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Quarter sheets in the hunt field, yes or no?

I’ve recently seen quarter sheets out in the hunt field. To me, it seems dangerous and untraditional, as well. Thoughts?

That’s a no-no. If it’s cold enough to need one, the ground is too hard, and scenting is not good.


They’re pretty common around here and I have to admit I don’t understand the danger.

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No from me (fox hunter of 55 years). I can see many problems with this —flapping at speed causing the horse behind or beside to startle, item falling from horse, colors of sheet spoiling the view. And the number one reason already stated: not traditional.

We have a member who has used a “fly” quarter sheet with the above results (on a summer ride, no hounds). She also used a fly mask on an early in the season hunt with poor results when she tried to jump her horse from bright sun into shade and hit the fence squarely with his chest —after the second try with the same result, she removed the fly mask. He jumped fine. While I don’t think fly masks affect vision usually, I think in this situation the fly mask did affect the horse’s vision bright light into shade.

I hunt in Michigan. Hunts can be really cold (predicted 9 degrees this coming Sunday hunt). No one will be out with a quarter sheet.


After a good brisk run, the horses all steam like trains as they blow in the cold air whilst the riders all bubble and grin and chatter. What use a quarter sheet then? Surely not a good thing.


In the territory I hunt in, I would be worried that it might get caught on branches/brambles/bushes, etc. We have a lot of closely wooded areas. Depending on how it is secured (under the saddle or over the riders’ legs) I’d think it could present a fall hazard for both horse and rider.

In more open territory, I would worry about flapping bothering other horses in the field and slipping (again, depending on how it is secured) causing spooks or tangles.


I hack out, ride in the woods, and have even done trot and gallop sets in company using one. I’m sure all of those things are possible but IMO not a huge risk. I’ve mostly seen them used by the quieter and easier going hunts with country that doesn’t lend itself to big long runs, and/or by people who primarily hilltop-- it seems to work for them.

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I also hack out in the woods in a quarter sheet quite frequently at varying speeds…but it’s not like hunting, IMO.

My first huntsman really didn’t want anyone wearing field boots in the hunt field ever–even during cubbing–because she once saw someone get a branch stuck through the loop of the bow at speed and it wound up impaling the person in the groin. Statistically speaking? Not a huge risk. But man, you don’t want that to happen to you.

Traditions are usually there for a reason–and in hunting many of those reasons ultimately come back to safety. To my mind…why add any unnecessary risk to an already risky pass-time?

(For the record, I DO hunt in field boots for cubbing. But I make sure the loops are tucked in to the laces…just in case.)


I would rethink how much hair I was clipping off the horse before I’d hunt the horse with a quarter sheet.




no. For all the reasons listed above already. No polo wraps either.


I was out 3 weeks ago in Southern MD. The ground was consistently damp due to how low lying it was and while scent conditions in the open were not good, the horses who were full clipped seemed happy enough in their quarter sheets given that it was 25 degrees with howling wind. Mine is only irish clipped so I don’t see the need for a quarter sheet myself.

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Do they still make spur straps with the wide panels that cover the laces?

I have only seen one person use a quarter sheet out with my hunt and they were a guest and out with a member that was allowed “to take her own line”.

Several of the staff horses and a few people in the field hunt with the fly capes. The ones that are used are attached to the saddle with clips and have a tail cord. The material is fairly heavy and the shape of the cape doesn’t drop below the horses hind quarters. Some of our territory is “horse fly central” and it would be “entertaining” to try and hunt their with certain mounts.

And shit happens… we had a field reversal on a narrow trail. A pony with a VERY full tail went by me and the tail got hung in my spur strap. I was lucky I only suffered a slight groin pull and the pony was lucky he could afford to lose a few tail hairs. And yes, my spur straps were done up correctly.

Only time I ever saw one was a casual day and it ended up on the ground.

We move off briskly enough that my horse is quickly worked up to a sweat despite a fresh body clip with a fine blade!