Horse & Hound’s ultimate A-Z of hunting

  • To celebrate this week’s hunting special of Horse & Hound magazine (26 October 2017), take a look at our A-Z of hunting, from newcomers and Ireland to unseated riders and X-rays

    A — Autumn hunting

    One of the favourite times of the year for those who don’t mind early starts, autumn hunting is a vital time in particular for educating the young hounds in their first season.

    B — Buttons

    Every hunt has their own unique hunt button that is worn by hunt staff, hunt officials and those granted permission to wear the hunt button.

    C — Couples

    Hounds are always counted in couples and when there are an odd number of hounds out, the odd one will be referred to as a “half”. For example, 35 hounds would be 17½ couple.

    D — Drawing

    This is what hounds do when they are working a covert searching for their trail.

    E — Etiquette

    Manners are essential on the hunting field and most hunts have a code of conduct that supporters are expected to follow.

    F — Farmers

    Without the generosity of farmers and landowners, there would be nowhere to hunt.

    G — Gone Away

    The horn call blown by a huntsman to signal that hounds have left the covert and are hunting their trail.

    H — Hunting Act 2004

    The law came into force on 18 February 2005.

    I — Ireland

    Where traditional foxhunting is still legal and a large number of hunters are sourced from.

    J — Jumping

    Not the be all and end all for some, but the highlight of a hunting day for many.

    K — Keepers

    With an ever-increasing number of shoots taking place across the country, liaising with shoot keepers is vital in ensuring the country is accessible.

    L — Laughter

    Hunting may be taken very seriously at times but it is important to remember that it is supposed to be fun.

    M — Master of Foxhounds

    The person responsible for hunting and the organisation of the country, quite often also the field master on a hunting day whose instructions must be obeyed.

    N — Newcomers

    Welcomed at any time of the year, a ‘Newcomers’ Week’ is held by most hunts during October.

    O — Opening meets

    These take place around the beginning of November and signal the end of Autumn hunting and the start of the main season.

    P — Peterborough

    Home of the Royal Foxhound Show and the Festival of Hunting which takes place in mid-July each year, this is one of the highlights of the summer hunting calendar.

    Q — Quarry

    Before the Hunting Act 2004 came into force, the quarry was the hunted animal such as fox, hare or deer, depending on the type of hounds. However today the quarry is a trail-hunt laid using artificial scent and often laid using a quadbike or from a horse.

    R — Ratcatcher

    Hunting attire worn during autumn hunting and by some packs throughout the season, consisting of a tweed hacking jacket.

    Continued below…

    S — Secretary

    Often the first point of contact for those wanting to visit a hunt and the person to whom your daily cap or subscription should be paid to.

    T — Trail hunting

    With traditional foxhunting banned under the Hunting Act 2004, legal trail hunting following a laid scent is the way in which hunts now operate.

    U ­— Unseated rider

    Empty saddles are not an uncommon sight on the hunting field and membership of the hunt’s own Tumblers Club becomes compulsory.

    V — Visiting

    If you want to experience hunting with a different pack, visiting is great fun and well worth making the effort.

    W — Whipper-in

    Seen assisting the huntsman with the hounds, whippers-in can be fully professional full-time members of staff who also work in kennels or an amateur who volunteers.

    X — X-rays

    Incidents leading to these should be avoided at all times if possible because they are known to curtail your hunting activities…

    Y — Young

    Children and younger members of the field are the future of hunting and can often be a great source of giving a lead over hunt jumps.

    Z — Zetland

    A pack in North Yorkshire, this is the last hunt named in the Masters of Foxhounds directory. An alternative is zillions… the amount of money spent on hunting that is never dared to be mentioned when discussing the financial implications of going hunting!

    Don’t miss this week’s hunting special of Horse & Hound magazine (26 October 2017), with our hunt directory and a quiz to find out how hard-core you are on the hunting field

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