Hursley Hambledon hunt has a newly-formed Junior Hunt Club. With over 30 members involved, many from non-hunting families, this is a great initiative which teaches young people more about hunting. On Sunday 20th January the club held a dismounted session at a Master’s house which was billed as: “Everything you ever wanted to know about hunting”. With a robust attendance of 25 people (including a few parents) the participants were put into groups that circulated round the various instructors.
Historically hunt committee member Hilary Harper instigated hunting information sessions as one of the elements of the Pony Club Hunting Certificate, with gate shutting as one of the core activities. Meanwhile Victoria Cobden, wife of joint-master Simon Cobden heard her children as they came home week after week saying there weren’t many of their age out hunting. As Assistant District Commissioner of her local Pony Club branch she was also increasingly concerned that many children now ride in arenas and not out in the open, and so the Junior Hunt Club was born
Each instructor gave a different talk which centred round “Top Tips” – a paper compiled especially for the afternoon. Jenny Moorhouse, complete with captive hunter in a stable, ran her audience through clipping, red ribbons on tails, the relevance of tacking up the pony before you load and of course the primary importance of getting it fit before you start hunting. Daughter Emily (young mother and hunting enthusiast) and Alice Cobden (editor of the newsletter, and avid hunter) gave a practical demonstration of gate-shutting with a hunting whip, plus a quick synopsis of uncomplicated hunting dress for children. Pippa Grob MFH promoted those old fashioned but vital hunting manners. Plenty of questions ensued – and were encouraged – as an essential part of the afternoon.