Our November Photo of the Month featured a happy couple exchanging vows at an Amwell Valley Hounds (NJ) meet earlier this year. Several readers inquired about the details of this happy occasion, so we asked the bride and groom, Christine and Franck DuClos, to answer a few questions about their big day, hunting, and the special horses who were part of the ceremony.
Franck, aboard Magnus, and Christine, on Ditto, exchange vows as members of the field look on. Photo by Marco Pelosi.
1. When did it first occur to you to have a hunt wedding — not just a horseback one?
Answer: As soon as Franck proposed to me, we thought of getting married in the hunt field. It was the first thing that came to mind, as we met because of the hunt, and a lot of our good friends are hunt members. I don't think we would have done a horseback wedding any other way.
2. Are the horses you were riding your regular hunt mounts, or do they have other special significance?
Answer: Ditto and I knew each other for about ten years before I got him. He was a Grand Prix jumper that belonged to a close friend of mine. I started riding him and after a little while we developed a very strong bond. He had been leased out one year, and when he came back from that lease I had the chance to get him and I took it. He's my soul mate. He seamlessly made the transition from show jumper to foxhunter and I hunt him regularly. Francks' horse, Magnus, is a recent purchase from a former Amwell Valley Hunt member, Sue Travlin. We got him in Virginia. He's a seven-year-old Thoroughbred and Sue had hunted him with Bull Run for two seasons.
3. Did the hunt play an important role in your courtship?
Answer: The hunt played a huge role in our courtship! We were introduced by Barbra Peterson at the Amwell Hunter Trials in 2013. We met again at the Fall Hunter Pace a month later, and we met for the third time on Opening Day, when Franck came to take pictures. That day he brought a piece of baguette for Ditto and if there is a way to win my heart, that's it! Not too long after that he started hunting with Amwell Valley, too.
4. Would you recommend this experience to other engaged couples?
Answer: Absolutely! It was a great experience. There is nothing better than being able to share your passion for hunting with the one you love. It held so much more significance for us than a traditional wedding could have.
We wish Christine and Franck many years of good sport and good times together.