Host is responsible for advising his/her guest of the proper attire and courtesies. You may wear a raincoat during inclement weather. If bitter cold, you may wear a down vest or even a down coat of a dark color.
The following is to assist you but The Master realizes it may take time to put yourself together. Don't fret. Occasionally one will see colors worn on the facings of a coat rather than the collar. Since this was acceptable in 1887, the founding date of our hunt, it is permissible in our field. Out of respect for our origins, a frock coat of Confederate gray is welcomed.
Cap: Blue or black hunting cap with ribbons up is accepted. Top hat preferred.
Coat: Scarlet with brass Oak Ridge buttons. Purple collar edged in gold. Two large brass buttons in the back. Two small buttons on each sleeve. Gentlemen may also wear scarlet or black swallowtail. A black swallow tail is rarely seen on gentlemen in the hunt field but is stunningly handsome. A gentleman wears the black hunt button but no colors on the collar. This also applies to a gentleman in a black frock coat. He may wear the hunt buttons in black, no colors on collar.
Vest: (optional) Canary or white with brass buttons.
Breeches: White only.
Boots: Black leather with tan colored tops.
Gloves: White string; tan or yellow leather.
Stock: White, properly tied with horizontal gold stock pin. May also be navy blue silk with small, white pin dots or sky blue silk.
Spurs: (optional) Blunt.
Whip: Hunting crop with thong and cord snap. Properly carried but never used unless asked.
The following is to assist you but The Master realizes it may take time to put yourself together. However, probably not as long as the Gentlemen.
Junior riders may wear informal attire and leggings. Tricorn hat acceptable on a junior.
Anything goes except wearing red which is for staff. Some of you may be motivated to revive the most handsome white salt-sack coats for cubbing. They will protect your arms in brush and woods yet are cool.
Arrive on time. Sign a release waiver if you have not already done so. The field secretary will have them.
Say "good morning" to the Master before the hunt moves off.
If you bring a guest, call the secretary or the Master the night before for permission. If you can't reach the Master, leave the information on the huntline. Introduce your guest to the Field Master and pay the capping fee to the secretary before hunting commences.
Staff have duties from before the hunt until returning the hounds to the kennel. Please understand if they are unable to socialize with you at times.
Those awarded the Oak Ridge colors ride up front, followed by other first flight riders. Grooms ride to the rear. Hilltoppers ride with the Hilltoppers' Master. If a Hilltopper wishes to join the First Flight she or he must ask the Hilltopper Masters' permission.
Juniors may ride wherever their riding ability dictates but they cannot go before a member with colors, unless invited to do so.
Never pass the Master.
If a gate is closed when you reach it, make certain the last rider through closes it. If a gate is open, leave it open.
If you knock down a fence or damage property and you are unable to repair it on the spot, report the damage immediately to your Field Master. Unreported incidents will infuriate the landowners and could result in land being closed to us.
If a field is seeded, ride on the edges only.
The landowner is always right. ALWAYS.
Whenever you hunt with another club you represent Oak Ridge. The traditions of hunting in general and that club in particular are to be respected. Anyone disgracing her or himself at another hunt (i.e., a loss of temper or crude language) will be brought before The Master for censure or dismissal from Oak Ridge.
If you must leave the field, tell the field master who will direct you so that you will not interfere with the hunt and not get lost.
Don't slam into the horse in front of you. If you can't rate your horse, ride in the rear.
Put a red ribbon in the tail of a horse who kicks and a green ribbon in the tail of a green horse.
When a staff member passes by you, especially on narrow lanes, turn your horse's head toward the staff member ... never your horse's tail.
In tight territory jump single file. If an obstacle is long (i.e., a zigzag fence) take your own line so long as you do not pass the Master. You'll have to write on the blackboard 100 times, "I will not pass the Master."
Hounds always have the right of way.
Do not speak to hounds. Do not speak to one another when close to hounds-you will bring their heads up.
Fox hunting is a most companionable sport. We encourage you to chat, giggle and thoroughly enjoy yourselves when you're not near hounds. This means diehard gossips ride in the rear. Often the Field Master must listen intently for hounds. We can't always stay close to the Huntsman when territory is forbidding. At those times your Field Master will ask for absolute silence. Help the Field Master by listening. If you hear hounds or the horn, indicate by pointing your hand in that direction.
When you view the fox, stop, point your horse's nose in the direction of the fox and take off your cap using it to point in the direction of the fox.
The viewed fox may not be the hunted fox which certainly makes for an interesting hunt.
If the viewed fox is far away, "Holloa" or "Tally Ho" is in order.
If the viewed fox is close, rely on pointing since you do not want to cause hounds to lift their heads.
If the fox is sitting directly behind you, viewing you, LAUGH. There's little else you can do (this has happened to us).
At the end of the day thank the Master, Huntsman, Field Master and the staff.
One of our traditions involves an involuntary dismount. Should you part company with your horse and both your feet hit the ground (not necessarily first), you are to bring or send to the next fixture a bottle of spirits (your choice). Taped to the bottle is your name, your horse's name, the date of the hunt and the place where you found yourself on two legs. There have been occasions when a person presenting the bottle also sings to us. When the horses roll their eyes and the hounds whine, you know it's really bad. (When staff goes off the fee is two bottles.)
Oak Ridge Fox Hunt Club
1295 Greenfield Road
Afton, Virginia 22920
© 2004 Rita Mae Brown, All rights reserved