Autumn Hunting – Get Ready
Autumn hunting usually starts around late August and finishes at Open Meet, generally late October to early November. Autumn hunting is a great way to introduce and educate new members, young hounds, new hunt staff and new horses giving them a taste of what is to come for the oncoming season. Autumn hunting generally offers a shorter, quieter and slower day than a day in full season, ideal to gain experience.
You are expected to dress smartly and although your horse shouldn’t be plaited, make sure he is tidy. Tweed jackets should be worn, light coloured breeches or jodhpurs, leather boots, a shirt and tie or stock, a riding hat, gloves and nothing bright coloured, especially tack – stick to brown or black. Also make sure that your tack is clean and in good repair. If inexperienced, perhaps put your horse in a stronger bit in case he becomes excited or strong, but always try beforehand.
Early morning starts are generally the norm, anytime after 6am to maximise scenting conditions for the hounds, before temperatures rise and evaporate the scent. You will probably be out for around 3 hours and there are generally 3 or 4 meets a week.
If your horse is young or inexperienced, you should put a green ribbon in his tail to warn other people to give him some room. If he has ever kicked (anyone or anything at all), he must wear a red ribbon in his tail and you should stay to the back of the field. This is to avoid the risk of injuring another horse, rider, hound or foot follower.
If you are a newcomer and want to try Autumn hunting, contact your local hunt secretary who will advise you accordingly and most hunts organise a social night before the start of autumn hunting, to familiarise newcomers of procedures.
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