Whether you are concerned about making a fool of yourself by saying or doing the wrong thing, or simply want to brush up on your technique over a fence, a pre-season hunting clinic can be a great way of preparing for what you may encounter on the hunting field.
Clinics tend to combine work within an arena with action on cross-country courses, commonly with a fun social element — and often including lunch. While they may lack the highly unpredictable nature of hunting with hounds, when combined with time spent autumn hunting, they provide an education for those new to the sport and can be a useful refresher course for both experienced horse and rider.
Izzy Taylor, event rider and field master for the Bicester with Whaddon Chase says: “There is nothing better than autumn hunting for a young horse because it tends not to be as fast and furious as meets later on into the season. Hunting clinics are excellent for getting the rider’s and horse’s eye in and are particularly good for those who might not perhaps ride from the end of one season to the beginning of the next so are looking for a confidence boost.
“Equally they are great for those who have never hunted before because as well as helping to educate inexperienced horses and riders, the clinics can also provide a good understanding of hunt etiquette.”
Pre-season hunting clinics 2016
Pontispool Equine Sports Centre
A hunting schooling day will take place at Pontispool Equine Sports Centre on 13 October. The popular day takes place every autumn and is hosted by the Taunton Vale Hunt. Participating riders are presented with similar scenarios encountered on the hunting field and after two hours of tuition ride a trail hunt with hounds. For more information or to book your place (£60 per person) contact Pontispool on 01823 461196 or e-mail: email@example.com.
Cotswold Hunt clinics with Jonty Evans
A chance to brush up on cross-country riding skills by gaining quality advice from eventer Jonty Evans. The session will include jumping in a schooling environment followed by hunting-style fences around the respective estates. Refreshments provided. £75 for non-Cotswold Hunt subscribers, £65 for Cotswold Hunt subscribers. There will be two clinics on 8 and 15 October. For further details contact Kathryn Kent on 07973540131 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pre-season hunting clinic with Sam Griffiths
Toomers Farm, near Templecombe in Somerset is the setting for this clinic on 11 October. For those who are unable to bring a horse, there is an opportunity to walk around with Sam while he is instructing. All places must be booked and paid for in advance. Please contact Sheena on 01963250237 or 07773280803 for further details.
Mendip Plains Equestrian Centre
This offers the perfect opportunity to brush up on your hunting skills before the season commences, helping you get back in the saddle and revise the cross-country riding skills you need to be safe and to have fun this season. This pre-hunting clinic on 16 October will cater for everyone including children and adults, new combinations as well as experienced horses and riders. The aim of the clinic is to give each person some simple pointers that will make a big difference to their way of going, and banish those pre-season nerves. For further details visit www.mendipplainsec.co.uk
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Vine and Craven Hunt clinics
Taking place on 9 and 30 October near Newbury, these will include a one hour arena session and then two miles of galloping with optional hunt jumps, including rails and hedges. The course will be followed by a roast lunch in the nearby Fox and Hounds Pub. Instruction provided by Clare Chamberlayne BHSI and international event rider. Email email@example.com for further information and bookings.
Harry Meade plans to run his autumn hunting clinics again this year. His clinics are extremely popular with heaps of positive feedback. He endeavours to “equip each person with one or two simple pointers that will make a profound difference to their way of going”. Harry caters for beginners through to experienced riders. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07966 021536.