Introduction to Foxhunting

Foxhunting is a sport of mounted riders following a fox or coyote with a pack of highly trained hounds. The term “foxhunting” is a bit of a misnomer.  For the OCHC, it is really “fox searching” and on occasion “fox spotting.”  A healthy fox can easily out-smart even the most talented of hounds.

Our territory is miles of rolling hills covered by a patchwork of open fields and woods, threaded throughout with horse trails maintained by OCHC. The hunt is composed of the huntsman who trains and manages the pack of hounds (typically 25 to 30 on any day) and whippers-in whose job is to assist the huntsman and protect the hounds.  They are followed by 3 fields of riders led by field masters of the hunt.  First field, which follows closely behind the huntsman and takes jumps, second field where jumps are optional, and third field that follows at a more controlled pace without jumping. Fields follow set rules of decorum as safety of horse, rider and hound always comes first.

Join Us for a Foxhunting Clinic
Roading: May – July.  Members and guests are invited to join the huntsman exercising the hounds on the scenic dirt roads in Old Chatham.  Riders use this opportunity to condition and introduce their horses to the hounds.  Length of ride: 1-2 hours.  Capping Fee for Non-Members: $25.  Attire: ASTM certified riding helmet and weather appropriate riding clothes such as light colored britches and polos.

Informal Autumn Hunting: August.  Autumng hunting focuses on teaching the young hounds about hunting and gives riders and young horses an opportunity to gain experience and get fit for the formal season.  This is a great time to watch the new hounds learn the skills they need to chase our quarry (fox and coyotes).  The duration of the hunting day may be short if a good learning experience has been provided to the younger hounds.  Length of ride: 1.5 -3 hours.  Capping Fee for Non-Members: $50.  Attire: ASTM certified riding helmet, green polo shirt, light colored britches, field boots or paddock boots and half-chaps.

Formal Autumn Hunting: September.  Members and guests accompany the huntsman who is training new hounds and exercising seasoned ones at a bit faster pace.  Length of ride: 1.5 -3 hours.  Capping Fee for Non-Members: $50.  Attire: “Ratcatcher Attire” ASTM certified riding helmet, tan britches, brown field boots (black field or dress boots if you do not have brown), stock or regular tie, and tweed or colored jacket.

Formal Season: October – December.  During the formal season both hounds, horses and humans are fit enough for a full morning of hunting followed by an elaborate hunt breakfast held at a member’s home. Length of ride: 3 – 4 hours. Capping Fee for Non-Members: $125.  Attire: Black velvet ASTM certified riding helmet, shirt with white stock tie and plain pin, canary vest, tan britches, black dress boots, black or white gloves, and black coat.  Female staff members and masters and men with their colors may wear scarlet coats.

Arriving at The Hunt

YOU ARE EXPECTED TO:

Introduce yourself to the Masters prior to starting out.

Inform the Field Secretary of your status – guest of whom, Adult or Junior.

Sign your liability waiver and pay your Capping fee to the Field Secretary.

We start the morning with announcements by the Masters who will introduce you to the group.

Please see Foxhunting Formalities
for more information on dress and etiquette.

(Also available from the Honorable Secretary)

View Now

Field Etiquette

For safety riders must be able to keep a safe distance from the horse front of them and be able to control their mount at all times.

When the Huntsman, hounds or any Staff need to pass by, please move your horse off the trail and point your horse’s head towards them.

If your horse gets jittery, move deeper away from the trail. This is also true for when individual fields pass by.

If you need to change fields or leave the hunt early, be sure to get the Field Master’s permission. Do not canter or gallop past other fields as you leave. Please be sure not to ride over unhunted territory and be aware that you are a guest on our landowner’s properties – do not disturb livestock and leave all gates as you find them (when in doubt close and latch gates).

If you are having problems with your horse inform the Field Master or a member of the hunt nearest you. They will try to help you out. Horses new to hunting can easily be overwhelmed by all the action. Your safety is paramount to us.

If you have any questions or you would like to join us please contact Norman J Levine at 203.733.9288 or foxmembership@oldchathamhuntclub.com

 

Save