Protocol & Guidelines

Riding Rules


Arrive at the meet correctly attired, tacked, mounted, and ready to ride. Hounds “move-off” at the appointed time. If you are late, do not expect the Hunt to wait.


At the beginning of the meet, the Master will call the riders to attention. Please collect quickly and quietly. This is an important time for announcements about the Hunt activities and conditions. When announcements are made, cease conversation and listen. These may concern safety or success in the conduct of the Hunt.


Hounds have the right of way. At the meet, the field is obliged to stay at least 50 feet from the hounds. Keep away from the hounds and turn your horse’s head (never heels) toward the pack. Ride wide of hounds and not behind or alongside. If riding before hounds, turn out of track and let them pass. If you see a hound coming behind your flight pass the words, “ware hound” so all riders in front of you watch out for the hounds to pass safely. If your horse kicks a hound, tell the Field Master and take your horse home.

Making Way:

As the hounds work, Whippers-in will be busy. When you hear, “Staff please”, it means a staff member is trying to get by or the Field is about to reverse. Turn your horse’s head toward the staff person and back out of the way. Nothing is more frightening or difficult for a staff person than to face the rear of twenty unknown horses.

Moving Off:

When the Field Master gives the signal to move off, it is important to follow him or her immediately as it is disruptive to have gaps in the field.

Riding Order:

Intermediate and Junior members are to ride behind senior members. Older members and those with their colors should be given priority.

Safe Interval:

Maintain a safe interval between your horse and other riders.


Always obey the Field Master and never get ahead of the Field Master. If the Field Master does not jump a fence, you should not jump the fence. He or she alone is able to judge the safety of a fence.

At the Jumps:

Be especially careful about spacing at jumps. You need to give yourself room to stop in case there is a problem or a hound is in front of you. If your horse refuses a jump, it is preferable to take him to the back of the jumpers. However, as Farmington country has a lot of tight places, it is not always possible to safely take your horse to the back. If there isn’t room, go carefully around the jump and catch up.

Keep Talk to a Minimum:

This applies to everyone. One of the pleasures of foxhunting is listening for a hound when he first gets the slight scent of a fox and calls the other hounds to him to verify his find. If anyone in the Field is talking, it not only makes it difficult to hear the music, but it distracts the hounds. Most people enjoy other sounds of the woods and fields such as the song of the birds and the cry of the crows as we invade their territory. Excessive and loud talking interferes with these pleasures. Hacking home is the best time for conversation.

Uncontrollable Horse:

The Hunt Field is not a safe or appropriate place to school your horse. If you are not in control of your horse, excuse yourself by notifying the Field Master, and take your horse home, following the directions of the Field Master.

Kicking Horse:

A horse that kicks must have a red ribbon tied to its tail. Other riders should avoid riding close to any horse wearing a red ribbon.

Green Horse:

A horse that is young/inexperienced should have a green ribbon tied to its tail. Other riders should avoid riding close to any horse wearing a green ribbon.

Danger Warnings:

Warn other riders of any dangers in the terrain such as holes, wire, glass, etc., by saying “ware” followed by the obstacle and side and point to the obstacle with your hand or crop as you pass it, e.g., “Ware hole left” or, “Ware wire right”.


Show guests and new riders with the Hunt every courtesy, introduce them to others, and assist them whenever you can.

Cell Phones:

The use of cell phones is prohibited except by staff members in an emergency.

Leaving the Field:

The Field is counted at the beginning of the Hunt in order to keep track of everyone. Please do not leave the Field without letting the Field Master know. It is proper etiquette to ask his permission to leave the Field. The reason for asking permission is not only safety, but also because you may foul the line (scent) if you leave at the wrong moment. The Field Master has the best sense of where the Huntsman is headed.

If you view a fox:

Do not ‘tally ho’ the fox. Inform your field master and point in the direction of the fox. (Keep an eye on where he is going). The universal signal that a fox has been viewed is to stand still, facing the line, hold your hat in the air, and point with it in the direction of the line.

If there is no staff person in the area, try to remember where you last viewed the fox and notify the Field Master.