When arriving at the meet it is crucial you try to make as little disturbance as possible. Remember that the whole village wont be out hunting. Many of the villagers will be carrying on with their day in a normal manner. A parked box blocking the road with no occupants wont come very welcome to the villages residents so please ensure you do not park in villages or double park blocking roads or yards!
Once you arrive at the meet you should try and find the hunt secretary. You can tell they are the secretary by looking for the yellow collar on their hunt coat. This is the person you give your days cap to. More information about fees can be found by contact the hunt secretary at the ‘Contact Us’ page.
You then MUST introduce yourself to the field master with the traditional greeting “Good morning Master” or “Good morning Sir”. If you don't not know who the field master is do not hesitate to ask! It is vital they know who is out and what they are doing. If you do not want to jump you must inform the field master and they will refer you to someone you can stay with throughout the day who, like you, does not want to jump but knows where you can and cannot go.
You must remember all the masters, especially the field master, puts a lot of time, energy and effort into one days hunting so it is vital you do what they say and follow whatever instructions are given. These instructions usually are given over a loudspeaker just before setting off from the meet.
When leaving the meet there is an order. Firstly the Huntsman and the hounds leave followed by the whipper-ins. Then the field master will leave. This is the person at the front who you MUST follow throughout the day. This will be the person that made the speech at the meet.
If you get near a hound or the pack of hounds you must turn your horses head towards the hound to prevent your horse from kicking. You have to bear in mind that a pack of Foxhounds are very different to your dog at home. Just because he wont kick your pet dog does NOT mean he is safe with hounds. If you get amongst hounds accidentally apologies and get out of the way as you may stress the hounds and the hunt staff.
The ‘route’ of a day’s hunting depends on many variables. Firstly there is where the trial is laid. This determines where the hounds will go and thus where the field will go. Secondly there may be places such as farm yards that horses and hounds are not allowed. Thirdly weather condition may blow the scent thus slightly changing the day’s route. The weather may even evaporate the scent completely meaning the day will be slow and you may not cover much ground. However in conditions are good the hounds may be on the trail for long periods of time meaning you may cover over 30 miles in a matter of hours crossing all sorts of jumps, hedges and ditches!!!
Like very hunt country there are nasty obstacles to be wary of. In all circumstances you must keep your eyes peeled for bits of wire, rabbit holes and other dangers. If you come across one you must shout “Ware Hole” or “Ware Wire” thus informing the person behind you.
During the day you may hear “On your left please” or “On your right please”. This means you must move out of the way as a master or hunt staff need to get by. This gives you sufficient time to move out of their way. You may also hear “hounds please” which means there are hounds that may want to get by. This means you have to move out of the way and turn your horses hear towards the hounds to prevent your horse from kicking.
If you know your horses is liable to kick you MUST attach a red ribbon or tape to its tail to warn people behind you. Similarly you should not blame someone else’s horse for kicking without a red ribbon on if you run up behind them. You must respect every rider and every horse. Getting too close can cause serious injury to both horse and rider and is extremely inconsiderate!
If your horse is young you MUST attach a green ribbon or tape to its tail to indicate he is green and warm people to not run past you. If you don't then don't blame people for galloping by!
When the field comes to a jump the field master will go first. The general rule is that whatever scenario it is, may it be jumps, gateways or ditches you must give way to someone with their ribbon down on the back of their hat. This means they will either be a master or a whipper in. These people have right of way as they are doing a job and may need to be somewhere pronto!
If your horse struggles with jumping or refuses at a jump promptly get out of the way and join the back of the field and have another go. To hold a jump up is very rude as you will be holding many people up who can jump!
Similarly if you approach a ditch and you do not want to attempt it you have to let the members of the field who want to jump a chance as horses turning around and going in the opposite direction will distract a horse and rider that wants to attempt the ditch.
During the day there will be short stops. You can take the opportunity to have a drink or a bite to eat out of your pocket. This gives the hounds a chance to find the trail again if it has been lost. But be careful as they might take off when you least expect it!
You can go home whenever you want may it be after 30 minutes or when the Huntsman blows for home. Nevertheless you HAVE to find the field master and thank him for the day he has provided. You also need to say goodnight to any mounted or foot followers you may pass on your way home. Don't be scared to ask for directions back to the meet. Followers at the Holderness are very keen to help out and make your days hunting an enjoyable one!
If in doubt just remember there are some people out hunting doing a job i.e Masters and Hunt staff (whipper-ins). You must always give them right of way. You must also thank the field master for the day they have provided! However most of all you need to enjoy your days hunting by been safe and considerate. Fox hunting is a sport that is centuries old and enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of people every year! If done in the right way it can be the most exhilarating sport you will ever take part in!!!
If you have any queries please don't hesitate to ask using the ‘Contact Us’ page.
Holderness Hunt (HH Yorkshire) 2016