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  1. #1

    Default Taking a child hunting for the first time

    i'm taking my ten year old daughter to her first meet, its a childrens meet and I've never been hunting before. Does anyone have experience of a childrens meet? I really want her to have a good experience - how did yours or your childs first outing go?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Taking a child hunting for the first time

    Earlier this year there was a whole article in H & H about children hunting. Is she riding by herself or is she going to be on the leading rein?

    There is a whole list of questions to ask, how well behaved is the pony, how secure and confident is she, can they jump, what does she know about hunting and how to behave - don't ram up behind another horse in case you get kicked, always turn the pony's head to wards hounds in case the pony is frightened by them and kicks out.

    If it is a proper Children's Meet then there should be mounted adults who will take groups and generally look after them a bit.

    If you have never been hunting then I suggest that you telephone the Secretary of the hunt, or the Pony Club if that is who is organising the Childrens' meet and just say that you have never been, and hopefully you will be given plenty of information. You and your daughter could go to a couple of meets unmounted beforehand too, so you can see how everyone is turned out and generally what happens.

    Remember, it is supposed to be fun. Have plenty of snacks for the rider, and don't stay out too long or the pony and rider will get too tired.

  3. #3
    Old nag
    Join Date
    Aug 2008

    Default Re: Taking a child hunting for the first time

    PM me if you want. I'm the PC/RC liaison for our hunt and I've spent the last 48 hours very happily answering all sorts of questions about our chidlren's meet.

    Normal children's meets only allow mounted adults specifically selected for the role - usually also hunt members. They are there to be as sure as they can be that the children are safe, in reasonable control and have a good time. All jumps are reasonable and either optional or there will be an alternative non jumping line.

    Assuming that your daughter is secure in her seat and confident at canter... keeping warm is usually the biggest thing. Tweed jackets are often warmer than show jackets. Most hunts would not be over fussy if it is cold and you need to layer on a coat over - but avoid anything with a hood which could snag if they are in woodland. Decent gloves are a must even if the child normally doesn't like them. They are out a long while and little fingers get cold. Plus the pony will pull more than the child is used to so it helps prevent rein rubs. Squashable food in a pocket helps - ideally probably chocolate but as a mean hunting mummy I used to use fruit leathers or Torq bars for my daughter until she got old enough to rebel. If you think liquid is going to be essential then a capri sun is quite good as the packing squishes flat afterward. (Do not chuck in a hedge!!) But there are no official loo breaks so what goes in will have to come out. Plus they explode if you fall on them. She can carry a phone if she is used to it - but I used to write my mobile number on my daughter's arm when she was that age.

    If you can find a friend she can ride with - ideally an older PC member. But if you can't introduce yourself at the meet to the secretary or the children's liaison and they will introduce your daughter to a few others she can stick with.

    My daughter was 8 when she first went out - and never looked back. Almost literally. It is the best experience you can have on four legs (no bias here!) and at a children's meet everyone will work to see the kids have the best possible time.

  4. #4
    Old nag Kat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008

    Default Re: Taking a child hunting for the first time

    Do check with the hunt about jumping. The pack I go with regularly have a second field master and there are no compulsory jumps but I went to a newcomers and children's meet with another pack once and there were several jumps that were compulsory (and not tiny ones either) one lady with a child on the lead rein had to turn round and go home.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Taking a child hunting for the first time

    Thank you everyone, some really useful tips here. She has a good seat and canters confidently around the field and is pretty competent jumping, though they have mainly been show jumps. My main worry is that as its our first outing and I won't be riding so she'll be alone really. I would really like her to enjoy her first experience so I think my main priority now is finding her a buddy. She's a good little rider for her age - but there are some fantastic riders in our pony club - so we have no idea what speed to expect!


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