Hunt Etiquette

The success of the Hunt is tied directly to how we handle ourselves in the field.

Never forget that you are a guest of the landowner. Treat every landowner’s property with the same respect you would expect for your own.

Courtesy, please.

  • Leave all gates the way the Hunt found them, either open or closed. Also replace all rails or wires that the landowner used over jumps. If you find yourself way behind and you are not sure of the way a gate is to be left, close it and be sure to tell the Master at the end of the day what you have done.
  • Never ride over sown fields, hay fields, or lawns. Learn the difference between hay fields such as alfalfa and permanent pasture. If you are in doubt, ride along the fence line.
  • When crossing wet pasture land stay on the edges or spread out so as to avoid making a path. Also, ride diagonally across steep hills and use farm tracks where possible.
  • Never gallop through livestock. Slow down, go around and ride carefully and quietly.
  • If a jump, gate, or fence is broken and no longer stock-proof, make what repairs you can and report damage as quickly as possible to the Master so permanent repairs can be made.
  • Do not block roads. Allow traffic to get past as quickly as possible. Thank all drivers that wait or slow down, giving them a smile as you do.
  • Never empty trailer manure at the meet.

Attire.

  • During the month of September, boots, breeches, and a neutral or dark shirt is acceptable.
  • Beginning in October, ratcatcher may be worn.
  • Opening meet and thereafter requires formal attire; the occasional ratcatcher on Tuesdays or Thursdays is acceptable. A hair net should be worn at all times if one’s hair is long enough to touch the shirt or coat collar. Coats should be buttoned and ties secured so as to avoid flapping about. Boots should be polished.

Remember, the Hunt should be the pride of the community.

Keep up appearances and do what you can to promote the Hunt year round.

  • Go out of the way to greet and be generally courteous to any farmers or landowners over whose land we ride.
  • Never ride over property when you are not hunting without first getting permission from the landowner. In some cases you will have to contact the property manager or leasee for permission to cross the property.
  • If you hear any negative comments about the hunt from farmers or land owners, please report them to the Master(s) so proper steps can be taken to remedy the situation.
  • If you hear of or observe any deteriorating paneling, please call the Hunt paneling committee chairman and report the problem.
  • When hunting, do not get sloppy with your appearance. Clothes should be neat and clean, your horse well groomed and your tack clean.

Pay attention to the hunt staff and help them give us all good sport.

  • The Field Master is in charge. The Field Master leads the field and should not be passed or crowded.
  • Follow all of the Field Master’s instructions. If an instruction affects the rest of the field, be sure to pass it on. This is especially important when an instruction pertains to a gate. If you hear, “gate, please”, make sure you pass the instructions to those behind you. If you are not sure the people behind you heard the instruction, close the gate yourself.
  • Do not take your own line or cut corners. Stragglers and riders in unexpected places may create confusion and distract from the hunt.
  • Do not engage the staff in conversation once the hounds have moved off. Hounds and staff must be fully engaged in the task at hand.
  • If you view a fox be sure the Huntsman gets the information. “Halloa” only if you cannot get anyone’s attention with a silent signal and only after the fox has passed. Since scent is likely to vanish when a fox is startled, it is best to use a silent signal whenever possible. The best way to accomplish this is to move your horse to a point near where you last saw the fox, your hat in hand high in the air and your horses head pointing in the direction where you last saw the fox headed. Do not be concerned if the Huntsman does not come your way. Remember the hounds may be on another fox or the Huntsman may feel it is best to work another part of the line. You will have done your job if you simply ensure the Huntsman knows the line your fox has taken.
  • If you see the Master or a staff member coming towards the field, call out, “Master, please” (or “Staff” or “Huntsman, please”) and move out of the way promptly. If you must move off the trail to let the staff pass or to let the field reverse, your horse should face the passing rider(s).

Do your part to keep the field organized and moving in a fashion that is safe for hounds, horses, and fellow riders.

  • Arrive at the meet on time. Be ready to move out at the expected time.
  • If you hack to the meet, do not ride through any coverts or across any country that is going to be hunted that day.
  • Greet the Master and staff when arriving at the meet, before the hounds move off. Make it a point to introduce guests to the Master at this time.
  • Place a red ribbon on the tail of your horse if it has been known to kick or if you have not hunted much before and are not sure of how it will act around other horses, hounds, or people.
  • If you are on a green horse and/or are a novice at foxhunting, stay to the rear of the field.
  • If your horse misbehaves, take it home. An uncontrolled horse is a danger to everyone around you as well as yourself.
  • Allow hounds the right-of-way at all times. Let them cross jumps before you. When hounds pass close by be sure to turn your horses head toward them to help avoid having your horse step on or kick a hound.
  • Keep a safe distance behind the rider in front of you. Allow enough room at a jump for the horse in front of you to land safely before you start your approach.
  • Do not open any gate near to a jump until all those who want to use the jump have done so.
  • If you are near the tail of the field and have just gone through a gate which must be closed, be sure to wait until the person who will be closing the gate has remounted before moving off to catch the field.
  • Smoking in the field can be a real hazard. If you smoke, please be sure your cigarette and match are completely extinguished before leaving your hand. Much of the hunt season is spent under dry conditions. Please be ultra careful if you must smoke.
  • At the end of a hunting day, be sure to thank the hunt staff and the Field Master for the day.
The success of the Hunt is tied directly to how we handle ourselves in the field.

Never forget that you are a guest of the landowner.  Treat every landowner’s property with the same respect you would expect for your own.

Courtesy, please.

  • Leave all gates the way the Hunt found them, either open or closed.  Also replace all rails or wires that the landowner used over jumps.  If you find yourself way behind and you are not sure of the way a gate is to be left, close it and be sure to tell the Master at the end of the day what you have done.
  • Never ride over sown fields, hay fields, or lawns.  Learn the difference between hay fields such as alfalfa and permanent pasture.  If you are in doubt, ride along the fence line.
  • When crossing wet pasture land stay on the edges or spread out so as to avoid making a path.  Also, ride diagonally across steep hills and use farm tracks where possible.
  • Never gallop through livestock.  Slow down, go around and ride carefully and quietly.
  • If a jump, gate, or fence is broken and no longer stock-proof, make what repairs you can and report damage as quickly as possible to the Master so permanent repairs can be made.
  • Do not block roads. Allow traffic to get past as quickly as possible.  Thank all drivers that wait or slow down, giving them a smile as you do.
  • Never empty trailer manure at the meet.

Attire.

  • During the month of September, boots, breeches, and a neutral or dark shirt is acceptable.
  • Beginning in October, ratcatcher may be worn.
  • Opening meet and thereafter requires formal attire; the occasional ratcatcher on Tuesdays or Thursdays is acceptable.  A hair net should be worn at all times if one’s hair is long enough to touch the shirt or coat collar.  Coats should be buttoned and ties secured so as to avoid flapping about.  Boots should be polished.

Remember, the Hunt should be the pride of the community.

Keep up appearances and do what you can to promote the Hunt year round.

  • Go out of the way to greet and be generally courteous to any farmers or landowners over whose land we ride.
  • Never ride over property when you are not hunting without first getting permission from the landowner.  In some cases you will have to contact the property manager or leasee for permission to cross the property.
  • If you hear any negative comments about the hunt from farmers or land owners, please report them to the Master(s) so proper steps can be taken to remedy the situation.
  • If you hear of or observe any deteriorating paneling, please call the Hunt paneling committee chairman and report the problem.
  • When hunting, do not get sloppy with your appearance.  Clothes should be neat and clean, your horse well groomed and your tack clean.

Pay attention to the hunt staff and help them give us all good sport.

  • The Field Master is in charge.  The Field Master leads the field and should not be passed or crowded.
  • Follow all of the field Master’s instructions.  If an instruction affects the rest of the field, be sure to pass it on.  This is especially important when an instruction pertains to a gate.  If you hear, “gate, please”, make sure you pass the instructions to those behind you.  If you are not sure the people behind you heard the instruction, close the gate yourself.
  • Do not take your own line or cut corners.  Stragglers and riders in unexpected places may create confusion and distract from the hunt.
  • Do not engage the staff in conversation once the hounds have moved off.  Hounds and staff must be fully engaged in the task at hand.
  • If you view a fox be sure the Huntsman gets the information.  “Halloa” only if you cannot get anyone’s attention with a silent signal and only after the fox has passed.  Since scent is likely to vanish when a fox is startled, it is best to use a silent signal whenever possible.  The best way to accomplish this is to move your horse to a point near where you last saw the fox, your hat in hand high in the air and your horses head pointing in the direction where you last saw the fox headed.  Do not be concerned if the Huntsman does not come your way.  Remember the hounds may be on another fox or the Huntsman may feel it is best to work another part of the line.  You will have done your job if you simply ensure the Huntsman knows the line your fox has taken.
  • If you see the Master or a staff member coming towards the field, call out, “Master, please” (or “Staff” or “Huntsman, please”) and move out of the way promptly.  If you must move off the trail to let the staff pass or to let the field reverse, your horse should face the passing rider(s).

Do your part to keep the field organized and moving in a fashion that is safe for hounds, horses, and fellow riders.

  • Arrive at the meet on time.  Be ready to move out at the expected time.
  • If you hack to the meet, do not ride through any coverts or across any country that is going to be hunted that day.
  • Greet the Master and staff when arriving at the meet, before the hounds move off. Make it a point to introduce guests to the Master at this time.
  • Place a red ribbon on the tail of your horse if it has been known to kick or if you have not hunted much before and are not sure of how it will act around other horses, hounds, or people.
  • If you are on a green horse and/or are a novice at foxhunting, stay to the rear of the field.
  • If your horse misbehaves, take it home.  An uncontrolled horse is a danger to everyone around you as well as yourself.
  • Allow hounds the right-of-way at all times.  Let them cross jumps before you. When hounds pass close by be sure to turn your horses head toward them to help avoid having your horse step on or kick a hound.
  • Keep a safe distance behind the rider in front of you.  Allow enough room at a jump for the horse in front of you to land safely before you start your approach.
  • Do not open any gate near to a jump until all those who want to use the jump have done so.
  • If you are near the tail of the field and have just gone through a gate which must be closed, be sure to wait until the person who will be closing the gate has remounted before moving off to catch the field.
  • Smoking in the field can be a real hazard.  If you smoke, please be sure your cigarette and match are completely extinguished before leaving your hand.  Much of the hunt season is spent under dry conditions.  Please be ultra careful if you must smoke.
  • At the end of a hunting day, be sure to thank the hunt staff and the field Master for the day.