Fox Hunting Ettiquette
There are proper conventions and etiquette that participants are expected to follow. Any unsafe, rude or unsportsmanlike conduct will be addressed by the Master up to and including removal of a rider from the field. The Master is the final authority in the field. Any requests by the Master must be followed immediately and without discussion.
- Never take rides on hunt or non hunt days through hunting territory unless you have permission from the land owner(s) and have called to make sure the area you wish to ride in is open.
- Your horse and tack must be clean and neat and in good repair.
- Put a red ribbon in the tail of a horse who kicks ( and keep to the rear ) and a green ribbon in the tail of a green horse.
- You should be clean and neat as well. There are opportunities to get dirty along the way.
- If you have long hair, you must wear a hair net – male or female.
- Rated safety helmets are strongly recommended and all helmet chin straps should be securely fastened.
- Tack should be of black or brown leather, with a white saddle pad. No colored pads, boots, wraps, fleece, etc. on formal days.
Before the Hunt
- Arrive early and give yourself time to be tacked up and mounted before the hunt goes out, if you are late the hunt will leave without you.
- When you arrive at the Meet, go up and say “Good Morning” to the Masters.
- If you bring a guest, introduce him/her to the Field Master, make sure they have signed a release before tacking up and paid the capping fee before hunting commences. It is your responsibility to inform them of proper etiquette and ride with them at the back of the field.
During the Hunt
- The riding order in each field is as follows:
- Field Master
- Ex-Masters, Masters of other Hunts, by invitation of the Master
- Gentlemen and Ladies with colors
- Gentlemen and Lady members
- Visitors and Guests with their sponsors
- Juniors with colors
With respect for the overall visual picture, the less correctly turned out riders should remain in the rear of the field. Members of other hunts may have their colors honored by the Master and would then ride accordingly in the field. Members of other hunts should always ask permission of a Master to wear their colors when hunting with a different hunt ( excluding formal joint meets ).
- Do not pass the Field Master.
- When a staff member passes by you, especially on narrow lanes, turn your horse’s head toward the staff member…never your horse’s tail.
- Stay in close to the field that you are riding with, straying off or working your horse is termed ‘larking’ and is not acceptable.
- If you must leave the field, ask permission of the Field Master. If joining another flight, make your presence known to your new Field Master. If you are heading back to the trailers you should go with one other person for safety reasons.
- Watch the hounds working – that is why we are here. Do not speak to one another when close to hounds. Let the hounds proceed – do not ride or jump into hounds.
- Watch the horse in front of you, do not crowd other horses. Keeping sight of the hind feet of the horse in front of you through your horses ears will give you proper spacing. Do not pass other horses too closely or at a high rate of speed.
- Listen for instructions: Reverse field!, Hold hard!, Ware Staff, Ware Wire!, Ware Hole on right!, etc. Pass on warnings to the person behind you. Don’t try to yell it to the end of the line. It is your responsibility to make sure the person behind you knows what to expect.
- Keep chatter to a minimum while the hunt is underway. Talking is allowable while roading to and from checks, and when the hounds are not being hunted. Keep an eye on the Master for a raised hand to signal quiet when we are stopped.
- Ensure that both you and your horse are capable of safely jumping the obstacles that we encounter. If you are afraid of a jump or your horse is getting dangerous, please fall back to the second flight or the hilltop group.
- Jumps are to be approached in single file. Leave enough space between you and the horse in front of you to be able to stop or turn away from the jump if the other rider’s horse refuses or the rider comes off at or just after the jump.
- If your horse refuses a jump, go to the back of the line and try again. Do not continue to school your horse at the jump and do not prevent others from taking the jump and following the hunt. If you need a lead for the next time ask another rider on the way back.
- Never give chase to a loose, running horse.
- If you are asked to get a gate, only one other horse need remain there with you. Once everyone has come through, please return to the field as swiftly as possible.
- The Hilltop Field is recommended for riders and/or horses who are not suited for first flight, for any number of reasons: novice rider, green horse, out-of-condition, aging, trappy territory, or simply to avoid jumping.
After the Hunt
- At the end of the day thank the Master, Huntsman, and Staff; they worked hard bringing you a day’s sport.