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Everyone has a question at some time on an arcane hunting term, correct attire, a point of etiquette. The FHL Panel of Expertswill answer your question on any aspect of hounds, hound breeding, hunting hounds in the field, training the field hunter, foxhunting history, sporting art, and literature. Try us!
Andrew Clarke on his neice's pony, Happy, the latter being the only foxhunter in the photo“As a foxhunter husband, I've never heard why it's called a Hunt Breakfast when it's usually the afternoon when the hunt breakfast is served,” writes a mystified Andrew Clarke from Ontario.
Surely there are many practicing foxhunters equally mystified by this question. For the answer we turned to our resident etymologist, author-editor Steven Price.
Aeron Mack / Middleburg PhotoAeron Mack is an honorary whipper-in. Recently she was bewildered by conflicting statements concerning martingales. She writes:
“According to Wadsworth [Riding to Hounds in America, 1962], running martingales are dangerous and not permitted, but I can't find anyone who can explain exactly why. I recently took a clinic with Aidan O'Connell who explained the dangers of a standing martingale, which I agree with. Personally I do not use a martingale of any sort, but would like to be able to better explain to people why they can be dangerous. It would seem to me that, in the event the horse stumbles or falls, a running martingale would better allow him to keep/regain his balance. I also like that if I slip my reins over a tricky jump, the running martingale is also released, where a standing cannot be. Any words of wisdom on this topic would be greatly appreciated!
Huntsman John Tabachka“Are MFHs supposed to carry white whips?” asks John Tabachka, huntsman for the Sewickely Hunt (PA).
While there are slight differences in the answers from our experts, the common thread seems to place the white whip properly in the hands of those who deal with hounds in the field, either as huntsman or whipper-in. That said, as always, the Master may do anything he or she likes!
One thing you can always count on from Foxhunting Life's Panel of Experts: they speak their minds!
Jerry Miller, MFH“Is it proper or permissible to wear plain, conservative sunglasses while foxhunting?” asks Vicki Reeves from South Creek Foxhounds (FL).
We put this query to two of our American experts, both of whom I consider to be conservative and traditional. In my view, their opinions cover the subject and its ramifications quite well. As always, the views of our readers, expressed in the Comments section, are invited. In the end, as with many such questions, the Master of your own hunt will have the final word for turnout in your field.
Martin Scott, ex-MFH“Are the words scarlet and pink interchangeable?” asks Leslie Shepherd. “Is one more correct than the other? Is pink a word of the past? I always thought that scarlet referred to formal attire such as worn at a hunt ball or the Masters Ball, while pink described the color of the frock coat in the field. Could you clarify for us?”
I love this question because it endures as one of the great controversies of foxhunting’s arcane language. We asked Martin Scott, ex-MFH, Vale of the White Horse (UK), Hugh Robards, ex-MFH, Rolling Rock Hunt (PA), and C. Martin Wood, MFH, Live Oak Hounds (FL) for their opinions. All three gentlemen are not only internationally-respected practitioners of the art but students as well: Scott and Wood as master breeders and judges of foxhounds, Robards as a brilliant huntsman. All are intellectually curious and have access to extensive libraries.