Tanheath practices “drag” hunting, where the hounds will follow a pre determined scent laid out on the ground. They will work very hard to follow this scent. It is a pleasure to be able to watch a pack of hounds work, using their noses, and listening to their music when on the trail. The hounds are given direction by the Huntsman. The whippers-in are assisting the Huntsman. Years of careful breeding and training has resulted in hounds happily doing what they have been bred to do. Please do not speak to any of the staff members or the hounds while they are working.
Park where directed, being careful not to block any exits. Always bring water for your horse, and sweep up any manure or hay back into your trailer. Keep the area tidy so that we will be invited back again.
Arrive at least thirty minutes before the hunt is scheduled to start to avoid last minute confusion. Immediately check-in with the field secretary. You will need to sign a Release of Liability and pay your capping fee. Plan to be mounted 15 minutes before the start of the hunt, and gather near your fieldmaster for instructions.
A properly turned out horse and rider is a compliment to the Hunt Staff, fellow riders, the general public and our most important landowners. Please keep in mind that you are a guest of the landowner.
Horses should be attired in clean, neat, well fitting tack. Saddle pads should be white fitted pads. Manes should be trimmed or pulled evenly, horses groomed and shavings brushed out of the horse’s tail. Riders new to hunting should wear black boots, tan or beige britches, a white shirt or turtleneck and a black or navy hunt jacket. Please do not let a lack of attire prevent you from joining us-we are very flexible to newcomers. It is more important that you come and have a good time, and a safe experience.
If you are new to foxhunting, you should ride in the hilltopper field. Your fieldmaster will make sure to explain hunting protocol. The pace is a bit slower here, and all jumps are optional. Within each field, the order is your fieldmaster, then members with colors, then members, then guests. if your horse is green, please tie a green ribbon to his tail. If your horse kicks, you must tie a red ribbon to his tail, and you should ride at the rear of the field to ensure everyone’s safety. Your fieldmaster is responsible for the safety of every rider and his or her instructions must be followed. If you would like to change your field in the middle of the hunt, you must ask permission from your fieldmaster. If you would like to leave the hunt, you must ask your fieldmaster and be advised the best way home as to not interfere with the hounds or the hunt. Never pass the fieldmaster.
If a hound is coming up behind you, allow him to pass and call “Ware hound left/right” to warn other riders of the hound’s presence. Do not cut a hound off from the rest of the pack. Give way to hounds if they need to pass you. Turn your horse’s head toward the hounds, hindquarters away. To step on or kick a hound is considered an unforgivable sin.
Staff, either the huntsman, master, or whipper-in, is to be given right of way at all times. Hollar “Ware Staff” and immediately move your horse off the path, into the underbrush if necessary, and turn your horse’s head to them. Always keep your horse’s hindquarters away from passing horses or hounds.
Advise other field members of hazards they may not be able to see. For example, “Ware low branch”. If you spot a hole, say “Ware hole left, or right.” If you see that the horses ahead of you have stopped quickly, raise your hand, with your upper arm at shoulder height and your palm flat, and say â€œHold hard.â€ Speak clearly but do not yell. Pass such instructions on to the field members behind you as you hear them. If you notice any fences or gates that were broken, please alert your fieldmaster.
At a “check” or “hold hard”, try to keep your horse quiet if hounds are working in front of you. Please refrain from idle chit chat as well. The Tea is the time for good conversation.
If you are riding at the back of the field, when going down a steep hill, crossing a bridge or water, make sure that the last rider has made it safely. Never leave a single horse and rider struggling at an obstacle.
When jumping, make sure the horse in front of you has landed safely. Do not allow your horse to rush over a fence on top of another horse. If the horse in front of you stops suddenly, you may run over the rider if he or she falls off.
If your horse refuses to jump a fence, go immediately to the back of your field. Do not immediately circle and try jumping the fence again.
If you are riding at the back of the field and a rider falls off, stay with that rider. Immediately alert other riders to let the fieldmaster know. If you can help catch the horse and assist the rider in remounting, please do so.
At the end of the hunt, please be sure to thank the masters, the huntsman, and the whippers-in. They have worked very hard to give you a good day of sport. Please be most considerate of the landowners and be polite and gracious at all times and thank them as well. Without the generosity of our landowners, we would have no hunt!
Then, enjoy yourself at the Tea. This is the time to swap stories and listen to others and hear about the day’s hunt from different perspectives. Food and drink is always delicious after a good ride! If the tea is held indoors, it is customary to wipe your boots clean from mud or manure, and remove your spurs before entering their home.