The end of season blues may be kicking in, but even for the most hardened hunting fanatic, there are some things that won’t be missed over the summer months
While you’re gazing at your horses getting fat on the spring grass and reminiscing every time you see a hunt jump, a gate off the road or a neatly trimmed hedge that is calling out to be jumped, just think about a few of these irritations — some more major than others — that you won’t have to do deal with again until the autumn.
1. Getting up early every day — almost certainly in the dark and most likely in the cold and wet — to muck out your hunter before work.
2. Going out late at night, often when in clean, non-horsey clothes, to change rugs and check your horse hasn’t broken out. However hard you try, even with a big coat and a hat on, you still end up smelling of horse.
3. Cleaning out the filter on the washing machine and getting water all over the floor might not be such a regular occurrence now there isn’t so much muddy equipment and rugs going through it.
4. The endless tack cleaning after hunting that has to be done — and if you decide to leave it overnight, scraping dried crusty mud off girths just isn’t a fun way to spend your time.
5. Trying to get the stains in your stock out. However much you soak your white stock and use stain remover, nothing can quite lift the shadow left by splashes of mud.
6. Those little dregs that sometimes get left around your lips when you drink out of a hip flask that is verging on empty.
7. Going to polish your boots before hunting to find out you forgot to buy more black polish, then trying to make do with saddle-soap.
8. Spending what seems like an eternity cleaning dried mud off your hunt coat the night before hunting, only to take it outside in daylight to see you’ve missed bits, or there are dust patches where the mud hasn’t lifted properly. Tip: clean with cold water and a clean dandy brush as soon as you have finished doing horse off after hunting and allow it to drip dry.
9. Finding your hat has become too tight because it got wet the last time you used it and you either dried it too quickly or forgot to put the hat stretcher inside it.
10. Endlessly studying weather forecasts to decide how many rugs to put on your horse or whether to put your waistcoat on under your hunt coat. Then invariably finding out too late that you are too hot or too cold.
11. Leaving ridiculously early for meets at venues you don’t know, to ensure you can turn the lorry/trailer around, to find you are parking in a field and have all the space in the world so needn’t have rushed and then leave your gloves behind.
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12. Those anxious moments when you take bandages off after hunting, just praying that legs are cool and without any potential cause for concern.
Have a great summer and don’t worry, autumn hunting will be here before you know it…