Etiquette, Safety & Commonsense

The focus of riders in the field should be on the progress and conduct of the hunt while the hounds are hunting. There are proper conventions and etiquette that participants are expected to follow, most of which are for the safety as well as the pleasure of all involved.

The hunt is at all times the guest of the farmer whose property you are on, respect this privilege he allows us.

Keep off young grass and crops at all times.

Always shut open gates if in doubt.

Report immediately any damage to fences or property even if only a stretched wire, to the Master or his deputy.

NO photos may be taken at the hunt (camera, cell phone or video) except with the express permission of the Master.

Riders wishing to qualify horses at the hunt should inform the Master before the hunt starts.

Members please help by:

  • Introducing visitors to the Master and making them feel welcome.
  • See that visitors know who the field secretary is and pay their caps on arrival; if not already paid online.
  • Be helpful to visitors or young riders who are having trouble with their mounts.

Be ready to move off on time so that the Master may announce any special conditions for the day.

Non-members and new followers wishing to enjoy a days hunting must have prior approval from the Master before the days hunting.

Do not ride in front of the Master.

Always give way to the Master, deputies, huntsman, hounds and whippers-in. It is good manners to give way to senior members. The riding order of the field is hounds, huntsman, whippers-in, Master, deputies, ladies, gentlemen, children.

If your horse has a refusal go immediately to the rear and wait your turn again. Never try again and again while others are waiting their turn. If your horse cannot get over by the third time, look for a gate. You are only chopping up the ground and it will probably be faster and safer for your horse and yourself.

Follow the line that the hounds are taking, never cut corners unless well behind where the hounds are working.

Turn your horse to face oncoming riders or hounds to avoid kicks.

Keep noise to a minimum when near hounds that are working. Raised voices cause the hounds to lift their heads from the scent.

Always ride straight to your fences and exit on a straight line to avoid interference with other riders.

If gating please wait until the last of the field has jumped through before opening and moving through the gate.

Inform the Master, deputies or other riders if you are retiring early.

It is assumed that each rider is a capable horse person and has a mount that is manageable. Please do not bring problem horses into the field. If you do, ride them right at the back of the field.

If your horse is a kicker tie a red ribbon on the tail and ride out of the way to avoid accidents. A green ribbon means a green young horse - give it space.

As in all sports there is terminology associated with hunting. For example ‘Hunts’ are referred to as such and not as ‘Hunt Clubs’. ‘Hounds’ are not called ‘dogs’ and they ‘speak’ or ‘give tongue’ and do not bark. This is referred to as ‘music’ and not barking.

There is etiquette associated with counting hounds. Hounds were often coupled together to allow better control when being walked to meets, thus hounds are referred to as “couples’. We therefore refer to 23 hounds as 11½ couple, or 18 hounds as 9 couple.

Riders participate at their own risk.

The hunt insists that all riders attire themselves in appropriate safety gear. It is recommended that riders wear a protective helmet at all times when mounted with a chinstrap fastened and adjusted so as to prevent movement of the helmet in the event of a fall. The fit of the helmet and the adjustment of the harness are crucial. The helmet should not move on the head when the head is tipped forward.

Hazards may include implements parked in long grass or behind hedges, high wires above fences, wire fences behind hedges, electric wires remaining ‘live’, holes and rough ground. Riders should note these for possible return to the same area later in the day.

In general riders follow the approximate course of the Master however, it is each riders responsibility to ensure they have chosen a safe route for their horse.

Dogs should not be brought to hunts. If they are, they must be kept on a leash and have a current tapeworm dosing certificate.

It is our custom for the riders to pool their lunch (the "hunt breakfast") at the conclusion of the days hunting. It is good manners to remain until the Master has given thanks to the land owners.

An article from the NZ Horse & Pony - Mind Your Manners: Hunt Etiquette Guide written by Sarah Milne (first published April 2016): Click here