Here are just a few reminders to help get both you and your horse prepared for the upcoming Hunt Season which begins Saturday, October 1 with Member Cubbing. When you and horse are properly appointed, it makes for a safer, more enjoyable Hunt and shows respect for yourself, the landowner, the Masters, and the traditions of foxhunting. Waiting for the leaves to fall is too late!
Time to cut down on those summer sweets and umbrella drinks and get some core and cardio-vascular exercise. If we expect our horses to be fit, so should we. Biking, jogging, and walking out hounds at kennels (8 am most mornings!) are all a wake-up call to those muscles in summer mode. Yoga and pilates help strengthen the core and improve balance and flexibility. Check your hunt clothes and make sure they are clean, buttons and stitching are good and appropriate to fit your fabulous figure. Check out the attire section of the website HERE for reminders of what attire is appropriate for Cubbing Season beginning October 1, and the Formal Season beginning November 12.
Time to get those marvelous steeds out of the field and back to work. Think of what problems you may have had last season and address them. Call the vet and get a checkup (teeth, shots, coggins, worming) and a lameness evaluation. Often, those attitude problems can be attributed to pain. Clean them up by pulling mane, trim, and get shoes. You should be riding AT LEAST 2x a week. Best fitness for horse and rider is trotting. Incorporate hills, ditches, water crossings, and jumping gymnastics. Break up your riding routine (whether on trails or ring) into 3 equal portions of warm-up, training and cool down.
Doing these suggestions will make for a more enjoyable hunt season for both horse and rider. Remember: the outside of the horse is good for the inside of the person!
Time to get that green mold off the tack and check for weak points and stitching. Make sure your saddle and girth fit your horse correctly and make adjustments due to weight changes. Correctly adjust your bridle and bit to your horse's needs. Thoroughly give your tack a good cleaning and oiling before the season starts. Cleaning your tack well now, makes for easier regular cleaning after each hunt. And don’t forget to get a thorough inspection of your horse trailer—where you store your tack to and from each meet!--so that you and your horse are sure to arrive safely.
HUNT SEASON PREP CHECKLIST
-Exercise-bike, yoga, jog, walk out hounds
-Hunt clothes-clean, buttons, stitching and fit
-Make sure that your membership dues payment is current. Contact Treasurer Tim Watson with questions at email@example.com
-Fill out waiver which you can find HERE on the website
-Send waiver to Hunt Secretary Cynthia Long-Porter at firstname.lastname@example.org or give to her at the Festival of Foxhunting on 9/25.
-Vet checkup-teeth, shots, coggins, worming, lameness
-Clean up-mane, trim, shoes
-Exercise-AT LEAST 2x a week trotting hills, water, ditches, jumps
-Check weak points, stitching
-Adjust bridle, bit and saddle
-Thoroughly clean and oil
-Inspect horse trailer, check tires, etc.
-Purchase a shiny red ribbon for your horse’s tail, if he/she kicks
Merri Musso is a professional horsewoman, riding instructor and foxhunter of more than 50 years. Based in Mathews, Virginia, she has been a member of PAH since 2018 and currently serves as Vice President on the PAH Board of Directors.