Etiquette

  Rules in the hunt are applied common sense and polite behavior. 
  Most people who break them do so either through ignorance or through lack of courtesy. 
  Primary consideration goes to the hounds, landowners, staff, fellow riders and your horse.

 

  1. Always do your best to arrive at the meet at least fifteen minutes early.  Never ride through coverts on the way to the meet, even if it is longer to go around.  Covers constantly disturbed will not hold foxes.
  2. Never do anything that might harm a hound. Do not jump a fence before all hounds are clear. Turn your horse's head toward passing hounds to prevent kicking one.
  3. Never damage a landowner's property or allow his livestock to escape.  It is much better for the hunt if you are left behind than for a landowner to be annoyed.  if you have knocked a rail down and livestock are in the field and the fence cannot be fixed, you must wait until help arrives.
  4. The hunt has permission to ride over certain terrain--you as an individual do not.  Respect this by not hacking over country without the landowner's express permission even though you may have "hunted there only yesterday."
  5. Stay to the edges of fields ("headlands") and avoid unharvested crops and seeded ground.  Always follow the field master, thus preventing overrunning the scent or damaging a landowner's property.
  6. Stay two to three lengths behind the field master.
  7. "Staff please" requires your immediate yielding of the right-of-way to the huntsman or whipper-in.  Back your horse off the trail with its head to the passerby and remain until the staff member has passed.
  8. "Back" or "reverse please" is the signal for each member of the field to back off the path.  Allow hounds, staff and those previously in front of you to pass. 
  9. When a warning ("'ware wire" or 'ware hole", etc.) is passed back, it should be in a voice suitable to carry only to the next rider.  Watch for the hazard and as you pass it, pass the warning and point to the hazard.
  10. Listening and watching hounds should be your main reason for hunting.  Conversation while hunting should be very limited and softly spoken.
  11. "Hold hard" signaled by a vertically raised forearm, requires that you stop where you are, standing still and quiet.  Raise your own arm while stopping to alert riders behind you.
  12. Do not crowd the horse ahead of you.  It is neither polite nor safe; it may result in a kick. Horses that are known to kick on provocation must wear a red ribbon in their tails. A rider with his arm held horizontally behind his back is warning you that his horse is annoyed and may kick.
  13. Keep up with the field master and do not lag behind.  Do not follow a hunter who seems to take his own line or tries to cut corners.  Foxes are headed by people taking shortcuts.  if you wish to leave the field, ask permission from the field master.
  14. The last hunter has the responsibility of closing any open gate or raising any bar that may have been let down.  The nearest hunter should wait and assist him.
  15. Riders having difficulty with their horses should stay to the rear.  If your ineptitude or your mount's misbehavior interferes or slows the rest of the field, ask permission to return to the stable.  This courtesy to other riders also saves you the embarrassment of being asked to leave
  16. At jumps, jump in order and do not cut in front of another rider. Jump abreast only when safe to do so and do not swerve until clear.
  17. If your horse refuses to jump an obstacle, go directly to the rear before making another try.
  18. If you view the fox, stand still, face your horse in the direction taken by the fox and hold your hat in the air.  If the hounds have checked or are silent and are not hunting the line, try to get word to the huntsman.  Go tell him exactly where the foxed crossed and where you last saw the fox.  Only if you cannot get the Huntsman do you shout "tally-ho" two or three times (still point with your hat.)  To raise your voice when hounds are hunting may cause them to raise their heads and cause a check.  Be sure the fox is well past you before you halloa or you may head him.  The huntsman decides whether your fox is the hunted fox.
  19. Smoking is not permitted while hunting.