You just received the most beautiful fox head earrings last week for your birthday. Won’t they look smashing in the hunting field, worn with your new dark blue frock coat?
You just heard a staccato burst of perhaps ten rapid notes on the huntsman’s horn from inside the covert. What’s happening?
Your blood is up, hounds are racing in full cry, your horse is jumping every obstacle with enthusiasm, and it’s clearly the best run of the season. You gallop through an open gate and repeat the call you heard from riders ahead of you. “Gate, please!” Have you fulfilled your duty?
The whipper-in gallops by and advises the Field Master that a leash of foxes just left the covert. What?
Foxhunting Life provides a wealth of tips, guidelines, and resources for those new to the sport of foxhunting. Even experienced foxhunters are often stuck on a question of correct apparel, how to interpret a particular call on the huntsman’s horn, the etiquette of the field, or the meaning of an arcane foxhunting term. Here’s a reminder about links on our website (found under the drop down menus) that will take you to useful information for both beginners and experienced foxhunters alike.
By the way:
1. Your new earrings may look smashing with just about anything, but not in the hunting field. That is one place where it’s all about the hounds. It is not correct for women to wear jewelry in the field other than a plain gold pin to secure their stock tie.
2. The staccato horn call you heard should have informed you that the huntsman is harking hounds forward to another hound who appears to have found the line of a fox, or he/she is bringing hounds forward to a view. In any event, it’s a good time to check your girth!
3. Calling out, “Gate, please,” to signify to those behind you that the gate through which you are passing needs to be closed is part of your obligation to the landowner, but not all. You need also to hear an acknowledgement from behind that someone has heard you and will relay the warning, or close the gate themselves. Otherwise, your huntsman may be unhappily helping the farmer collect his stray cattle in the wee, dark hours of the night to come. And you might even find the gate locked the next time you are hunting that country.
4. A “leash” of foxes is three, one more than a “brace.”
Posted June 19, 2017