There’s something really special about hunting over the Christmas period, says H&H’s hunting editor Catherine Austen. Here’s why you should go…
1. It’s the best form of family entertainment. Get those teenagers over their hangovers and away from their X-Boxes, and take them hunting to get some fresh air. You can do it all together — if someone doesn’t ride, you can go hunting on foot of course, or beg a coveted place on a quad bike. Then everyone finishes the day muddy, tired and happy and goes to bed pleasingly early…
2. The reverse of point one — if your family are driving you mad with arguments, leave them all to get on with it and go hunting on your own. Blissful peace.
3. Hunting on Christmas Eve is somehow particularly magical; it’s the perfect build-up to Christmas Day and puts everyone in a good mood.
4. If you want to festoon your horse in tinsel, go for it. Older, crustier members of the field might frown a bit, but who cares? I have to be honest and say that my own (silly) horse would probably spook at herself wearing tinsel, but it’s Christmas and if you want a bit of sparkle, why not?
5. There will be many more children out than usual, being the Christmas holidays (lucky beggars). Let’s all remember that it is a time of peace among men — be nice to them, even if some of them are occasionally out of control. After all, the more children there are out, the less the rest of us have to get off and do gates…
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6. Every hunting person who can should support their local hunt on Boxing Day. This is hunting’s big “good news” day of the year, and our biggest showcase. If you can’t go on a horse, go to the meet on foot, and take Granny, your neighbours, anyone who might like to go. It’s fun, you can make an indent on those Christmas calories and it is a day when numbers really count.
7. And, in relation to Boxing Day, having to get your horse/bicycle cleaned up the day before is the perfect excuse to get out of the house for a bit on Christmas Day. Uncle Bernie has no idea how long it takes to wash a horse’s tail and socks, so take your time, and when you get back, it’s time for the best bit of Christmas food — the Christmas-leftovers-sandwich.
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