The 2017-2018 hunt season is upon us and for many locals opening cubbing day is like Christmas. Those that partake have spent the summer doing trot sets in the extreme heat, wielded chainsaws and picked off ticks o’ plenty to make sure the trails are clear for the field and sport, hosed off many a sweaty horse or human, probably had a run in or two with ground bees, and loved every minute of it to prepare for what is, for many, the greatest time of year. There are a few reminders I would like to share to ensure a joyful sporting day.
1. Always wear a safety helmet. Always. No one wants vanity to supersede the fall out from a painful or sometimes life ending bonk on the head. Be smart and safe, friends.
2. Don’t tailgate the person in front of you. You probably don’t like a nose up your bum, so don’t do it to your neighbor. The only instance it is ok is if it planned and permitted.
3. Please learn and practice a forward reverse. It is shocking how many seasoned hunters crank their horses in a small circle when the field reverses instead of moving forward to create a safe about-face for all involved.
4. In any field, if you cannot keep up with the master, please yield so others can be front and center for the action.
5. It should go without saying, but be kind to your fellow hunters and greet and thank the staff and masters who have made it their profession to provide sport for you.
6. Try and turn out well for each meet. I know it can be hard, especially if you have a dirty grey like me, but it creates a standard of respect for your club.
7. Thank people for getting riders or gates. And always make sure someone stays back with the kind person who either can do from horseback or mount from the ground when you didn’t.
8. Please give an active reprimanding to your horse if it kicks a hound or hunter. If you know (or don’t know) your horse is a kicker a red ribbon should always be worn. No exceptions. It is a safety precaution for all involved.
9. If you are a trainer, please stay with your students. I once helped a rider whose trainer went in a different field and wasn’t there to witness the literal brown spot on her student’s breeches when she was terrified to go down hill.
10. No one wants to fall off, but it happens. Please make sure someone stays with them and aids in re-mounting or calling for the appropriate help. One day it might be you.
“The symphony has opened, day one.”
Wishing everyone a safe and happy hunt season.