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Learning to ride to follow hounds – four hunting fans share their stories *H&H Plus*

We’ve all heard the term “ride to hunt”, but are there really people who learn to ride purely to follow hounds and if so, how do they manage it? Stephanie Bateman investigates

It was a friendly bet that found Ben Skailes sat on a horse at a local riding centre. He had just six weeks to learn to ride before his first day’s hunting on Exmoor.

“I bet my friends, who all had young children, that they couldn’t persuade their partners to let them come on a lads’ weekend to Ibiza with me, and amazingly, they did,” explains Ben. “We had a blast, but then it dawned on me that I’d have to stick to my side of the forfeit – to go hunting with them on Exmoor in six weeks.”

Not one to let the side down, and despite his mother’s desperate pleas to pull out, Ben headed to his local riding school.