Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Ancestors In The Dark

north downs way kent.frenchNorth Downs Way, Kent, England

The light fades fast on a December day in the rolling chalk hills, the centuries-old beech woods, and the ancient countryside of the North Downs in the county of Kent in England. It is Roman country...old Roman country. The Roman presence can still be seen and felt there. Watling Street, now a motorway, was built by the Romans to conduct their chariots from the chalk cliffs of the coast at Dover to old Londinium. London today, of course. Straight as an arrow and solid as the rock foundations on which it was built. In places, you can still see the wheel ruts worn down by the centuries of travel.

Here too, in the well-trodden countryside, ancient history's presence is felt as the Pilgrim's Way meanders through the landscape from Winchester to the Thomas Becket shrine in Canterbury Cathedral. Much of the route of the Pilgrims Way follows an ancient track dating back to 500 BC.

Always Pack a Ham Sandwich

Mark McManus.huntsman and hounds2.ECHEglinton and Caledon Hounds with current huntsman, Mark McManus.The Eglinton and Caledon Hounds (ON) have long been noted for excellent live hunting. Drag hunting has been considered on occasions, but the decision has always been made to stay with pursuing the plentiful live coyotes in the hunt club’s southern countryside. It is not surprising then that the one attempt to incorporate some drag hunting with live hunting did not go according to plan.

The occasion was at one of the meets during the highly successful Ontario Festival of Hunting. The biennial Festival was spearheaded by the late Walter Pady, MFH of the Toronto and North York Hunt with the support of the five Ontario and and Quebec clubs during the 1990s and early 2000s.

Meynellian Science

 

meynell.loraine smithHugo Meynell (seated), in his later years, with his huntsman Jack Raven and a favorite hound Glider. / Engraving after a 1794 painting by Charles Loraine Smith

The father of English foxhunting was Hugo Meynell, founder of the Quorn, who began hunting hounds from his Leicestershire seat Quorn Hall in 1753. He developed the science of hunting the fox at speed in the open, made possible by the clearing of forests and the enclosure of land.

Stirrups and Stays: Riding Habits in the 18th Century

barnes1James Seymour (British, 1702 - 1752), A Lady and a Gentleman Riding Out, c. 1740, gouache on paper, 5 5/8 x 7 1/8 inches, Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection

In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the men of England were assaulted by a new and uncomfortable sight: women in masculine clothing! Even worse, these were upper class ladies, and they had donned cavalry-inspired costume to invade the male-dominated pastimes of riding and foxhunting. These daring women were often called ‘Amazons’ and were sometimes ridiculed for their riding habits. In 1666 Samuel Pepys lamented that, if not for their long skirts, these ladies wouldn’t be recognized as women at all! About fifty years later, Richard Steele satirically suggested that Amazons should “complete their triumph over us, by wearing breeches.”