Autumn is my favorite time of the year – Halloween, camp fires, haunted houses…..and foxhunting. Random right?
This year I have been honored of being a guest in the Foxhunt my father use to hunt in, the Sewickley Hunt. My father use to hunt all over the world, from Virginia to England with Prince Charles and Jackie O. So I decided to follow in his footsteps and take it upon myself to start hunting too.
Foxhunting started in the early 1600s to help maintain control of the overpopulated fox who were destroying the farmer’s livestock. Farmers would hop on their horses and grab the hounds to go hunt down foxes and other animals that were killing all of the cattle and chickens.
Today, it is actually illegal to kill the fox due to animal rights activist being ridiculous and going overboard. This has been a sport and tradition for many of centuries, nonetheless, most woodland animals are over populated and need to be hunted anyway. Though it is illegal to kill the fox, we still maintain all of the traditions of the hunt. The huntmasters are typically wearing their coulours; redcoats, while they lead the rest of the hunt with the hounds and from there a hierarchy is trickled down to the members and guest following last. Yes the huntmasters blow those horns too. Being a guest, I must maintain a certain respect level to the masters – bowing my hunt cap and staying behind them at all times with my horse facing towards them. A guest must never put your back towards the hunt masters or even the hounds. It is a very prestige ordeal.
The hunt leaves at 8:30 a.m. on Saturdays (I never even got up that early for school) with usually a 2-hour hunt – galloping through the woods, jumping brushes, coups, fences and other obstacles through woods or fields. My father use to tell me stories of him hunting in Ireland and England and how crazy those hunts were, he use to jump 5 foot walls with ditches behind the coups not knowing what is going to happen next. This is a very dangerous tradition; a very gutsy and trustworthy horse is needed for a big hunt.
….Ps I did fall off the little pony I was on the first day of the hunt. HA- it has been forever since I have fallen off but I am glad it was a pony –> not too far from the ground. Well, I would really like to call it an ‘emergency dismount’ due to an abrubt stop in which I was not paying attention, typically but I hopped right back on and continued like a soldier.
I have had so much fun foxhunting this fall and being that it is such a historic tradition, I hope to maintain this adventure and hopefully becoming a member of the hunt….maybe even one day earning my coulours like my father and wearing a red coat. …But for now, I’ve been flossin the three-piece and I am lookin pretty fly for my 6 a.m. wake up calls. I think it’s safe to say I win first place for best dressed of the foxhunt award.