The Masters of the Border Counties Draghounds take all reasonable precautions to ensure the safety of everyone present, but for these measures to be effective, you must act responsibly and adhere to the following guidelines.
Emergency Contact Details
When you come out for the first time, you will be given an emergency contact card. Please complete the card and carry it with you whenever you come hunting with us.
Whilst the hunt has Employers and Public Liability Insurance, we strongly recommend that you insure yourself and your horse against all risks including any claims which may be make against you for injury, loss or damage. The Countryside Alliance, British Horse Society and Pony Club memberships offer appropriate insurance cover.
Inexperienced / Unruly Horses
Please have a discussion with one of the Masters before the day in order to find out if the lines are suitable for you and your horse. If your horse hasn’t hunted before, you are asked to wear a green ribbon and horses which are known to kick must wear a red ribbon; however wearing a red or green ribbon does not absolve you, the rider, from ensuring that it does not get into a position to kick out at other horses.
If you cannot control your horse, you may be asked to leave the hunting field for the safety of yourself and/or others. Children who fall may not be allowed to continue if there is doubt as to their ability to continue. The decision of the Field Master is final and will be based on his/her judgement as to whether you are a danger to yourself and/or others.
Headgear and Clothing
We recommend a hunting cap of the crash helmet variety with fitted safety harness, conforming to current British Safety Standards or a properly fitted hunting hat, with safety harness, made by an established manufacturer. Appropriate footwear (with a heel and no trainers or wellies) is also essential.
Carrying a mobile phone with you is useful, but please note that large objects carried in breast pockets can cause additional injury during a fall. We would recommend some alternative method of carriage, such as a saddle bag.
- Only jump obstacles jumped by the Field Master
- Do not commit yourself at a jump until the person in front has cleared it
- If the person in front has fallen, do not jump until they are safe and clear of the fence
- Whenever possible, spread out at a fence and give your horse space to see the jump
- Always ride straight at a fence; a horse ridden at an angle may cross the path of others and put them at risk
- Take extra care if your horse refuses as other horses may be approaching from behind
- Wait your turn; nothing annoys the others members of the field more than someone who barges in. This also applies to gateways
- If your horses is a persistent refuser, go around – the farmer will not thank you for churning up his field
Remember, that there is no need for you to tackle any jumps or ditches if you do not wish to do so, there is always an alternative route which will usually be led by a senior member of the hunt.
When a horse in front of you has fallen, you must stop and wait until it is safe to continue. It is good manners to wait until they have mounted before continuing.
Please be aware that the routes may include steep, slippery ground, deep mud, wild ponies, low hanging branches, river crossings and uneven surfaces.
These must be caught as quickly as possible; if necessary, the field must stop.
All gates must be left as found. If in doubt, it is better to shut a gate than leave it open. If you open a gate, either close it or ensure that someone behind you will do so. This is done by passing the instruction “gate please” when you hear it. If you are with someone who is last through the gate, please wait and help them while they shut the gate or remount.
If you cause serious damage to any fence or land, or are involved in an accident, you must inform one of the Masters immediately (preferably the Field Master).
Drivers are requested to ensure that the highway and gates are kept clear at all times. Please do not leave horses unattended tied to trailers or lorries.
We would recommend that all children wear hats and back protectors conforming to current British Standards, as required by the Pony Club. No minor to come out unless his/her guardian has read the Safety Code to the minor.
At the end of the day
Please wait until the hounds have been put away and the Field Master has accounted for everyone before returning to your boxes.