Some helpful ‘Do’s’ when out hunting. Do….
- ring the secretary who can tell you where the best place will be to park your horse box for a meet if you are unsure
- arrive smartly and neatly dressed (but don’t worry if you don’t have all of the exact kit, clean and tidy is perfectly acceptable). There are some guidelines further down on this page
- say ‘Good Morning Master’ when you arrive at the meet and at the end of the day thank the Master, Field Master and hunt staff
- make sure you know who the field master is, they will be identified by the huntsman at the meet, and have your cap money ready to give to the field master as the field moves off from the meet
- thank the person who has provided any refreshments at the meet
- always always always shut a gate if you are the last one through it (even if you are doubtful if it was shut in the first place), and don’t be afraid to ask for another rider to wait for you while you do it. Hold your stick in the air to the next person if they are some distance away to indicate the gate must be closed and wait for them to do the same to acknowledge they have seen you
- keep up with the field, and listen to the field master, don’t stray off into the unknown…
- watch and listen to the hounds working, listen to the horn, ask the field master to identify the huntsmans different horn calls for you
- wait for someone else if they have to remount before you gallop off
- wait for the horse behind you to get through a narrow gate or bridge before you gallop off
- put your horses head towards the hounds and whenever they are near you to avoid your horse kicking a hound (however good you think they will be)
- Keep your distance from the horse in front
- Keep a horse that kicks or is green to the back of the field (red ribbon in the tail for kickers, green for novice horses)
- always thank any traffic that passes you, whether speedy or not
And now some helpful ‘Don’ts’ when out hunting. Don’t…
- overtake the field master – if you can help it! Don’t pass any other horses at speed
- ride over any growing cereals (looks like thin growing grass) or other crops, do notify a hunt official if any damage is inadvertently caused
- chatter! The field master may be listening for the master or the hounds, and if you are chattering you are missing out on the hunt
- be afraid to ask questions to the field master, everyone has to learn at some point
- smoke at the meet
- go any faster than a walk through farmyard
- use your mobile phone unless for an EMERGENCY ONLY
What you and your horse should wear out hunting
Don’t be afraid to come out hunting if you don’t have all of the right kit, being clean and tidy is the main essential, however being turned out makes you and others proud to be out.
Starting from the top:
Hats – A velvet cap with the ribbon at the back sewn up is traditional, but a crash hat with a black/dark blue/green or brown velvet cover is perfectly acceptable.
Jewellery – Of any kind except for a stock pin should not be worn.
Coats – During the main season you should wear a black or navy coat, you will appreciate a thick wool one in the winter! This should be worn with white or buff breeches, black boots and a white hunting tie (stock).
Ratcatcher – During autumn hunting a ratcatcher (tweed jacket) should be worn with a shirt and tie, buff breeches and black boots.
Gloves – White or buff gloves should be worn (some keep a spare pair under their saddle flap for wet days).
Children – A well turned out young rider should wear a crash hat with a velvet cover, a tweed jacket, jodphurs, a shirt and tie, gloves and black or brown jodhpur boots with chaps if comfortable.
Pocket Accessories – Useful things to carry with you are:- baler twine (of course), sweets, a pen knife, cap money, mobile (for emergencies only remember) but most importantly, your hip flask!
Plaiting – A horse should have five, seven or nine plaits up the neck and one on the forelock. Keep the tail cut off at the point of hock, or if exceptionally muddy, tie it up.
Tack – This should be brown or black leather with no coloured brow bands (they are for show ponies) or brass adornments (they are for carriage driving). Make sure your saddle is well fitting and stuffed, your horse will be wearing it for many hours.
Numnahs – Should be dark brown, black or white.
Boots and bandages – Be wary of using these, some horses may need them but they can do more harm than good as mud can get beneath them and rub.
To follow hound successfully this way is an art form calling for patience with almost a sixth sense if you are to be at the right spot at the right moment. Foot followers are welcome to follow with the Western, follow these simple guidelines below to help assist you and the huntsman and his hounds.
- Find the person collecting the foot followers’ cap either at the meet or later and make your contribution.
- Do not stop your car on a busy road/corner/gateway/someone’s verge, nothing infuriates a driver or someone not following the hounds more.
- Switch off you engine as soon as you stop so you and other foot followers can hear what is happening.
- Please shut any gates which may have been left open, and open any gates as quickly as you can for the Huntsman, Hunt Staff or the Field.
- Pass the time of day with local residents.
- Try to be see without being seen and to hear without being heard.
By observing these simple rules, you will be furthering the cause of hunting and the Western is grateful for your support.