Friday, 19 December 2008

The Hunt is Up!


This week our local hunt had told us that they were going to be in our area. We do have foxes but we personally do not have any trouble from them. In spite of the "fears" that hunting would cease to be when the legislation against it was passed, this has not happened and although hunts are no longer allowed to kill foxes with the pack of dogs there seems to be no shortage of people who want to hunt.

I do not support hunting but the farmer has always allowed them on to his land and he loves the spectacle of it all. This time they did see a fox in the distance but never got anywhere near to catching it (yippee I say!)

There has been such a lot of wet weather, with two inches of rain falling last weekend, and our fields are very wet. On Wednesday, when the hunt came, there were eighty followers. As they came down the field opposite our farm the farmer was horrified to see them galloping across the field (not our field, I am glad to say) so he rushed up to our pasture gate to tell them that if they wished to cross our land they must go down the track - and walk, not gallop, otherwise the field would be so churned up that it would take all Winter to recover. I am glad to say they complied and afterwards the Master called to thank us for allowing them passage.

I must say that they are a splendid sight when in full flow - but I am always very glad when they don't get a fox.

I thought you might like to see a photograph of them (the car belongs to one of the people who follow the hunt in cars (dozens of them , can you believe). I didn't like to get any nearer to take it as the farmer was remonstrating with them to go steadily down his field and I thought they might think I was photographing them for evidence!!

22 comments:

Elizabeth said...

I love the idea of all the horses and hunstmen - but not the killing the fox bit.
However, as a teenager I was quite enntranced by Seigfried Sassoon's Memoirs of a Fox-Huntingman -which was not really about fox hunting much.
I nce saw the hounds in Essex as a child.
Beautiful dogs.

Elizabeth said...

gosh what a lot of typos.......sorry!

Reader Wil said...

Very great story! I am also glad that they didn't catch the fox. I answered your question on my blog! Thanks for the visit!

Sharon said...

I am so glad that they were out foxed and very amused to see that they actually do wear all of the riding gear as so often portrayed on film. What a sight.

elizabethm said...

I feel just the same, love the sight, respect the history, am always secretly pleased when they don't get the fox. Having said that, we had a fox on our garden wall the other night, a beautiful but predatory sight. If he took my chickens I might not be so sympathetic!

Raph G. Neckmann said...

I too am glad that the fox, and your field, survived!

Robyn said...

It must have been an impressive sight ...and I'm relieved they didn't kill the fox. Amazing that they think nothing of churning up a few fields!

Debra (a/k/a Doris, Mimi) said...

I have never understood the killing of innocent creatures,let alone killing for sport or fashion. Hunting used to be necessary for survival. If you didn't hunt, your family didn't survive as there were no grocery stores available. How terrified the tiny fox must feel when being chased by 80 horsemen and their hounds. I'm sure the sight of horsemen in all their finery sitting on beautiful mounts is quite an awesome sight. I am glad to read they no longer kill.

However, I also understand that hunting deer in many areas is necessary to keep them from over-populating and starvation. I'll bet you didn't expect to receive such a long comment about the pros and cons of hunting. So sorry that your post inspired me to hop on my soapbox. Lovely photo, Weaver!

Heather said...

As a child I was taken to see the local Meet on Boxing Day - I lived in Bucks then - and later it was my husband's duty to serve the Stirrup Cup to the Beaufort Hunt when they met in Chipping Sodbury. I also hunt with the hounds but run with the fox. It's a wonderful spectacle but I always want the fox to get home safely, and I am glad the hunt respected the farmer's wishes while on his land.

Janice Thomson said...

I'm with Debra - I think killing any animal is very unnecessary unless your own life is threatened and if you are in their territory you are fair game to bear, cougar and the like...

mand said...

I think my feelings about the hunt are very much the same as yours. I realise that terror must be part of life for any wild creature, so not necessarily something cruelly imposed by humans, but i'm not at all comfortable with killing for fun. However most of my friends since we moved to Wiltshire are pro-hunt simply because they've done it for generations and it would be like giving up christmas trees or any similar ritual. So i avoid arguing...

Our local hunt met last week at the pub we're lucky enough to live opposite, so i got some pix from my front garden - which you have prompted me to post on my blog - do take a look. 80)

BT said...

Love the photo Weaver. I once saw the hunt in full regalia at Bakewell, Derbyshire. I must say it was a splendid sight.

Arija said...

A splendid sight indeed but they do churn up soft groud. We gave permission for a 24 hr. endurance race to cross our land foolishly assuming they would use the dirt road where possible. They didn't, they poughed up the verges which needed much rpair before we could mow again for the fire season!
You have so many interesting happenings on your farm and your surroundings with wild life abundant and historical finds. There is something to be said for living in an 'old' country.
In Europe too you can occasionally find artifacts from the 30 year war
but here one is lucky to find a piece of interesting rock.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Yes, Elisabeth - I agree that the dogs are lovely. They are so well trained. Sometimes we meet them out on exercise in the non-hunting season and if we stop to talk to the huntsman they all wait patiently for the command to move on.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Nice to read that so many of you have sympathies with the fox and are glad when he gets away!! Long live foxes, I say.

Mad Bush Farm Crew said...

Hi Weaver,

I used to hunt many years ago but only on the drag hunts. I don't like the idea of a small animal being chased by a pack of dogs and people on horses either. I was invited to join our local hunt club recently but my horses are far too old to be jumping fences any more. Great photos. I love the stone wall as well. We have them further north in the Whangarei area. They're wonderful.

Merry Christmas
Liz

Dreadnought said...

When I worked on the farm the owner allowed the hunt to cross the land, I don't agree with killing any animals in the name of sport. You're right what you say though it seems more popular than ever now. I have to say that I never saw them get a fox, probably because the guy who came round every Friday night with a rifle shot them all first!

Poet in Residence said...

From what I can remember about the hunt, it's generally a few stout men in red blowing their horns and the rest are all girls and women isn't it?
A 90% female activity I would have thought, rather than Debra's "80 horsemen and their hounds".
Or have things changed?

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

I do love the red jackets, and I do love to ride fast, but I've never understood the pleasure found in running a poor, beautiful, defenseless creature into the dirt. Sigh.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Goodness me! What comments I got on the hunt picture. Most of you wanted the fox to escape. Sorry Poet in Residence but you are mistaken - we have far more men than women in our local hunt (mostly farmers I think) Lovely to hear all your stories - I think I could create a new blog by analysing them all and putting something together!! (Might do it one day if I am pushed for something to write about.)

Poet in Residence said...

Partaken of the old stirrup cup I can vouchsafe that in the good old days it used to be mostly gals riding to the hounds, and damned pretty they were too, the gals I mean, says his Lordship twirling his moustaches, adjusting his riding cap, taking his final snort: "Gaw on, giddyup you brute..." Oops fallen at the first ditch.

Woman in a Window said...

We humans are a strange lot! But I can imagine it, the thunder of the feet of the dozen or so horses together as one and it is just a bit exciting!

Much more exciting that the fox was elusive!