We hold a couple of hunter paces and two intro to foxhunting clinics to build membership. Our clinics are conducted in our hunt territories and include classroom discussion and riding cross country in groups much like a mock hunt. We keep the cost down to encourage attendance. I believe last year it was $40 for the day and included lunch. They have been very successful. This year we will invite paid members to attend at no charge as a refresher in hunt etiquette and procedures.
I wouldn't say we recruit but we try to be very open about new members and people new to the sport. This year we will have ten riding events that are open to the public. We have also done an open cap day and will do another weather permitting in March.
We too, do a couple of hunter paces along with the clinic. I believe they advertise in the numerous tack stores in the area as well as a few local equestrian publications. I remember seeing it numerous places before I signed up. I can't recall how much the clinic cost (nominal amount I'm sure) but it included a short lecture along with a mock hunt in a large field. Intro to standing at checks, making way for staff, the various horn calls, as well as introducing your horse to the hounds. OF course there was a lovely tea as well afterwards.
Hopefully redcashlin (our Secretary) will provide more details.
Where I hunted in the 70s and 80s, no way would that have been allowed- the landowners just didn't want that many people on their land. Membership was limited not out of snobbery or anything negative- just to keep the landowners happy. No land, no hunt.
I recall hunting at a well known VA hunt for the intergalactic field hunter championships one year- 100+ in the field, thought the MFH would have a coronary...
We recruit via posters and flyers at horse shows, events and paces. We also hold some fox hunting clinics if we get enough interested parties. It is usually one evening of lecture followed by some cross country riding on day two to get a look at everyone in the saddle. Also, interested parties are welcome to bring their horses hound walking.
Few hunts in our area need to recruit members; most limit or can afford to be a little bit choosey in their memberships. Altho' in the past 2 years; overall hunt memberships have dropped some and fields are about 25% smaller than their peak a few years ago IMHO. It's a very horsie area and many folks from DC area are intrigued with the "hunting" scene and wanna try it. So what hunts do is try to recruit knowledgeable riders over total newbies. If you've hunted elsewhere; you can pretty much choose your hunt. Honestly tho' , I think there's a place for everyone.
See alot of folks here jump from one hunt to another so memberships are always changing. Wherever you go; you'll see hunt friends hunting somewhere else. And since most hunts need the money; memberships can get borderline large before they ease up on taking members. The hunts are hoping everyone doesn't show up at once! Some hunts add hunting days too to accomodate large memberships. Smaller hunts go 2 days a week and larger 3-4 days. Smaller territory also keeps memberships down.
In a way, all hunts are "recruiting" via volunteers, point-to-points, trailrides, pair races, landowner parties, horse shows etc. We are all ambassadors for our hunts and our sport so we are kinda always 'recruiting" more hunting friends. We always ask fun people to come join us right?! She who dies with the most hunting friends wins!!!
I suggest trail rides! THE BEST way to show non-hunters how fun hunting folks can be. Gotta have a tailgate, food/BBQ or something after. You'll get more people than a pace and have more fun for both members and guests. There are more pleasure riders out there than folks who wanna compete.
In our area, a LOT of horseowners have limited rideout and welcome the opportunity to ride on land they wouldn't be able to otherwise. So offering a ride on "closed" land brings out the riders. You can charge similarly or less to a pace because you are offering food/drinks afterwards. People of all ages can come. Any disciplines, any breeds etc.
Hopefully redcashlin (our Secretary) will provide more details.[/QUOTE]
We actively recruit and formed a sub committee last year to brainstorm for ideas and fresh approaches. In short form , I put together a slideshow which introduces the basics and highlights of hunting, drag huntsman and horn along (big hit). We dress up in formal and informal attire and give presentations to local trail associations and tack stores who will host a discount night for attendees. We also made up "invitation to cap cards" which were handed out to members to give to friends that were capable and interested in coming out with us (direct approach and personal). Talking on the phone answering questions and encouraging prospective riders seemed to push some over the edge often. Shamelessly promoted our hunt at hunter paces, handing out flyers, updated brochure and poster for clinic and our paces. The clinic is mentioned to all Pony clubs, 4 H, other hunts, trail groups and backyard owners who want to try but don't know how to get started. Got my hands on every mailing list I leagally could. Paraded hounds whenever and wherever possible. Polo matches, exhibitions... Photos, photos and more photos. Most importantly made a dedicated hilltopping field master in charge of keeping it safe and simple. Often had myself or others ride as sweep rider to help new members "on the fly". There were several people actively involved in this effort which resulted in ten new members.
You asked....hope that helps!
I actually saw one of redcashlin's ideas. I was visiting NJ this past fall to pick up a dog (my breed I show) and bring her back down south. On the way home I stopped in at Horseman's Outlet, dog in tow, and saw the signs about their hunt night discount and "meet the Amwell Valley hounds". I thought it was a great idea and was sorry that it hadn't been while I was in the area.