Preparing a young horse for hunting

mbf938

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Hi everyone

So, my mare isn't actually a young horse - she is 12 - and has done racing, hunter trials, team chasing and is now a riding club and dressage horse mainly. However, I am aiming to also take her hunting 2016-17 season.

So far I have taken her on group hacks including 2 mile gallops where she has been first, middle, last. She is going on fun rides between 10-13 miles with optional jumps (you know the sort the hunts run out of season), and has been good so far again first, middle, last. Although she isn't keen on horses she doesn't know being behind her, but I will see how she goes with this. Doesn't kick, just pulls faces.

I am planning to continue these then take her autumn hunting, then depending on how she goes, take her out on weekdays once the season gets underway avoiding the big meets like Opening meet and Boxing Day.

Essentially I want her to be a safe horse out hunting that will go where she is told, so I don't want her to connect hounds with galloping in group solely. I want her to stand when required etc.

Does this sound like a plan? Is there anything else I can do to prepare her? Due to lack of transport, I unfortunately will only be able to take her out 6 times overall so I am planning 3 times autumn hunting, 3 times main season or 4/2 and build up next season.

Thanks :)
 

Templebar

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It sounds like you are pretty keyed up to me, ideally for a season or two I would want to take more than that purely because it can take 3 meets before they begin to settle and don't be fooled by the angelic appearance at the first meet the second and third is nearly always far worse as the first time they don't know what to expect. I didn't find autumn hunting much good for settling mine, but again I don't think I was able to attend regularly enough to make it useful. Just read your last sentence again I definitely think that make the most of autumn hunting this time, despite how boring you will find it, I think if you can teach them that they go and wander with very little cantering/galloping then it will pay off later.


Also I would use a red ribbon, I know she doesn't kick but in this instance it might be useful to give people warning and try and keep them from running up your backside, as some will just use others for breaks and not accidently either.
 

mbf938

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Thank you! I have red ribbon that I put on her for use in collecting rings at dressage shows as some are very cramped and people run into us, which irritates her. I will stick it on her when we go out.
 

leflynn

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I practiced standing still in a group - sounds mad but mine is prone to never standing still! Otherwise sounds like great prep enjoy :)
 

mbf938

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Thanks - actually, that is a super idea! As a ex racer, I actually find the standing still bit is the most tricky so I will find opportunities to do that. Sounds daft but I sometimes tack up early before a class or a hack and just stand for 15 minutes to try to get her used to the idea, but doing it in a group would be the next step.
 

FemelleReynard

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It sounds like you have a good plan in place already - lots of pony parties and autumn hunting when it gets started to get them use to that excitable atmosphere.

Another point to consider (if you haven't already) is that if you think you're horse is likely to need a stronger bit for hunting, now is the time to start experimenting to find what works and what your horse is happy in. Don't leave it until you're going hunting to try a new bit.
 

mbf938

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Good shout - I am trying her in a hanging cheek this weekend at a fun ride. She usually goes in an eggbutt but I found on the last fun ride I needed a tad more so will try this. I also have a kimblewick and a pelham if I need them. Lcukily her mouth is same size as my old pony so I have a few options if required.
 

leflynn

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Thanks - actually, that is a super idea! As a ex racer, I actually find the standing still bit is the most tricky so I will find opportunities to do that. Sounds daft but I sometimes tack up early before a class or a hack and just stand for 15 minutes to try to get her used to the idea, but doing it in a group would be the next step.
Mine is an ex racer too and a fidget, he's got better and settles better :)
 

Templebar

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I love my Pelham for hunting, I use it with two reins so when she settles I can use the top one. My guide to which bit is if her evasion is head up not listening go to Pelham worth running martingale on top rein if needed. If head lowered behind the vertical or setting the neck and running off the Cheltenham gag both with two reins normal smaller mouth piece for the gag and straight/Mullen mouth for the Pelham.
 

JanetGeorge

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Teaching her to stand is a major achievment with a mare with the background of yours. One I prepared for our huntsman had ONLY been trained for eventing - he'd never hacked (that was great fun, not!) And he'd never been asked to stand for more than 30 seconds (then he proceeded in rising trot.) The former I eventually got around to - I remember doing reinback for about 40 yards to get him passed local farmer's wife who had her substantial bum in the air weeding the garden lol. And standing still was taught slowly - first 30 seconds and walk on, then 45 seconds - and the odd titbit passed forward. Once he discovered there might be a titbit, he slowly got easier to halt for 1 minute, then 2, then 3 (as a huntsman's horse - as opposed to a follower's - he often had to stand - alone - for 15-20 minutes! It took about 3 months just dong the basic training - he then did 11 years as huntsman's horse (and that was a miracle for our huntsman who usualy fell out with horses in 6 months or less, lol!)
 

Addicted to Hunting

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To give you a positive spin as well, my ex-racer stands better than my other one does out hunting, she isn't always as patient standing out hacking but is very good out hunting. I love hunting my other one but she properly wouldn't be everyone cup of tea, but I would quietly say that my ex-racer is actually the easier one to hunt, all tho this was our first season together so just hoping it continues.
 

Goldenstar

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Thank you! I have red ribbon that I put on her for use in collecting rings at dressage shows as some are very cramped and people run into us, which irritates her. I will stick it on her when we go out.

You need a green ribbon when you go out .
 

Clodagh

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You need a green ribbon when you go out .

Green ribbon is best as if you wear red you MUST stay at the back - or should although that doesn't seem to be as enforeced nowadays. However, if when you say it irritates her when people get too close I would put red in and stay out the way, if irritates means kicking. It is highly likely someone, somewhere will at least brush past you.
 
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