OBLIGATIONS OF THE FIELD

MFH_Protocol_1The position of Master can be a thankless job. If a Gentleman or Lady hunts his/her own hounds, the pleasure derived from that makes up for many hardships.  To the average Master, there are days of worry and bitter disappointments that must be borne, and anything that can be done by any Member of the Field to help him/her and show him/her that their efforts are appreciated will be welcome. Do not think that because you happen to be a new-comer, he/she will not appreciate your thanks — or that he/she does not notice that you are trying to help and not to hinder. Try to help the Master; by so doing, you will help your own sport and everyone else’s as well. All hallooing, calling and attempts at hunting hounds by members of the field is not only very bad manners, but apt to spoil sport for everyone. No one should speak to a Huntsman in the field without first riding up to the Master and getting permission to do so. The less a Huntsman is spoken to, the more time he will have to attend to business at hand.

Do not pass the field master. Past members of the staff, senior members, those awarded colors and invited by the Master, may ride to the front of the field, while less experienced members and juniors should remain to the rear of the field unless it is indicated by the Master for them to come forward. Any member who expects to ride to the front must be prepared to move and be mounted on a properly conditioned and disciplined horse.

When a Hunt has been given the privilege of riding over the property of a landowner, it does not mean that members of that Hunt, or anyone else, have the right to trespass without specific permission from the landowner.

APPOINTMENTS & HORSE TURNOUT

  • Wear a traditional & (ASHA) approved safety hat with harness
  • Tie your hair up and use a hair net to keep it neat and tidy
  • A plain gold stock pin is traditional
  • Wear leather gloves. String gloves can be worn for wet weather
  • Spur straps should match the boot color
  • Spurs should be removed before attending breakfasts after the meetMHC_Protocol_2
  • Hunt whips or crops should never be stuck in the top of your boot or saddle flap
  • Use traditional brown leather hunting tack, including bridle with wide flat noseband, clean fitted white saddle pad & properly adjusted breastplate
  • Leather sandwich cases with flasks of brandy or port can be worn on the side of your saddle
  • Brightly colored tack, bandages, boots, saddle pads and other accessories are not permitted on your horse
  • Manes should be pulled. Braiding manes and tails for special events such as Opening Meet is appreciated but not required
  • Arrive at the meet with a clean horse & clean equipment

HORSEMANSHIP

  • Be aware of what is happening in front as well as behind you
  • Be prepared for sudden stops and do not let your horse run into the horse in front of you
  • If a horse around you appears threatening, keep a safe distance and tell a Master if the horse continues to be unruly
  • When following in the jumping field be sure hounds are clear and allow at least one horse’s length before jumping next
  • If your horse refuses a jump, go to the back of the field before re-trying
  • If you can see the horse’s hooves in front of you, you are a good distance apart for riding in the field
  • Stay together, keep up with the Field at all times, or request to change to a slower field when the hunt stops to collect the hounds and recast to new covert

COURTESIES

  • Be on time to the hunt meet
  • Never ride through coverts on the way to the meet, disturbed coverts will not hold foxes
  • Say “Good Morning” to the Masters & Staff prior to hunting & “Thank You” to each at the end
  • Out hunting, always give the Masters & Staff the right of way
  • Out hunting, always give the hounds the right of way
  • Never do anything that might harm a hound and do not jump a fence before all hounds are clear
  • When you yield right of way, turn your horse’s head towards the approaching horse & rider and move the back end of your horse out of the way
  • Be courteous and considerate to fellow riders and offer help if needed
  • Be courteous and considerate to landowners and farm workers
  • DO NOT ride on the crops, stay to the edge of all fields and notify the Masters if any damage occursMHC_Protocol_4
  • Be aware of traffic if on a road, smile and say “Good Morning”
  • On a hunting day, if you go in early, make sure to get word to the Master of your Field and return to your trailer without interfering with the line of the fox & hounds

SAFETY

  • No Smoking
  • Put your name, address, emergency contact, and insurance information on a card in your pocket or helmet 
  • Cell phones are to be used for emergencies only
  • Carry a B-sting kit if allergic and tell someone
  • Do not cut branches or undertake any other forms of trail clearing during foxhunting
  • If your horse is green and inexperienced, be sure to place a green ribbon in it’s tail and stay to the rear of the field
  • Put a red ribbon in your horse’s tail and ride in the rear if you think it may kick
  • If your horse is a known kicker, foxhunting is not the activity for this animal
  • Beware of any hazard on the trail and pass word back (e.g. “ware hole (bob wire, glass, etc.), on the right” or “ware hound, on the left”)
  • "Hold hard", signaled by a vertically raised forearm, requires that you stop where you are, standing still and quietly, do the same to alert riders behind you
  • Don’t be afraid to ask a more seasoned member any question you might have