Capping & Hilltopping
Cappers are non-member guests of the hunt who ride or “hilltop” with the hunt, (also called “capping”).
We welcome enthusiastic cappers and only ask that you respect hunting etiquette including proper attire, that you have an appropriate level of riding experience to ride with the field (can walk, trot & canter securely), and that you are mounted on a safe controllable horse. Beginners are best suited to hill-topping fields. Fitness is a must for the safety of any horse in the main field during regular season. “Runs” can sometimes be several miles long at at a fast pace, depending on the hounds and the way the scent lay. Although we always plan the path of the drag over good footing, the occasional muddy field or rough terrain is encountered. Any jumps or ditches can usually be bypassed. With some preparation and on the right horse you are likely to have the thrill of a lifetime!
Before a hunt, cappers should introduce themselves to the MFH and pay the capping fee to the hunt treasurer. This money goes towards the care and needs of our hounds. Each capper must pay a capping fee and complete a waiver of liability when they arrive at the hunt.
The condition of your tack should always be double checked for safety. On your first hunt, it is wise to start out with a stronger bit than you may otherwise use in case your horse gets carried away with the excitement of the day.
During a Hunt, cappers generally ride behind hunt members unless waived forward or told to pass by a member or staff. Never pass the field master who will be introduced at the start of the day. Horses that may kick should be identified with a red ribbon in the tail and should remain at the rear of the field. When a hound is in view, always turn your horses head to the hound and yield to the hounds path.
After the Hunt, cappers will generally stay for the hunt “breakfast” and get to know hunt members. One should also thank the MFH for a good days sport, and the breakfast host for a good meal. There is a breakfast fee and fee for certain bar items which should be paid to the treasurer before leaving.
To Arrange Capping, please email the AVH hunt secretary or contact one of our members and ask permission to cap. A member should also be able to answer any questions or concerns you may have. It is standard to give a days notice to the hunt, but last minute arrivals are usually welcome.
Hill Toppers are riders that take a slower paced, easier and sometimes shorter route during the hunt. This route is traditionally on higher ground (hill tops) and distant from the field so that riders can follow along with the hunt but not ride in the thick of things. All first time cappers are strongly encouraged to hilltop their first hunt. Hill topping riders and their horses should be prepared to trot, canter, and confront typical obstacles such as small ditches and bridges.
The “Breakfast” is more like a dinner-time feast which immediately follows the hunt. The meal is buffet style and is generously prepared by our hunt hosts. Members, cappers and visitors are typically expected to attend. There is a fee for the meal for both members and non-members. A cash bar is also available. Money collected goes towards feeds, needs and care of our hounds.
Please visit our Membership Fees page for related fees.