Foxhunting

Foxhunting

Foxhunting is an exhilarating way to be a part of nature with your horse, thrilling to the sights, sounds, and scents of the woods and fields through which we travel. Note that foxhunting as practiced by Rocky Fork Headley Hunt is actually fox-chasing. Our hounds follow the scent of foxes—and coyotes–and we follow our hounds, which are directed by the traditional calls on the horn carried by our huntsman. We do not practice foxhunting with any intention to capture or harm game.

Hunt Season
The Rocky Fork Headley Hunt season runs from the end of August through March (excluding January for weather reasons). We generally hunt twice a week, usually Wednesdays and Saturdays. Sometimes we hunt an extra day on holidays or during the great riding weather we have in the fall. Hunt dates are listed on the Riding Schedule. Since locations and times can change, guests should contact the hunt Masters or a member.  The start time refers to the time you should be in the saddle. You will want to arrive early so that you are tacked up and your horse is legged up and ready to go at the appointed time.
Fall Foxhunting
fall foxhunting

Fall Hunting with Rocky Fork

Foxhunting from August to October is considered our “informal season” During this time the huntsman and staff are training young hounds and getting the pack fit for later in the season. It is a great time for new riders to experience the sport and a time when riders bring out their green horses. We begin our hunts in the morning as the weather is cooler and the scent is better. Attire is flexible and weather-dependent, from polo shirts and ratcatchers on warm mornings to vests and hacking jackets on cooler days. To learn more about proper attire, view our Formal and Informal Attire video.

Formal Hunt Season
Formal Hunt Season

Formal Hunt Season

Fork Headley Hunt begins the formal season the first Saturday of November after a special ceremony called The Blessing of the Hounds. After The Blessing, hunting begins in the afternoon. Formal, traditional English tack and appointments are required. To learn more about proper attire, view our Formal and Informal Attire video. There is usually a hunt tea after a hunt, where riders of the day can share a meal and stories about the day’s ride.

Hunting with Rocky Fork Headley Hunt
Rocky Fork Headley Hunt welcomes prospective new members who would like to try the exhilarating sport of foxhunting. If you are an experienced foxhunter and would like to hunt with us, please contact one of our Masters or a member. If you are new to the sport, contact the Rocky Fork Headley Hunt Membership Chair. You may also want to view our RFHH Hunting Demonstration video on how to ride safely and courteously in the hunt field.

We offer three speeds in our hunt field: first field goes at speed, following our mounted huntsman and hounds, jumping all obstacles; second field generally keeps up with the first field but slows to get through difficult footing and always follows trails offering go-arounds at jumps; The third field also known as “hilltoppers,” travels at walk/trot-only, with no jumping.

You can hunt with Rocky Fork Headley Hunt up to three times a season by paying a capping fee. After that, riders need to apply for membership in order to continue foxhunting with the hunt. For more information about cost, see our fee schedule.

Preparing Your Horse to Foxhunt
Walking hounds is an excellent way for you and your horse to practice a bit before hunting the first time. This is exercising hounds on horseback, something we do twice a week all year-round. It is mostly walk-trot, and sometimes canter. There are no fees for walking hounds and no specific tack or attire requirements. For both hound walking and foxhunting, we will assign an experienced mentor to ride with new riders as you begin getting acquainted with our sport.

For more information about hunting with Rocky Fork Headley Hunt or if you would like to arrange in an introduction to our sport, contact the Rocky Fork Hunt Membership Chair. She can explain our fees to you, including the reduced fees for junior-age riders 22-and-under, as well as the half-rate first-year subscription for adults who join Rocky Fork Headley Hunt.