What is the difference between “Hound Walking” and “Cubbing”? Is it just different terms for the same thing?
Cubbing generally is sort of the “preseason”. Shorter slower sort of mini hunts to show young hounds how to hunt and young foxes (or whatever) how to be hunted. Of course it doesn’t always work that way but that’s the plan.
Hound walking can be done on foot or on horseback, is for hound exercise as well as training. In some hunts only staff is allowed, some hunts encourage members to come out as well. Its a great summer (or offseason) activity for hounds and staff, and for members to interact with the hounds, get to know them, and see how things are done in the kennels. Hound walking is also when you incorporate your young entry into working with the pack and into how things are done, couples are often used etc. We continue to teach them about leashes and all sorts of things. Our hunt does not use couples when out on horseback for safety reasons.
Our hunt walks out all summer long and we encourage members to attend for especially the foot walking.
Hound walking for our hunt (and most hunts) is just a short exercise to get the young hounds out and get them to stick together as a pack. This can be done on foot or mounted. When we are “hound walking” aka “roading” we typically walk or medium trot.
Cubbing involves may or may not actually hunt and the purpose is to disperse the young fox population along, though, is still done at a slower pace than our actual hunting season. Another learning time for the young hounds (and, yes, young or inexperienced horses).
Because these terms can mean different things depending on your geography (if you’re in england, for example, cubbing doesn’t exist int he same way it used to!)and hunt territory, it’s probably best to confirm with the hunt secretary on what to expect. We have also different attire for these occasions (cubbing is more formal).
In terms of you and your horse, hound walking is generally completely informal. People frequently use it (with a buddy on an experienced horse) to get a new horse used to riding outside the arena and seeing hounds from a distance. Though the people actually working the hounds have to maintain speed and position, others can usually hang back and train their horses. Dress is casual.
Cubbing or cub hunting is part of the actual hunt season. There may be more stop-and-go or longer checks because of the way the hounds are being handled and trained than during formal season. But people riding in the field are generally going to pay a capping fee, meet a (less formal) dress code, and must ride their horse as an actual member of the hunt field (ride with the group, be able to make way and reverse, be well-behaved and not threaten other horses or hounds, etc).