The future format of one of Britain’s best known cross-country rides across natural country could be in doubt if the size of the entry is not increased substantially at its next fixture.
Only 23 started in the Melton Hunt Club Ride in Leicestershire last November compared with fields of more than 50 or 60 in the past. If this year’s ride does not attract more starters, the organisers may consider changing the format to an easier type of course, with a view to attracting more novice horses and riders.
This year, the ride changes from an autumn to a spring fixture, taking place on Monday, 1 March in one of the finest stretches of Quorn hunting country. It includes the turf and fly fences on parts of the famous hunting estates of Quenby and Lowesby, and is sponsored by Geary’s Bakeries.
“We’ve changed the fixture to attract entries from hunting people who have sound horses suitable for the ride near the end of the season,” says Melton Hunt Club honorary secretary Sally Hudson.
“Entries fell in recent years when we ran the ride at the beginning of the season in November because hunting people didn’t want to compete so early in their season.”
Hunting people in the Shires think a changed format would be a pity because winning the Melton Hunt Club Ride has been a much prized achievement since the club started 48 years ago.
For more information on the ride contact (tel: 01664 464312).