The end of the hunting season can leave you feeling flat and pining for an adrenaline rush. But there's plenty to keep you and your horse busy, says Tessa Waugh
1. How is your horse looking and feeling? If they are thin or feeling sore the obvious thing to do is give them a rest. Roughed off, rugged up and out in a field (if your ground can take it) for a couple of months R & R before you think about riding them again. Meanwhile you can breathe a sigh of relief and think about something else: your job, your children, your husband/wife and anything else that you’ve neglected for the last five months.
2. If your horse is looking and feeling good you may want to capitalise on their fitness and your own. Look out for any hunt organised rides or hunter trials that are happening in your area.
3. Now is a good time to give your horse a health overhaul and seek professional attention for any niggling back or teeth problems.
4. If you are missing your adrenaline fix, find some like-minded riders and try some team chasing. There are five taking place in various places around Britain between the end of March and May. Look at www.britishteamchasing.co.uk for more information.
5. Most people will feel unimpressed with their riding skills at some point during the season. Now is a good time to invest in some lessons, jumping or otherwise. Similarly, if your horse wasn’t feeling confident enough over his fences you might want to go back to basics with some schooling.
6. If your horse is old, they may benefit from being kept going through the summer. This will also lessen the time spent getting them fit again in late summer. Explore some rides in the area that you haven’t tried before, even if it means boxing them up to investigate somewhere further away.
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7. Head to the beach and enjoy a gallop across the sand. Sounds cheesy but it’s guaranteed to give you both a boost.
8. There isn’t a huge amount of crossover between hunting and dressage but don’t let that stop you. Dressage rewards all horses and riders with increased flexibility, strength and fitness, all of which will massively help your performance on the hunting field.