A site that may be seen in many areas of the countryside where there is a local Hunt is hounds out on exercise. Hunt Staff first walk with hounds and then progress to bikes before taking to horseback as exercise intensifies.
Hound exercise gets hounds fit for the coming season and helps the ‘young entry’ bond with the rest of the pack. Young hounds will be coupled to an older hound until the Huntsman deems them trustworthy to be allowed to exercise independently. Couples are two leather collars with a short chain joining them.
Exercising on the roads hardens the pads (feet) which will help prevent them becoming sore while hunting. Hounds will also learn disciplines such as road manners and how to behave around livestock. It is also a good opportunity for a new Huntsman or Kennel Staff to get to know hounds and visa versa.
Hound exercise will occasionally incorporate a visit to the Masters house or local Landowners and if Hunt Staff are very lucky refreshments are given.
Heavy road traffic in many areas makes road exercise very difficult and days on the road can be limited or maybe carried out early in the morning. If you have hounds kennelled near you, please be careful when driving, especially in the lanes.