Especially in autumn, equestrian foxhunting holds centuries-old traditions for dress, equine grooming, etiquette, and even language. Did you ever wonder what some of the traditional foxhunting terms actually mean?
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Here’s a simple guide to 30 traditional foxhunting terms:
- Babble – to bark (speak) out of turn (referring to hounds)
- Brush – the tail of a fox
- Capping fee – a fee paid by non-members who participate in a hunt
- Casting – instructing hounds to spread out in search of the fox
- Charlie – the fox (also Todd)
- Colors – earned adornments for hunt uniforms
- Covert – any brush or woodsy area where a fox might seek to hide
- Cub – a young fox
- Drag – scent left by a fox
- Drag hunt – a fox hunt in which hounds trace a man-made line of fox scent, rather than an actual animal
- Drawing – urging hounds through a covert to follow a fox
- Earth – a den or underground area where a fox might hide
- Field – a group of mounted huntsmen
- Field master – the head huntsman, who controls the course of the hunt
- Foiling – spoiling of the fox’ scent by water, fertilizer or distracting scents.
- Giving best – awarding the fox the victory, if he has evaded the hounds and hunters.
- Heeling – racing away from the line of the hunt (referring to hounds)
- Holding up – restraining the hounds close to the huntsmen.
- Holloa – the high-pitched scream of the field master or staff, signaling the direction of the fox.
- Hound – a foxhunting dog
- Larking – jumping fences when not following hounds
- Line – the direction in which the fox is heading
- Mask – the head of the dead fox
- Pads – the paws of the dead fox
- Quarry – the fox or other animal being hunted
- Speaking – the yelping of the foxhunting hounds (similar terms include being in cry, giving tongue or voicing)
- Stirrup cup – a liquid toast offered at foxhunting meets
- Tally ho – a call to attention
- Ware – a warning of potential danger
- Whipper-in – the assistant huntsman, who helps to control the foxhunting hounds
Those attending fox hunts may be considerably more informed and perhaps enjoy themselves more by becoming familiar with these top foxhunting terms.
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