In my Month of Firsts post for November, I mentioned that our farm had hosted a Farmers Bloodhounds meet on our land.  We don’t usually get involved with the hunt, indeed the OH usually rants about them because there’s always one who goes where they shouldn’t through the game strips or through a field of animals.

So I wasn’t sure what it was about.  Turns out it was for the bloodhounds  would be chasing a runner.  I remember seeing similar on Countryfile, so I was interested to see what it would be like.

Bloodhounds meet at the farm - Bubbablue and me

It turned out to be a great family event because all the cousins were out for the meet (the 2 eldest were riding along with one sister in law), and my parents-in-law.  Even the OH and his brother turned up – gaining a mention in the master’s speech when he thanked them (and other farmers) for letting the hunt on their land despite them not being keen.  It got a few chuckles!

Despite the followers and horseboxes clogging up the roads in winter, and churning up the verges where they park (I can’t understand why they’d want to follow the hunt from the road, standing there looking over fields with their binoculars – very odd), I do like to see the hunt out.  They always look really well turned out, and the horses are spectacular.

farmers bloodhounds meet at the farm

I’m always astounded by the size of the hounds as well.  They’re such soppy things.  As the port, cake and mince pies were being handed out and people were arriving, the hounds were just ambling around, having a sniff at us, wanting to be stroked.

 

The only thing is trying to photograph animals, they’re never facing the right way!

farmers bloodhounds

After the runner had set off from the farm, about 20 minutes later it was time for the master’s speech and the hounds and horses to set off.

master of the hunt

N had a blast.  He spent most of the time sat on the quad bike with his youngest cousins.  I think the hounds would probably have knocked him over in excitement if he’d been stood.  He didn’t seem at all worried when his cousin H’s horse decided to lick up the spare barley on the back of the bike.

Galley eating the barley scraps off the quad bike

I love how all the cousins get on so well together.  There’s a couple of years between N and the youngest cousin, but they still love mucking around together.  Throw in a great uncle, uncle and dad teasing them, and they were in hysterics.

cousins laughter

Although I think N did get a bit bored with me snapping away.  Angry face in evidence below!

angry face

Once the bloodhounds and horses rode off, we headed off back to the farm.  It was a lovely hour out in beautiful weather, and a real picture of country life.

Obviously the hunt isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, and I expect to lose lots of followers after this which always seems to happen when I share a tweet or photo, but the meet part of it is really nice and sociable, and a great way to get children outdoors and used to being careful and calm around large animals.

What are your thoughts on hunts?

 

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29 Comments

  1. This is brilliant. Love the photos it was like reading and watching photos from a movie! Being an American it seems such a posh way to hunt. I loved it Emma. Great post. Thanks for linking up to Share With Me. Happy Holidays! #sharewithme

    • I suppose they should be less so now they’re under the changed hunting act. Thanks for stopping by

  2. The photo of the man in the red coat is brilliant, it looks like it could be an old classic hunting photo!

    I don’t love the idea of hunting personally but I think these days they are very regulated. I do also think there’s a great deal of tradition and British history with it that should be preserved. I’ve seen ones where they are just hunting for the smell of something and not actually killing an animal too which I think is cool and would probably be lots of fun to be involved with!

    The last pic or your little guy made me laugh he looks totally unimpressed haha!

    • Yes, the trail hunting is the norm now, laying the scent. Definitely a big part of the British countryside’s traditions
      Thanks for commenting.

  3. I love the photos of N and the horses are beautiful, but I’m going to be honest, I am strongly anti-hunting. I know that there is a ban on fox hunting, but I fear that is routinely flouted (and a very quick Google suggests that is the case). I’m a vegetarian and will never, ever agree with hunting for any reason, but I wouldn’t dream of unfollowing you just for writing about it! #CountryKids

    • Phew that’s a relief. It’s the hunting foxes with hounds that’s not meant to happen, but I guess you probably can’t stop them if a fox is discovered while they’re on the set trail. My brother hates the fact that it’s a sport….even though he shoots rabbits, deer etc for pest control – but ultimately because he enjoys the challenge.

      I guess I’m ambivalent on the actual hunt side of things in terms of what they do, but I do like the sight and tradition of it.

      thanks for commenting Sara.

    • Ha ha. He’s usually pretty relaxed about it, but he couldn’t decide where he wanted to sit – front , back or seat, so was really having a bit of a strop about that.

  4. I’m hoping my two will get a glimpse of a country hunt over the Christmas holidays. I’ve never been good enough rider to join in one.

    • Definitely a sight to behold. Although when the riders head home going past the farm, the dogs go crazy.

  5. It is hard to be in farming circles and not enjoy a hunt. The North Cornwall Hunt backs onto our land so the hunt often ask to ride through our fields. A great way to get children and adults out enjoying the fresh air and he meets are always sociable. Lovely photos here and a perfect scene of country life. Thank you for sharing on Country Kids.

    • I think you’re right. Even when people get annoyed about the intrusion on the land (ie the OH), he still enjoys the social side, and the benefits that having a local hunt means.

  6. I don’t really have an opinion on hunting to be honest. I’ve never really looked into it to see how humane or such it is. I do like the look of the hounds though! Mich x

    • They’re funny dogs. I always thought they’d stay clear of people and just be typical working dogs, sniffing everything, but they seem to love meeting everyone and come over for a stroke etc.

  7. Hunting is certainly an emotive topic so good on you for writing about it. There’s a traditional Boxin day hunt near where my parents live in Kent and whenever we’re with them for Christmas we go and see it off. It’s part of our Christmas tradition now and I love the grandeur and spectacle of it. I’m glad I’m not a landowner in the area though as they chanrge through anything and everything and can cause a lot of damage. However, as an age old coutryside tradition I think it’s great they’ve found a way to keep it going. #animaltales

    • I was always astounded at how big the boxing day meets were…although it was just after the hunting act, so I suppose all the supporters were out when they wouldn’t usually be. Haven’t been back there since.

      We used to hear horror stories as children, of people who’d had hounds and horses through their front gardens. Not sure how true that was, but it’s nice to see and hear them about.

  8. Fab post & pictures! I have ridden since I was 3 and was a dressage rider & trainer before I retired! I never went hunting though, I am not against it, just never had a suitable horse. x #ShareWithMe

    • Wow, exciting doing dressage. It seems in the horse world, it can be really specific on the horse you need for different types of riding.

  9. Michelle Murray

    It’s just one of those things I guess that you love or hate. To be honest I’m neither but I did enjoy reading about it and I love the last photo of your boy, so funny

  10. Great photos. I saw that piece on Countryfile too! It is a touchy subject and the dog lover in me is torn as to how well the hounds are looked after. Have to say though that I find the sight of the dogs and horses magnificent and these all certainly look in fine fettle. Brilliant 🙂 #animaltales

    • I’ve always been impressed by the hounds I’ve seen, but I know our local kennels has a lot of open days, and obviously cares well for their hounds.

  11. Looks like a beautiful festive event. One of the reasons I want to learn to ride properly is to go on a hunt post Christmas. For me hunting is just about the tradition and it’s a country sport. Considering foxes aren’t used for hunts anymore I’d be surprised if anyone unfollows you- it would say more about them than you to be honest 😉 #sharewithme

    • I’m with you, I love the fact that it’s so traditional and part of the countryside. I love to see the hunt riding across the fields, although the followers do get in the way on the roads.

  12. Hunting is always going to be an emotive issue, even when the quarry is a man rather than a fox/deer etc. Some see it is as vital part of the rural economy and countryside life whilst others despise the perceived arrogance of the hunters and the damage their horse can inflict. I was brought up in the country (not far from you in fact) and hunting was all around me. I accepted it then but never got overly involved beyond the social side of things! I now accept that the law has changed things. Hunting with bloodhounds does seem a good compromise thus retaining the traditions of hunting without the killing.

    Thank you so much for adding this post to #AnimalTales – I was hoping to see it include a wide range of animal related posts such as this.

    • You’re right, it seems to be a love/hate although I’m mostly down the middle. I’m surprised that my brother hates it, even though he loves going out shooting rabbits etc, he doesn’t understand the sport side of it, but the pest control he’s fine with.

      It’s strange because we always used to go to the hunt balls, and we sometimes go to the point to point racing, and occasionally went to the Boxing Day meet at Upton House, but never got involved with the rest of it.

      I think now it tends to be further off the agenda as there’s more important things for government and therefore the public to be thinking about. To be honest, I think that’s largely the best way to deal with it, because in the grand scheme of things the hunt do a job, they’re useful in officially removing dead animals for farmers etc and I think a lot of people don’t see that side of things, only the actual killing of foxes.

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