The Masters, officers, and staff strive to honor both the traditions of the sport and the practical considerations that help promote a safe and enjoyable day in the hunt field. If you have a question regarding turnout, etiquette, or other hunt-related considerations, please do not hesitate to ask one of the Masters or the Honorary Secretary for a clarification.
At The Meet
Arriving On Time: The hunt waits for no one. Hounds move off at the appointed time and hunting begins immediately. Riders should arrive at the meet with sufficient time to be mounted and ready to move off with the field.
Upon Arrival: It is proper to greet the Masters before the start of the hunt and to announce your presence to the Field Secretary. If you have brought a guest, the Secretary must be informed, the guest introduced, and the cap paid.
Order In The Field: Members with colors are entitled to ride in front of the field behind the Field Master. This is 'the right of colors' or a privilege awarded to those members who have not only been consistent and knowledgeable fox hunters, but who have worked diligently in the interest of the hunt for some time. This is not to say that a hunting member who has not yet been awarded colors cannot ride in the front with those who have, but suggests that in the case of a chase the regular hunting member should give way to a member wearing colors.
However, if the member with colors does not keep up with the pack during a chase, then the regular member has the right to pass in an open field and move to the front behind the master provided he or she does not interfere with or impede the member with colors or, for that matter, any other rider. Courtesy and safety to all other riders should be foremost in our thinking.
Refusals: If a horse refuses a jump, the rider should move to the back of the line before making another attempt.
Chatting: Given the social nature of this sport, there is always a temptation to engage in conversation, a practice referred to as “coffeehousing.” It should, however, be avoided at most times. Chatting among the field can distract the Huntsman and Masters, thus detracting from the integrity of the sport. This does not mean absolute silence must be observed at all times but attention should be paid to the focus of the day’s activity—i.e., hound work—and socializing should be kept to a minimum.
Withdrawing Early: Ideally, everyone should come out with the intention of remaining for the duration of the hunt, no matter how long the day lasts. However, situations do arise—lost shoe, lame horse, rider injury, illness, etc.—that necessitates heading back in while the hunt is still in progress. When such a situation occurs, word should be passed to the master or field secretary so that he or she is aware of the departure. The withdrawing member should also ask the master or secretary for directions back to the meet, even if he or she knows the territory, to avoid interfering with the work of hounds. Where possible, the return route should use hard-surfaced roads.
Excusing A Member From The Field: It should be noted that the masters and honorary secretary are empowered to excuse riders from the field if a sufficiently egregious transgression has been committed. Riding with the hunt is a privilege, not a right. Although rarely exercised, the authority does rest with masters and field secretary to send a rider home if he or she deems such action is necessary. A faithful observance of proper etiquette is the surest way to avoid such an unpleasant occurrence.
Besides the landowners, we also depend on our Masters and Huntsman for the enjoyment derived from a long season of hunting. The leaders of the hunt work hard to provide members the opportunities to follow hounds and nothing cheers the heart of a huntsman or master more than to gaze upon a well turned-out field of riders who conduct themselves properly. This demonstrates the members’ recognition of their efforts on behalf of the field, especially the huntsman who devotes long, hard days of work to give members a few hours of sport.