What to Expect

A warm, friendly welcome! The Four Shires welcomes new members and wants everyone in the field to enjoy the day. There are plenty of members who will be only too happy to help you out hunting. Aside from your field master, look out for those with a green collar and hunt buttons.

 The Day

All meets commence at 12.00pm unless otherwise advised.

Only the quarry (the runner), the Huntsman and the Field Masters know what route they have agreed with the farmers over whose land we are hunting. We hunt by the kind invitation of farmers and landowners who have been wonderfully generous and supportive. We are deeply grateful to be allowed to cross their land.  

Hunting

Bloodhounds hunt the clean boot, that is hunting a human quarry (a runner) with hounds. Hunting meets take approx 3 hours to complete. Attire: Black coats for adults (Ladies may wear blue), white or cream stock; horses plaited or hogged please. Children may wear tweeds and a shirt & tie at the Opening Meet and thereafter. If they wear a black coat, a white or cream stock should be worn. The reason for a stock once hunting proper starts is the extra support it provides.

Meets include a stirrup cup, and port stop.

 The Mounted Fields

The jumping field should move smoothly along behind the field master. If your horse refuses, go to the back of the jumping field and try again; however, if your horse refuses a second time, you must go round. If you are unsure about a jump, join the Second field for that part of the line. Riders can move from one field to another so long as they do not obstruct those who are jumping or the Second field master and his field. If you are in the second field, then you must wait for the jumping field to have completed a jump before proceeding.

If you have any questions on the day, ask one of the Masters. If you need help look for those people wearing a green collar and hunt buttons. They are experienced members of the hunt and will be very happy to help.

Whilst we encourage and welcome all ages to come and give bloodhounding a try and do have fieldmasters with each field, please note the following:
Any rider under the age of 10 must be a competent rider and accompanied by a responsible adult.
Any rider under 16 must be a competent rider and able to cope without another responsible adult present with them.
This is for the safety and enjoyment of all participating.

If you do have a child that would like to hunt and you are unable to attend with them or unable to identify a responsible adult to send with them, then please do contact us in advance as we may have a member that is able to assist them for the day. This must be agreed in advance and is subject to member availability and agreement.

New, inexperienced and kicking horses must be marked with ribbons accordingly: GREEN ribbons for young or novice horses; RED ribbons for any horse ever known to have kicked – these must be kept clear of other horses and foot followers.

At the meet, please move out of the way of hounds and turn your horse's head to face them. Out hunting do not stop if a hound has been left behind. Take care not to step on hounds but leave it to the Whips to recover any hounds which are separated.