First Foxhunt :/

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First Foxhunt :/

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  • When does the second flight start at a fox hunt
  • Bucking foxhunt

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    09-07-2012, 03:43 PM
First Foxhunt :/

On Sunday, there was an exersizing of the hounds at my farm. A nearby hunt came over to use our land and they let us tag along. Since we were only tagging along, we had to stay in the back.
I rode my 15yo TB super-brave event horse. I was expecting to do some cantering, so I put on the gag bridle (He can get a little carried away when there are other horses). He was being very good while we waited for everyone to mount (he fell asleep). Once he saw the hounds- that was it. He didn't want to stand still, or be behind the other horses. When we got going he was bucking and rearing and backing into fences when I wouldn't let him run to the front- it was bad. Then, once I got him a little more settled, the first field group came galloping up behind us. They didn't go around us though, they went throught the middle of the group! I was sandwiched inbetween two galloping horses and Ash (my horse) lost his mind. He was doing cantering half passes, and shoulder-ins trying to find a way to get through my aids and gallop forwards (WHY CAN'T HE DO THAT WHEN I ASK HIM TO!! :) ) He was also swinging his butt towards other horses and acting like he was going to kick. When we caught up with other people who were having trouble, we decided to go back to the barn. I didn't want him kicking another horse, or a fence. I worked him hard in the ring, and then when everyone came back, I went out and did it alone- he was fine.
I posted what happened on Fcabook and one of his previous owners commented and said that he used to foxhunt in first field. This explains why he wanted to go- but he could still listen to me!
My mom was disappointed- she said that I should've kept going and taught him a lesson. I would've, but I didn't want to be resposible for hurting another horse.
Everyone was invited to their first hunt next weekend, but I don't think we will go. I've heard that the real hunts are more chaotic than the exersizing, and what we did was out of control!
Did I do the right thing by stopping at the barn, or should I have kept going? I'm not showing him any more so I don't see when this could ever happen again, but what should I do if he does decide to act like this? Would going to the hunt be a bad idea?
If you made it all the way through my book- thank you :) The upside is that my old man with joint problems felt like a four year old :) It's amazing what an anit-inflammatory pill and a day off work can do for him...
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    09-07-2012, 03:50 PM
If he was a first flight horse, no wonder he was acting up. It wasn't so much him being bad, as not understanding why you weren't trying to keep up with the first group.

First flight horses HAVE to be somewhat hot, sensitive, and ready to go. They're also brave, which you said your boy happens to be.

I'm not going to say you're responsible for this, because you didn't know his history. If you had, you might have known what to expect and been better prepared to handle him.

Since you're not going to be part of first flight, it's entirely up to you whether or not you want to go to the hunt. Now that you know his history, do you think you can work through his issues and keep him at the back of the pack?
    09-07-2012, 04:36 PM
You did the right thing, because your horse was out of control putting you and others at danger, and you weren't enjoying yourself.

I suggest you go to the next meet on foot, and talk to the Master or secretary. Explain your situation, and ask them to recommend a quiet meet when you can come, ideally planning to ride in the company of a super-sane companion (human and horse!).

I don't recommend going to theNewcomers Meet - there can be a lot of horses going mental with out of control riders, best avoid that if you already know that you might be facing a challenge of your own

You may find that when put at the front your horse becomes easier to manage and you enjoy yourself more. I hope you do

So yes, do go again, and plan to stay out for half the day - give both you and your horse time to get a feel of things and of each other. Also, speak to the previous owner and find out what bit he was hunted in.
    09-07-2012, 05:01 PM
Give it another try. I bet he'll be 100x better doing what he expects to be able to do.

I took my eventer foxhunting this summer. We started out in second flight, but it was soon obvious he was itching to be up with the front of the pack. We switched to first flight 10 minutes in and he was an absolute angel, jumping everything in sight and staying right where he needed to be.
    09-07-2012, 06:44 PM
Thank you for your help! It just took me by surprise because he is usually really laid back!
Speed Racer- On trail rides or even in the ring, he is usually happy to be the last horse. The day before the hounds came, our barn rode the path and we were picked to be last because both both me and my horse were experienced. He was totally fine with the other horses rearing and cantering. I think the hounds brought out his wild side :)
Shropshirerosie- I know his previous owner rode him in a dreamcatcher all the time. When I got him, I couldn't control him in that, so I use the gag for cross country. I figured this would be somewhat like cross country minus the jumps, so I used the gag. Thank you for your advice. I was planning on going to the hunt anyways to support my friends- so I will talk to the master.
Equiniphile- I would've been more than happy to start out in first flight, but as we weren't part of the hunt club ( is it a club?), they made us stay in the back behind everyone else. I've never foxhunted before and I was shocked by how many horses there were and how close they were coming to us. I think that if we were with a smaller group first flight would be fine, but with a full group- I'd be worried about getting run over and navigating while going so fast!
    09-07-2012, 08:44 PM
I used to train foxhunters for the field master and whipper ins, and also whipper inned as a substitute and for training. First flight horses need to be consistantly fast, have no "empty" in the tank, and literally have no "whoa". They have to gallop for 4 hours at miminum without showing any signs of fatigue.

Exercising the other horses was a breeze. I would exercise 5 horses at once just by riding 1 and ponying 4 others on the track. However, the horses used for whipper ins and field masters needed to be exercised alone and breezed out on trails. They were horrible on the track. I tried to give one of the laid back horses to a whipper in and they came back through half of the hunt and switched out horses. He just didn't have what it takes.

Your horse knows his job and wants to do his job. He doesn't understand that this isn't his job anymore. He was taught to chase those hounds and never to stop. He was pushed after those hounds many times and it was essential that he never fall behind.

Now you're telling him to fall behind and let the hounds go on without him. This can be very frustrating to a horse to knows and loves their job. I would speak with the field master before you take him on another hunt and see if he would let you tag along on some hound walks. It was nice of them to let you join them, but they don't need an uncooperative horse out in the field.

The first field needs to catch the hounds. The second field hangs back, doesn't jump, but still follows the hounds. The third field is like a glorified trail ride. I never understood the third field, to be honest. If you're not chasing the hounds and jumping, why are you hunting?

Is this a scent hunt or a live hunt? If he was put on live hunts, the need for the chase is that much more important. Without training him to accept his new job, no bit in the world is going to change his mind about chasing the hounds.

This is if the field master lets you back in the hunt. When I was training, if a horse acted goofy like that, he wouldn't be invited back. If he was a training horse, they would give the horse enough time to work out the quirks. If he didn't settle into the field he was given, he was sold.
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    09-07-2012, 10:14 PM
It wasn;t a live hunt. It was called "Roading of the hounds" and they just got the dogs out for practice because the hunt season starts soon. It's been 10 years since his last hunt (he came off the race track and right to foxhunting), so I'm surprised he remembered. I'm not sure foxhutnting is my thing though. I love going fast and jumping, but there were 50+ horses in a group and it was chaotic! Other horses were misbehaving and we were all invited back. It was supposed to be really laid back, but I think they just left out any sort of rules instead. The hunt club brought 50ish horses and they all knew what they were doing. Our barn had 15 people and it was all our first hunt- we were so confused as to why some horses were galloping inbetween us and why we had to stay in the back untill we got back and our trainer told us. I heard that last year it was much more organized and every new person went next to an experienced person. I was wondering what to expect most of the time - chaotic, or organized and helpful?
    09-07-2012, 11:00 PM
What hunt organization did you run with?

The facility I worked with had 200+ hounds and ran 50 of them at a time. They also did "hound walks" to keep the hounds fit, but never hunted them in the walks. We never did practice runs. Everytime the hounds hunted, they were expected to run something for hours. Their catch rate was pretty high.

On a side note (ETA:) they did have a large enclosure to train the upcoming pups. Just thought I'd add that.

In the hunts I worked with, things were chaotic in the "HOUNDS ARE OVER THERE, GO GO GO!!!" way. We never had to blow through the second or third field, they were guided by an experienced hunter and kept out of the way. I can understand if the hounds blasted through one of the fields, and the whipper ins had to blow after them. But usually, I almost never saw the third field except for if I saw them peeking over a hilltop.

I never had to mesh well with people since I was a trainer and didn't have to worry about social graces to get respect. I held a horn and a whip, and that was enough for people to respect me without having to claw my way from the bottom. But I do remember one time I picked up a whipper in horse because the rider fell and dislocated his shoulder. I was out of uniform and riding in the hunt as a stand-in, and NO ONE even looked at me or spoke to me. They presumed I was below their class because I was in normal attire and thought I was simply someone who hopped on a horse and followed the hunt out of curiosity, when in reality, I was subbing as an important role. I got a lot of appologies later after they found out, since they were acting so rude to a whipper in. I didn't care. I was focussed on the hounds.

SO...the club members do kind of look down on those who don't pay to be a part of the elite group, are new, or don't have the social graces (yet) to be accepted as part of the working hunt. Its almost like a clique, persay. There are different levels of superiority and you're expected to stay in your field, stay out of the way and spoke when spoken to. If you're not active in the hunting of the hounds, you're basically just a spectator. And then you have social levels of spectators. Since you're new, you're at the bottom and probably not spoken to or given much attention because of your status.

It will probably be chaotic for a good long time until they realize you're there to stay, and need to talk to you. You need to gain their respect. Do some reading and research before you attend the next hunt so you don't seem so clueless. You can bet a hunt will be chaotic and there are different levels of chaos based on how the hunt is run and by who.

If you attend the opening hunt, please research appropriate attire, rules and behavior. One little thing that you wouldn't presume as rude will definitely come off as rude to the hunt master if you approach it wrong.

A hunt without rules or proper technique is frowned upon...even the hound walks had certain rules and regulations. It all has to due with status in a hunt.
Strange and Speed Racer like this.
    09-08-2012, 09:52 AM
Copper, I want to make JJ a foxhunter, but I know we'll never be first flight. Second flight is all I aspire to, since I'm well aware of both our limitations. I'll start out hilltopping just to get a feel for the group, but have no plans to stay with third flight.
    09-08-2012, 01:37 PM
We were with Carrollton Hounds. There were 7.5 pairs of hounds, and 7 of the 15 dogs were puppies who had never done a live hunt. I was talking to my trainer and she said that we werent spread out enough. I can't figure out why first flight took a different path and ended up behind us.

The dogs got a scent of a fox, but they weren't allowed to go after it. We had a path that we went on and it wasn't just galloping randomly through fields. Also, there was first, second and third field, but no one was jumping. It was like a group trail ride, but some people were galloping with the hounds, some were trotting and then we were in the back fighting with our horses.

I see what you mean about it being a clique. After the hunt, my dad was tlking to the master and showing him pictures he took. My dad called them "dogs" and the master said "We don't have dogs, we have hounds" lol.

In the beginning, all of the horses were standing around waiting for it to start. There was a whipper-in next to me and she was swinging her whip thing form one side of her horse to the other. Everytime it came back towards me my horse would spook into another horse. There was no sense of personal bubble space!

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