Basic Guidelines

If you are about to come out for the first time, here is a guide to the basic "rules", which we hope will help you to have a safe and enjoyable day.

At the Four Shires we like to encourage all competent riders to enjoy hunting the clean boot. We pride ourselves in being a professional organisation and most of the few rules we have are for safety purposes. But we also we want to show good sport and present a pleasing picture when we meet – so always be courteous and smile – as in many cases this will be the public's first impression of us.

Your responsibility:

All riders, horses and followers participate at their own risk and no responsibility is taken by any member of the Hunt or any farmer or landowner for any accident, however it may be caused. The owner of a horse is liable for its actions and all riders must carry their own liability cover for themselves and their horse. Public liability insurance is provided within GOLD membership of the British Horse Society www.bhs.org.uk and also under membership of the Countryside Alliance www.countryside-alliance.org.

To attend all riders and followers must be members of the Hunt and sign the disclaimer before participating in any of the Hunt’s equestrian events.  Visitors are welcome, but after 2 visits you must become a member. Membership is free for all farmers and landowners over whose land we hunt and all members of Young Farmers. Membership: Individual £45, Family £60. Please make cheques payable to: “The Four Shires Bloodhounds Ltd”,

Farmers:

We are only able to hunt due to the generosity of sporting local farmers. If you see any farmers, while out hunting, do make a point of thanking them.

Front and Second Field:

We always have a Second field master for those wanting a less challenging day. Unless you are an experienced hunter, start by following in the Second Field, so that you and your horse get the chance to settle. Stay behind your field master, but do not crowd him/her – and do not obstruct the jumping line.

Those in the mounted field want to see hounds work; so do not hesitate before a jump. The jumping field should move smoothly along behind the field master. Riders can move from one field to another. If you are unsure about a jump, join the Second Field for that part of the line but do not obstruct those who are jumping.

Dress:

Please be smartly turned out. For hunting that means a black coat (ladies may wear blue), black velvet covered hat, beige or tan breeches, long boots and a white or ivory stock. Children may wear hacking jackets, ties and jodhpurs.

For hound exercises members of the mounted field wear a tweed coat and tie.  

Your Horse:

For hunting  your horse should be smartly turned out, plaited or hogged for meets.  Check with the Bookings Secretary if it is a stone wall day, as knee boots are advisable.

If it is the first time out for your horse as well, you should tie a green ribbon to its tail to let everyone else know, and allow them to give you room.

If you have ever seen your horse kick, you must wear a red ribbon which warns everyone else to keep clear and try to stay at the back.

Disclaimer:

All riders, horses and followers participate at their own risk and no responsibility is taken by any member of the hunt or any farmer or landowner for any accident, however it may be caused. The owner of a horse is liable for its actions and all riders must carry their own liability cover for themselves and their horse. All riders and followers must sign a Four Shires’ disclaimer before participating in any Hunt events.

Field Master:

Follow instructions from your field master and pass the message back.

Hunt Staff:

Give priority to hounds and hunt staff.

Damage:

Any stones which come off walls must be replaced. Report any broken fences etc immediately to the field master. Any broken fences or gates will be charged for at erected prices.

Everyone must take all rubbish and horse muck home with them.

Questions:

If you have any questions on the day, you can ask either one of the Masters, or one of the people with green collars and buttons, who are experienced members of the Hunt and will be very happy to help.