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How do I get started?

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  • How do I get started?

    I'm an eventer...but I'm interested in trying fox hunting. I'm new to the area (Minneapolis, MN) and I'm never hunted before. How do I find out about my local(ish) hunts (I'd be willing to travel)...and how do I get invited? What etiquette does my horse need to have before he is hunt-worthy?

  • #2
    Hi NS

    I am both an eventer and a fox hunter. Glad to hear you are interested. The MFHA, our national association has a geographical list of recognized hunts on their website, go to http://www.mfha.com/memb.htm

    A lot of hunts have websites that can give you info on how to get started etc. The other parts of the MFHA website has general information about the sport.

    In your part of the country many hunts may be close to the end of their season, some start up again in the spring. Many do summer trail rides or other activities which are a great way to introduce horses (and people) to the sport.

    If you can't find info that helps you get started, send me a PT and I will try to track down other info for you.

    The biggest horse preparation issue is usually having a horse that will behave well in a group. The group dynamics of galloping and jumping as a group gets some horses wound up. These can certainly be true among horses that are bold enough and competitive enough to be great event horses.

    As you get started, don't be dismayed if he gets wound up his first few hunts. Many horses will settle into it after 5-10 hunts
    Last edited by Mudroom; Dec. 12, 2007, 10:41 PM.

    Comment


    • #3
      And as mudroom can attest by both his eventing performances and his success at the Centenial Field Hunter Championships, the benefits of doing both are quite good.

      Comment


      • #4
        Check out the Long Lake Hounds. http://www.longlakehounds.org/ I think it is the only hunt in MN. I've never hunted with them (I've never hunted, period), but my trainer mentioned them. I'd like to try hunting with them some day ... maybe when I get done with college.

        Comment


        • #5
          I have a good friend in Minnesota who is a dedicated foxhunter and eventer, and she travels a lot, for both. If you want to send me a PM I can dig out her contact info.

          Comment


          • #6
            Once you find the hunts in your area, call or write the secretary and ask their policy on capping. Many hunts welcome guests that then pay a capping fee. Sometimes you are assigned a host or mentor to show you the ropes and go with you for the first few times.

            Your horse needs to be OK around the hounds. They can suddenly come from behind and get quite close. It is the cardinal sin of hunting for a horse to kick a hound. He needs to stand quietly at checks (although there is always some latitude here, it is nice if they dont act like a nut). He need to not have any phobias that will separate him from the group (bridges, cows, water -depends on where you are, what you will encounter). He needs to be able to jump right behind other horses and still be rateable, and gallop in a group with being able to pull up if needed. You might experiment with the galloping part with a group before you actually hunt to make sure you have enough bit. Its NOT the same as XC.

            I have done a little eventing and hunted the horses that I competed and several good friends and quite a few members of our hunt have horses that do double-duty in the hunt field and eventing. Out of a good number of horses, I know of only one that couldnt hunt; he was an OTTB that was just too competitive. Most event horses will be brave and fit and LOVE hunting. good luck!

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Thanks for the warm welcome!

              Thanks for the link to the Long Lake Hounds. I read through their website and loved all their photos. Looks like an absolute blast. It looks like they're done for the season, but their photos showed trail rides and cubbing through summer and early fall -- I'll contact the secretary next spring to find out how to get involved. In the meantime I'll be bringing the pony along (he's a 3/4 TB 1/4 Clyde) and starting him with trail riding and horse trials this spring. I'll have to determine how he reacts to hounds -- although if geese are any indication he doesn't seem bothered by those...

              Comment


              • #8
                How do you discover whether your horse is ok around hounds?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Getting Started

                  Read (and enjoy!) Rita Mae Brown's series of foxhunting novels. The first is tiltled Outfoxed.
                  They are entertaining and very informative.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by halla View Post
                    How do you discover whether your horse is ok around hounds?
                    Well, in my experience if they are okay with dogs and cats and such bouncing around the barn, and/or with dogs along on a trail ride, the hounds won't bother them. I've started horses hunting after they had bad encounters with dogs, and they never gave the hounds a thought. In fact, once they figure out that when hounds speak, a good gallop could be in the making, they often LOVE those hounds.

                    Many hunts now allow members or prospective members to ride along on hound exercise in the summer- a good way to introduce them to hunting.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Timely thread

                      This is a timely thread as I bid on and won a capping fee with a local hunt here in Pa near Harrisburg. I am a TOTAL greenbean when it comes to hunting. I've ridden hunters in the ring only, and have done the occasional hunter pace. Thats it!

                      I want to start my coming 3 yo WB filly in the spring, and TG the capping fee is good for a year plus. This is a dream come true as I've always wanted to hunt.
                      I guess it was growing up near the Gennesee Valley Hunt in NY and hearing about it as a kid where I rode (High View Farm with Jack Fromm) always made me dream of the chase.

                      My god, I'm 46. Better do it soon. ;-)

                      So I guess my question is....what is and when is Capping? Must I read a novel to learn what I need to know or can someone point me to a website which I can bone up on? Attire, etc.
                      Should I dare consider taking such a youngster *capping* or should I wait til she's 4? A group trail ride or 2 first?
                      She seems really good and curious about new things.
                      Definitely OK with dogs so far.
                      Maybe I should pay a huntsman to teach her the ropes? Is there some ppl that do this?

                      LOTS of questions...or should I start a new thread. My intention is not to hijack this one.
                      THANKS!

                      And where is that hilarious TJ Swan!? LOL! *kidding*
                      I lurk occasionally *shameful*, and my god you are funny. :-D

                      Does this little filly (2.5 yo) look suitable for the field. She's in March. @nd time being backed. Me on the ground where I'm most useful. :-P

                      http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/4...6108EbMWbly2aW
                      http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/4...6108EbMWbly2aW

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Typo

                        Should have read..she's 3 in March, and 2nd time being backed. No big deal and could care less.
                        She's not so little at 16+H at not even 3, and a slow maturing breed.
                        Pray for me.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I wouldn't take your baby out there. She's very green and it may be too much for her mentally and physically at her age. Since you are new at hunting, maybe you should ask around and see if you could borrow an experienced horse for your first time out or at least an easy to control horse that won't freak at a new experience. I don't live anywhere near you, but maybe someone else on this board hunts where you are planning to and can help you out. My hunt master has a barn full of horses (6 or 7) in training that are ridden by her husband, me when my horse is out of training or town, and one of the whips who doesn't have her own horse.

                          Capping happens when you are a guest of the hunt (ie- not paying member fees) and you go out on a hunt with them. It happens at any regualar hunt, so you can call their secretary and find out what days they hunt that you can make it out there for.

                          You should wear the darkest coat you have and obtain a white stocktie to wear (if you know someone who hunts, they should have extras if they collect them like me ). Tan or beige breeches, a velvet helmet, and dress boots (or fieldboots if you don't have them).

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Yes, I agree, you would be well served to go out your first time on experienced hunt horse, and even to first take a lesson with a trainer that hunts, out on the trail.

                            Please dont take your baby horse hunting. Most young horses start at 4 or so, and have been on lots of trail rides in a group first. And we often have a pro take out even the calmest baby their first time; they often WAKE UP.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              WOW

                              I'm glad I asked. :-)
                              I appreciate the feedback.
                              I figured not the smartest move.....and when she's ready to start (maybe 4) I can send her to a pro huntsman. Thanks!

                              I'll see if I can borrow a horse thats experienced.
                              Psyched!

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                for all the noobs

                                change and chance favors the well prepared.
                                the more change the more prep is needed.
                                experienced hunters break in new horses all the time.
                                they can concentrate on the horse having been there and done the rest already.
                                I survived my first hunt and my horses first hunt going first flight over some tricky fences,
                                I was about age 46 some 16 years ago. [the second hunt was another story]
                                but the horse was a 18 yo that I had lots of hours on doing the fences in the park across the street. way smaller than that pictured here http://www.qpee.org/docs/home.html
                                mostly novice size and easier intermediate.
                                I do not recommend my experience, rather gain the hunt experience from an experienced horse, or at least one you have ridden for years at the easier fixtures.
                                starting out on a just broke youngster is too much change and not enough prep. [IMHO] gained from just trying out a new young horse. [much less hunting]
                                my 5 yo second horse [now over the bridge] got me a tib rod and spent a season as the field masters horse while I recovered. pictured in my profile, he was a handful and way strong through the first run, but perfect for when I was occasionally tapped to lead the field. in my years of hunting him he never lost a shoe or had a day of illness. my third horse adapted to the hunting part and now seems to be over his intermittent trailer loading problems. he is more of a follower than a leader. just right for my advancing age. you may want to know your young horse a lot better first. trying hunting on him/her there after.
                                Last edited by armandh; Dec. 24, 2007, 08:01 AM.
                                more hay, less grain

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Both my hunt horses also event

                                  They are both very quiet eventing but can be strong and hot in the field. You need to be prepared for that. The best thing to do is find a hunt you can go roading with in the Summer to get your horse used to going in groups and having hounds around.

                                  I have a three year old I am starting. I am fortunate to have my own small beagle pack. I use her to take the beagles roading. She is very used to hounds jumping up on her and following right behind her heels now. Yesterday I took her on a group trail ride of 7 horses with some jumping. Those are the sorts of things you can do to see how your horse will react to going in the field.

                                  However, my three year old freaked out when she saw the hunt kennels for the first time. She was used to beagles and was freaked by many more "Beagles on steroids". I had to lead her up to the kennels and let her look. The hunt has about 50 hounds compared to my 8 beagles.

                                  Eventers are great foxhunting because you don't have to worry about the jumps. I think it also helps them deal with water on xcountry and other things. I found that it improved my dressage score by opening up my horses stride.

                                  Good luck with it.
                                  -Painted Wings

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

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Underdog View Post
                                    This is a timely thread as I bid on and won a capping fee with a local hunt here in Pa near Harrisburg. I am a TOTAL greenbean when it comes to hunting. I've ridden hunters in the ring only, and have done the occasional hunter pace. Thats it!

                                    I want to start my coming 3 yo WB filly in the spring, and TG the capping fee is good for a year plus. This is a dream come true as I've always wanted to hunt.
                                    I guess it was growing up near the Gennesee Valley Hunt in NY and hearing about it as a kid where I rode (High View Farm with Jack Fromm) always made me dream of the chase.

                                    My god, I'm 46. Better do it soon. ;-)

                                    So I guess my question is....what is and when is Capping? Must I read a novel to learn what I need to know or can someone point me to a website which I can bone up on? Attire, etc.
                                    Should I dare consider taking such a youngster *capping* or should I wait til she's 4? A group trail ride or 2 first?
                                    She seems really good and curious about new things.
                                    Definitely OK with dogs so far.
                                    Maybe I should pay a huntsman to teach her the ropes? Is there some ppl that do this?

                                    LOTS of questions...or should I start a new thread. My intention is not to hijack this one.
                                    THANKS!

                                    And where is that hilarious TJ Swan!? LOL! *kidding*
                                    I lurk occasionally *shameful*, and my god you are funny. :-D

                                    Does this little filly (2.5 yo) look suitable for the field. She's in March. @nd time being backed. Me on the ground where I'm most useful. :-P

                                    http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/4...6108EbMWbly2aW
                                    http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/4...6108EbMWbly2aW

                                    You may be confusing 'capping' with 'cubhunting,' which is early season cubhunting (typically Sept-Oct, earlier start in colder climes)

                                    A capping fee is what a guest pays when hunting at any time during the season, whether cubhunting or during formal hunting. Having won a capping fee you basically get a free day's hunting. Your best bet would be to call the Master to see the best time to collect that fee.

                                    Best little book for info is Wadsworth's 'Riding to Hounds in America.' He was master of the Genessee Valley Hunt so why not learn from the best, a legend who hails from your childhood neighborhood!

                                    Have fun!

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Thank you all SO much.

                                      To Beverly and Armandh and Painted Wings and all others that took my hand in a delicate question.
                                      Even as an experienced horseman, just not in the field.

                                      I am also just arriving home from the Upstate NY area ( Rochester) from the best of times to read the thoughtful responses. I SO appreciate it.

                                      I have a mission I think. I look out the window as we drive home. I always do. I look at the landscape. NY..PA...any landscape.
                                      I see barren corn fields at thsis time of year and consider...would they trip in a good run...It's level field, but what about a woodsy trip over logs uphill, downhill, muddy footing...I'm weird that way.

                                      I always do that on a road trip.
                                      Somethings wrong with me. :-)

                                      I DO wish the good folks at this very good energetic spot, the best holiday toast I can offer. I thank you all again.

                                      Comment

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