In what has become an annual tradition, hounds, horses and riders from River Hills Foxhounds participated in seasonal celebrations in Quarryville, Pennsylvania. A quintessential small town, Quarryville's holiday observances include a Christmas parade and tree lighting. River Hills regularly takes part in the parade, so subscriber Trina Hatfield inquired about joining the tree lighting, too, and the hunt was invited to lead the crowd in carols from horseback.
The next stop for the group — attired in full hunt kit — was the Quarryville Presbyterian retirement home, where residents were delighted to meet the equine and canine guests.
A former Radnor Hunt member, living at the retirement home, was eager to connect with Trina Hatfield's mare. Karen Kennedy photo.
Hatfield explains, "One of River Hills Foxhounds' founders and former Master, Leo Erb, was a Quarryville Presbyterian resident. So I made a few calls and we were welcomed with open arms."
Bundled up in blankets, Quarryville Presbyterian residents came outside to meet the horses. Karen Kennedy photo.
About two dozen subscribers and friends took part, mounted and unmounted, along with hounds Sable, Izzy, Nan, Hurry, and Robin. An added feature this year was parking at the retirement home at the start of the festivities, and enjoying a police and fire department escort to the tree lighting event. The seasoned hunt horses behaved like perfect celebrities behind the flashing squad car lights.
Merrylegs the miniature horse was a big hit with the folks inside the Quarryville Presbyterian home. Karen Kennedy photo.
Accompanied by a large "fox," the River Hills group caroled to the residents and invited them to pat and interact with their mounts. This was a particularly touching moment for many, as some seniors were foxhunters themselves in the past. They were delighted at the opportunity to meet hounds, too.
Hunt supporters of all ages, hounds, and even Charley Fox himself gathered to wish their senior neighbors a merry Christmas. Karen Kennedy photo.
The Masters' and huntsman's support for community outreach has been critical to their success. "We love to have our hunt active in the community," Hatfield says, "as it is the citizens of the small town that allow us to enjoy our sport." Established in 2000, River Hills Foxhounds' kennels are located in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.