South Tetcott Hunt

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Hunting Etiquette


THE SOUTH TETCOTT HUNT


Masters : Karen Chubb, David Lawrence, Dean Summersby and Simon Kerslake

The Pack: a mixed pack of Foxhounds – ie both dogs and bitches.

Huntsman: Jamie Parish


The South Tetcott Hunt (STH) boundary is from Crackington Haven in the west to Hatherleigh in the east; known as our Hunt Country. This is governed by the Master of Foxhounds Association.  We predominantly hunt over pasture which is bordered by small woods and hedges. There is some arable.

The STH badge carries the letters STH laid over each other on a red enamel background. Hunt buttons are black with white letters. Hunt staff have brass buttons when wearing scarlet coats.

Hunt buttons: You can only wear hunt buttons at the direct invitation of the Master and when you have been invited, it is known as being awarded “The Hunt Button”.

You are awarded this honour (hunt buttons) for good work for the Hunt.  You don’t necessarily have to ride – or to be a subscriber – but you have to have given the Hunt substantial support.  Once you have been awarded this honour, only then are you a member of the hunt.  All others are subscribers or supporters.

TURNOUT

Both you and your horse should be turned out as well as possible. Never bring a muddy horse hunting.  If you haven’t hunted before, it is fine to wear a hacking (tweed) rather than a black jacket but jodhpurs should be in cream or beige. Your numnah should also be a neutral colour. An approved cap must be worn and body protectors may be worn. A well turned out member of the field improves the day no end and makes our farmer feel proud to see you on their land.

We like to see all members carry a hunting whip which is the most useful tool out hunting. A schooling whip is the most useless; if you need to use a schooling whip then your horse is not ready for hunting. There is no such thing as a ‘hunting crop’,crops only grow in fields!

An arcane piece of Hunt etiquette requires that only Masters and Hunt Servants may have the ribbons of their caps down.  All others should either tuck or sew them up.

A red ribbon around a horse’s tail indicates that the horse kicks. A green ribbon indicates a young horse that might kick – please make sure if there is any chance your horse might kick, it wears the appropriate ribbon.  Even a horse that does not normally kick may feel threatened if barged from behind.  If the rider feels their horse is getting annoyed or stressed, you may warn the person behind by putting your hand behind your back, palm outwards.  This means take heed and back off.

We strongly recommend that you have 3rd party insurance as a minimum. The best way to do this is to become a member of the Countryside Alliance (CA). All CA members are covered with the appropriate insurance automatically for hunting.

Please take care to avoid getting too close to a horse with a ribbon – if it kicks you, the rider will not be at fault.

Regardless of the bit you normally use on your horse, think of upgrading to a stronger bit when going hunting.  You may not need it but most horses ‘grow’ a hand or two when hunting.  It is better to have ‘extra’ brakes on hand than find you are out of control.

Earrings, facial piercings and other jewellery should not be worn out hunting – they can catch on branches and cause a nasty accident. All ladies must wear hear nets unless they have a short style.

Meets are usually held on someone’s property (called a Lawn Meet) and, out of politeness, your horse should be plaited (unless, of course, it is hogged!) as a courtesy to your host.

 WHO DOES WHAT OUT HUNTING

The Cap Person or Secretary, Karen Chubb collects the subscriptions and the ‘Cap’ at a meet (the money you pay to join the hunt for the day). It is your job to find them and offer your cap rather than make them seek you out. The day Cap for adults is £25 and £5 for children. Please ensure you have the right amount of money on you when you arrive at the meet. The Cap for subscribers is much less so it is worth ringing Karen, our Secretary, to discuss this. It is quite easy to find the Cap Person because they will be the person with the harassed expression and the riding cap upside down!

The Masters are responsible for the day’s hunting. They work with the Hunt Committee to ensure the smooth running of the Kennels and the Country.

There is also a Field Master who will be an experienced Member of the Hunt who knows the country well and where we may or may not go.  It is his/her job to look after the Field (that is the name for those riding with the Hunt).  Generally the Field Master will be pointed out when the Master gives a few words of thanks to the host of the meet. It is your responsibility to stay with the Field Master during the day.  Please remember, the Field Master’s word is law – what he/she says, goes. The Field Master will be a courageous rider with a good horse and unless directed you should ride behind him.  

The Huntsman is responsible for the hounds and he and the Whipper-in ride up with the hounds, taking them to coverts, and encouraging them to ‘find’ a scent. Often, when the hounds go away on a scent, some are left behind.  It is the Whipper-in’s job to make sure they follow on.  To do this Whips may have to bring straggling hounds past the mounted Field and it is imperative that you make room for him and his hounds; turn your horse to face the hounds allowing them to pass safely and quickly.

HUNT ETIQUETTE

Hunting is all about good manners. When you arrive say ‘good morning to the Master’/s. When you leave the Field, if possible, say ‘Good Night’ to the Field Master (the phrase used at any time of day) and thank them for allowing you to hunt with them. Our Field Master will have an idea of how many were in the Field when it started out – and if you don’t say ‘Good Night’ – they might think you are lost, hurt or in trouble – and spend time looking for you when you are actually on your way home! One of the cardinal rules of hunting is you must not over-ride the hounds.  You must stay behind the pack at all times.  Occasionally, a hound slips behind the others or gets lost, then comes up behind the field.  If you see a hound coming up behind you, turn your horse’s head towards it so it does not kick out and hold your stick out low between horse and hound to ensure it does not get between your horse’s feet.  Warn others in front by shouting ‘ hound on the left, (or right – depending where it is coming from) so they know what to do.

Equally, if a Master/Field Master, or any of the Hunt staff (Huntsman, Whipper-in) come up through the Field, shout out ‘Master/Field Master/Huntsman/Whip on left or right’ so the field can move to one side and let the person through.

It is the Field’s job to follow the Field Master.   The  appropriate Master or Area Secretary will have liaised with the local farmers and given the Field Master appropriate instructions and the Field Master will know what route to take on the day. If you come to a field and he goes through the middle of it, you should follow him as this will be a route that the Field Master has agreed with the farmer.

If you come to a crop field – ride round the edge, also known as the headland (and don’t cut the corners). If you come to a field of sheep/cattle – ride round them – not through the middle. Go slowly through a field of stock and avoid making them run.

If you come to an open gate – slow down and go through at a walk – and thank the person holding the gate open (he may be the landowner).

You will often hear ‘Gate Please’, passed back through the Field.  This means the gate MUST be shut.  Make absolutely sure the person behind you has heard.  If you cannot get a response – shut it yourself. If there are riders coming behind  you, raise your hunting whip; if they do the same back they are signalling to you that they understand the gate needs to be shut and you can ride on. Gates left open during hunting are a reason for farmers withdrawing their co-operation and makes work for the Master after the days hunting in re building relationships.

If you are the last person through the gate – you must close the gate.  If you are last but one, you should stay behind to support the person closing the gate.  To leave someone to do this on their own is impolite. Please take your turn in opening and shutting gates; don’t leave it to the odd one or two.

If you arrive at a gate which is open and there is no other person around SHUT the gate as less harm can be done by shutting rather than leaving an open gate.

Wire – You must not carry wire cutters. Never break or remove any wire. If a hound is caught in the wire tell a hunt official immediately or as soon as you are able – do NOT approach a hound tangled in wire as it will be frightened and likely to bite you!

If you are jumping and your horse refuses please go to the back of the Field and wait till last to go over. We have some big ditches which some of our followers struggle with. Do not keep on trying if your horse has refused, It makes a frightful mess. Again, it is bad form to block a jump so that the Field cannot get over.  If you cannot get over – retrace your steps until you come to a road.  Don’t just take the nearest route as this might take you through fields that a farmer has specifically asked us not to cross.

If you see a broken fence – please report it to the Master or Field Master.

Parking – When parking for a meet, do NOT park in gateways, driveways or on cut grass verges; always ensure there is sufficient room to allow the free flow of traffic at all times.

If the Field Master shouts to you – please don’t take offence.  All of us have been shouted at some time; especially me ‘said Bruce’.  Sometimes the Field Master needs an immediate response to ensure the safeties of all concerned so don’t take it personally – the Field Master certainly won’t!

After all that, hunting with the South Tetcott is a fabulous experience and you will want to do it every day. See you out hunting.