We really want you all to have fun, enjoy yourselves and come back again! The following etiquette reminders have been put together with that in mind and to keep you safe, whilst upholding the traditions of the Drag Hunt.
Plaiting: It is traditional to plait one’s horse for draghunting as a mark of respect to the landowners who invite us to hunt across their land. This is very important as without access to country there is no hunting.
See 'What To Wear' for more details.
New horses: If your horse is new to hunting it should wear a green ribbon in its tail. It should be kept at the back of the field.
Horses that may kick: If your horse routinely kicks others, please do not bring it draghunting. If your horse may kick it MUST wear a red ribbon in its tail and MUST be kept to the back of the field. It remains YOUR responsibility that your horse does not kick a horse, a person or a hound.
Horses and Hounds: Even horses used to dogs at home may not tolerate a pack of hounds. Please keep your horse a safe distance from hounds and turn to face them if they need to pass.
Dress code: Clean and smart is the order of the day. Newcomers are not expected to have full hunt dress but tidy and appropriate is the key.
See 'What To Wear' for more details.
The Meet: Please be mounted on time. The traditional greeting to other riders, hunt staff and masters is “Good Morning”. Please listen carefully to the briefing given by the Master or Field Master before we leave the meet.
Jumping: At all times ride behind the Field Master who will indicate what we can jump. Breaking a jump is NOT a crime! Failing to tell someone is! Your horse refusing or running out is also not a crime, but please consider others. At an island fence continue on, there will be plenty more jumps, now is not the time for schooling. At a boundary fence, clear to the side quickly, re-join the back of the field and have another go. To prevent accidents, it is VERY important that you always leave plenty of space between you and the horse in front when jumping. Should you see someone fall, or a horse appears hurt, please stop and help. If more assistance is required please ask someone with a green collar to get a message to the Field Master who will call for additional support. If you see a problem is adequately taken care of, pass slowly and carry on to prevent the field becoming bottle-necked and left behind.
The public: Maintaining good relations with the public in areas where we hunt is vitally important. A smile and “Good Morning” to those on foot goes a long way.
Cars: Likewise cars that slow or stop for us MUST be thanked by ALL of us. If you hear a shout of “Car please!” then keep to the nearside and allow them to pass.
Gates: Often we have followers on the ground to open and close gates, but on occasion the field will have to do it. The call of “Gate please!” indicates that the gate must be shut once the field are through. Make sure this is passed down the field before you leave the gate. If passing through a narrow gate, do not canter away until the horse behind you has also cleared the gate. Gates adjacent to jumps must be shut until the jumping field have passed. If in doubt it is better to shut a gate than leave it open, but please tell someone you have done so.
Single file: Means just that! This is important so we do not damage any crops or ride over areas that Landowners have asked us to avoid.
At the end of the day: When draghunting has finished and we are back at the horseboxes please stay mounted, behind the Field Master until the hounds have been safely put away. The traditional salutation when leaving hunting is to say “Goodnight” regardless of time of the day. Should you choose to leave before hunting has finished, please be sure to say “Goodnight” to the Field Master and let him or her know you are leaving. This is very important otherwise we will be looking for someone who isn’t there!
Tea: Once your horse is safely away please come and join us for tea. It’s free for those riding and is a great draghunting tradition, as well as being a nice opportunity to chat to other members of the field and the hunt staff.
Once again, remember to have fun and enjoy your hunting!