The following excerpt from "Riding to Hounds in America" by William P. Wadsworth, MFH and published by The Chronicle of the Horse, Inc. thoughtfully addresses the matter of etiquette, and the safety resulting from such, in the hunt field.
"Good manners may be defined as habitual consideration for the rights and feelings of other people with whom we come in contact. Hunting etiquette may be defined as the rules by which good manners may be best expressed under conditions prevailing in the hunting field. No sportsman wishes to cause injury or offense, but without a thorough knowledge of hunting etiquette, one would need the wisdom of Solomon and the mental speed of a computer to avoid doing so unintentionally."


  • Appropriate head gear is required.
  • Ride a safe distance behind the horse in front. Do not ride off other horses. Ride the line set by the fieldmaster and ride under control at all times.
  • Allow three horse lengths between horses at jumps.
  • If your horse refuses a jump, make way for the remainder of the field before presenting him to the jump again.
  • A known kicker should have a red ribbon tied to his tail and be hunted at the rear of the field.
  • Vicious kickers should not be hunted.
  • When making way for staff, horses’ heads must be faced towards staff members as they pass.
  • If asked to assist in any way in the hunt field by the Master, huntsman or any of the fieldmasters, please do so promptly and safely. Please remember to act only if asked. Otherwise, chaos may break out. If asked, and you think you cannot assist for any reason, say so promptly. There is no loss of face.


  • Correct turn out is expected. Day members have permission to dress ratcatcher at any meet. Other styles of turn out are also acceptable for day members. Consult the Master.
  • All riders in the field must remain behind the fieldmaster during the hunt.
  • Members with colors are extended the privilege of riding at the head of the field. Junior members and day members are expected to ride in the back unless invited forward by the Master.
  • Please make every effort to avoid stepping on the hounds.
  • While out hunting, do not speak to or direct the hounds unless asked to by huntsman, Master or fieldmaster. Ordinarily, this is the job of the staff only.
  • Quiet is essential when the hounds are working and huntsman is listening for the hounds to give voice.
  • If you must retire early from the field, please excuse yourself to the fieldmaster. If this is not possible, send word forward to him by someone else.


  • Please remember that we are guests of the landowner, and must at all times respect his property and treat it responsibly.
  • Leave all gates as you find them. If in doubt, close the gate and report it to the fieldmaster. It is imperative that stock neither be let loose nor be shut away from water or feed.
  • Please walk through or by cattle, even if the hounds are “gone away.”
  • Please report any damage of property to the fieldmaster.
  • Please do not smoke while on the landowner’s property.
  • Please do not leave litter of any kind. Scatter your horse’s manure that he deposits at the trailer so that we do not leave mounded reminders of our existence.


  • Please do not bring dogs. There are no exceptions to this rule.

*Hounds have the right of way at all times. Please do your best to pause to let them go by so that they are not trailing after you. Hold your horse for them at gates, jumps and other tight places. Hounds can be difficult and stubborn, and your horse can be impatient, but pledge to yourself to make the effort. The Master, huntsman and pack will be immensely grateful.

**Talking in the field, known as “coffee housing,” is disruptive to houndwork. Among other ills, it causes the hounds to lift their heads. Please learn to be aware of when noise is harmful, and when not.
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