Autumn hunting is a gentle introduction for young hounds, new hunt staff, horses and followers to the forthcoming season.

Having to face the unexpected teaches you to improvise to get out of trouble, in turn making you a better rider. In addition, you will be permitted to cross beautiful, privately-owned countryside that you would not normally be able to access.

If you’re going autumn hunting for the first time, take a look at our list of dos and don’ts:

Do

  • Sew the ribbons at the back of your hat up — you will be taken for a member of hunt staff or a master otherwise!
  • Wear a hairnet if you are a lady.
  • Find the hunt secretary on arrival, pay your agreed cap and ask who your field-master for the day is. Stay close enough to listen to any instructions for the day at the meet.
  • Turn your horse to face hounds when they pass and turn your horse towards the covert where the hounds are working.
  • Listen to those in front, informative instructions and observations will be passed down the line.
  • Remember that everyone is out only because of the good will of the farmers and landowners, so smile, breathe and remember to thank those who have welcomed you.

Don’t

  • Overtake the field-master or worse still the huntsman and his hounds.
  • Be afraid of quietly asking questions about what’s going on. Those that are not forthcoming with reciprocated conversation are likely to be nervous or concentrating.
  • Forget to say “Goodnight” when you leave, irrespective of timing, it’s just tradition.

If you wan’t to find out more about autumn hunting — including what to wear and what to expect — don’t miss our Ask H&H article in this week’s issue of Horse & Hound magazine (4 September 2014)

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