The end of another hunting season brings with it feelings of sadness – what on earth are we going to do for the next few months? – and a little bit of relief to have made it in one piece. But before you turn your mind to less important pastimes, there are a few things you need to think about.
1. Take your tack to pieces properly, give it a thorough clean, check the stitching and make sure you get anything repaired that needs it.
2. Make sure your own kit is clean, mended and put away. It’s oh-so easy to forget that your boots need re-soling, you’ve lost a button from your hunting coat and that you didn’t clean your hunting whip – and discover all that at 10pm on the night before your first morning’s autumn hunting.
3. Write thank you letters to your masters and hunt staff. They work incredibly hard in difficult circumstances to provide you with your fun; the least you can do is show your appreciation.
4. If your hunter is having a holiday, give him an MOT first – if his back needs doing, get it looked at now, because it won’t magically correct itself in the field.
5. Have a lie-in.
6. Do all those things you’ve been planning to do all winter, but haven’t had time because hunting is more fun. DIY, paperwork, going to IKEA. You have no more excuses.
Robert McCarthy reveals what he gets up to when the season ends
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7. See what help you can give your hunt this summer – is your hunt getting involved with the Countryside Alliance-supported Great British Spring Clean (6-7 April)? Do they need someone to help in the burger van at the pony show? Do they need a working party to help build and repair hunt jumps, or paint the kennels?
8. Go to a hound show, even if your own hounds aren’t showing. The Lycetts Festival of Hunting takes place on the East of England Showground at Peterborough on 17 July, and the Irish National Hound Show is at Stradbally Hall, Co Laois on 7 July.
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