Thursday, December 30, 2010

foxhunting scenes

Although I have not been given permission to post some of my favorite foxhunting images (the ones that feature my lovely daughter) these are some of the photos from a recent hunt.

I am struck by how timeless the images are. Except for the horse trailers, the scene could be from years ago, or yesterday.

The hounds in the kennel:

A closer look. They look so peaceful to me, and the two in the back look like the rear guard.

Riding out, hunt masters first.

And the field rides behind:

This little guy had to stay behind - he's too cute for words with those flying nun ears!

A view from the front, with the whipper in and hounds leading the way.

The hunting photographs have tempted me - I wonder if the Big Bay would mind the dogs and the horns and all the horses?

I have to confess, I also love the attire. It's amazing how elegant the women look with the black coats and stock ties and gloves.


ponymaid said...

Billie, there is a wonderful scene in the "Irish RM" by Somerville and Ross, where the quite mad and ancient granny follows the hunt at high speed from her perch in a donkey cart. I see Redford as a willing participant...Rafer and I would preper the stirrup cup ritual.

billie said...

Sheaffer, I can totally see Redford going after the fox himself - hounds be damned!

I am going to look this up - the image of a mad granny following by donkey cart is too wonderful not to see - thank you!

Grey Horse Matters said...

The pictures are lovely and remind me of days past. Everyone looks so elegant. That little pup is too cute.

I've never been hunting but J. did it for a while with a few different horses. It's one of the times my horse Erik really enjoyed himself and it gave him a lot of confidence. Before his experiences hunting he was a very spooky horse.

Blue who you would think would let nothing bother him, spooked at the dogs and reared and wouldn't settle down so she had to cancel the day.Go figure.

So who knows if the big bay would like it or not. Our two seemed to switch personalities on the hunt scene.

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

I'm cracking up picturing theirselves gracing a hunting party :)

Happy New Year to you and yours Billie - all the best in 2011!

billie said...

Arlene, if Keil Bay could deal with the dogs and the noises, I think he would love the hunt itself. I'm not likely to try it out unless we suddenly up and move to foxhunting country where I could quite literally hack to the hunt scene or join in as they went through my property.

The timelessness of the whole thing really appeals to me though. A mom of another young hunter told me works at the bookstore on Mondays, foxhunts on Tuesdays, has a riding lesson on Wednesdays, and then works at the bookstore again on Thursdays and Fridays. That sounds like a pretty nice week to me!

billie said...

C, I rushed right off (well, actually, my fingers did some quick clicking) and found the reference Sheaffer was referring to.

You can get the 3-season series of The Irish RM on Netflix. Just happens that I am on my last disk of my second viewing of West Wing, so in a week or so's time, I should be watching for that mad granny and her donkey boy!

Dougie Donk said...

Hunting for foxes was banned in the UK a couple of years ago; so I've only ever been draghunting. But it is FANTASTIC fun - the horses seem to know that they are in for a good day out & leap fearlessly over things that would stop them dead if they were alone.

Similar bravery takes over riders, so it is a fantastic thing to do to teach you both confidence. I'd say take the Big Bay for a try - bet he'll surprise you!

p.s. Happy New Year to all :)

Máire said...

The hunts around here are not quite so elegant - a bit of a raggle taggle field, but very brave, intrepid and quite mad really. Ben has had a hunting career and if I were feeling younger and less stiff (!) I would be tempted.

billie said...

Dougie's mom, I will confess that when I saw the abilities of the riders, my temptation increased... I had imagined a field of incredibly high level riders, popping perfectly over fences. What I saw was a pretty good representation of the entire spectrum of ability - with me falling somewhere in the middle.

The piece that would be hardest for me, at this point, is getting my muscles in shape for literally hours of riding at a fast pace. Even the hilltoppers have to keep up, to some degree, to be part of the field.

billie said...

Maire, this particular hunt club is very very old and private, so they seem to embrace tradition and insist on keeping things "elegant." Although they did allow half chaps and paddock boots, and thus far they seem to be very friendly and keen to extend riding privileges to the younger members in hopes that at least some of them will learn to love the sport and keep the club going.

I can totally see Ben doing this. It would be interesting to see what he thought of doing it with YOU, which I suspect would be quite a different experience than he had previously. If you do it, you must write about it!