How can I support the Tryon Hounds?


Click on the links below for answers to frequently asked questions about hunting with the Tryon Hounds.

1. What are the traditions associated with the Sport of Fox Hunting?

2. How is the Tryon Hunt organized? 

3. What are the general rules and protocols to follow when hunting with the Tryon Hounds?

4. What is the order of riders in the field?

5. What is acceptable attire for hunting with the Tryon Hounds?

6. What is meant by wearing the Hunt Colors?

7. How can I cap with the Tryon Hounds?

8. What can I do to support the Tryon Hounds?


The Hunt Organization

Master of Foxhounds/Joint Master of Foxhounds

In charge of all hunting activities. All matters pertaining to the actual sport are subject to their direction.

The Board of Directors

Manages the business and affairs of the Corporation. It consists of six board members and four officers.

Honorary Secretary

Collects capping fees, maintains necessary records, and may be in charge of the hunt in the absence of the Masters.

The Huntsman

Hunts the hounds in the field. She is also responsible for care, feeding and breeding of hounds, and for their training.


Assist the Huntsman in the control of the hounds. No one, except by request of the Huntsman or a Master, should accompany or attempt to assist a Whipper-In.

The Road Whip

Assists by vehicle, and is responsible for watching the roads for game or hounds, warning traffic, searching for lost hounds and collecting any hounds that may become injured. All car followers must take direction from the Road Whip.


Rides at the head of the Field and is responsible for the pace and conduct of the riders.


The Field is the group of people riding to hounds excluding staff. Riders are expected to adhere to the rules of good sportsmanship and to the rules of foxhunting etiquette and attire as directed by the Masters.

Hilltop Fieldmaster

Leads the second Field and is responsible for the pace and conduct of the riders.

Hilltop Field

Adheres to the same rules and customs as the first-flight Field, and is responsible to the Hilltop Fieldmaster. This Field consists of people who do not wish to jump the large obstacles or maintain the speed of the first flight field throughout the day.

The Hunt

The Sport of Foxhunting will depend on the skill and training of hounds, and the ability of the huntsman to work with them. It is also dependent on the Field of riders not to interfere with the fox, the hounds, or the Staff.

The Hunt Meet is the place where the hounds, Staff and Field assemble. Meets are announced to the hunt subscribers through a fixture card. Upon arriving at the meet, it is customary for guests to acknowledge the Masters and the Honorary Secretary, and to pay the capping fee at that time to the Honorary Secretary. (A capping fee is required from all visitors who are not subscribers.) All riders should arrive at the meet at least 15 minutes early in order to have horses tacked and limbered up.

Before attempting to foxhunt in First Flight you should be a capable horseman with the ability to gallop cross-country, jump three-foot obstacles with assurance, and control your horse at all times. You should have a horse that is fit and sound with good manners.

If you elect to Hilltop rather than ride with the Field, you and your horse should meet all of the above requirements, although you are not required to jump. The Tryon Hounds has a regular Hilltop Field with its own Fieldmaster.

Once you are on your horse and hounds are ready to begin the day’s sport, keep your eyes and ears open, your voice down.

The Tryon Hounds pack consists of tri-colored American foxhounds from old Virginia bloodlines. The pack is bred for ability, biddability and uniformity. American foxhounds are renowned for their superb noses and musical voices, providing much sport and excitement for the day’s hunt.

The Horse. To be successful in the hunting field, a horse needs less size (but not less endurance), less conformation (but not less soundness) and less “flashiness” than in the show ring. He needs more room for his heart, lungs, etc., better eyesight, and far more brains. It is most important that he is easily controlled and can be stopped when required.

It is expected that the horse will not kick, but if one does, a red ribbon must be tied on its tail to warn riders to keep their distance. A horse new to the sport is apt to be excited and should be kept at the back of the Field. If it is impossible to control your horse well enough to obey the rules, the horse is a hazard in the hunt field and must be removed at once before causing injury to others. The hunt field is not the place to train a green horse. If your horse forces you to return without finishing the hunt, corrective action should be taken before hunting the horse again.

The hunter’s mane should be pulled short, and braided for opening meet. It is also appropriate to have your horse’s tail braided. A mud tail is suitable to hunting on inclement days. Above all else, your horse should be carefully brushed and cleaned before taken hunting.

Tack. While almost any type of English bridle and bit can be satisfactory for hunting, strong heavyweight bridles are naturally best. Too heavy is better that too light. There is nothing more embarrassing, dangerous and distracting to the rider and the Field than a broken bridle and thus an uncontrollable horse.

When it comes to bits, once again too much is better that too little. Above all else a rider must be able to stop his horse. A full bridle consisting of a curb bit and bridoon makes an excellent hunting bridle. When riding a horse with a soft mouth, the curb rein can be relaxed completely and only used in emergencies, which will save your horse’s mouth and at the same time provide the necessary stopping power should you need it. Martingales are always a good idea and a hunting breastplate with martingale attached makes a very satisfactory arrangement in the hunting field, since it prevents the saddle from sliding back or turning.

Saddles are a matter of personal preference. However, flatter type saddles allow the rider more room and are therefore more comfortable on long days. Saddle pads should be plain and cut close to the shape of the saddle.

It is very important the tack is kept clean and presentable. A suitable preservative should be applied to prevent the leather from drying out, cracking and breaking.

Rules and Protocol

Rules applied to hunting field conditions are merely applied common sense and applied politeness.  Most people who break them do so either through ignorance or lack of control of their horses.  The following is a list of rules which we expect everyone to faithfully adhere to when hunting with the Tryon Hounds.

  • Since hunting is in both Polk County, North Carolina, and Spartanburg County, South Carolina, It is necessary for all who ride with the Hunt to obtain hunting licenses from both states.
  • A negative Coggins is required for each hunt horse.
  • Each rider must sign a release of liability obtainable from the Tryon Hounds website before hunting.  This release will cover all hunts in the future.
  • At the beginning of each Hunt, the rider should appear properly dressed with clean tack as well as clean horse.
  • No smoking in the hunt field.
  • The Field is a place for avid foxhunters who are interested in watching hounds work.  Total attention to the hunt is required.  Conversation and needless talk can be a distraction and a deterrent to good foxhunting. Quiet is important.
  • The use of portable telephones in the hunt field is inappropriate.
  • To prevent your horse from kicking a hound, turn your horse’s head toward passing hounds when you are standing.  Give way as much as possible to permit a hound to pass or when you hear “Hounds” or “Ware hounds.”
  • Upon announcement of “Staff, please.” or “Reverse, please,” back your horse off the trail so his head is toward the passers.  In a reverse, the riders retain their position in the field.  In all cases quiet must prevail.
  • Masters, Huntsman, Whippers-In and hounds have the right of way at all times during a Hunt.
  • A Field member should never interfere with, or give direction to, the hounds.
  • If you view a fox, point your hat or your hunting whip.
  • Do not pass the Fieldmaster.  Do not even come up alongside without permission as this makes it difficult for the Fieldmaster to observe, listen and maneuver the best course for the Field.
  • When warning of a hazard, such as a hole or wire, is passed back, watch for the hazard and as you come alongside of it pass the warning back and point to the hazard.  Example: “Ware wire.”
  • “Hold hard” signaled by an upraised hand requires that you stop where you are, hold up your hand, and stand still and quiet.
  • Do not crowd the horse ahead.  It is not polite or safe; it may result in a provoked kick.
  • Do not lag behind.  If you cannot keep up, move over and let other riders go by.  It is not fair to cause the riders following you to get behind or possibly lose the Field and miss the remainder of the hunt.
  • Do not take shortcuts, but try to follow the tracks of the Field.  This prevents over-running hounds or other riders, or the encounter of unexpected hazards.
  • Do not jump a fence if there is danger of harming a hound.
  • Do not cut in front of another rider while approaching a jump.  Form a clear and distinct line of order so that there is no question of who is to approach the jump next.  Long jumps may be taken two or three riders at a time.
  • Before approaching a single jump, wait until the rider ahead has cleared the jump and gone on.
  • If your horse refuses to jump an obstacle, go to the rear of the line before making another try.
  • If a gate must be opened, close it.
  • If someone has to dismount to open or close a gate for any reason, the nearest rider shall remain with the dismounted person until he has remounted.
  • If a rider has trouble, the nearest rider should give assistance and the rest of the Field should continue on.
  • Riders having any difficulty with their horses should stay to the rear.
  • If a troublesome horse or rider’s ineptness slows or interferes with the Field, the rider should ask permission to leave the field and return to the meet.  This is only courteous to the other riders and will save the embarrassment of being asked to leave.
  • If a rider desires to leave the Field before the finish of the hunt, he should ask permission from the Fieldmaster.
  • Report all damage to jumps and any other damage to Landowner’s property to the Fieldmaster.
  • It is customary and a courtesy to thank the Masters and the Hunt Staff after hunting.