Getting Started

For those new to the sport, we offer a few tips on how to get yourself out hunting, have a comfortable and safe day, and how to have the opportunity to be invited back if you decide that you like it.

  1. If you know someone in the Metamora Hunt, call them and express your interest in hunting. You will find us an open and interesting bunch of people, and one of the joys of fox hunting is helping a new rider discover the magic. They will make every effort to get you started. If you know no one in particular in the Hunt, you should call our Honorary Secretary, Michelle Mortier (586-914-5802) or one of our Masters (See CONTACTS).
  2. When you make that contact, give full confession: You or your horse have never hunted before, are interested in trying it, is there a particular upcoming meet that you could attend? This leading question is helpful because the Master, or Secretary may know, for example, that the next scheduled meet is a joint meet with a gazillion people coming, probably not the sort of thing a newcomer would want to start with (especially if the horse’s bona fides for hunting are unknown, or if the horse has never hunted). There may be another meet that springs to the Master’s or Secretary’s mind that has favorable terrain, for example, or where a smaller crowd might be expected. The Hunt is looking out for you as a newcomer, and looking out for the landowners, membership, and quality of sport.
  3. Having established that you can/should attend a particular day’s hunting, where the fixture is, and whether you should plan on hacking there or trailering, the next inquiry is, how much is the capping fee, and to whom should I pay? The payee is generally the Honorable Secretary, but sometimes it is one of the Masters. It is important that you know that person’s name. When you get to the meet, have your check for the capping fee and a signed Hold Harmless form (See FORMS/RESOURCES) in an envelope. Introduce yourself to that proper person and give them your envelope.
  4. The next step in your quest for information during your initial contact with your hunting friend, or the Honorary Secretary is to make any inquiries about attire and tack for your day of hunting. There is no such thing as a dumb question, so please ask! The Hunt official to whom you are speaking will appreciate that you are making the effort to do the right thing and inform yourself. No one will expect you to go out and buy new stuff for a trial run at the sport! As for tack color, type, figure 8 or not, raised bridle or not, etc, Don’t even ask- what you have is just fine, provided you follow two rules: 1) use what you need to maintain control of your horse at all speeds, at all times. And 2) whatever tack you are using should be scrupulously clean when you get to the meet. As for attire, helmets are mandatory, and you can never go wrong with a black, navy or dark gray coat, beige breeches, and plain black boots. These are always correct even during informal hunting. Small deviations in attire are usually acceptable as you are a new hunter. When in doubt, just ask!
  5. So, now you’ve established your day of hunting. The day BEFORE the meet, get your stuff organized, clean your tack, polish your boots, lay out your hunting clothes, load the right stuff into your trailer, even hook up your trailer if convenient so you are ready to roll and have the least possible number of things to stress about on the Morning Of. Bathe and thoroughly groom your horse.
  6. Morning Of: THOROUGHLY groom your horse before loading. We recommend tacking at home and hauling to the meet tacked up if possible. This always helps to make sure that you get there with everything needed. If you don’t tack up, triple check that you have everything: saddle, pad, bridle, horse, etc., before pulling out of the barn. Plan on arriving at the meet at least 30 minutes early! This will give you plenty of time to get organized, pay the capping fee, greet the Masters and others, and have a moment to take a blissful deep breath before the Master calls for “Hounds Please.” to start the hunt. Metamora Hunt leaves from the fixture EXACTLY at the published time each hunt and no one is welcome if they arrive late. It would not be safe or sensible to have riders arriving at the meet as the staff and hounds are leaving, possibly on the same path.
  7. When you arrive at the meet be sure to thank the hosting landowners for their hospitality.  Take care to stay close to the area designated for meeting, and to stand quietly if possible while you enjoy the Stirrup Cup (sherry, cider, pastries).   Also take care to stay at least 20 feet from the hounds, and never place yourself between the whippers-in and the huntsman or the hounds and the huntsman.  
  8. When hounds move off, go to the end of the line. Two reasons: members get to go first, and at your first meet you will want to stay near the back, out of trouble. If the field master or MFH invites you to the front, by all means go and enjoy! If hounds are running, do your very best to maintain a safe distance from the horse in front of you (at least 1 horse length!) and pass no one without being told to do so. We won’t go into the lengthy protocol details here, just rest assured that if you follow this advice as a newby out for the first time, everyone will be very impressed. Keep in mind that you may stay out for the entire day of hunting, but are not expected to do so. If you or your horse tire, or are having any problems, you may and MUST ask permission from the field master to go in early.
  9. Three rules for your first day: 1) Hounds and Staff have the right of way at all times. Do whatever it takes to ensure that your horse does not get into a position where it might step on, or kick a hound. This rule is the Holy Grail! It matters much more than what you are wearing or anything else for that matter. 2) Be quiet! No chit chatting when hounds are working. If others come to you to initiate conversation, and they will, just whisper and keep it short. You are fundamentally there to enjoy the hunting. We are a very social group, but chit chat can happen afterward. Those involved in providing the day’s sport will MUCH appreciate your contribution to having a quiet field so the hounds can work with little distraction. 3) At the end of the day: Thank the field master, MFHs, huntsman, and whippers-in for the day of sport. NOTHING is more important at the end of the day than your expression of gratitude for the hard work they have put in: if you’ve showed up bareback on a well groomed zebra, but have remembered to thank them at the end of the day, they will only remember your good manners.
  10. Day after: A good old fashioned Thank You note to the Joint Masters will help keep the door open if you decide that hunting needs to be part of what you and your horse love to do together.

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