Everything About the Equestrian Sport of Hunting

If you think of hunting on horseback, you have a very specific picture in mind: many riders, dressed in red, riding through nature behind a pack of dogs. In fact, this image remained almost the same in terms of appearance, because tradition is of considerable importance in hunting riding. Nowadays, however, the hunt is bloodless, because hunting live games have been forbidden by law since the 1930s.

What are the Different Forms of Hunting?

The hunt, which you probably also imagine under hunting riding, is called drag hunt. A pack of dogs, often beagles or foxhounds, accompanies the hunt. The name is derived from the so-called “drag” that dogs pursue. An artificially designed scent trail, which is modeled on the pursuit of game. Drag hunting is purely a recreational sport, without any marks, without actually hunting and injuring the animals. It’s about riding out together in nature, paired with the traditional character. Not about hunting animals yourself.

There are also so-called fox hunts, which take place without a pack of dogs. Here a rider, usually the most successful fox hunter of the previous year, rides – he is the fox whose foxtail the other riders want to get. There are different ways to reach the foxtail. Sometimes this is attached to the left shoulder of the fox, sometimes it is hung from a bush at the end of the hunt, or there are several foxtails on a cross-stretched string.

In Germany one also speaks of the “Hubertus hunt”. This special hunt takes place on November 3rd, Hubertus Day.

How Can an Enormous Number of Riders Ride Together Safely?

Hundreds of riders sometimes take part in such a large event as hunting. There is great excitement. It is important that the organizers take precautions and organize the riders to avoid a great deal of chaos. The organizers divide the riders into certain fields, which then start in smaller groups with riders who have also been assigned. This minimizes the risk and provides a better overview of the starters. Even the riders have to prepare conscientiously before taking part in order to gallop calmly next to other riders, to overtake safely, or to turn.

It is advisable to build up the condition of your own horse in advance. This makes it possible to gallop longer distances without overexerting the horse.

Many hunts involve overcoming obstacles. It is not necessary to skip these. Every rider can also choose the way past it if he does not trust himself to jump.

Where Can You Go Hunting?

Do you find hunting riding exciting and would you like to take part in such an event yourself? But you don’t know exactly who to turn to?

Most of the information about upcoming appointments in your area can be found on the Internet.

The DRFV (German Rider and Driver Association E.V.) also publishes information about hunting riding, the necessary preparation, as well as about the hunting badge and the course of the hunt on its website.

It is therefore advisable to acquire this knowledge in advance in order to prepare your horse and yourself for the demanding new experience. In addition, you could visit a hunting event in advance as a spectator in order to take a look at the route and the participants in a relaxed atmosphere and to judge whether this would be something for your horse and you.

Do not forget: Your horse must not be unsettled by loud, unfamiliar noises, as hornblowers announce the hunt and often accompany it.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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