Equestrian Needs Ltd


Field Etiquette

On the day, adults should bring a drink, something to eat during the day that can be easily and discreetly carried and a mobile phone for emergencies. Children should always be escorted and should have easy to eat food and drink and a mobile phone, if available, for emergencies. If you have enough room, a hoof pick, polos and a pocket knife can be very useful!

There are many who will suggest that manners are no longer either visible or required however suffice to say that this is not the case hunting. Remember good manners cost nothing.

Some meets can prove elusive so ensure you leave plenty of time to find the hunt. It is good manners to arrive on time and riding into the field to try and catch up may result in the line of scent being crossed and distract the hounds. If you are able to join the field, the first obligation will be to apologiZe to the master for your tardiness.

Once you arrive, it is advisable to say “good morning” to the master along with handing your unprompted cap to the secretary. She is the one clanking as she moves as everyone has used the opportunity to relieve themselves of loose change.

Often drinks will be served before the hunt begins and generally it is safest to behave as though you are at a quite formal drinks party. With everyone offering you sips it is very easy to over indulge in alcohol.

Generally, those with their colors are entitled to ride at the front of the field and give way should be given to a member wearing colors. A lack of brakes or a “I thought” will not be sufficient to excuse passing colors or indeed the master. You have been warned!

Whilst it is a sociable sport, unnecessary conversation should be avoided. A successful hunt relies on the good communication between the hounds, huntsman and Master. Trying to engage the Master in discussion of celebrity big brother whilst he or she is trying to monitor hound work will not be welcomed.

Ideally you should intend to remain for the duration of the hunt however, occasions may arise which necessitates heading home early. You should pass word to the Master or secretary. It might also be prudent to ask for directions, not only will this avoid returning by the scenic route but will also avoid interfering with hound work. If possible, use hard surfaces for your return journey.

Riding with a hunt is a privilege, not a right and although rarely exercised, the masters and secretary have the powers to excuse riders from the field and send them home should they deem it necessary. This is best avoided by observing and feverishly following the proper etiquette to avoid such an embarrassing situation.

It is suggested that you show kindness to both the young, old and fallers even if they wreak havoc on you at a jump. Someday it may be you lying on the ground winded and you will be glad of the sympathy.

All hunts will welcome newcomers but when the hunt is full swing it can be easy to forget someone less experienced and believe that they are being cared for by someone else. Some hunts operate a system of hunting nannies to dissipate anxiety and ensure and enjoyable day for all others offer newcomer days.

The language

"Hold Hard!" means "Stop now. And don't move until I tell you."

“Huntsman Please” or “Whip Please” let the huntsman pass.

Always shut a gate if you are last through. If “Gate Please” is shouted from in front, pass on to person behind.

General points to remember

  • Whilst hunting there are those people who are trying to go about their ordinary business so say thank you to slowing cars, avoid blocking roads and thank those who open gates for you.
  • If you have negotiated a hazard, don’t gallop off immediately as it will excite the horses following.
  • Do not do more than a trot going through gateways and always walk through stable and farm yards.
  • Close gates and meet and greet the landowners
  • Watch out for children and give them plenty of room.
  • Never cross a sown field, stay single file round the edge.

Remember, courtesy and safety are paramount to everyone.

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