Fox Hunting 101 Blog Series Post 2: Horse Tack and Appointments
Posted on 26 December 2016
Good afternoon riders! It’s time for the second installment of our Fox Hunting 101 Blog Series! We covered rider attire in our first Fox Hunting 101 blog post, so now it is time to move on to the other half of your team and discuss how your horse should be tacked up for the hunt. Hunt tack is practical and must get the job done with as little fuss and distraction from the focus of the hunt as possible.
Fox Hunting 101 -The Bridle
Bridles are traditionally brown leather, with flat, plain brow bands and nose bands. Generally, raised or fancy tack is considered inappropriate for the field, but individual hunts have different attitudes to the tack you have so as always it is best to check their requirements. Figure-8 nosebands are if they aid the safety of the rider and horse.
Fox Hunting 101 -The Saddle
Saddles in keeping with tradition are typically brown and English style. They should be accompanied by a contoured saddle pad that follows the shape of your saddle. The saddle pad should be white, yellow or buff. Girths are traditionally brown leather but other girths are acceptable, including string and fabric. It is also acceptable to have a fleece cover over your girth. When selecting a girth, keep in mind it’s practicality for the situations you may find yourself in such as going through water and thick brush.
Fox Hunting 101 -Breastplates and Martingales
Breastplates are acceptable in the hunt field and useful for maintaining correct saddle position in the often hilly hunt country, if it aids the safety of the horse and rider, it is encouraged. Correct breastplates are plain, flat, brown leather.
Martingales are also acceptable in the hunt field, both running and standing. However, running martingales are preferred; as standing martingales can limit the horse’s movement and ability to maneuver itself out of trouble should it get into a tricky situation. When using a running martingale, make sure your reins have stops on them to prevent the running attachment getting caught on the bit and causing a dangerous situation.
Fox Hunting 101 – Horse Equipment and Accessories
As far as accessories are concerned, these are left up to the rider to judge which accessories they need to ensure the safety and comfort of both them and their horse. Stirrups such as safety stirrups, variations of protective and supportive boots, foam or gel pads and cruppers are all acceptable. Fly masks, brow and nose tassels, and gauze covers are discouraged as they are a distraction and are a hazard as they can snag on brush and limit your horse’s visibility should they get wet. If your horse is sensitive to insects use fly spray and consider carrying a small spray bottle with you in your saddle bag for those extra long hunts. Make sure you get permission from your field master before reapplying.
Safe Hunting! – Get Foxy!