30 top foxhunting terms: Vocabulary on-the-sly

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:

  1. Babble – to bark (speak) out of turn (referring to hounds)
  2. Brush – the tail of a fox
  3. Capping fee – a fee paid by non-members who participate in a hunt
  4. Casting – instructing hounds to spread out in search of the fox
  5. Charlie – the fox (also Todd)
  6. Colors – earned adornments for hunt uniforms
  7. Covert – any brush or woodsy area where a fox might seek to hide
  8. Cub – a young fox
  9. Drag – scent left by a fox
  10. Drag hunt – a fox hunt in which hounds trace a man-made line of fox scent, rather than an actual animal
  11. Drawing – urging hounds through a covert to follow a fox
  12. Earth – a den or underground area where a fox might hide
  13. Field – a group of mounted huntsmen
  14. Field master – the head huntsman, who controls the course of the hunt
  15. Foiling – spoiling of the fox’ scent by water, fertilizer or distracting scents.
  16. Giving best – awarding the fox the victory, if he has evaded the hounds and hunters.
  17. Heeling – racing away from the line of the hunt (referring to hounds)
  18. Holding up – restraining the hounds close to the huntsmen.
  19. Holloa – the high-pitched scream of the field master or staff, signaling the direction of the fox.
  20. Hound – a foxhunting dog
  21. Larking – jumping fences when not following hounds
  22. Line – the direction in which the fox is heading
  23. Mask – the head of the dead fox
  24. Pads – the paws of the dead fox
  25. Quarry – the fox or other animal being hunted
  26. Speaking – the yelping of the foxhunting hounds (similar terms include being in cry, giving tongue or voicing)
  27. Stirrup cup – a liquid toast offered at foxhunting meets
  28. Tally ho – a call to attention
  29. Ware – a warning of potential danger
  30. 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.

Vintage artwork / Public domain

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