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First Time Guide and reminder for those who should know better! 

So you have read the pages Meets/Events, Subs & Caps and Terms and conditions? What next? 

Without any shadow of doubt, the biggest mistake newcomers (and some regulars) make, is to fail to determine where exactly the meet is, how long it will take to get there, and allow insufficient time to get ready and on their horse in a settled manner by the meet time.  Yes, the meet time is the time you should be on your horse, NOT ARRIVING, so the Field secretary can tick you off her/his list as being present.  We cannot wait for latecomers, as once the Quarries have set off, there is a maximum time the Master can allow before the hounds must be laid on the line.  That time will vary depending on how far away the start of the first hunt is. You will not find it easy if you are trying to tack up your horse, or get on, while all the hounds are baying as they move off. It's worth pointing out that when parking space is tight, the later you are, the worse parking spot you get.

What do I wear?

Ironically, what people seem to worry about must is what they should wear!  Hunting with The South Downs Bloodhounds is not a fashion show.  We do not expect people to go out and buy all the 'right gear' just to come out and try hunting for the first time..  However, we do expect people to turn up in as near to the 'right gear' as they may have in their equestrian wardrobe. The main point being your clothes/hat/boots should be of sober dark colours.  As this page develops, I will include pictures of the 'right gear' but in the meantime, here are some descriptions.


Tubhunting (training meets before the Opening Meet.)

Ratcatcher, is the term to describe this form of dress - a historic term, not a derogatory term. This consists of a tweed jacket, a coloured hunt tie sometimes referred to as a "stock",  fawn/beige breeches/jodphurs, black or brown long or short riding boots and a black hat for men or a black or dark blue hat for ladies.

Opening Meet Onwards

Ratcatcher is still perfectly acceptable attire for the formal part of the season, but for those who want to follow tradition, here we go.
Ladies wear a black or blue hunt coat with 3 black buttons on the front.  Yes the number and colour of buttons is significant, as it indicates what role you play in a hunt. With these coats, a white hunt tie (stock) is correct, NOT a coloured one. Dress below the waist is the same as for tubhunting, except you should be wearing long black boots.

Gentlemen wear black hunt coats, again with 3 back buttons on the front, again below the waist is the same, although some men wear mahogany or champagne topped boots.

What do I do after I have got to the meet?

The first thing you do is get on your horse and then look for the Field Secretary to check in. He/she may be mounted or on foot. You should already have booked in and paid online, but we still need to know you have arrived.  Then you need to know who the Field Masters are.  The main Field Master is the one in the scarlet coat with a mustard collar, and she/he will be leading over the jumping routes.  If you don't what to jump, then you need to follow the none jumping Field Master, who will probably be wearing a blue jacket with a mustard collar. Just be aware that there may be more than one person wearing this type of coat, as all the Joint Masters are entitled to wear one.

Who's who in the hunting field?

As well as the people mentioned above, you should be aware of the 'hunt staff', who wear mustard coats.  These are the people directly responsible for hound safety and safe passage of the hunt.  For that reason, everyone, mounted or on foot should do nothing to impede their progress. They may not acknowledge you, and may even speak to you sharply if you pose a threat to the hounds, they are not being rude, they see danger long before anyone else does, so please act quickly if they tell you to do something.

Hunt button wearers.  Some people will be wearing hunt buttons that they have been awarded by the Masters. The buttons are black with SDB engraved on them in white.  These people should be able to help you on the hunting field with any questions you have as indeed will the Joint Masters.

The worst sins on the hunting field likely to result in being sent home.

Riding on crops
Kicking a hound

Dangerous riding

Disrespect to hunt officials or members of the public.

At the end of the hunting day.

Someone has been very kind to us and permitted us to meet and frequently unbox on their land.  For that reason it is essential that everyone carries tools on board so that they can clear up any horse droppings, hay etc before they leave.  If you forget, ask to borrow someone else's.

Always remember, it just takes one person to behave badly to destroy the reputation of a hunt.

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