Showing good sport is the prime objective of the Masters and the Staff (Fieldmaster, Huntsman, Whippers-In, and Honorary Secretary), and to achieve this, certain conduct is required and expected to be adhered to encourage such caution as is necessary to ensure the safety of riders and mounts.
Respect For Master and Staff:
To help Masters and Staff provide the opportunity for showing good sport; riders with our hunt will observe the following rules of etiquette and responsibilities:
1. The Fieldmaster represents the authority of the MFH. Listen carefully to his announcements and never pass or interfere with him. Observe proper respect to members of the field who wear colors.
2. Arrive at the fixture properly attired and tacked in sufficient time to be mounted at the appointed hour and choose your field.
3. Upon arriving at the hunt, present yourself to the Honorary Secretary and take care of the capping fee and Release if necessary. Always thank the Masters, Huntsman and the Field Master at the end of the hunt.
4. Position yourself comfortably in the field and stay there for the entire hunt. There are no reserved places. Riding alongside the Fieldmaster or “in his pocket” is only appropriate upon his invitation. Always try to speak very softly and briefly. Do not hold lectures in the field.
5. Be very cautious of our hounds. Always turn your horse’s head towards the pack and the staff. Make way for the hunt staff at all times. Ride wide on the hounds, not behind or alongside them. Never speak to the hounds unless specifically requested by the staff.
6. Take cognizance of the fact that the Fieldmaster knows his country and anticipates the line the quarry runs. It is mandatory to observe his leadership. Always remember, not to override the hounds or interfere with the staff.
7. Keep up close and don’t lay behind the field. Do not straggle, you may get lost. Always excuse yourself from the Master and Fieldmaster before leaving the field. He can show you the way home, listen to him and possibly prevent your “heading a fox”.
Respect for Landowners:
Foxhunting requires large areas of undeveloped land. Such areas are no longer available within a short hack of the kennels; therefore, we must rely upon the generosity of landowners in order to continue our sport. Good hunt country can be lost because of carelessness, tactlessness and bad manners on the part of a few. Failure to comply with these rules could result in the loss of hunt country.
1. Do not ride over plowed or planted ground, lawns, or soft and marshy areas, unless the Fieldmaster so instructs.
2. Leave all gates and fences as they were found.
Respect for the Field:
In following the hounds all riders are eager for sport, and certain rules are established to minimize the risk and are not to be ignored.
1. Always maintain a safe distance between your horse and other riders. Do not crowd jumps, jump unnecessarily, or cross in front of other riders. Do not jump in company unless you are both on sure, safe horses and both are willing. Ride straight and collected at all jumps. If you horse has a refusal, go immediately to the rear of the line. Never try again and again when others are waiting their turn.
2. If you cannot get your horse over by the third try, look for a gate. It will probably be faster and safer for you and your horse and save mending a cracked panel and rib.
3. Don’t take foolish chances, and avoid riding directly behind others. Especially on narrow downhill trails, leave safe distances between mounts. While climbing steep hills, do not stop and obstruct the path of the horses behind you. After you reach the top, clear the area as quickly as possible.
4. A hunter is expected to be a capable horseman and have a reliable mount. Do not bring green or problem horses into the field. If you are new stay to the extreme rear.
5. If your horse is a kicker, tie a red ribbon on its tail and ride him at the extreme end of the field to avoid incidents. A red ribbon is not a license to bring a disobedient horse into close company with others.
6. Don’t bump your horse into others or permit him to thrust forward onto others. Control your horse so that his nose will not come into contact with other horses. Do not permit him to rub his head on other mounts in the field.
7. Hunting requires courtesy and tact. Assist guests and new riders in every way you can. We are here for the sport; avoid unnecessary conversation and chatter while hounds are cast or running. Stay close to the field. Do not lark over fences or obstacles, race or trailride.
8. You need not remove gloves to shake hands in the field.
9. Members without colors, juniors and guests should always ride at the rear of the field unless invited to the front.
10. Try to warn riders following you of hounds and dangerous obstacles in the field
All of the members of the Mill Creek Hunt desire great sport and fun, consistent with the formal traditions and history of foxhunting. We ask you to help us achieve that objective.
The Second Field:
There usually is a second field. Riders whose horses are new or potential discipline problems or who themselves new to the sport should ride in the second field. In the second field, safety and information are primary. The appointed Fieldmaster of the second field tries to select a less demanding line. The field moves in a more conservative fashion. The Fieldmaster will explain the working of the staff, hounds and field. In this field, all members will stay behind the two Fieldmasters at all times. Riders will not leave the field without first excusing themselves from the Fieldmaster.