Visitors and newcomers are always welcome at the Kimblewick Hunt with prior permission from the Secretaries (see the Contacts page). We aim to be inclusive and the Secretaries will gladly recommend particular meets for any rider unfamiliar with our Hunt country, whether you want to find a good jumping day, have a slow day in the woods, a short day or a day that avoids jumping altogether. Remember that anyone can come hunting: you don’t need a special horse to have some fun, although a well-mannered and fit horse will always increase your and his enjoyment.
Equally, if you wish to come on foot, the Secretaries will be happy to recommend a good viewing day or, for the fitter foot follower, a good running day!
If you have never been hunting before, please telephone one of the Secretaries and ask them where and when the meets are, and where you should park. If you would like someone to look after you on your first time out, make sure you ask the Secretary in advance and he or she will find someone experienced and friendly to look after you. Do give the Secretary as much information about your and your horse’s abilities as you can and tell him or her whether you wish to jump. However, don’t worry if you are faced with an unexpected jump on the day – there is always someone who knows a non-jumping way round something that looks too fearsome, and there is absolutely no shame in asking the non-jumpers if you may follow them for a while: everyone you will ever meet on the hunting field has done that at some point in their lives!
The most important thing to remember is that you have come out to have FUN and everyone involved wants nothing more than for you to go home with a big smile on your face.
Newcomers are, of course, welcome throughout the hunting season by arrangement with the Secretaries but special Newcomers’ Days are sometimes arranged during the season by the Masters. These are meets where newcomers are made especially welcome and they may be held in less challenging country. Regular hunters and subscribers are strongly encouraged to bring a newcomer on these special days and express permission from the Secretaries is not required. We do ask, however, that newcomers are escorted by or are kept under the eye of a competent hunter so that they gain the maximum enjoyment from their day out.Back to top
These guidelines are for general information. Please don’t let yourself be put off by anyone telling you that you mustn’t go hunting without an expensive horse, a hunt coat, proper leather boots etc: enjoying yourself is what matters. However, you should make an effort to be clean and tidy.
If he is stabled, you should brush him all over, remove any stable stains and make sure his mane and tail are tidy. If he has a full or hunter clip, tradition says that he should be plaited but if he has a chaser, blanket or trace clip, plaiting is not necessary.
For autumn hunting and in the full season, your tack should be clean and in good repair, and numnahs and saddlecloths should be black or brown. Some people will put boots on their horses to protect their legs; these should also be black or brown. If you haven’t hunted before, it might be sensible to use a stronger bit than normal in case your horse gets excited or becomes strong, but please do try him in it before you go hunting so you and he know what to expect. Many people regularly hunt in a stronger bit than they hack or school in.
Many people will carry a hunting whip. This is not essential and they can be bulky in small hands, but they are useful for holding tricky gates open etc.
Children should be dressed so that they stay warm and dry on cold, wet days, and they are advised to wear a (preferably dull-coloured) waterproof coat in wet weather. Many children now wear body protectors under or over their coats and this is perfectly acceptable.
Run by former Kimblewick Hunt joint master Rebecca Brown, the Hunting Mad online store can provide many of the items mentioned above.
Children must be escorted by an adult unless they have been awarded and are wearing a hunting proficiency badge issued by the District Commissioner of their Pony Club branch. Escorts who are not subscribers or farmers will be required to pay an escort’s cap by prior arrangement with the Secretaries.
Non-subscribers may only come out autumn hunting after obtaining permission from the Secretaries. Meets are usually held early in the morning and are generally shorter, quieter and slower than full season days. Autumn hunting is an ideal time for a newcomer to try a gentle day or for anyone wishing to get a young or inexperienced horse used to hunting, though it is not a training ground for horses and should not be used as such. For autumn hunting caps and subscriptions see Subscriptions below.
Every member of the field has the responsibility of closing gates or ensuring that gates are closed behind them. Even on days when Field Wardens are out, please make sure that no gate is left open unless you have been told it must stay open. If you are asked to be a Field Warden, you should dress in ratcatcher and carry a few lengths of ready-cut baler twine and a pocket knife. You can tie the twine to the D-ring on your saddle. You should also make sure you can get on and off your horse easily. If you are worried that he won’t stand still when you want to get back on, ask someone to stay with you if you have to get off to open or close a gate. Everyone has had to do gate-shutting at some point and most people will be very happy to stay with you, make sure you are alright and get you back with the field as soon as possible.
The different types of full hunting dress may look very similar to the untrained eye but, in fact, there are some easy ways to recognise Hunt officials and other people. This list is by no means exhaustive but it should give you enough clues to identify most people. When autumn hunting, everyone wears ratcatcher.
The Hunt staff wear five brass buttons on their tawny yellow coats, mahogany tops on their boots and they carry white hunting whips. An amateur whipper-in is usually a subscriber who helps hunt staff with their job, and may wear a red or black coat.
Hunt staff, masters and officials are the only people who may wear a traditional velvet hunting cap with the ribbon tails left free. This is so they may be identified from behind. Anyone else who wears a velvet cap should sew up the tails of the ribbon.
If you are driving to the meet, you should always arrive in plenty of time and park and unload where you are directed to. If no one tells you where to park, pick somewhere that won’t be in the way of people arriving after you, or other traffic. Remember that some lorries can be very large and that people who arrive late can be in a terrible hurry. If you are hacking to the meet, ride there quietly so as not to tire your horse out, especially if he is not hunting fit. At most meets, you will be offered a drink by the hosts, and you may also be offered something to eat. Be polite to everyone, whether mounted or on foot. As well as other riders there are usually a lot of foot followers at the meet, often all together in an enclosed space: if you have not been hunting before or you don’t know how your horse will behave, try to stay on the outside of the crowd in case he gets excited. If there is enough room, you may take your horse to see hounds but do ask the Huntsman before you approach them.
Don’t wait for the Hunt Secretary to come and introduce him or herself – ask someone who the Secretary is, and go over with an introduction and your cap. If it is your first time out, hopefully you have already asked the Secretary on the phone to find you an escort, so now is the time to remind him or her and ask to be introduced to your escort for the day. After a little while, one of the Masters will usually make a short announcement thanking the hosts and confirming who the day’s Fieldmaster is and, more importantly, telling the field of any local restrictions, such as keeping off grass headlands or not riding over newly seeded fields, so do listen carefully.
After that, you will hear ‘Hounds, please!’. This is the signal for the crowd to part to allow hounds through and the Huntsman will gather his hounds together and leave the meet. The Master leaves next, followed by the Fieldmaster, then the rest of the field. Watch out for horses with red (kickers) or green (young or inexperienced) ribbons in their tails and remember to give them as much room as possible.
The Huntsman will take hounds and start to draw for the line. The line will have been pre-laid and will have been especially prepared to mimic fox hunting as closely as possible. If this is your first time hunting, you should follow your escort’s instructions carefully and you should definitely not ride in front of the fieldmaster. In fact, until you have seen how your horse behaves you should stay near the back of the field. You must always give way to the Huntsman or the whipper-in and, if hounds come towards you at any point, you should turn your horse’s head towards them so your horse can’t kick one as hounds are very vulnerable.
Please make sure that you pass along any messages that come through the field. ‘Gate please’ means that the last person to go through the gate must shut it. ‘Hole on the right’ or ‘Wire on the left’ etc warns others of a potential hazard. If you demolish a fence during the day, you must make sure that you tell one of the Masters, the Secretary or the Fieldmaster as soon as possible. Do not leave a broken fence or gate unattended if there is any likelihood of stock escaping. Hunts are totally dependent on the goodwill of our farmers, so it is essential that stock is not let out and that any breakages are mended swiftly.
Once hounds find the line, you will have a run. This may be just a few minutes or it may be much longer, but it is an electrifying experience. The cry of hounds is a glorious sound and the scramble to keep up is hugely exciting – there is nothing quite like it. At the end of the run, there will normally be a check while any hounds that have got left behind catch up. The whipper-in will count hounds and may go and look for them if there are a few missing, and the Huntsman will blow his horn for them as well. If you have been left behind, this may also give you an idea of where the hunt has got to.
At the end of the day, the Huntsman will blow for home, collect the hounds and everyone will hack back to their horseboxes or home. If you don’t know the area and you know you want to finish before the end of the day, it is worth asking around at the meet to find out who is local and knows their way around so that when the time comes you can follow them back to the meet. If you do decide to finish before the Huntsman, please ensure you tell an adult, ideally the Master, the Secretary or the Field Master, that you are leaving: traditionally you should say ‘Goodnight’, even if it’s only midday! Return by road or bridleway as best as possible and not through fields or across ground previously crossed.
Finally, do remember at all times that our hunting is a unique privilege that depends on the goodwill of our farmers and landowners and the good behaviour of everyone who goes hunting. We hope you and your horse will finish your day tired but happy, with a desire to come back and see your new friends again as soon as possible! We shall certainly be delighted to see you again.Back to top
Please contact James Green our Senior secretary (see Contacts) for details of full and part subscription rates.
For those wishing to come out with us mounted, we must have your subscription arranged as soon as possible each season. Please do make yourself known to the Secretary at the meet. Non mounted followers are encouraged to join the Supporters’ Club.
Non-susbcribers, both adult and children (including grooms), may come out autumn hunting only after obtaining permission from the Secretaries.
Visitor numbers are restricted (becoming very restricted or non existent in wet weather) and Hunt rules limit them to two visits only per person per season. Thereafter a subscription is due, from which the visitor caps paid to date (but not any autumn hunting caps) will be deducted. This Hunt rule will be applied throughout this season.
The following prices are for autumn hunting on an ad hoc basis, however if you have paid a category A, B or C subscription before 1st September, this will include the cap for all autumn hunting meets.
The following prices are for hunting on an ad hoc basis and guest caps. Please contact our Senior secretary (see Contacts) for details of full and part subscription rates.
If you have any questions about these prices or would like to consider a full season’s subscription, please contact our Senior secretary (see Contacts). For example, family subscriptions are available.Back to top
The Joint Masters of the Kimblewick Hunt confirm that it is our intention to conduct our activities as follows until the Hunting Act is repealed:
We are planning to do this in several ways within the law, and with the consent and support of the farmers and landowners over whose land we hunt. The activities that we will be undertaking include:
Other information and instructions:
Every effort will be made to ensure an entertaining day for all concerned. Please help us to fight for the future of hunting by continuing to support your hunt, and by observing the objectives and rules set out here.
Please note that all parties are intent on acting within the law as it stands at present whilst working towards getting the Hunting Act repealed.
The Masters of Foxhounds Association have circulated updated versions of The Case for Repeal and the Veterinary Association for Wildlife Management’s paper Hunting, Wildlife Management and the Moral Issue.Back to top