Have you ever wanted to learn more about fox hunting or wanted to try riding to hounds?

The Ottawa Valley Hunt (OVH) - a drag hunt which follows a scent, not a fox - is offering a three-part “Learn to Hunt” clinic for riders of all levels and disciplines.  Perfect for anyone who is interested in our sport and wants to give it a try. It is also a valuable refresher for current foxhunters, with the added benefit of one-on-one time with hounds and staff.  Learn more about the “why” behind the “what” we do and build your skills.  This series is a great confidence booster for everyone!  

This clinic is open to both capable juniors (under 18) and adult riders. Note that juniors must ride with a coach or instructor or other capable adult.

The cost for the Learn to Hunt clinic is $169.5 with hst for all 3 parts. Separate pricing can be arranged if you cannot attend all three.  The clinic is free for OVH members.  If participants choose to join the hunt later in  the season, the cost for the clinic will count towards their new membership. Coaches or instructors chaperoning juniors for parts 2 and 3 ride free while non-OVH member chaperones pay $50.

LTH clinic video thumbnail

Watch the hounds, staff and first field during the Learn to Hunt Clinic in 2023.

Part One

Participants: Humans only – horses sit this one out!

Location: Ottawa Valley Hunt Farm, 8935 Abb Road – Off Ashton Station Road 

Date/time: Sunday, May 12, 2024, at 10:30 am 

Attire: Casual, comfortable clothes with boots or walking shoes

Join the OVH Professional Huntsman, Jamie Hughes, and his whippers-in to walk out with the OVH hounds.  Observe the amazing relationship between Jamie and his charges in action as he manages a pack of hounds with only his voice (and maybe a few treats!). After the walk, meet back at the clubhouse for sandwiches and cookies while the OVH Joint Masters and members present some interesting facts, history and etiquette for fox hunting.  

Learn to Hunt Clinic attendees meeting hounds

Part Two

Participants: Humans and horses

Location: CHANGE OF LOCATION - See Jen Stewart's email from May 14 

Date/Time: Sunday, May 19, 2024, at 9:30 am

Attire: Clean and tidy, all participants must wear an approved safety helmet for mounted activities.

A day of introducing your horses to hounds.  Introduce your horse to the atmosphere gently.  Here is your opportunity to ease into it.  

Unload your horse at 9:30 am.    

Riders will be divided into their groups and will have a fun filled day of hunt related activities with their horse including an introduction to hounds and a trail ride.

Afterwards we will have a “tail gate” in the parking field, where there will be refreshments and snacks. Please feel free to bring a dish to share. During the tailgate, we’ll have a Q & A with staff and OVH Joint Masters.

Learn to Hunt Clinic participants

Part Three

Participants: Humans and Horses

Location: OVH territory

Date/Time: Saturday, June 1, at 10:00 am

Attire: A hunt or show jacket and show shirt or turtleneck with a stock tie (if you have it), riding boots, neutral-coloured breeches and a safety helmet. Basically, anything neat and tidy that you have in your closet will be fine, but the safety helmet is a must.

Put all your new-found skills and expertise from first the two parts to practice.  This part is a real OVH hunt at one of our beautiful fixtures.

9:30 am: Be mounted and ready to go. Take the advantage of this time and walk around and settle your horse, because this time the stirrup-cup will be held mounted! Everyone gets to practice riding your prancing pony with one hand and a cup of lemonade in the other.

9:45 am: The Masters will call for your attention. There is always a list of announcements before a hunt. At this time, the Masters will thank the many draglayers, whips, fieldmasters and other volunteers who made it possible that day to have our hunt. They will give you a rundown of what to expect and make
any additional announcements at this time. They will also identify your fieldmasters. That is where you need to pay attention.

  • 1st field- You will be galloping. You will be jumping. You may have to turn and stop on short notice.
  • 2nd field- This field is still pretty fast. You won’t be that far behind the leaders, but there are never any jumps that you can’t avoid.
  • 3rd field – This field is for the happy-hackers among us. Your fieldmaster is going to take you for a slower ride cutting a lot of corners. In doing so you get to see the hounds work from a different perspective and still enjoy the show.

Pick your group and keep your group. If at any time you need to change groups or retire, tell your fieldmaster. Your fieldmaster keeps track of everyone in their group so you must stick together.

10:00 am: Release the hounds. Our Master-Huntsman will bring the hounds out of their trailer and blow the horn to start the hunt. Because it is a drag hunt (where we follow a laid-down scent not a real fox) the hounds are usually “on” right away. We ask that everyone stay quiet while the hounds are working. After the hunt is over, Jamie will blow his horn for the last time to signal that the hounds are going home. Everyone will thank the Huntsman, staff and their fieldmasters and return to their trailers.

After you have seen to your horse, there will be a tailgate “breakfast” before everyone hits the road. Please bring a dish to share.

Remember to share your post ride selfies by tagging @OttawaValleyHunt on Facebook or Instagram – we predict lots of smiles and stories to tell your friends!

Learn to Hunt Clinic stirrup cup
Learn to Hunt clinic participants

If you have any questions on the clinic, don't hesitate to contact masters@ottawavalleyhunt.com.