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The Chiddingfold, Leconfield & Cowdray Hunt held a hugely successful newcomers’ day on Saturday 14 October, meeting near Midhurst, West Sussex. Over 45 riders completely new to hunting, responded to the open invitation, joining 20 established hunt followers who were on hand to guide, support and answer questions about the format of the day, explain how hounds work the trail and advise on general ‘best practice’ when riding in the hunting field.
The mounted field enjoyed following the trails through the day, with Master Huntsman, Sage Thompson, pausing during the day to explain elements of hound work and so that the ‘newbie’ field could regain their breath.
The day was organised as part of the Countryside Alliance’s newcomers’ initiative. Supported by the British Hound Sports Association (BHSA), the official newcomers’ week commences on Saturday 21 October, with hunts across the country organising dedicated meets and events to welcome new followers wishing to participate in trail hunting.
Whilst hunts welcome new followers at any time in the season, these specific newcomers’ days offer an opportunity to introduce yourself - and your horse or pony – to the exciting elements of the hunting day itself. The country is carefully chosen to allow riders of all abilities to have a safe, enjoyable taster of what it is to be part of the hunt while experienced members are there to help make sure everyone gets the most from their day.
Polly Portwin, Director of the Alliance’s Campaign for Hunting is delighted with the plans for newcomers’ week. She said:
“We are thrilled to see that so many hunts have organised a newcomers’ event this season. It is obvious that there is demand from new hunt supporters wanting to become involved with trail hunting around the country, whether that’s on a horse or following on foot. The hunting community is very welcoming, and we look forward to many of those experiencing hunting for the first time becoming regular hunt supporters while getting involved in the many aspects that we all enjoy about hunting with hounds.”
Image credit: Beatrice James