A NEWCOMERS GUIDE TO RIDING TO HOUNDS WITH THE WARWICKSHIRE
Phone one of the Hunt Secretaries – Tessa and Maurice Fermoy on 01295 788498 or 07779 298189 – to see whether the day in question will be suitable for you, for information on parking and what the "cap" (the fee for the day) will be.
And if you feel you would like to be 'looked after' on the day this would be the time to ask!
As a guide, the season is divided into Autumn Hunting when riders wear a tweed jacket with a tie or coloured stock. During the main season (which is on or after the Opening Meet), men generally wear a tweed or black coat, breeches and a stock; women can wear a tweed or black or blue coat, breeches and a stock. Children normally wear a tweed jacket, shirt and tie at all times.
For everybody, a recognised brand of hard safety hat/helmet is essential, and (long) riding boots or half chaps plus gloves are recommended for comfort and safety.
As a general rule we try to dress smartly and tidily out of respect to the Landowners who permit us to ride over their land.
Should be as smart and tidy as possible; plaiting is not necessary during the Autumn Hunting period but is expected and appreciated on/after the Opening Meet. Tack should be clean and in good working order!
If your horse/pony is a youngster and/or has never seen hounds before, it is recommended that a green ribbon is worn on its tail to let other riders know of its inexperience.
If your horse/pony has a tendency to kick out if or when in close quarters with others, then a RED ribbon should be worn and you will be expected to do your best to keep your distance and out of harm's way from others. Please be advised also that because of the risk of serious injury to riders, horses, hounds and bystanders etc, the Masters operate a policy of "zero tolerance" towards miscreants that are seen kicking out.
Arriving at the Meet
Please park your horsebox or trailer at least ½ mile away from the meet, taking care not to obstruct or blocking lanes, gateways, private driveways or parking on mown verges adjacent to dwellings. Allow yourself plenty of time!
When you ride up to the meet, first seek out and introduce yourself to the Hunt Secretary. It is up to you to find him/her - not the other way round! If you can, say 'Good Morning' to the Masters as your politeness will be greatly appreciated. Likewise if you can identify them, the persons who are kindly hosting the meet and providing the customary "stirrup cup" and food.
After the Meet
As a mounted follower you are now part of what is termed "the field" so to guide you, here are a few tips and protocols (the Do's and Don'ts) to follow during the day:-
- When the hounds move off from the meet (and/or whenever they come towards you during the day) DO always try to get your horse's/pony's head to face them (to avoid the risk of kicking or accidentally trampling on the hounds),
- Ensure that you know who the 'Field Master' is for the day – DO follow him/her and DON'T overtake him/her; listen out for any instructions he/she may give to the field (of which you are part) - eg where riders can or can't go according to the Landowners' or Farmers' wishes etc,
- DO always remember that you will often be riding over privately owned land so DO please respect this privilege at all times – eg DON'T ride over sown crops, gallop downhill when you see the Field Master walking, gallop through livestock and so forth,
- Good manners and behaviour towards those around you and particularly towards members of the general public is vital; the latter includes motorists going about their normal business whose passage must not be avoidably delayed or obstructed; DO always acknowledge/thank 'non-involved' road users and other members of the public,
- Please take your turn and DON'T "push in" when jumping a fence or going through a gateway or narrow place,
- Should your horse/pony refuse at a fence, DO wheel away from the fence and wait your turn before trying again. And DON'T get too close to the combination jumping the fence ahead of you,
- DON'T be afraid to pass (or shout!) messages that have come from in front of to you to those that are following you – examples include "Gate Please" or "'Ware hole" or "wire",
- DO show your appreciation to anyone who opens or closes a gate for you/others. If in doubt, a road-side gate where livestock are enclosed should always be closed and secured,
- Should you get left behind and/or lost, DO always back-track to the nearest road or lane where passers by/other users will be able to advise you,
- Generally, DO avoid riding on public footpaths and over mown verges in villages,
- And for information, the salutation to others at the end of your day irrespective how early or late it may be, is always "Goodnight"!
We very much hope that you will enjoy your day with us – we will take care of you as best we can in the hope and expectation that you will come back for more and become a "Regular" instead of a "Newcomer"!