Hounds of The Hickory Creek Hunt are active all year long. In the off season
they are walked out for exercise and conditioning. This is called "roading"
and it is the best time for introducing horses and riders to the sport.
the early fall the pace picks up a bit and the staff and other members
and visitors attend on horseback. This period of activity is called "cubbing"
or "fall hunting." These meets are usually short and often comparatively
slow, so it is a good time for the newcomers to gain some experience and
learn, along with the young entry, a little about hunting. Then, when the
real season begins, they are ready to understand and enjoy the sport. We
welcome the visitors to these summer and fall events, as well as to the
stepped-up challenge of the regular season. Following are the questions
we are most frequently asked about hunting, and our best answers.
who is interested can come
with the permission of the Master (MFH). See Contact Us.
do I get invited?
Contact the MFH.
She can also give you particulars
about locations and times, directions to the meet, and lots of other information.
well do I have to be able to ride?
should be able to canter and gallop in the company of other horses, and
to stop promptly. We are always ready to form a second flight which does
not jump. As in the first flight, a fieldmaster leads the field of riders.
He will show the way to gates or go-arounds, and will also assist newcomers
or others who might encounter difficulties. These riders must, however,
be able to go at a canter and keep up. We recommend that people and/or
horses who have not hunted before start out in the third flight which is
specifically tailored to starting green horses and riders. Once settled
there, riders may progress to second and first.
high are the jumps?
of our jumps are coops, not over 3', and telephone poles, 2'6" - 2'9".
about my horse?
hope that your horse is fit and quiet. Kickers are not welcome. Known kickers
are asked to wear a ribbon in their tails and to stay in the rear. Vicious
kickers should not be hunted. The hounds have priority at all times, and
horses must give them lots of space. The horse that will wait his turn
to jump, and will trot the fences, is the most successful mount. Height
of the jumps is not the significant factor; control is.
do I wear?
may always hunt in ratcatcher attire: breeches, boots, jacket (on extra
hot days the MFH will give permission for shirtsleeves), stock tie, necktie,
or choker for ladies, stock tie or necktie for gentlemen. Protective headcover
is required. Appropriate raingear is permitted.
tack do I use?
is customary for your horse, the simpler, the better. Use splint boots
etc. only if absolutely necessary since these extras often cause more grief
than good in the hunt field. Polo wraps are a disaster, especially when
there anything else I should bring?
is a good idea to bring some water for your horse, and a net of hay for
him to eat while you eat your breakfast (in foxhunting circles, the meal
taken right after the meet is called "breakfast"). Most often, everyone
brings a picnic and we have an informal tailgate breakfast. Sometimes there
are sponsored breakfasts, in which case lunch is provided. Please check
with the MFH.
there anything I should not bring?
do not bring your dog. Dogs upset the hounds tremendously.
do I do when I get there?
Having talked to the MFH in advance, you will be expected. Be sure to be there at
least 30 minutes before the appointed time in order to have yourself and
your horse ready to go 15 minutes before the appointed time.
Introduce yourself to the MFH. (If you are not sure who this is, please ask someone.) You
will be asked to sign a release, show your horse’s Coggins certificate and submit
your “capping fee”. Find the fieldmaster of your flight (again, ask), introduce
yourself, and attend to his directions.
the hunt begins, all riders in all flights must stay behind their fieldmasters,
who will keep them at a comfortable distance behind the hounds
and choose the safest path that enables them to view as much of the hound
work as possible. There is little or no talking while the hounds are hunting.
No one but the staff may speak to the hounds. Tailgating (in this case,
riding too close to the horse in front of you) is not condoned. If you
need help, a quiet request to your fieldmaster or the rider next to you
is appropriate. At the end of the hunt, upon return to the trailers, follow
your fieldmaster to the hound trailer and wait (unless otherwise directed) with him while the huntsman
and staff put up the hounds. At this time thank the MFH, fieldmaster,
huntsman, and staff for the morning’s sport.
if I wish to join?
make your wish known to the MFH and you will
be given the necessary forms. Membership is granted after approval of the