Sunday, August 26, 2012

Fox Hunting - Think Dowtown Abbey and the full Livery and Hounds!

Full pics are up on the website actionpactpix

Today I went along with the EGPS to a fox hunt here in easy Gippsland at Holey Plains and it was fascinating. It seems that nowadays where most horse sports are restricted to closed arenas and horse tracks and pony clubs, here was a place where horses could be ridden "cross country" and with purpose, but a strict code had to be followed.

"A strict code"?? HUH What does that mean?

Well from arrival it was obvious that Fox Hunters loved their horses and loved the hunts. The horses were from a variety of breeds and all very friendly and loved a pat and a good scratch on the head. BUT there was more to it than a group of people riding horses around a paddock and chasing foxes. It was an organised hunt with Dogs err ....HOUNDS! My first mistake was to make reference to the "dogs".

This particular hunt was organised by the Melbourne Hunt Inc, a club established back in 1853, and the history of the club and some of the members was interesting as some members families had been associated with the club for many many years.

Now some other things I learned today:-

The Hunt has a MASTER who is in charge of the hunt and his word in the field is final, then there is the HUNTSMAN who controls the hounds and signals the hounds with a whistle (not sure if that is the right term for the whistle), but the huntsman today was a very seasoned huntsman who was expert in controlling the hounds.

The WHIPPER assists the huntsman by helping to control the hounds

The HOUNDS - are referred to as groups of two, so instead of 20 Hounds, the pack is referred to as 10 couples.

The Hunting Party also aims to utilise the land without damaging the property in any way, and this is strictly enforced so the landowners allow the hunting group back onto the property. The riders may have to cross panels (which the lay-man may refer to as a jump)

So that is just touching the surface, but it was a fascinating insight into the world of fox-hunting where members of the club that had served over a given period got to wear the "pink jacket" or for the ladies had a "pink collar" on their black jacket. The main hunting group had to abide by the rules and stay back or move on following the rules from the Master who was in charge. PS If you don't see any "pink" in the photos that is because it looks RED!

A SNEAK PEAK OF MY PICS IS HERE.........Just a lovely tradition. It was a brain numbing cold day and the wind chill factor was high, so Thanks to the MHC and to EGPS for all of their interesting information and an insight into something completely new.

There are some great trees out and about in them
Arriving at Holey Plains, you could be excused for feeling like you have moved into the times of Dowton Abbey
So much character and history
Melbourne Hunt .......... years of tradition
A variety of horse breeds was used and some were clydesdale cross
Warm for now....but soon to be out riding the open plains...
I love boots......and there were plenty of lovely leather riding boots wherever you looked
The PINK jacket
Loads of tradition.....This one looks worth keeping going!
Prepping the horses

and themselves
Call them Hounds......even though they act like HOUNDS!

Anticipation for the day

Let me out I want to look for a FOX!
Each Hound has his own GPS just in case and they all had radio transmitters to any strays

Camera Club members from EGPS making the most of the day


Ready to get going

The horn was blown and they were off

and out into the plains

Only Three riders managed the hounds, the Master, the Whipper and the Huntsman
The Three main players keep eye on the pack of HOUNDS

The others wait for the call

The Hounds are managed by the whistle

Some gorgeous animals...This one was a Palomino

Muddy feet

Wrong way go back

Across the panel
and returning back to the finish - The Hunt is over
Everyone had a great ride
and the horses loved the after ride attention

and the special feed
they were't the only ones appreciating the after hunt feed

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic photos Judith - great work. You should be very happy! It was a cold day. Did you see any foxes? Lotje



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