Cheryl & Cochese

Cheryl & Cochese

A Tale of a Clinic Rider from Years Past

It’s been 3 years since I took my foxhunting clinic with the Old Chatham Hunt Club, and what a wonderful 3 years it’s been!  I took one of their earliest clinics, way back in 2013, and left with excitement and a free cap (entry fee for hunting) for later on that season.  At the time I was still doing some low level showing and didn’t have the time or money to join the club.  After using my free cap, though, I was totally hooked!

 

Some things to expect at a foxhunting clinic

  • You’ll need a little extra time to find the place. We have STUNNING countryside to ride and hunt on. That means that it’s not covered in houses and paved roads. Expect the last few miles of your trip to be on windy dirt roads where you will want to give your horse a nice ride by going slowly.
  • You’re horse will be a little bit more excited than usual. If you show or hunter pace, this will be a little bit more exiting. When a horse is in a group of other horses that he doesn’t know and you’re all headed in the same direction, he can get excited.  Plan for this so that you are ready.
  • Similar to a hunter pace, we’ll be on several hills and your horse will be sweaty.  Be sure to have your tack secured. We recommend using all of the keepers on saddle pads and breast collars can be helpful too.  A comfortable horse is a happy horse.
  • You’ll get a great education on the how and why of the foxhunting sport. If you think we’re a bunch of yahoo’s, hurting animals in our path, you’ll learn otherwise.  This sport is quite civilized (in both looks and in action) while also being a huge thrill.
  • Your horse will LOVE the open spaces that you’ll ride through and your leader will teach you about some of the field maneuvers that are used during every hunt. You’ll leave with all the necessary basics for your first day out hunting.
  • Should you choose to join us foxhunting, you’ll form a bond with your horse that you didn’t think was possible.  There will be rides where you’ll save his butt, and there will be days that he saves yours. At least for me, that what I love the best!
2016 Foxhunting Clinic

 

 

End of the lineIn the spring of 2014, I emailed the club and was invited out roading. It’s a spring and summer tradition where we gather at the kennels and head out on horseback with a pack of hounds down the road.  At this time of year, we don’t do any hunting.  The foxes and coyotes are birthing and raising young and it is not our intention to catch or harm any animals in the pursuit of our sport. This is a chance to get the hounds and horses into shape after a winter of less activity and a wonderful chance to get young or inexperienced horses introduced to the large group of hounds and horses. It’s also a fun opportunity to socialize after a long winter away from many of our friends.

After a day or two out roading I was invited to join the club.  Several members offered to sponsor me, and I was even eligible for a lower rate because I was a new member and still fell into the young adult age range.  I immediately signed up, and as they say, the rest is history!

Find out about my first season as a foxhunter in PART 2

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