It’s August and the Dogs Days of Summer are still in full swing. While many hunts are already into cubbing season, the promise of cooler evenings and brisk mornings is what makes toiling through these last hot and humid weeks worthwhile. Sometime in the next month or so those first hints of autumn will begin to appear — a few leaves changing color, the smell of wood smoke in the air, frost on the ground, and the need to reach for a sweater for the first time since spring. For foxhunters there is no greater season, and each hunt has its own unique way of celebrating the start of another year of sport while raising funds to help keep the tradition alive. From clinics and shows to cattle drives and festive parties, here is a small sampling of kickoff celebrations from around the country to help inspire your hunt to create the ultimate kickoff tradition.
Hunts share their favorite ways to celebrate the start of a new season
- Julie Whitlock McKee
I was hunting with another hunt, Bear Creek Hounds, on March 6th. I was whipping-in and asked the huntsman which position would help him out the most, to follow in behind him or head out to Fincher Rd. He requested that I head to Fincher Rd. I took off at a good clip down the side of the driveway while saying 10-4 on the radio and before I could finish my horse hit a hole with her left front and we did 3 flips with me breaking her fall. I smashed my sciatic nerve and compressed some discs in my back and was out for the rest of the season, at least on horseback.
Distinctive Foxhunting Art and Crafts
Editor’s Note: We have officially designated Summer 2011 “The Art of the Hunt.” Our summer print edition will be featuring arts, antiques and crafts inspired by foxhunting. To get you in the mood, we are offering a preview of some of Covertside’s resident artists.
Whether you’re looking to add elegance to your home with an inspired sporting canine portrait or adorn your head with a custom-designed chapeau, ecovertside’s guide to arts and crafts is a great resource for finding your special treasure. Many of the world’s finest foxhunting artisans are equestrians themselves, while others are endlessly fascinated by the sport of mounted foxhunting and the lifestyle that accompanies it. We are pleased to share a brief overview of some of most talented individuals.
- Lizi Ruch
Lizi Ruch is a member of West Hills Hounds in the Pacific District and an artist who designs custom, collectible hunt-theme tableware. In the summer edition of Covertside, we will be featuring The Art of the Hunt.
I grew up in Louisville, Kentucky in the 1950s. I was born horse-crazy in a family of eight. My mom thought this interest would surely pass and was not as keen in supporting my passion in horses as she was in sewing and fashion. Although I collected Breyer Horses, constantly drew horses and ponies and took riding lessons at every opportunity, I moved on to pursue a career in fashion design, ceramics, teaching and art.
One day in 1996, I received a call from a good friend I had known in New York who had moved to Los Angeles. He invited me to come out and try foxhunting. I excused myself at the time because of never-ending deadlines that are always part and parcel of the fashion industry. A few days later I reconsidered his offer. If not now, when would I open myself up to make time for riding and horses I had dreamed of since I was a youngster?
While the economic impact of foxhunting has been studied in the United Kingdom, there’s little measure of how much the sport contributes to United States economy. While sure that number is minimal, many small towns benefit during hunt weeks around the country.
Hunt weeks such as those that recently took place in Florida and in Aiken, S.C., bring people and horses into towns to fill hotel rooms, eat restaurant meals, board their horses and buy fuel for their trucks.
Augusta, Ga. TV station WRDW ran a story on its local news broadcast about the boost for local businesses during Aiken Hunt Week. Hotel Aiken owner Kishan Shah says, thanks to hunt week, business is up 30% from last year. “It’s a dramatic impact,” Shan told the local news station. “It goes down to local economy. Heads on beds means they have to eat, drink and invariably shop as well.” Aiken Saddlery & Supply fills in the blank on all the things people coming to hunt forget to bring—from stock ties to saddles. more people coming in around this time. Norma Craven notes that the business does well year-round because horse owners will always take good care of their horses. But during this time, they’re doing even better,” she told the news.
So, you think you had a blazing run that covered 15 miles? Is it a fish story or did it really happen that way?
Thanks to the smart phone, foxhunters can now debunk the myth of the endless run or brag with true bravado, depending on the readings on their smart phone.
So download the latest GPS-enabled apps for Droid, Blackberry or Iphone for a full picture of the hunt in action. Some apps track your route, miles-per-hour, average speed, elevation gain, as well as fastest and average moving speeds. Others allow you to take a longitude and latitude of your starting point in case you get left behind the group or lost in the woods. Still others offer first aid advice and CPR instructions for the field mishap.