a whole. Not just foxhunting.

          If you want to do it - you will find a way. Just like any other sport.

          It takes no more or less time, it is less expensive, there are no new fashions, trends, or other expensive stuff you have to buy each year to be fit in, you do not need multiple horses, fancy rigs, fancy horse or a particular breed that is currently in favor with judges, you do not need to learn new tests, school "questions" endlessly, learn new rules, or pay for anything other than your subscription.

          If a person is limited - it may be by distance. If the closest club it 12 hours away - well - that's not the sports fault.

          Most foxhunters I know work. They work real jobs. The kind that you have to report to each day. They even have kids. Some can finagle their schedule more so than others.

          They manage to hunt regularly - because they make it their goal.
          Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
          Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
          -Rudyard Kipling

          Comment


          • #65
            Some hunts have a special membership rate for young adults, that rises at middle adulthood, that rises again in later middle age, and then drops a bit for the senior citizens.

            It is a bit of a book keeping nightmare, I'd imagine, but does give breaks to those who are at points in their lives that they either can't afford or don't have the time for a full membership.

            Some hunts in England have a little different way of going about it. You can buy a packet of tickets to hunt on week days, week ends, or some combination of the above as well as a full subscription. You get 3, 5, 7, or 10 tickets for sightly less than the capping rate.

            Comment


            • #66
              Originally posted by jawa View Post
              Some hunts have a special membership rate for young adults, that rises at middle adulthood, that rises again in later middle age, and then drops a bit for the senior citizens.

              It is a bit of a book keeping nightmare, I'd imagine, but does give breaks to those who are at points in their lives that they either can't afford or don't have the time for a full membership.

              Some hunts in England have a little different way of going about it. You can buy a packet of tickets to hunt on week days, week ends, or some combination of the above as well as a full subscription. You get 3, 5, 7, or 10 tickets for sightly less than the capping rate.
              Great post, Jawa, see this is exactly the sort of thing that is helpful to the discourse of how to grow the membership by offering flexibility in how membership is offered.

              I think these sorts of ideas need to be discussed for the good of the sport, where relevant, of course. If a hunt has more members than it needs, that's great, but for other groups these ideas may be critical.

              I think that idea of tickets is great.

              Comment


              • #67
                http://farmingtonhunt.org/index.php?...id=2&Itemid=15

                This is an example of Farmington Hunt's breakdown. Some hunts don't have this information listed on the interwebz, but I'm sure other hunts do similar. (My hunt does, but doesn't list the initiation or dues on the interwebz.)

                http://bedfordcountyhunt.com/?page_id=165

                And another example. This one shows the multiple categories offered, but you have to inquire about the rate. I'm sure they would be open with other masters, if not to the exact rate, then to the percentage off each category is in relation to the full regular membership.

                http://www.bullrunhuntclub.com/membership/

                And again, another example.....

                I have to go get my pony clean to go hunting, so I'm not going to look up any more hunts. But hopefully you get the idea that with a little bit of ground work by an individual who WANTS to hunt, you can find that it is possible and that many hunts have thought about these issues and have found ways to try and accommodate peoples reservations about joining and not getting their full use out of there hunts dues.

                Comment


                • #68
                  jawa - I can think of a couple of clubs near me that have similar types/levels of membership; or their junior memberships extend to people of college age. I think that is fairly typical of in my area and is a long standing practice. All people have to do is inquire.
                  Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                  Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                  -Rudyard Kipling

                  Comment


                  • #69
                    Keeping the lines of communication open and following through on membership inquiries is very important. I contacted a local hunt last summer to try to get more information about membership, requirements, etc. Sent them my contact information, as requested, had an initial contact with promises to snail-mail a membership packet and information to me, waited for that information, contacted the individual again with the same request when it never arrived more than a month later, and still have nothing. I grew up hunting, hunted with a few different hunts, am now in a position to hunt again, and I can't get any information about membership.
                    After that experience, I won't be contacting that particular hunt again. There is another hunt in my area that I've capped with and enjoyed. It's farther away (3+ hours), but I think that's the one I'll see about joining next season.

                    Comment


                    • #70
                      Originally posted by BarnField View Post
                      No elitism at all, that's a smear thrown about too often, and I don't agree with it at all.

                      My question is how many weekday hunt fields are made up of 20-40 yr olds that work 9-5 full-time and commute and do not have good job flexibility?

                      The question has *nothing* to do with elitism, and everything to do with a small pool of available riders that can or wish to hunt several times a week.

                      The original post was abut expanding membership. Starting with Juniors is wonderful, but expect them to drop off somewhat after graduating and getting into the workforce, where they have little say about taking off every Tuesday and Thursday to go hunt - as entry level workers?

                      Then, I merely was commenting that there is a huge group of people out there in the middle of their careers who are also in a tough position where hunting (as it is currently organized) may not really fit into their lives as well as other disciplines.

                      You use your vacation days to do the fun things you want to do. That's how it works. My crazy butt is taking a half day off to help my GMO get ready to hold a horse show that starts at 8:30AM on a Saturday. I'm taking a whole day off to drive to Ft Benning for a Wounded Warrior Horsemanship Project since the horses and I have to be onsite at 7:30 am on a Saturday, and Ft Benning is 3.5 hrs from my house. We will go and tour the Open House of their new facility and have supper with the Organizers, spend the night, and be ready to get busy Saturday morning. That's how it works. It's a pretty simple concept for us employed FT folks.



                      You find a way to do things that are important to you.

                      Comment


                      • #71
                        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?
                        ...
                        Until the reality of modern dual-income working folks is addressed, then I don't see how it fits.
                        My reality was that I either flexed a half day (and then came in on Saturday) or just took PTO on Thursdays so that I could hunt on a weekday.

                        It worked to flex the half day when I rode someone else's horse, and just met them at the meet. We have shower facilities at work, so I changed once I got here.

                        And as others have mentioned, I also have a young child in this mix. I hunted 10 weeks after my C-section. There were some Sunday mornings that I had to express milk on my way to the meet (I don't condone this dangerous-while-driving behavior) & immediately after.

                        It can be done. Maybe not by everyone, or easily, but it's possible.


                        This season, I was not able to hunt once. I didn't not pay or begrudge anyone my dues, because they help keep the hunts going. My combined dues are less than a month's board. Cheap (potential) thrills.
                        ~ Horse Box Lovers Clique ~

                        Comment


                        • #72
                          Everytime I am ready to take the plunge something happens to set me back. It's not that foxhunting has too many fences to jump before you even get on course, it's that I can't make it work. Sometimes it's heartbreaking, sometimes it's discouraging, sometimes I swear it's the universe conspiring against me, and sometimes it's even ridiculous--I swear my farm will be named Waiting For the Other Boot to Drop or One Step Forward Two Steps Back or Pile-on Acres even What Fresh Hell is This.

                          So, there really isn't anything a hunt can do to get folks like me to join--and I sincerely hope there isn't anyone having a run of bad luck and bad timing as I am--because it's not that the hunt is lacking.
                          Proud Member of the League of Weenie Eventers
                          Proud Member of the Courageous Weenie Eventers Clique

                          Comment


                          • #73
                            Originally posted by BarnField View Post
                            The original post was abut expanding membership. Starting with Juniors is wonderful, but expect them to drop off somewhat after graduating and getting into the workforce, where they have little say about taking off every Tuesday and Thursday to go hunt - as entry level workers?
                            Here's another way to look at it: What if the junior you start graduates and gets a job offer halfway across the country? Or, what if the adult you recruited and trained as staff retires somewhere warmer? Are you going to begrudge the time you put into them, or be glad to support the larger hunt community?

                            People are always going to come and go. Sometimes life, finances, or health gets in the way of riding. Sometimes it doesn't.

                            IME, it's always a LOT easier to re-start a discipline than it is to get involved for the first time. The seed has been planted and, even if that former junior never hunts again, he or she will have fond memories of hunting and may get involved in pony club or otherwise indirectly support the sport.
                            ---------------------------

                            Comment


                            • #74
                              If you join a gym, and pay a monthly fee, do you get your money back if you can't find time to go?

                              Comment


                              • #75
                                Originally posted by CarrieK View Post
                                I swear my farm will be named Waiting For the Other Boot to Drop or One Step Forward Two Steps Back or Pile-on Acres even What Fresh Hell is This.
                                I don't want to take pleasure in your misfortunes, but this humor seriously made my morning.

                                I hope life starts to treat you better!
                                The only thing the government needs to solve all of its problems is a Council of Common Sense.

                                Comment


                                • #76
                                  Originally posted by katarine View Post
                                  If you join a gym, and pay a monthly fee, do you get your money back if you can't find time to go?
                                  I wouldn't join your gym if I knew that I could only go once a week. I'd get a treadclimber

                                  Now, if your gym offered me childcare, well that's mighty convenient for me and I *would* join because now I don't have to hassle with finding a sitter to come over just so that I can go to the gym.

                                  In fact, isn't this what gyms across the country have done to boost membership? Make small accomodations to bring more people in?

                                  On-site childcare, 24/7 access for members, dry-cleaning services, a juice bar, spas, etc.

                                  All of these things help bring people in the door for for their own reasons:
                                  childcare is important to these 50 people, or 24/7 access is critical for these 100 people, etc.

                                  Now, if your gym (ok, hunt) has plenty of members, you don't need to make any changes.

                                  But the OP is seeing dwindling numbers, so the OP is trying to take a constructive look around at what you can do to boost membership and strengthen the group while maintaining the integrity & passion of the sport.

                                  No one's suggesting a juice bar for a hunt, though. Heehee

                                  Comment


                                  • #77
                                    Originally posted by katarine View Post
                                    If you join a gym, and pay a monthly fee, do you get your money back if you can't find time to go?
                                    I wouldn't join your gym and pay the monthly fee if I knew that I could only go once a week. I'd get a treadclimber

                                    Now, if your gym offered me childcare, well that's mighty convenient for me and I *would* join because now I don't have to hassle with finding a sitter to come over just so that I can go to the gym.

                                    In fact, isn't this what gyms across the country have done to boost membership? Make small accomodations to bring more people in?

                                    On-site childcare, 24/7 access for members, reduced membership fee for AM use only, dry-cleaning services, a juice bar, spas, etc.

                                    All of these things help bring people in the door for for their own reasons:
                                    childcare is important to these 50 people, or 24/7 access is critical for these 100 people, etc.

                                    Now, if your gym (ok, hunt) has plenty of members, you don't need to make any changes.

                                    But the OP is seeing dwindling numbers, so the OP is trying to take a constructive look around at what you can do to boost membership and strengthen the group while maintaining the integrity & passion of the sport.

                                    No one's suggesting a juice bar for a hunt, though. Heehee
                                    Last edited by BarnField; Mar. 15, 2013, 12:12 PM. Reason: typo

                                    Comment


                                    • #78
                                      and you'll pay a lot more for those creature comforts, won't you?

                                      Comment


                                      • #79
                                        And that's why I run instead of going to the gym: no commitment necessary.

                                        Seriously, I'm in my early 30s and perpetually broke, but I'd be thrilled to be able to pay like $200 up front to cap 5-6 times during the season, even if I couldn't use the caps for Opening Meet/ Thanksgiving/ Christmas or whatever the big days are.

                                        I'd also strongly advise that you put prices up on your website along with turnout requirements and an explanation of what your expectations are as far as riding ability/ hose behavior etc. are. Don't expect people to call and ask, because they may very well be assuming that if they have to ask they can't afford it/ do it-- like the "price upon request" sale ads.

                                        Comment


                                        • #80
                                          WildBlue: "I don't mean to sound snotty, but it's cut-your-own-throat stupid to tell someone (particularly a teen or young adult) who could be a really good, solid member that he or she needs to go get the 'right' saddle, pad, bridle, boots, helmet, breeches, and coat just to be allowed to ride in an open hunt and see if he or she wants to move forward in the sport. To actually join and hunt? Sure--here's your hairnet. But that was not the OPs question. First you get them hooked on the sport, THEN you get them to spend lots of time and money on it... "

                                          Sort of like when the Appaloosa association changed the rules so that youth/juniors had to OWN their own horse(s). Unfortunately, that required the plural, as it was after they'd managed to breed the versatility out of most of them. I love your 'cut-your-throat-STUPID' phrase.

                                          And agree with others that foxhunting - perhaps unique among equestrian sports - REQUIRES 'book-learning'. Especially these days, when kids and adults are not familiar with life in the outdoors/rural areas.
                                          www.ayliprod.com
                                          Equine Photography in the Northeast

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