Glenmore Hunt photo‘Tis not often one is blessed to hear the music of the hounds in full cry, in hot pursuit of the elusive quarry. However, this Tuesday past all who were fortunate to be present, were able to experience such a wonder.
It was my fortune to be tapped by the huntsman to ride in his pocket. To be given the pleasure of being up front, to watch the workings of the bond he has with the hounds. Seeing him dismount, trudge through the briars and underbrush, giving them the encouragement to carry on and to push them in pursuit of the quarry through such dense growth.
As the hounds struck and moved out, we found ourselves tearing through the narrow paths of the briar patches, around trees, under low branches and finally into the open. After a long full gallop up a slope, we came to a halt. The hounds were deep in the wood, in full cry and we, we the chosen for that day, sat and listened to the symphony wafting out from the wood and carrying up to the hunt field, sitting, waiting to catch a view of the quarry.
It did not take long. Soon, to all those who could view, out it came. In full stride, thick coat flowing, a very large coyote emerged. One and only one thought could have been on its mind: “feet don't fail me now." Then in a blink of an eye, there they came. All the hounds, noses pressed to the ground, their voices singing out, in full pursuit.
We on the hill heard the voice of the huntsman holler out, “quick we must go and turn them, lest we lose them to the mountain." Then as if coming from the starting gate at "The Derby", off we went in full gallop, down the hill, across the creek and starting up the other side. The huntsman screamed out, “leave it, leave it", trying to get the hounds to give up the pursuit.
From off to the right and left came the whips. Hollering, snapping their whips, anything to get the hounds attention. Full gallop, horses tails straight out—what a site to behold. Then as is a scene from the movie The Man from Snowy River, our huntsman galloped ahead of the pack. Snapping his whip as if trying to turn the "mob of brumbies", screaming to the hounds to leave it, they started to settle. Many of them with questioning looks, as if to say “we are just doing what you trained us to do.” Yet knowing the bond, the trust they have in their master, the hounds yielded, tongues hanging low, all gasping for breath. Yet you could tell they were full of pride and joy that they had served their master well.
Looking about, the faces of the huntsman and the whips were filled with such pleasure and gratifying smiles as they glanced among their charges. So proud of them, relishing in the great sport these magnificent animals give us with such vigor.
For those of us who were there, hopefully, this hunt will go down as one of the most memorable chapters of your life. It will most certainly will be one of mine.
Thank you so much to Dan, our illustrious huntsman, to our incredible whips, Jan and T and most certainly as well, Mike, who maintains these wonderful beasts, so we may have such joyous occasions.
George Meyers proudly rides to hounds with the Glenmore Hunt near Staunton, VA.