The hunt staff is traditionally made up of the Masters, the Huntsman and the Whippers-in. The management of hounds on hunting days is theirs and theirs only.
In our hunt, and some others in the US, the First Field Master is technically not hunt staff but is allowed to wear a red coat.
Hunt Treasurer/Secretary (Lisa Owen) is the appropriate person to contact to make sure the club is accepting new members, learn about membership and capping fees, etc.
Contact Lisa at (270) 210-2923 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Field Secretary (Lisa Owen) is the person responsible for collecting capping fees and making sure releases are signed annually. Please do not give capping fees to anyone else. It is the field secretary’s job to keep track of this. If the field secretary is not out that day, Gail Petreikis (Third Field Master) or Mark Smith (Master/Huntsman) will take care of releases and capping fees.
First Field Master (Cindy Amelong)
Their job is to provide sport for the first field. You are expected to keep up with and traverse any obstacles and follow where the first field master leads you. Never pass the field master. Follow their instructions explicitly as they are responsible for providing good sport, safe sport and protecting the property we ride on.
Second Field Master (Stacey Teutrine)
The second field master is to provide good sport and safe riding for all in this field. Unlike first field, the second field master should never ride faster or harder than the weakest rider in the field. Because this field often goes slower than first field and does not take coops, they are not expected to follow first field, although they certainly can. Their job is to get the field into position to see the pack hunting and the quarry. Therefore, second field may at times find them selves far away from all the action and sometimes may end up too close, if the quarry turns.
Third Field Master (Dr. Gail Petreikis)
This is a walk/trot field for green horses or riders, basically hill-toppers. It is optimal when all are confident enough to advance to first or second field.
***Field Masters must avoid the temptation to assist a Whip or Huntsman, unless specifically requested to do so by a Master or Huntsman.***
Be good to your Field Masters. Their jobs are some of the most difficult.
This field is for riders and horses who are prepared to ride as quickly as necessary to keep up with the Huntsman and hounds. Depending on the fixture, first field riders can expect to encounter coops of up to 3 feet, large ditches, creek crossings, and more. Especially later in the season, we hunt in lots of mud and first field horses need to be adequately conditioned to handle the challenging terrain at speed. All shapes and sizes of horses have done well as First Field mounts in our hunt, including ponies, Thoroughbreds, draft crosses, gaited horses, and more.
Second Field is a non-jumping field (although small jumps may be optional at some fixtures). At some fixtures, Second Field may be a bit removed from the action of the hunt due to taking alternate routes to go through gates rather than over jumps. Second Field’s speed is determined by the comfort level of the weakest rider in the field, so the speed can vary. Some hunts it is more sedate, while on other hunts, Second Field may go just as First Field but without any jumps.
We have a Third Field at many, but not all hunts, so please inquire ahead of time if you would like to come hunt as a guest and know you would like to ride in this group. Third Field is a walk/trot field that also caters to the speed of the weakest rider. Third Field often represents the greatest diversity in terms of rider experience levels as there will often riders brand new to hunting riding along with very experienced riders who are using Third Field to introduce green horses to hunting.
Whatever field you ride in, your job is to obey the Field Masters and Hunt Staff. You should be mounted on a horse you can control and be sure that you and your horse and physically and mentally ready to hunt. You should strive to eventually learn to ride “outside your horse” so you can start to learn and enjoy other aspects of the hunt. For safety riders must be able to keep a safe distance from the horse in front of them and be able to control their mount at all times.
If you are riding in a jumping field and your horse refuses a jump, go to the back of the line and let other go ahead of you before you attempt the jump again.
You are permitted to move to a faster or slower field if it is safe to do so and with both Field Master’s permission. 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).
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 nervous, move deeper away from the trail. This is also true for when individual fields pass by.
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.
You need to be sensitive to when it is time to limit chatter and be silent so as to not interfere with the hunt.
Hound etiquette… Never use your whip on a hound. The only people who should be speaking to hounds are the Huntsman and Whips. Do everything you can to avoid letting your horse step on or kick a hound. Turn your horse’s head towards approaching hounds and staff members when possible to ensure his hind end will not be in kicking range of staff and hounds as they hunt.
Header Photo Credit: Alaura Barras