Hunting Terms

These guidelines are for everyone in the mounted field to follow. We hope that this list is helpful for those who joining us out for the first time. The main aim is for everyone to spend a fantastic day out and to feel part of a friendly hunt group 'hunting the clean boot'. While out in the field you may here several different terms used by the field masters, hunt staff and members of the mounted field. When heard, they should be passed back clearly, through the field as they are either warnings that must be adhered to or instructions:

Hound please - an individual hound trying to re join the pack; allow it to pass on your left.

Face hounds please - Turn the horse's nose towards hounds to prevent hounds getting kicked.

Whip please - A Whipper-in needs to get through, back to the Huntsman. Please facilitate an open route for the Whipper-in to get through.

Gate please - This means that the last person through must shut the gate. Again you must pass the message back through the field and if you are at the back, either shut the gate, or assist the person doing so. Avoid galloping off and leaving the person shutting the gate, especially if they have dismounted, as they may end up stranded with an excited horse. The Four Shires often have a designated gate shutter and/or a Quad Master, but if requested, riders should take their turn and shut gates. All riders should take it upon themselves to remain with the gate shutter at least once during the day, if the Quad Master is detained or absent.

Master - is a member of the ruling body of the Hunt. The Mastership is responsible for the running of the Hunt. You should say good morning, Master, at the start of the day and good afternoon to them if you leave before the end of the day and you should thank them and the other officials and quarry at the end of the day.

Huntsman - is responsible for the day and controls hounds to create the sport for the day. The Huntsman carries a hunting horn, which is used to communicate with hounds. You can listen out for the different calls, which are made giving various instructions to hounds. Whipper-in - turns hounds to their Huntsman in the event of them straying off the line of the scent. You can distinguish the Whips as, along with the huntsman, they are the only ones carrying a white whip. You'll recognise professional hunt staff, as opposed to an amateur Whip, by their stock pins being worn vertically and the ribbons on their hats not being sewn up.

Field Master - is a designated leader of the field for the day. As The Four Shires have two fields (so that riders do not have to jump), there are two Field Masters. Riders should not overtake the Field Master.

Hounds please - Usually called at the meet and means the pack (as opposed to a single hound) is coming through, or the Huntsman and staff need to pass the field or hounds need to pass. Please move out of the way and turn your horse's head to face them. Do not stop if a hound has been left behind. Take care not to step on it but leave it to the Whips to recover any hounds which are separated.

Hold hard Often accompanied by a raised hand; when you hear this you must stop your horse immediately, and quickly pass the message back behind you.

Car please - please allow a car to come past. Please remember to thanks all other road users - and smile.

Headland please - Keep into the side of the field in single file. You must stay on the very edge of the field, usually to protect growing crops or wet grazing land. Please pass the warning back down the field.

Ware (said 'wear') hole on the left/right  This means that someone has spotted a rabbit hole on their left or right hand side. Pass the warning back down the field.

Ware wire on the left/right This means that someone has spotted wire, and you should pass the warning back down the field.

Quarry Master - is an official who ferries the runner in a Land Rover, so that the scent is not laid on the roads between lines.

Quad Master - is an official who follows at the rear on a quad bike, closes gates and effects running repairs. If a wall, fence or gate is damaged, the Quad Master must be advised. If the damage cannot be made good, the rider will be charged for the replacement.