ADVICE ABOUT YOUR DAY’S HUNTING WITH THE HIGH PEAK.
This is a simple guide on what to wear and what to do out hunting but please do not be afraid to ask if there is more you need to know. There is a certain amount of ‘Hunting Etiquette’ which can be confusing at times, some is based on tradition, but a lot is just common sense, safety and good manners.
WHAT TO WEAR-RIDER
The idea is to be neat and well-presented as well as practical and safe:-
GENERAL- Light- coloured breeches/jodphurs.
Riding or jodhpur boots.
Riding hat- if it is a skull cap, the cover should be navy blue or black (Traditionally, if the hat has ribbons at the back, these should be sewn up or cut off, only Masters and Hunt Staff wear them down)
Long hair should be in a hairnet or tied back or plaited.
Body protectors are perfectly acceptable if you wish to wear one.
AUTUMN HUNTING- Tweed/hacking jacket (traditionally known as ‘Ratcatcher’)
Shirt and tie or coloured stock, the stock should be secured with a stock pin which is worn horizontally for safety.
OPENING MEET AND AFTER- Black or navy blue jacket/Hunt coat(subscribers have 3 buttons)
Shirt with a white or cream stock, secured as above.
CHILDREN-(16 years and under) Tweed jacket and tie, however a black or navy one is acceptable but remember show jackets are not very warm or waterproof! Pony Club members should wear their badge and tie.
IN YOUR POCKET– It is recommended to bring a piece of bale twine ( useful to tie up a gate or fence) chocolate(for fuel!), mobile phone and your details and a contact number(as you do with medical armbands at competitions) and, of course, your CAP money for the Field Secretary. If you are a visitor, please put it in an envelope with your name on.
WHAT TO WEAR- HORSE.
Your horse should be clean and tidy. Numnahs should be dark-coloured or sheepskin. We suggest you use the sort of tack you would use for cross-country. Your horse will be keener in company so you may need a stronger bit. We strongly recommend the use of knee boots, a cut from a limestone wall can be very dangerous.
It is correct to plait from the Opening Meet but not essential except for Lawn Meets as a sign of respect for the Hosts. We do not plait for Autumn Hunting.
If your horse is young or new to hunting, put a green ribbon on his tail, other riders should respect this and understand.
If your horse has been known to kick, put a red ribbon on his tail to warn other riders BUT it is YOUR responsibility to stay at the back and away from other horses and hounds, a kick can do a lot of damage to an innocent follower or hound.
HUNT OFFICERS- WHO IS WHO.
MASTER-He/she is in charge of the Hunt, a Hunt may have more than one Master but on the hunting day, the one you need to follow is the FIELD MASTER, all mounted followers must follow and stay with him/her. Hunt tradition advises that you should address all Masters as ‘Master’ especially the first time you speak to them on the day.
HUNTSMAN– He/she is in charge of the hounds and carries the hunting horn.
WHIPPER-IN- There may be more than one. They assist the Huntsman and will ride out on their own to collect up hounds.
FIELD SECRETARY-Collects the money (known as ‘cap’) from mounted followers.
WHAT TO DO.
Before the Meet- If you are not a subscriber or regular follower, contact the Field Secretary, Pip Clayton- 07970120966/ firstname.lastname@example.org – she will tell you how much the ‘cap’ is and confirm where the Meet is. If needed, she can advise you about where to park.
Please be considerate with your parking, do not block gateways or the road or park on mown verges.
If we are allowed to park in someone’s yard, please thank them and clear up any mess.
At the Meet-Find the Field Secretary and pay our ‘cap’. Say ‘good morning’ to the Masters and always face your horse’s head towards hounds.
During the Day- Stay with and behind the Field Master and do as directed by him. If you do get left behind, try to catch up as soon as possible. if you are unable to follow over a jump, go through a gate (shutting it behind you) Someone will be on hand to tell you which way to go if you ask.
If you knock any STONES off a wall, you MUST stop and replace them, someone will stay with you while you do this. If the damage is too much for you to fix, it is essential that you report it to the Field Master or Field Secretary to arrange repairs. We are extremely fortunate to be allowed to cross the farmers’ land so we must work hard not to do any damage.
GATES- These must be left as found but if in doubt, shut it. As you go through a gateway, if the person in front calls ‘GATE PLEASE!’, this means the last one through must close it so you must clearly shout ‘GATE PLEASE!’ to the person behind you, making sure they have heard but please do not leave one person alone to shut a gate. DO NOT assume people behind will know to shut it. If someone, mounted or on foot, is holding a gate open for you, it is always appreciated if you thank them.
Always move aside to let the Huntsman, Whip or Field Master pass and always turn your horse’s head to face them and hounds.
FINALLY, A FEW IMPORTANT THINGS TO REMEMBER.
Be careful not to ride too close to the horse in front.
Please don’t ride on planted crops, new grass, mown verges or gardens.
When standing waiting or watching hounds, please try and be as quiet as possible so as not to distract them or the Field Master.
Please be polite and courteous to everyone you meet, you are a guest of the farmer or landowner who is allowing the Hunt to cross his/her land. Without their goodwill, hunting would not be possible.
You can leave to go home whenever you want. It is polite to say ‘Goodnight and thank you’ to the Field Master. ( Tradition is that it is always ‘Goodnight’ at the end, no matter what time of day!) It is a good idea to tell someone who is still out that you are going home as otherwise we may wonder what has happened to you. Someone will always advise you of the best way to get back to the boxes.
ABOVE ALL, ENJOY YOUR DAY AND HAVE FUN!