5 hunting chores that are more fun than you think

  • 1. Gate-shutting

    Who wants to be stuck at the back, endlessly shutting gates – especially ones that require you to get on and off – when hounds are running? No one. But you’ve got to do your gate-shutting duty when asked – once a season with our pack, which is hardly too much to ask, so it’s best to suck it up and not whinge. And actually it can be surprisingly enjoyable. You might be paired up with someone you don’t know well and make a new friend — all that getting on and off is good for you, and you feel terribly virtuous and helpful. Top tip – if your own horse is not good at waiting behind, or whirls round you while you try to heave yourself back on, bribe someone with chocolates and booze to lend you their trusty cob.

    2. Selling tickets for the whisky draw at the meet

    Yes, it means you aren’t out on a horse so could potentially miss the hunt of the season, but you meet all sorts of hunting characters that you won’t necessarily otherwise talk to. Lots of those elderly foot- and car-followers know more about hunting than you will ever do, and have banks of great hunting stories. Again, you are making yourself useful – and if you manage to drag £1 out of Old Jack when no one else has, you’ll be a bit of a hero.

    3. Organising the hunt ball

    Utter hell, a huge task involving hours and hours and hours of hard work and your marriage may well founder on the rocks as a result, but the sight of 400+ people dancing their socks off at midnight with happy smiles on their faces is worth it. That and the much-needed £x,000 it adds to hunt coffers.

    4. Working behind the bar at a hunt event

    Obviously it isn’t you out there having a jolly time and sinking yet another pint, or carving up the dance floor, but it is honestly the best job. You see everyone (but briefly – no time for long boring conversations), you watch them interact with each other (just like going to the zoo, but better), you don’t have to get a taxi home and you won’t have a hangover the next day.

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    5. Fence-judging at the point-to-point

    Who wants to be stuck in a car away from everyone else all day? You will when it’s raining hard. Admittedly it is either dull or terrifying, depending what happens at your fence, but bring a lavish picnic and a friend, and be delighted you aren’t slopping about in the mud as the downpour seeps through to your skin.

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