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About Hunting

new to huntingIf you are new to hunting and feeling a bit daunted by it all, let one of the Green Jackets know and they will introduce you and pair you up with an experienced member of the hunt on the day.

Alternatively, if you would like to know more of the ins and outs before going, please e-mail the Joint Masters. They will ask a club member to make contact with you.  Nearly everyone after their first time out, no matter how nervous beforehand, finishes with a big smile on their face. Also, if you wish to avoid jumping there is nearly always a way around. When the hunt is mid-season we may not have a line suitable for the novice – a notice will be placed on the website under the relevant line.

We suggest you do the sponsored ride, picnic ride and then the cubbing lines, as a great way to ease you and your horse into hunting.

EtiquetteThe business of getting all dressed up in order to get covered in mud the instant you leave the meet may seem odd. However by looking smart, you are honouring the generosity of the people who have invited you to ride over their land, and the skill and hard work of the hunt staff.

You should aim to look tidy and inconspicuous; a tweed or black/blue jacket, fawn breeches, a white shirt with a tie/stock, black boots, velvet cap or jockey skull with a dark silk and a hairnet for the ladies. Your horse and tack should be clean and, ideally, although this is not compulsory, your horse’s mane should be plaited.

A member of the club at the beginning will collect your cap, you should look out for them when you arrive at the meet. Caps can be paid by cheque payable to the Jersey Drag Hunt or by cash.  If you could possibly have the right amount, it makes everyone’s life easier.

On the hunt, you must stay behind the Field Master, who you will be advised of at the beginning of the hunt. At the end of the hunt, it is customary to thank the Joint Masters and Huntsman; say “Good Night”, even if it’s still in the morning! Ideally you should also thank the ‘fox’ and try to find out who picked the line and thank them also.  (They are the unsung heroes of the hunt)

safetyThe hunt can not operate without farmers’ good will, consequently, the biggest risk to the hunt is crossing and damaging a farmer’s crop such, as a field of bulbs, which to the untrained eye may look like a fallow field.

The Green Jackets are there to guide the field (that’s you) and will give instructions such as single file, keep left, keep right etc. It is imperative that such instructions are followed and shouted back down the field.

If you know your horse kicks you should tie a red ribbon in your horse’s tail.If your horse is new to hunting and might kick it is wise to tie a green ribbon on the tail as a warning to the others to keep a respectful distance.

The safety of the hounds is paramount. If you see hound heading off away from the main pack please shout ‘away a hound’ and make sure a Green Jacket is aware of the situation. To avoid hounds being kicked, if they are coming up from behind try and angle your horse so the hindquarter are not facing the approaching hound. Also, shout hound to the left or right, as this signals to the other people in front to do the same.

misty morningEven though you may be at home looking out at the cold or wet and grey weather, these can still be magical hunting conditions. Many people’s favourite is a still misty morning with steam rising from a cluster of horses at rest between runs.

Rain is the most likely weather condition to put a stop to the hunt, as the fields can become very deep for the horses’ legs as well as churning up the farmers’ fields.

However, we will always try to proceed. The final decision, which is made by three hunt staff, is nearly always made on the morning of the hunt. If it is cancelled, it will be posted on the blog no later than 3??? hours before the start of the line. Alternative options may be sought, such as hound exercise, a beach hunt or when things are really bad, the pub! If hunting is looking doubtful, we will try and give you as much notice as possible but if there is nothing on the blog you should assume that the hunt will proceed.

Cubbing lines are a great introduction to hunting for both you and your horse. The hunt happens at a slower pace and is more relaxed.  Cubbing starts in the middle of September and the hunt moves off at 10am. The first meet is normally by The Farm House pub in St John, with good parking facilities in the area.

The opening meet is the official start to hunting and is always a great line, it leaves from Hatherleigh House, St Mary, where the kennels are situated, at 11.00am. There will be lots of good jumping, but should you choose, also options not to. As tradition dictates, at the beginning of the hunt you will be offered a ‘stirrup cup’ to warm you up.  

 Your options for parking are many, large public car parks and on the roadside in legal and sensible places. On occasions, you may be able to park in places such as the Pony Club or BSJA field but permission must asked first before you do this. Ideally, you should not park within a mile of the meet or the kill.  However, we appreciate it is Jersey and that it may, on occasions, be impractical.

However, you must never park at the meet unless permission has been granted. Most people tend to park nearer the kill. This gives a chance for the horses to warm up on the way to the meet and a little walk at the end is good for cooling down.

1524993_10202175505843034_789445775_nMany people do follow by car. If you would like to and have not before, ask the hound van driver and they will advise where to go or who to follow.

The sponsored line is a fantastic charitable event for JAYF (Jersey Association of Youth and Friendship) and raises several thousand pounds. The line is picked by the Jersey Drag Hunt and is approximately six miles long. It takes between 2 and four hours to complete. Everyone leaves between 10 & 12, with the faster horses going earlier.It is a great way to get your horse comfortable around other horses and to make progress with their fitness in preparation for hunting.

The picnic/bbq line is very similar to the cubbing line but is very casual, hence, there is no dress code or hounds plus you can enjoy some delicious food at the finish! See ‘events’ for dates of sponsored ride, picnic ride & cubbing lines. (They normally take place around late August / September)

Ever fancied trying a drag hunt on the Island of Jersey, looking down on incredible sea views as you canter through the fields?   If you are interested in visiting us please contact the senior master.