The Middleton Place Hounds (SC) ended the 2016-2017 season with a bang, hosting dozens of fellow foxhunters from around the country during the Hunt Weekend and Closing Meet, March 2nd through 5th. The weather was perfect with sunny, cool days that didn’t overheat the horses or riders. Hunts represented were Aiken Hunt, Andrews Bridge, Belle Meade, the Camden Hunt, Carrollton Hounds, Green Creek Hounds, Huntington Valley Hunt, Lowcountry Hunt, Middleburg, Norfolk Hunt, Radnor, Orange County, South Creek, Caerhays Hunt, and Shakerag.
Middleton Place huntsman William Dunne, Green Creek huntsman and MFH Tot Goodwin, and Joey Cabaniss. Photo by Joe Bills, MFH.
The weekend began on Thursday, March 2, with a trail ride for arriving guests around the historic site of Middleton Place Plantation and down to the Ashley River and the old rice field. That evening, a BBQ was held in Bailey Field, the first of several social events to go along with hunting. Friday morning, huntsman Willie Dunne led the hounds on a drag hunt around our Middleton Place fixture, with a number of guests experiencing four good lines of scent. That evening, members and guests met at the Boat House at Poplar Grove Plantation for a party.
On Saturday, members and guests met at the Poplar Grove Equestrian Center for a day of hunting with legendary huntsman and Master Tot Goodwin of the Green Creek Hounds (NC). Tot brought 12 ½ couple of hounds from the foothills of North Carolina. The hounds worked very hard on a dry scenting day and showed members a bit of live hunting. At the end of the meet, everyone retired to a nice breakfast at the barn of Poplar Grove. Later that evening, we had a cocktail party at the home of joint Master Kathy Wall and her husband, Mark. It was an enjoyable evening and later many went off to dine at some of Charleston’s best restaurants.
Middleton Place joint MFH, Chalmers Posten, and huntsman William Dunne present the Volunteer of the Year award to Michael J. H. McCarthy. Photo by Natasha McCarthy.
Sunday's field grew to over 100 riders, and as many car followers for the Closing Meet of the season. It was a joint meet with the Aiken Hounds (SC) with Aiken huntsman Catherine Gunter bringing their hounds to join MPH huntsman Willie Dunne and the Middleton Place Hounds. With five good lines planned the huge Field and car followers saw and heard fine hound work from both packs and enjoyed great jumps that had been erected over the season. One thing Hurricane Matthew left us last fall was quite a few fallen trees that were then utilized to build nice jumps for riders.
After the hunting all retired to Bailey’s Field to enjoy a Low Country oyster roast and Low Country Boil, music by Green Thieves, and lots of good conversation about hunting, horses and hounds. What a nice way to end the season.