1. You’ve made a calendar of the days left until autumn hunting starts and you eagerly cross them off each morning.
2. You’ve already asked your huntsman (three times) when hound exercise on horses starts, and are really disappointed when he looks horrified and tells you not until July. But they have started on bikes, and you’re there, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, at 6am. You’ll have thighs of steel by the time the season starts.
3. Your hunting kit is clean, polished, mended – and ready to go. Similarly your horse’s tack.
4. You’ve booked days off work for all the major hound shows and are mentally planning your picnic for the Festival of Hunting at Peterborough.
5. Your horse won’t come anywhere near you in the field — he thinks you have an unnecessarily keen look in your eye and he wants a holiday, thank you very much. Past years have taught him it won’t be long; by June he will be plonking round the roads, and by the end of August he’ll be nearly fit enough to go round Burghley, let alone cope with a morning’s autumn hunting.
6. You honestly can’t wait for the puppy show — it’s the highlight of your summer. You are helping in the tea tent, and hope that Dasher and Dancer, the puppies you walked last year, are in the prizes. To aid your quest, you’ve found out who the judges are and are having them to lunch (separately, to avoid suspicion) the week before.