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Ever take a (non-hunting) trainer out hunting with you for a lesson?

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  • Ever take a (non-hunting) trainer out hunting with you for a lesson?

    Now that the Web Site Redesign From Hell is finally over (8 months of 10.5 hour days, on my butt in front of the computer), I'm finally riding again.

    And--gasp--contemplating lessons again. It's been well over a year since I've taken regular lessons, but I really like my trainer and I really enjoy our lessons (I puttered around at low level eventing--so Training-level dressage lessons on both boys & 2'6" jumping lessons on Prozac Pony). Nothing fancy, but engaging and satisfying. Showing progress. That's a good thing.

    But now... I don't want to show. I know that taking lessons--even "just" dressage lessons --will benefit my ability to comport myself well in the hunt field. But what I *REALLY* keep thinking about is trying to get my trainer out in the hunt field with me, to have a knowledgeable set of eyes watching us as we flail around out there, so that I can get to the point of being comfortable galloping out there in a group. Or even cantering, 'cause let's face it... the terrain out here is mostly not conducive to prolonged gallops. More like little spurts of cantering before you have to dodge around a cactus.

    Is that a totally silly idea, assuming I could get permission from our Master and talk my trainer into it?
    Approved helmet: Every time; every ride.
    "When a sport gets to be predictable it ceases to be fun." - RAR's wise brother

  • #2
    No not silly at all

    I would think your MFH would love it. (As long as your trainer doesn't critique the entire field).
    There has to be stick art for canter and dodging pointy things, there just has to.


    • #3

      Ya know...round these here parts....a LOT of hunts have trainers who are members who bring their students out. Even entire riding schools with hunt memberships that bring guests out regularly. Or barns with a lot of students coming along with a "mom". You hear them telling their students tips.....and I swear being around them makes me ride better. I straighten up instinctively, put my heels down and stop screaming as I don't wanna embarass myself infront of the children! One hunt I was in had at least 5-10 students come every Saturday. Most skinny teenage girls that were terrific riders; cliqueish and didn't talk to grownups but always had a blast!
      I think it's a great idea but stick to the back so the coaching doesn't interfere with everyone elses conversations....I mean....hunting!!


      • #4
        why would you want to ruin a perfectly good hunt and take your trainer along..just kidding.

        if you want abuse, go on a hunt with both your trainers ( current dressage trainer that used to whip in for hunts and jump/event trainer)....we were guests at a hunt in virginia and rented horses to boot. i was about 3 lengths or so behind my dressage trainer as we were zig zagging around some trees and bushes..i thought it was weird when saw her galloping up a hill while turning around to watch me...she knew i didn't see the huge coop that she just cleared and knew i was taking a bad approach...anyway, we jumped it fine and later she told me she was laughing her but off becuase my eyes popped out of my head when i realized my oops, but was pleased with the result....

        and i find it more relaxing not trying to be perfect at the hunt but always try to be a safe rider. it's hard to be perfect with the crazy terrain..your instructor could just help you keep up with your horse better and any jumping flaws that could be ouchy for your horse (like constantly catching in mouth etc)...it might make it more enjoyable.
        I love my OTTB! I get my dressage test done faster!


        • Original Poster

          I feel like I'm at the point now where AFTER the fact, I realize, "Oh, crud. I was hanging on his mouth the entire time while we were cantering."

          And even sometimes WHILE we're doing something, I can think to myself, "You know, you really ought to loosen your death grip on his face. And while you're on a self-improvement kick, how about not pinching with your knees? And perhaps think about bending your knees so your butt isn't 3 feet out of the saddle? Just a thought..."

          I don't know... maybe I'm just desperately grasping at straws, trying to find the magic "no-coward" solution...

          (I have to keep telling myself that, even though on a scale of 1 to Real Hunter, I'm about a 1.05, there are lots of folks who won't even ride outside an enclosed area. I tell myself that a lot! )
          Approved helmet: Every time; every ride.
          "When a sport gets to be predictable it ceases to be fun." - RAR's wise brother


          • #6
            ha ha..i know that feeling! and I still work on that sometimes too...i have a huge 17 hh ex racer that i ride..and i have learned..the more i hang on his mouth..the faster that sucker goes and harder he pulls..so he taught me to lighten up..once i figured that out (in about 2 hunts) and lightened up...i quit being so sore in the shoulder blades and my arms weren't tired...so it's not a bad thing to take a tainer at all..i was just razzing ya .
            I love my OTTB! I get my dressage test done faster!


            • #7
              he can't pull

              if you don't. If you really want to learn a bit of bravery, get the person with the widest-bottomed horse with the best tolerance level to ride in front of you. Then let go of your horse's face. Breathing is always good. But the very best thing is to find the member of the hunt that has the "sofa" horse. The big squishy soft you could ride bareback in a halter and leadshank type horse that they put all the folks who couldn't ride a merry go round on. And hunt that horse a couple of times, while some young brave soul hunts YOUR horse and puts a bit of manners on him. Truly, if you're out doing it, you're ahead of most of them that only ride in an arena on flat ground and jump stuff that falls down.


              • #8
                the first time I went hunting was in Ireland and I had sort of a "trainer" with me... We came upon this huge stone wall - a good 4' and contrary to popular believe - none of the stones were being knocked off to decrease height of wall (because no one was jumping it - lots of refusals) My "lesson" was this: "okay go behind someone good and slap your pony's sides" Me - "HUH?" go now, go after him he's got a good horse so off I went after the "good" horse; I know at about 2 strides away I closed my eyes sailed brilliantly over that wall.. opened eyes a good 4-5 strides away finally... amazing how tight your seat is and how good you ride when you are scare s****less


                • #9
                  My trainer is a member of the same hunt I ride with...so I always ride well behind him (in deference to his longer standing membership!). While I try to apply my lessons to all my riding, I am hunting for fun and don't want to be nit-picked!


                  • #10
                    There is a trainer that rides with our hunt who brings out lots of juniors. For their first hunt or two, she rides with them, then they are on their own. The kids all ride well and know the rules of the field better than I do. Like someone else mentioned, they typically don't talk to the adults.

                    With my youngster who is hilltopping this year, typically the trainer I work with is leading the field. It has been helpful to get some hints on working with the young horse. She doesn't critique my riding though.


                    • #11
                      Scared the socks off of a pro once.


                      • #12
                        I've never taken one of my trainers out hunting with me but there is a hunting/event trainer I clinic with regularly whom has hunted for many years and happens to be a member of the hunt I have been riding with. She has offered helpful advice many times to myself and other riders in the field. Trust me, I completely understand why having a trainer present would be oh so helpful

                        I personally wouldn't ask one of my non-hunting trainers to come hunt with me and give me a lesson in the field. Only because I think it would be more productive to work with a trainer in the field that actually hunts.

                        I plan to try drag hunting this spring and I will be a.) either going up with another hunting friend that has alot of 1st flight drag hunting experience or b.) riding with one of my former h/j trainers that drag hunts on a weekly basis and I know would give me a "lesson" so to speak in the field.


                        • Original Poster

                          Originally posted by LookinSouth View Post
                          I personally wouldn't ask one of my non-hunting trainers to come hunt with me and give me a lesson in the field. Only because I think it would be more productive to work with a trainer in the field that actually hunts.
                          Ideally, it would be good to have a trainer who hunts, I agree.

                          But that's not an option around here, really. There is one trainer who used to hunt with the beagles, and I actually took (non-hunting-related) lessons from her for a while, but she doesn't come out hunting anymore.

                          Hm... maybe I should try to lure her back out...
                          Approved helmet: Every time; every ride.
                          "When a sport gets to be predictable it ceases to be fun." - RAR's wise brother


                          • #14
                            I took the top hunter trainer/rider/judge, Scott Hofstetter, hunting with Live Oak many years ago. Mrs. Woods gave him a beautiful gray TB to ride. It wasn't one of our longer/rougher days, but luckily we had a little chase. Scott was totally exhillarated!

                            I still remember his enthusiastic response at the end: "Now I understand why they want hunters to go certain ways............this is fantastic. I love it that the other riders are encouraging me and saying "come on, you can do it, instead of hoping I miss a spot!!" He also commented he'd run faster than he'd ever gone (on the chase)............it was great fun having him out........and I think good for him to see "the other side" too!!
                            www.flyingcolorsfarm.comHome of pinto stallion Claim to Fame and his homozygous son, Counterclaim. Friend us on Facebook!https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Fl...04678589573428


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Risk-Averse Rider View Post
                              Ideally, it would be good to have a trainer who hunts, I agree.


                              Admittedly I know nothing about hunting in AZ but are there any other area hunts that might have a trainer whom rides with them that you could cap with?

                              For example, in order for me to ride with the h/j trainer I will have to travel quite a bit farther to cap with a hunt that I have never ridden with before and the hunt will be drag rather than live. In the end I think it will be worth it to hunt a couple times with the trainer there to give me tips etc...Especially for my first time drag hunting.