Nearly everyone that has looked through the adverts in the pages of H&H will have seen the words “Irish hunter” or “hunted in Ireland” — and may have had the opportunity of going across the Irish Sea to buy a horse either privately or at auction. But what about the actual hunting? Is it the same wherever you are in the world or does it vary from country to country? I made the the trip to find out (pictured above).
How hunting in Ireland differs to the UK
1. Virtually everyone arrives in a trailer rather than a horsebox.
2. A good percentage of the field are riding horses four years and under — including those on hirelings.
3. Nearly every horse wears a neck strap and there is no shame in using it regularly.
4. There is massive camaraderie when members of the field have to cross a big bank or ditch, with shouts of encouragement being heard whether a stranger or regular subscriber.
5. Foxhunting isn’t banned so they don’t get prosecuted if they chase a fox and you can hunt them seven days of the week if you wish.
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6. They can unload on the side of the road (or in a pub car park) and not have to worry about any consequences.
7. The general public are, on the whole, delighted to see hounds and those hunting and virtually everybody knows somebody or is related to somebody who hunts regularly.
8. Barely anybody carries a hunting whip — a short riding crop or a piece of blue alkathene pipe is standard (occasionally painted black or wrapped in black tape for lawn meets).
9. Falls tend to be much slower with fewer injuries, particularly in their bank country — a combination of softer landings and slower speeds.
10. Most Irish hunting people would expect to take a fall more often than those in England, Wales or Scotland — their Tumblers Clubs would be well-financed if they had them!
11. A lot of people carry their phones in freezer bags as standard in preparation for falling in a wet or boggy place.
12. In the UK, a good number of people will take a pull when they see a fence in anticipation of the top rail being broken, however in Ireland they kick on and want to get there first when the ground is at its best.