Find out all the answers to frequently asked questions about trail hunting with the Hurworth Hunt...
Q. What is trail hunting?
A. Trail hunting involves laying of a scent across the country which a pack of hounds then searches for and follows using their noses.
Q. I'd like to start trail hunting but don't know who to ask or what to do?
A. If you don't know anyone connected with the Hurworth Hunt then the best person to contact is Carol Pattison, the Hon. Secretary. They will be happy to chat with you about what you need to do.
Q. I am not sure if my horse will take to trail hunting. How do I find out?
A. Horse often behave differently when in a group and are generally more excitable. If you have been on pleasure rides or similar with lots of other horses and your horse was well behaved then you should be fine. We have a number of events that we organise during the summer, such as Autumn hound exercise mornings / evenings and pleasure rides, that are always a good learning experience for horses and riders.
Q. I don't own a black coat or hunting stock, so what do I wear?
A. That's fine. If you have a hacking (tweed) jacket then wear that with a shirt and tie. For Autumn hound exercise we all wear tweed with a shirt and tie, and our horses are not plaited. During the Open Season (November to March) a black / navy coat is correct, and your horse should be plaited (if not hogged). It is important to be smartly turned out. Ladies please wear a hairnet, and please tie back long hair.
Q. What should I do when I arrive at the Meet?
A. It is always best to arrive in plenty of time - we'd suggest you aim to arrive about 30 minutes before the scheduled start time. There's nothing worse that being late and rushing. When you arrive at the meet introduce yourself, smile, and you will be guaranteed a warm welcome in return!
Q. Do I have to pay to go Trail Hunting?
A.Yes, you will need to pay the price previously agreed with the Hunt Secretary - this is know as your Cap money. You should have the cash or a cheque (made payable to Hurworth Hunt) in an envelope with your name and phone number on the front. It's always best to make sure that you've got your envelope handy when you arrive at the meet - fishing around in your pockets can be embarrassing and my cause your horse to fidget if they pick up on your stress. Cap money is collected by the Hon. Secretary at the start of the day - it is always good manners to make contact with them when you arrive at the meet.
Full details are available on the Subscriptions & Information page.
Q. Who should I follow once we set off?
A. It is best to stay towards the back of the Field if you can manage this. You can then see what everyone else is doing and be guided by others as the day progresses. Importantly, you can see others in front of you approaching a jump and so you can decide if you'd like to jump it or not.
Q. What will the day be like in terms of riding and jumping etc?
A. All days very, but we normally set off at a fairly energetic pace, often hacking for some distance, following hounds. Thee is often some early jumping, with cantering across fields and through woods. There may be periods where we are standing around, and this is a good opportunity to watch hounds and make new friends.
Q. My horse and I are used to jumping in an arena. Is it the same out Trail Hunting?
A. Trail hunting can involve jumping out of or into uneven ground, and sometimes over obstacles that are a little uneven in their structure. Obstacles may be rails, hedges (sometimes with ditches on one side), and tiger traps. The ground might be muddy or wet, with a drop on the landing side of the fence. You will also be expect to be in a line of riders with a horse in front of you and a horse behind you. You will very rarely be expected to jump a fence by yourself.
Q. I'd like to jump but are the stories about big hedges true?
A. When you contact the Hon. Secretary to arrange your day it is a good idea to have a chat about your jumping ability. Honestly is always best! The Hon. Secretary will be able to advise you which day(s) might be best for you. We have big hedge jumping days, and other smaller days, and there is generally a good day for all jumping abilities.
Q. Do I have to jump?
A. No. Jumping is not obligatory with the Hurworth, and you can have just as much fun not jumping. We have a number of mounted subscribers, including the Hon. Secretary, who do not jump, and there is no expectation on you to jump any fences. Listen very carefully to the briefing at the Meet when the Master will point out who to follow if you are not jumping.
Q. What if my horse refuses to jump?
A. Very few horses jump everything first time. If your horse refuses let the people behind you carry on past, tuck in behind and have another go. Most horses will jump if they are following another. If you stop again, tuck in behind someone else and have another go. If you have 3 refusals it is best to stop trying - the ground in front of a jump can get churned up and damaged by multiple stops. The most important this is not to worry about it or get cross. Someone will help you. There is no need to jump if you don't want to or if your horse is having an "off" day.
Q. What happens if I fall off?
A. Everyone falls off (including Masters!) at some point and if you're new to Trail Hunting then you might. Do not worry if you have a tumble as someone will always help you. If your horse canters off a very kind person in the Field will catch it and bring it back to you. We all know that a tumble can take the air out of you, so take your time to catch your breath, get back on your feet and make your way to collect your horse and remount. Don't forget to profusely thank the person who's kindly retrieved your horse! The Field won't be far away and there will always be someone to ride with you whilst you catch up.
All fallers are asked to donate £5 to the Tumble Club for each fall. All money goes to the Yorkshire Air Ambulance which is a very worthy cause. Plus if you're a regular tumbler you may be in with a chance of winning the Tumble Cup at the end of the season.
Q. Do I have to stay all day or can I go home early?
A. It is not necessary to stay until the end of the day. Your horse may be tired, or you may feel they have done enough for one day. If possible try not to head home by yourself. After a couple of hours you might find that there are other people who may be starting to go home and you would be welcome to ride back to the horseboxes with them. This a great way to chat about your day, make friends, and save you from getting lost in an area you don't know. If you decide to pack up early then it is important that you tell the Master / Hon. Secretary so that you know you are safely on your way home. Also, don't forget to thank the Master as you depart, as that will be appreciated and is considered good manners.
Q. What should I do at the end of the Trail Hunting Day?
A. At the end of the day the Huntsman will gather the hounds and usually "blow for home". This means that the trail hunting day is over and everyone hacks back to the Meet / boxes together. It is good manners to thank the Master and Huntsman and wish them "Goodnight" before you leave - a lot of effort goes into the planning and organisation of a day trail hunting and it is important to show your appreciation. Remember that your horse will probably be very muddy, sweaty, tired, and hungry at the end of the day so come prepared to wash him down, rug him, and provide a hay net for the journey home. Your horse will have worked hard carrying you during the day so it is wise to see to their needs before seeing to your own.
Frequently Asked Questions