Summer is THE best time to prepare for the hunting season ahead. Here are 6 things we recommend doing before Autumn.
Job 1 A) Procrastinate.
Don't put it off. Procrastinate now and you'll soon be on the way to decisive action.
Job 1 B) Re-attach any loose buttons on your tweed and hunt coat
It's the perfect job to do while watching season five of House of Cards (or at least that's what you can suggest to the Button Executive in your household).
Our tip - Use a good quality heavy thread. We like to use the same waxed cotton thread we plait the horses' manes with but otherwiseif you 'triple-up' ordinary cotton thread you'll have a more secure button.
Job 2) Order your Hunt Buttons - and a few spares
If they aren't in stock, Hunt Buttons typically take 2 weeks to deliver, and brass buttons a little longer.
We recommend ordering 1 spare cuff button and 2-3 spare large buttons too. You're certain to need them through the season and you'll have grateful friends if you can produce a spare one at 8am on the morning of Opening Meet (and a Citation if you can thread a needle on horseback).
You can order your Hunt Button through us.
Our tip - Hunt Buttons make a very thoughtful gift for the hunting friend in your life. They're always needed, and always appreciated.
Job 3) Clean and condition your hunting boots
This hot, sunny weather is THE perfect time to condition your hunting boots. Remove any boot laces. Clean away residual dirt with a natural bristle brush and a damp sponge if need be. Apply a boot conditioning cream. We like to use our hands as the body warmth helps work the conditioner into the leather but don't do this before a hot date or a job interview (unless you wish to smell like a saddler).
Our tip - If you don't have boot trees a rolled up Saturday newspaper is a great stand-in. Other people use up-turned plastic soft drink bottles
Job 4) Wash out your saddle flask, turn out your pockets
For soon shall be currants and sloes to pick....
You've almost certainly got a crumpled fiver in the pocket of your hunt coat, along with melted caramels and possibly a snotty hanky. Well worth dealing with all of those things now.
Job 5) Try on your hunting wardrobe, and hack out in your boots
(WARNING: this will be the task YOU MOST WANT TO AVOID)
Get your hunting kit on. Yes, all of it. YES, REALLY. Breeches, shirt, hats, waistcoat, stock, coat, boots, gloves.
If you're lucky, all - or most of it - will fit. If you're human you'll have lost 50% of the things on this list and 75% of the remaining 50% won't fit. And that's why maths is still useful. After you've found some of the missing items rotting away in your horse box, or nesting baby mice in your feed store, you can take effective action on what you need to clean, repair or replace before Autumn.
We particularly recommend hacking out in your hunting boots before you wear them hunting. It's really the only way to know if they're in safe riding order before you hit the field.
Summer also holds some good shopping events. As well as our online store we'll be at the Festival of Hunting at Peterborough (19th July), Honiton Hound Show (3rd August) and holding an 'open weekend' in mid August in West Sussex (11th, 12th, 13th August)
Our tip - If you have a hunt cap, coat or waistcoat in need of TLC we provide refurbishment services including re-coverings, new peaks, re-lining.
And finally, at number 6... Walk some hunt country you're not so familiar with
Land looks different season by season but getting out with a map to walk one or two pieces of country you're not so familiar with is a lot easier in summer (abiding by property boundaries and access laws of course). It's a great way to get to know the area, and how to get back to parking should you need to in the Season.
Our tip - Saddle your children with apples and water for light refreshment along the way.
Wishing you all a happy, and safe, summer.