Hounds, Horses, and One Horn
Last weekend I was invited to watch something I thought didn't exist anymore. I bumped into a group that has old fashioned Fox Hunts, red coats and all. Actually, it was a scent hunt, since only the scent of a fox was laid out on a trail by the group. They explained that they have not used a live Fox in years.
I really didn't know what to expect when I arrived. I thought, truthfully, that I would be bored to tears. Instead I had a hell of a good time and got to take hundreds of pictures with my Nikon D70. Digital is beautiful, because I think I got about three real good action shots, and had to erase the rest. The D70 is far better than I am at photography.
The day started out with about 30 people getting together in uniform (or is it costume) saddling up their horses, and preparing for their sport. The group then let out about 18 Fox Hounds, and prepared to "cast the hounds". I personally was hoping someone would bellow "Release the hounds", but they used a horn instead to gather up the dogs, herd them with the horses, and then set them off to find a scent.
The hounds were milling around, sniffing here and there, until two of them picked up the scent. The howls, and yodeling barks they are known for started, and they were off. People on horses were not too far behind. The horn trailed off into the distance, and it was time for us to go to the next spot.
We were fortunate enough to have someone guide us to different spots the group would eventually ride by (usually a horse jump) and it created some great photo opportunities. At every jump, I took picture after picture, holding my camera back from its real potential. The dogs came screaming by, and the people on horses followed, jumping jumps, trying to stay on their horses, and having a great time.
The two hour event seems to be great exercise for the dogs, horses, and even the people. I can't ride a horse at all, I wouldn't even imagine trying to stay on one while it was jumping. The season is over for the year, and they ended with a catered lunch. I look forward to their next season and watching the three species enjoy their day out together in the woods.
Have a great week,