Mock-hunting – what’s it all about?
Article originally published in Snaffle magazine.
Are you thinking of a horsey break in Ireland this year? We asked Noni Law at Bel-Air Equestrian Centre in Co. Wicklow to tell us a bit more about their mock-hunts.
Noni, what’s so special with the Bel-Air mock-hunts?
I love the mock-hunt season! They are such fun, and this is maybe where our horses are at their very best. Some of our overseas guests book for next year before they even leave!
We ride, without hounds, for about 3.5 hours across Bel-Air land, neighbouring farms and through the forestry. And then we finish the day with soup, sandwiches and hot drinks by the log fire in the hotel.
With horses and riders in full hunting gear, there is that extra bit of excitement in the air. The jumping is a mixture of the known and unknown. Our own cross-country jumps are familiar to the horses, but we also cross land we don’t normally have access to – with logs, ditches, banks, etc.
All the horses on a mock-hunt are from our own yard, and we take great care to match riders and horses. This way we know everybody will get on well, have an exciting time and feel safe and well looked after at the same time.
And the rider mix is good too. Many are Bel-Air regulars on their own horses or horses from the riding school, and usually we have a few guests with us too. Maybe you should come along some time?
Thank you, Noni. It all sounds great fun, so I have to admit I am feeling rather tempted …