London Hunt

We want everyone to have fun and enjoy the day. However, the rules pertaining to foxhunting come from tradition and history and are governed by safety and common sense. They are designed to enablegood sport and ensure safety. The following rules are advised by the MFHA:

• If you are a guest and capping, seek out the hunt secretary to ensure that you are recorded as being on the hunt and pay your capping fee and submit your signed release form before the hunt moves out. It is your responsibility to find the secretary, not the secretary’s to find you.

• Never leave the field without notifying the Field Master. Stay with the field and don't lag behind or go off on your own.

• Never talk to or rate (try to correct) a hound. Never speak their names where they can hear you. Anything that brings a hound's head up distracts from hunting.

• Do not speak to one another when close to hounds or when hounds are drawing or speaking.

• If you carry a hunt whip, keep it coiled in your hand. And don’t carry it unless your horse accepts it. If you and your horse are standing as a field member and hounds pass through, dropping your lash will discourage a hound from going near or underneath your horse. Field members never touch a hound with a whip or lash.

• Never get between a hound and the huntsman. Never cross the hunted line. Always wait until hounds have moved ahead before proceeding. Make way for hunt staff, whippers in and Masters. 

• Always keep your horse a safe distance from other horses and don't ride too close behind. If your horse has a tendency to kick, place a red ribbon in it's tail. If it kicks hounds, please take it home and don't bring it back.

• Pay attention to other horses around you and watch hounds. The hunting field is not the place for long conversation.

• Watch out for holes, wire or other hazards. If you see one, use the word "ware" hole or wire or whatever. Speak only loud enough for the person after you to hear. You don't want to disturb hounds hunting.

• Listen for instructions: Gate please, gate open, reverse field, staff please, ware staff, ware hound, hold hard, and stay on the edge of the field or crops. Always point to the potential danger when you give the warning.

• Remember, if you keep quiet and have a well-mannered horse, the Field Master can keep you closer to the huntsman and hounds and you’ll see more action.

• If you find a gate open, leave it open; if you have to open a gate, close it behind you.  Always volunteer to open gates when appropriate. If someone opens a gate for you, make sure you or someone stays behind with that person. Horses get anxious when left, so it’s a good idea to stay and help the person getting the gate.

• Never ride across hunt country or on hunt trails on non-hunting days unless you have personal permission from the landowner.

• Whenever possible when speaking to a landowner, dismount and remove your hat and sun glasses.

• Always ride on the edge of fields whenever possible. Never cross seeded areas unless the Field Master leads you, even if the huntsman does. Never jump anything the Field Master does not unless told to take your own line. If the Field Master goes through a gate with a jump next to it, everyone goes through the gate.  Stay off crops and behind the rider in front of you unless told to spread out.

• Whenever riding near livestock slow down and walk if possible. Even when on a good chase, should you come up on livestock that could become scared or stampede, you must slow down until after the dangerous period has passed.

• A hunt is not meant to be a trail ride, cross country jumping or nature walk. The focus for everyone needs to be on hounds hunting, the conduct and progress of the hunt. Anything that distracts from hunting is unacceptable. In the hunt field the Master is the final authority and should never be argued with. Save discussions for after the hunt.

• Never “tally-ho” a fox while in the field. If you view the quarry, quietly ride up to the Field Master and tell them where and when you saw it. He or she will decide if it needs to be brought to the huntsman’s attention.

• Be courteous and friendly to the public. A smile or wave of the hand does wonders for the good of our sport. Do not impede traffic while on your horse. Ride on the right hand side of the road unless instructed otherwise by the field master.  Move off the side of the road if traffic approaches. Do not stand in the middle of the road, stay in single file along the edge. Public relations are everyone’s responsibility. Do not park trailers on both sides of the road so as to impede traffic.

• At the end of the day it is appropriate to stay in the field until the Master has released the hounds and huntsman for the day. It’s then appropriate to thank the huntsman, staff and Masters and to leave the field.