We’ve had the hunt followers you’re likely to meet in the field , here is the equine equivalent…
1 The Ex Racehorse
Two weeks after his third and final race, Squidge has come via the sales to the capable hands of a tiny collector of failed racehorses. Covered in white foam if prevented from being at the front, he achieved notoriety at opening meet for overtaking a field of 120 horses to finish a nose in front of the swearing Field Master.
The committee were delighted when they found an excellent huntsman keen to escape his Valleys pack of hairy hounds. They were less delighted when they realised that he spent 80% of his time following the hounds on foot, and cadging a lift on the back of the terrier man’s quad bike. Basically the huntsman was capable of falling off at a brisk jog, and so Dobbin was sourced from the hunt’s best hireling yard. Sixteen years old, a little feathery, and with one wall eye, he manages to cross country without breaking a sweat, carrying his flailing charge across hedge and plough after hounds. So successful is Dobbin that the huntsman now thinks he needs The Ex Racehorse as his second horse. Worth his weight in gold.
3 The Kennels Rescue
In a scene straight from a sentimental novel, the Kennels Rescue turned up as hound supper, only to be saved by the kennel huntsman. Now hunting two days out of three, she is the KH’s most prized possession.
4 The Faithful Hunt Horse
The first whip has been through three marriages, four children, and every pack in the area. Throughout it all she has been accompanied by her faithful hunter. Now looking a bit grey and tired, the hunt groom somehow manages to ensure that he is never turned out for first horses at lawn meets.
5 The Lady’s Hunter
As the hunt’s sole side saddle mount, this Rotten Row hack is used to being the centre of attention- so much so that he jumps in front of photographers, claims a line to the front like a polo pony, and kicks any horse that dares approach on the near side. Spot him posing when Tim the Point to Point Jockey whips out his phone to check Tinder, only to sulk with the realisation that he’s trumped by the local crumpet.
6 The Gentleman’s Mount
Hugo is 17hh, dapple grey, and easily the most noticeable horse in the field. Always accessorised by a red coat and handmade boots, he has perfect manners, goes first or last, and chaperones The Lady’s Hunter down a line of jumps just as his forefathers did before him. Usually makes an appearance in photo spreads in the local paper.
7 The Hunt Bike
Usually the slightly neglected second horse of an over- worked hunting regular. Is pulled out of the stable every time another horse pulls a shoe, cuts a leg, or a rider is between horses or visiting for the day. As a result he has been ridden by every subscriber in the field, the visiting Horse and Hound journalist, and the huntsman’s fiancee’s brother’s girlfriend.
8 The Over Horse
When the London Commuter decided to swap shooting for hunting, he really wanted a mount that would impress his mistress in ways that his pair of Purdeys never managed. As a result he took his cheque book to the hunt’s dealer, who, never one to miss a trick, sold him a glossy black gelding of dubious history, straight off the Irish ferry. After depositing him in a blackthorn hedge on Christmas Eve the Black Beast is now doped for every meet, trussed up in every bit of kit imaginable, and the bane of every other rider. The mistress however loves the tales of her lover’s daring, and there’s no question that he does look smart in photos.
9 The Ancient Pony
Six generations of the Fitz-Burke-Williams clan have learnt to follow hounds on the faded chestnut back of this ancient pony. He knows the country better than any human follower or hunt official, and frequently takes short cuts that appear on no Ordnance Survey map. In moderate owe of his venerability, other horses give way as he trots over with whichever tiny charge he is now hunting.
10 The Mother’s Dream
Merrylegs is firm proof that good things come in small packages. There’s no fence in the country that he won’t clear, no river he won’t ford, and no meet that he will willingly miss. The Pony Club are waiting with bated breath for his jockey to discover boys- and selling family heirlooms in the hope of being the highest bidder.
11 The Off- Season Competition Horse
Easily recognised in the lorry park because the competition horse will be plastered in boots and bandages. Picks up the correct leg when cantering around a field, his rider counts strides between fences.
12 The Hunting Cob
Neatly hogged and polished, the Hunting Cob is practical and sturdy whatever the country. The Hunting Cob is long suffering, tolerant, and surprisingly agile when his rider wants to eavesdrop on gossip, avoid closing a gate, or get home first to post- hunting soup and sandwiches. An unhogged version can be found following hill packs.
13 The Dealer’s New Purchase
The Hunt Dealer went to the sales on Thursday and found a bargain- if he sells him within a week. As a result the New Purchase is taken hunting on the Saturday, and can be seen scattering hounds, terrifying children, and causing the Hunt Prefect to loudly suggest that he be sent home.
14 The Permanent Red Ribbon
Everyone knows to stay away- red ribbon not really needed. Her rider’s most frequent utterance is “oh just watch her, she might kick.”