A riding school proprietor has come up with an innovative way to boost her business: offering hunt hirelings for children.

Deni Harper-Adams, of Worcester and Twyning riding schools, told H&H: “I hunted from the age of two on the back of a very rotund Shetland pony.

“When I left the yard to go hunting at the start of this season with my friend’s son in tow, I was being asked by both children and parents whether I took other children with me,” she explained.

The first day that Ms Harper-Adams took children out on hirelings — with the Croome and West Warwickshire earlier this month — she had 13 mounted with another eight following in cars.

“We had to turn down four children, and make three trips to get the ponies there,” she said.

The children — aged from seven to 14 — stayed with Ms Harper-Adams the night before, watched DVDs on hunting and were talked through hunting etiquette.

“It’s very important to me that the children didn’t cut anyone up, always faced hounds and offered to open gates,” she said.

Joint-master Robin Palmer was field mastering on the first day Ms Harper-Adams took children out.

He told H&H they were a welcome addition to the field — and helped swell numbers.

“It’s very nice to have a lot of new young children. They are our future,” he said. “Another joint-master commented on how well behaved and in control they were.”

Ms Harper-Adams’s hunting days start at £100, and any child wishing to take part would need to undertake a course of lessons first. Tel: 01905 371524.

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (29 January, ’09)