Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Atherstone Hunt Cancels Foxhunting Season

atherstone hunt

The two hundred-year-old Atherstone Hunt that hunts country in West Leicestershire and North Warwickshire (UK) has ceased hunting for the remainder of the season. Bordering the four hundred square mile Atherstone hunting country are the iconic Pytchley and Quorn hunts.

According to the Daily Mail, a spokesman for the Atherstone said, “We are sad to report that following a hunt committee meeting on Monday, October 7, 2019, a decision was made for the Atherstone to cease hunting activities for the 2019/20 season with immediate effect.

“The longer-term future of the Hunt and its country is being considered with regards to a possible amalgamation or sharing of kennels.

“However, the welfare of the hounds remains the priority at this stage.

“Arrangements have been made to draft hounds to other packs but while they remain in kennels they are being looked after by hunt staff under the supervision of the Masters.

“We would like to thank everyone and in particular our farmers and landowners for their generous support.”

The West Midland Hunt Saboteurs organization claims victory after an aggressive six-year campaign targeting the pack. The Canary reports that audio leaks from an Atherstone Hunt meeting revealed that acts by hunt followers had left the hunt uninsured. The alleged acts included a pro-hunting farmer riding a quad into a saboteur, one man slashing the tire on the group’s vehicle, and two men throwing manure at anti-hunt protesters.

A spokesperson for the saboteurs’ organization claimed the hunt had been out only three times this season, that the huntsman had left, annual staff turnover was high, and that the hunt was losing members.

Posted October 12, 2019

The Foxhunter Who Became Britain’s Leading Conservative Thinker

Sir Roger Scruton 1944 2020

Sir Roger Scruton, conservative thinker, teacher, foxhunter, author, and advisor to the British government, died of cancer at age seventy-five on January 12, 2020. He wrote more than fifty books on aesthetics, morality, politics, and even on foxhunting.

In that well-received book On Hunting (1998), Scruton’s opening sentence goes like this:

“My life divides into three parts. In the first I was wretched; in the second ill at ease; in the third hunting.”

Essex Fox Hounds Master’s Chase: A Good Community Event

essex masters day1Pony stick racing over hurdles  /  Priscilla K. Miller photo

The Master’s Chase is a fun-filled annual event that hunts can put on as a fund raiser for a worthy cause and reach out to their community of non-riders as well. Billed as “family fun for horse and non-horse people alike,” Essex Fox Hounds Master’s Chase will feature amateur racing for field hunters and ponies, adults and children, tailgating, and a group of local vendors at Natirar Park, 2 Main Street, in Peapack, New Jersey on Saturday, October 5, starting at noon. The day is sandwiched between a weekend of events with a Friday night party and a Sunday hunt.

It all traces back to the Farmer’s Day Races of the early twentieth century in which hunt clubs invited farmers in their hunting countries to a picnic and day at the races. For those hunts that do not hold annual point-to-points or sanctioned steeplechase races, it’s a fine way to keep racing alive and give everyone a taste of the excitement. The Essex Fox Hounds donate all proceeds to the non-profit Countryside Alliance of Somerset Hills for the preservation of farmlands.

Expert Witness Testimony Discredited By a Kiss; UK Huntsman Found Not Guilty

Professor Stephen Harris is an opponent of hunting and was serving as an expert witness in the prosecution of a huntsman on trial in the UK for illegally hunting the fox with dogs. Harris's testimony was thrown out, however, after he was seen being kissed by another witness. That witness was known to be a veteran anti-hunting campaigner, and the cozy relationship between the two eloquently refuted Harris’s supposed role as an independent witness.

Professor Harris argued that he was kissed before he could stop the kisser. But Wills’ defense counsel, Stephen Welford, argued that the kissee could no longer be regarded as an independent witness in the case, given his demonstrably close relationship with the woman, another prosecution witness.

District Judge Tim Daber agreed, saying, “The allegation of bias specific to this particular case is something that in my view the court cannot ignore. A reasonable observer would consider him to be partisan. However unbiased he may be, this court must exclude Professor Harris’s evidence.”

Longtime huntsman Mick Wills of the Grafton Foxhounds (UK) was found not guilty.

Professor Harris’ friends too often appear to interfere with his testimony. Several years earlier, another prosecution brought privately by the League Against Cruel Sport (LACS) against six members of the Lamerton Hunt (UK) collapsed when the court learned that Professor Harris was a friend of Paul Tilsley, head of investigations for the LACS.

Click for the complete story by Patrick Sawer, senior news reporter for The Telegraph. We don’t know if the article was filed under Court Beat or the Gossip Column, but the link will take you there.

Posted July 11, 2019

Andrews Bridge Litigation Resolved

The Masters of the Andrews Bridge Foxhounds—George Strawbridge Jr., Steve Harris, Betsy Harris, Cathy Huston, and Bill Kimmel—made public the following statement:

We are pleased to report that all litigation between the Cromptons, the Harrises, and the Andrews Bridge Foxhounds Inc. has been resolved. It was decided that in the best interest of our sport, the two Andrews Bridge hound packs should be reunited and again hunt as one unified pack in our territory.

Like everything else in life, the hunt has taken many detours in the past 102 years and we have not been the exception. A journey is not a single straight line, but rather a long up and down winding road.