The fox-hunting season is upon us so here are some useful bits of information for those going hunting for the first time.
At the beginning of the season cubbing takes place. This is usually early in the morning and autumn hunting takes place before the opening meet.The purpose of which is to train new hounds and to control the number of new fox cubs.
For cubbing the appropriate attire is a tweed/ hacking jacket, beige or cream jodhpurs and either a shirt and tie or coloured stock. It is not necessary for your horse to be plaited for cubbing however out of respect for the hunt it is essential that both you and your horse are well turned out.
Sometime around the clocks changing for winter your hunt will hold ‘opening meet’. This signifies the start of winter hunting and is a key date in any hunt calendar.
From opening meet onwards the correct hunting dress includes a black or navy hunting jacket. You should consider a thick woollen jacket which will help to keep you warm and dry in all conditions. You will need your beige or cream jodhpurs or breeches and a white hunting shirt and white stock with stock pin.
It is essential to consider clipping your horse for hunting. It is a strenuous day and involves lots of galloping so your horse will get hot. Clipping also makes it easier to remove the mud.
For winter hunting your turnout should be exceptionally smart. It is traditional to plait manes and tails. Extra details include hairnets for girls/ ladies to keep long hair out of the way, gloves, a short whip and long riding boots. Short boots and chaps are generally acceptable for children during autumn hunting. It is advisable to cut your horse’s tail a little shorter than usual to avoid getting it caught in bushes and hedges or over jumps, etc.
Correct attire for your horse should be considered. Your tack should be clean, well-fitting and appropriate for the situation including breastplates and boots when necessary. Double check your stitching to make sure that nothing is going to give way while you are out.
It is recommended to take supplies in your pockets including sweets or chocolate for when energy levels are low. You should take your mobile phone in case of emergency but try to keep it on silent to avoid it from ringing at an inconvenient moment. Always have some emergency contact details to hand including next of kin, the vet and a list of any medical conditions or serious allergies that you have. It is also a good idea to have a change of clothes, sweat rugs, water, buckets and a first aid kit with essentials for both you and your horse.