Autumn hunting is a gentle introduction for young hounds, new hunt staff, horses and followers to the forthcoming season.
Having to deal with 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:
- Make sure you adhere to the current Covid-19 protocols
- Find the hunt secretary on arrival and ask who your field-master for the day is. Stay close enough to listen to any instructions for the day while maintaining appropriate social distancing
- 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 of you – 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
- If you are wearing a traditional hat with ribbons on the back, sew the ribbons up to avoid being mistaken for a member of hunt staff or a master
- Wear a hairnet if your hair is not cropped short
- If you leave before hounds do, ask the hunt secretary the best way back to the parking area to ensure you do not ride over ground where you are not allowed, or across the hounds’ line
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- 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
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