Basic Rules of Hunting
The basic rules of hunting with the beagles are as follows:
- Arrive on time
- Greet the Masters and Huntsman (and landowner, if present. Thank the landowner for allowing us to use their land). Sign the waiver if you haven't. Pay your cap if you're capping.
- Be ready to ride off at the appointed hour. If the meet is for 9:00am, that does not mean arrive at 9:00am - that means you should be on your horse and ready to move off at 9:00.
- Stay with your group; know who your field master is, and stay behind him/her. If you want to leave your group (e.g. go from First Field to Second Field), ask your fieldmaster.
- Pay attention to the huntsman and watch what the hounds are doing. This is why we are out here. Hounds always have the right of way. Never get ahead of the huntsman or the hounds.
- When the hounds speak, stop talking. If the huntsman or other staff raise their hand, stop talking. If someone says "Hark, please," stop talking. It is important that the huntsman and staff can hear what the hounds are doing.
- Do not speak to, or interfere with, the hounds, unless asked to do so by the huntsman.
- Leave all gates as you find them. When in doubt, close the gate. Don't leave the poor soul behind who has offered to get the gate; someone stay with him.
- No larking (jumping jumps when you do not need to).
- If you or your horse does any damage to a gate, fence, or jump, please let one of the staff know.
- Do NOT hack out (trail ride) on land that we hunt (or any private property for that matter) without express permission of the landowner.
- Stay to the edge of planted fields.
- If your horse is green, put a green ribbon in his tail. If he kicks, put a red ribbon in his tail. If he kicks a hound, do not expect to be invited back!
- If you hear "Staff, please," move over to let him/her by. When staff (huntsman or whipper-in) is doubling back on a trail, move your horse off the trail and point his head towards the trail/staff.
- Be in control of your horse. Do not tailgate the horse in front of you. Do not gallop up behind another horse.
A much more complete list of rules (and very good glossary) can be found in the small paperback "Riding To Hounds In America" by William P. Wadsworth. They are only a few dollars and can be purchased at the Tack Exchange in Middleburg, and at Hunt Country in Warrenton. Required reading for anyone starting out in hunting!
The MOC Beagles follow the basic principles outlined by the Masters of Foxhounds Association, but are slightly less formal than most hunts, especially for juniors. During cubbing and regular season "Ratcatcher" (aka "informal") attire is always correct for adults and juniors. Adults and juniors may also wear a dark green polo shirt or sweater, and clean beige or tan breeches or jodhpurs, and brown or black boots. Turtlenecks are permitted under stock ties for juniors. Alternatively, 'flat collars' (aka neck bands) are permitted with ratcatcher shirts. ASTM safety helmets must be worn by juniors at all times while mounted. Safety helmets are strongly recommended for adults. Neckties are also acceptable and correct for ladies, gents and juniors. -- When in doubt, a black jacket and beige breeches are also an option, yet ratcatcher is preferred. Long hair must be done up or braided. No jewelry please.