|Santa Ynez Valley Hounds|
The Master of Foxhounds
A cardinal rule of foxhunting is to recognize the responsibilities born by the Masters of the Foxhounds (MFHs) and to accord them the respect and obedience which tradition ordains. In the field, the Master's word is law.
The Master has the power to begin and to end hunts and to enforce hunt rules without offense to anyone. The Master gives definite instructions and delegates some authority to the Field Master.
Traditionally, members of the field should greet the Master and introduce any guests before the hunt and when taking one's leave after the hunt, or after receiving permission from the Master or Field Master to leave the hunt.
The Field Master
The Field Master has received authority from the Master. He plays a very important part in the successful operation of the hunt. His job relieves the Master of responsibility for the management of the field, thus allowing the MFH to give his full attention to the hounds and the country over which we are hunting. (Note: At times in the SYVH, one of the MFHs will serve as Field Master.)
It is the Field Master's duty to keep the field in such order as to give the staff and the hounds every opportunity to pursue the scent. This necessitates placing the field at a proper distance from both the hounds and the staff and yet close enough for everyone to see and hear. This is a very difficult part of the Field Master's job and one that requires a great deal of knowledge about hounds and hunting. He must keep conversation to a minimum during checks. Most people in the field have come out to see and hear the hounds, and this becomes difficult when members of the field engage in loud, idle conversation. The Field Master must give directions to close gates or replace bars over jumps. The Field Master is to be respected at all times; part of this respect requires other riders to maintain a safe distance from the Field Master's horse. It is improper for a member of the field to ride ahead of the Field Master.
Members of the field wishing to leave the hunt must ask permission of the Field Master and will inquire as to which way to leave in order to least interfere with the hounds and the remaining day's hunting. No member of the field should ride off without informing a member of the staff, preferably the Field Master. At the end of a day's hunting, members of the field should express their appreciation to the Field Master.
The focus of the hunt is the huntsman. When in doubt, go the way of the hounds, but whatever happens, give them room to maneuver. Riders should never cross what might be the line of scent in order to catch up with the field.
The hunt utilizes honorary whippers-in to maintain the pack on course. The whippers-in have an important responsibility and the field should give them every possible assistance. When a desperate whip who has lost the pack comes barreling down the trail, sound out "ware staff!" and make room for him to pass.
Article - SYVH Thoughts on Whipping-In
The Honorary Secretary
The Honorary Secretary is responsible for communicating with other hunts in the region. The Honorary Secretary ensures that all riders have signed their Assumption of Risk Form (release) and have paid appropriate fees, either annual subscription or capping fees.