A Foxhound’s “Riot” Act

“May we have the Hound Group please?”

“Unleash the Hounds”

Publicity hound…

There are scores of terms and phrases using the word, “hound,” but among hound fanciers, and specifically the hunt world, there is a “lingo” unique unto itself. One of the terms from the hunt arena is “riot.”

We’ve all seen photographs of foxhound packs, they can be huge, right?  A pack can be made up of more than twenty couples of hounds that are taken along on a hunt, and as a rule, these hounds are bred to be “chill” around other dogs. For them, the hunt is the thing (so to speak), and when on a scent, the dogs are focused.

When a pack has been distracted from the scent of the intended critter and it starts to chase an entirely different animal, however, things can go south quickly.  The pack can become disorganized, even unruly, and the word “riot” is used to describe the havoc that can ensue if the pack crosses through a farmer’s land, or worse, over a busy road. Control over hounds at a distance is yielded by the Huntsman who shows their skill by how well he or she manages the pack’s excitement using only their voice, their horn, and the crack of a hunt whip. The voice call may be loud and harsh as the hounds are instructed to, “Have a care!” or “Leave it!” The hounds might also hear a “discord,” the blast from the Whipper In’s horn (the huntsman’s assistant) blown three times, each blare five seconds long. They know it means! You might find interesting this demonstration of various horn calls:

For fun, test your knowledge on foxhunt terms here.

Image: “The Pack of Foxhounds” by Robert Stack. Support this artist by considering his work here

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