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hunting with hounds

With the 2015/16 hunting season behind us, the hunting community looks forward to a summer of alternative hunting activities.

The majority of hunt horses are enjoying the spring grass while they take a well-earned break. For many horses that are used for hunting only, they will now have several months to relax and recharge their batteries following the end of the season.

Some of the older horses may be kept “ticking over” rather than be roughed off completely, until the process of walk work starts again in the late summer. Equally, a young horse that has started his education on the hunting field may go on to compete in other activities over the summer. Others may be kept in work to horse catch at point-to-points or to compete in inter-hunt relay teams.

1 May is the official handover date for all those changing jobs within hunt service and for those joining or leaving masterships. As with all professions, people retire or move jobs, thus creating vacancies and these positions are filled through a variety of recruitment processes throughout the year.

Hound puppies are out at walk and the young hounds that will be entered into their pack in the 2016/17 season are continuing their education back in kennels. Hound exercise on foot or bicycles takes place each day, with the distance covered increased as the start of the new season approaches.

Point-to-points, summer balls, kennel open days and puppy shows are just some of the events in the summer hunting diary. These activities make interesting and fun days out for all the family, as well as providing much needed fundraising opportunities.

The main hound shows of the season — at Ardingly, Builth Wells, Harrogate, Peterborough and Honiton — are the highlight of the showing season for many, with more local regional hound shows also taking place.

The Festival of Hunting takes place at the East of England showground at Peterborough on Wednesday, 20 July. As well as the 128th Peterborough Hound Show, there are a variety of other events to enjoy including the inter-hunt relay and numerous shopping opportunities.