“Foxhunting provides those fleeting moments of total abandonment—of wind-in-your-hair, bugs-in-your-teeth kind of living. At its best, it is totally out of control. Hounds are screaming, hooves are thundering, the horn is blasting as you race and jump across country to die for, often in weather not fit for man or beast. It is the original extreme sport and the sport of country people from every generation since the beginning of time.” (Excerpt from the book “Whipper-in”, by Dennis J. Foster).
We hope you will enjoy our website and learn about our Club, the sport of foxhunting and all the wonderful events we provide for riders, spectators and volunteers.
While there are universal guidelines for hunting, each hunt has its own, and on any given day, the Masters may choose to amend these guidelines.
Please read our guidelines here, which can be found in our "Downloads" section, for a fun and safe day of foxhunting with the Smithtown Hunt.
Please be on time for all meets, at least 30 minutes prior to scheduled time on fixture card. The time on your fixture card designates the time the hounds will be cast.
The Master and hunt staff should be given the right of way at all times. Always turn your horse so that its head is facing hounds or staff as they pass by.
The Master and hunt staff can enjoy the conversation and society of members when they are not in the field when they have hounds and riders on their minds.
All “hallooing,” calling and attempts at hunting hounds by members of the field is considered bad manners and can spoil the sport for everyone.
If you take down a rail, put it back up. If you open a gate, shut it. Leave everything as you found it. If you break a fence or do any damage that you cannot repair, report it at once to the responsible officers of the hunt so that it may be made good.
No one should speak to a Huntsman in the field without first getting permission from the Master to do so. The less a Huntsman is spoken to, the more time he will have to attend to the business at hand.
If you must leave the hunt early, get permission from the Master to excuse yourself and take roads, if at all possible, to get back to the meet. Take care not to disrupt hunting or pass through areas that are yet to be drawn.
Prior to the casting of hounds, cappers must present their capping fee, signed releases and introduce themselves to the Secretary.
When a hunt has been given the privilege of riding over the property of a landowner, do not assume that members of that hunt, or any others, have the right to trespass without specific permission from the landowner, the appointed agent, tenant or farmer, whether hacking on non-hunting days, going to a meet or returning from a hunt.
At the close of the day—when you leave the pack to go home—ride up to the Master and say, “Thank you.” It also is appropriate to thank the Huntsman, if convenient.
The time to clean one’s trailer is not at the meet. Pick up trash around your trailer whether it is yours or not. Pay attention to wet areas so that you do not cause damage.
Be courteous and friendly to the public. A smile or wave of the hand does wonders for the good of our sport.
Keep safety foremost on your mind. If you are on a run and the person in front of you fails to keep up, pass safely. Otherwise, stay in your position. If your horse refuses a jump, move to the back of the field and let the next rider move ahead.
Seniors with Colors: Those with seniority ride first in line behind the Field Master. Sharing this position is encouraged.
Seniors without colors, juniors "with buttons" follow seniors with colors.
Junior members without buttons follow seniors without colors and juniors with buttons.
Members who bring out guests are responsible to ride with their guests in the rear of the flight that their guest is qualified to ride. Visiting masters are always invited to ride forward behind the Field Master.
Visiting staff is invited to ride with the Whippers-in or Huntsman upon their request.
Hold Hard means to stop where you are. It is signaled by a vertically raised forearm. Raise your own arm to alert riders behind you.
Track means to ride single file.
Ware hounds, Huntsman, Whippers-in, etc. means they have the right of way. Make room for them to pass. If reversing, turn your horses head to passersby.
Quiet means exactly that – Quiet!!
When riding first or second flight, you are expected to keep up. Guests who are unsure of their mounts should start in second flight. Inform your field master if you wish to move up.
Don’t exaggerate or overplay falls or accidents to create any impression that this is a regular occurrence. This can lead to bad public relations for the Hunt and for fox hunting in general.
Speak of fox hunting in a positive manner to give a good impression of it. Stress its pageantry, healthful exercise, its traditions of hundreds of years and its national and international brotherhood.
If you or your horse tires, wave riders by quickly so they do not lose the hunt.
If your horse quits a fence, pull to the side and wait until everyone has jumped and then you jump. The hunt field is not a schooling area.
Green horses should always start in second flight, and then gradually move to the end of first flight at the appropriate time
If your horse kicks, it should be flagged with a red ribbon and ridden at the rear of the field. The hunt field is no place for a kicker.
Keep good distance between yourself and the horse in front of you. This is for your safety and theirs.
Don’t approach the Huntsman in the field. If he needs help, the field master will send someone.
Stay away from the hounds at a check. Permission from the field master must be granted before you can approach the Huntsman or a staff member.
Never interfere with a hound by using your voice or a whip.
It is imperative that each of us respects every acre we ride on. Without the landowners we would not have our sport. Respect newly-seeded fields and seedlings. Always track! No one is permitted to ride on hunt country on non-hunting days. The Hunt has permission to ride as a group on specific days, many times by permit only.
If anyone damages a jump, please report it to the field master at the next check.
At the end of the day, always thank your Masters and staff and wait for all the hounds to be put back in the hound truck before you dismount and return to your trailer.
If you are interested in hosting a tea, speak to the tea chairperson for open dates. firstname.lastname@example.org
No one is to be served until a Master opens the tea. The correct order of service is Masters, Secretary, staff, followed by seniors, juniors, cappers and then non-riders.
Remember to thank your host/hostess and offer to help with clean up, if possible. Teas are given at the personal expense of your host/hostess, not the Smithtown Hunt.
Wednesdays are open teas, bring one of your favorite dishes or beverages of your choice to share.
The Master of Foxhounds ("MFH") is the person or persons responsible for the kennels and showing good sport in the field. They run the day-to-day operations of the Hunt. They work with landowners to preserve the land hunted on and are responsible for carrying out the mission of the Hunt, membership and in-season and off-season riding events.
The Huntsman is the person who controls the hounds in the field to give a good day’s sport. The Huntsman gives direction to the Whippers-in in the field and know each hound by name, color, markings and ability in the field.
The Whippers-in are staff members who assist the Huntsman in the control of the hounds in the field. They are also responsible to walk hounds during and after the hunt season. They assist the Huntsman in exhibitions, parades and hound shows.
The Flight Leader is the person who leads the field in the pursuit of the fox (scent) to keep up with the hounds, but keeping a safe distance from the staff and hounds at work.
The Field consists of members and cappers who are riding with the hunt that day.
Cappers are invited guests riding with the hunt that day.
Please see Guidelines here for attire when coming out to hunt with the Smithtown Hunt.
Horses must be properly groomed and fit.
Horses must be braided for Opening and Closing Hunts, parades, Exhibitions, Hunter Trials and the Smithtown Hunt horse show. Yarn should be the color of the horse’s mane with the exception of the St. Patrick’s Day parade which may be green.
Red ribbon or tape should be tied on the tail of a horse that kicks and a green ribbon on the tail of a green horse. Kickers should always be at the end of the field.
Horses should be clipped for winter hunting. Tack should be clean and in good repair. Dark rubber reins are permitted. White contoured saddle pads. No Square Pads. Plain flat hunting bridle – no fancy stitching. Caveson required. Hunting breastplates and martingales are optional. English leather saddles. Leather girths are preferable but string and web are permissible. Any exceptions, please confer with the Secretary.
If you are interested in learning more about hunting with the Smithtown Hunt, we encourage you to come capping with us. Please contact the Hunt Phone at (631) 909-2940 or our Hunt Secretary at TheSmithtownHunt@aol.com.
On the day of the hunt, mark an envelope ("capping envelope") with your name, address, telephone number, emergency contact and email address. Enclose your capping fee in the envelope, along with the date of the ride, your horse’s name and your signed release (Adult Release, Minor Release). Give the envelope to the Secretary before the ride. All forms are found in the Forms section.
Download the appropriate releases and capping envelope here and bring it to the hunt.
If you are interested in leasing a horse for a hunt or a pace, please contact:
Michele Minieri Cordingley
Parkview Equestrian Center
989 Connetquot Avenue
Central Islip, NY
Office: (631) 581-9477
Christa Duva, MFH
354 Eastport Manor Road
Manorville, NY 11949
Hunt Phone: 631-723-3129