Super Storm Sandy did her utmost to thwart the charity ride sponsored by HorseAbility and Smithtown, but Sandy didn’t reckon with the tenacity of the Smithtown Hunt members and friends. Weeks of chain saw, bush hog and back breaking manual labor organized by John Rooney converted a wasteland back to ride-able trails on the campus of SUNY Old Westbury. 22 members and 17 cappers thoroughly enjoyed the mild temperatures on December 12, 2012.
Prior to the first cast, Frank D. Bradford and Bernadette McHugh of the NSHA Rough Riders, posted the colors for the singing of the National Anthem by Guy Yuhas. Then, 10 1/2 couple hounds were singing themselves silly through the beautiful President’s Field and on restored paths through the tree carnage. An abundance of caution guided MFH’s Kevin Maple and Arthur Gerdts as newly cleared trails were negotiated by both the seasoned and novice foxhunters behind a cracking good pack cheered on by Huntsman, Brian Quinn ably assisted by Whippers-in Craig Boehner and Christine Toner. Sadly, not all riders and horses kept company throughout the day, but all were restored to optimum condition as of this writing.
Following an extended day in the field, all riders and hill toppers enjoyed a generous, hot tea prepared by HorseAbility Photo by Cathleen A. Springermembers and family. Katie Mc Gowan, Director of HorseAbility was present to oversee the delightful repast and insure the comfort of the participants. Clearly, no one left hungry. The event is hoped to represent only the first of future gatherings to benefit HorseAbility and to demonstrate Smithtown Hunt’s commitment to fulfilling its mission of educating riders and spectators regarding the traditions of fox hunting in the USA.
What is the Smithtown Hunt?
The Smithtown Hunt was founded in 1900 as a fox hunting club. Riding to
hounds is a sport steeped in tradition, backed by centuries of history.
Throughout England, Ireland, Europe, Canada and the United States, men, women and children have enjoyed this sport and its related activities.
Today, the Smithtown Hunt maintains the time honored traditions and etiquette associated with the sport by using artificial scent to simulate the fox. The Smithtown Hunt retains the excitement of the chase.
Our riding and non-riding members can enjoy the thrill of this exquisite activity as they follow the hounds through beautiful undeveloped countryside. As a non-profit tax-exempt organization, we have an important mission to fulfill. We are dedicated to charitable purposes beneficial to public interest. Our mission focuses on: Conservation, preservation, and education.
As more and more areas of land are swallowed up by urban expansion, it is the challenge of the Smithtown Hunt to conserve the undeveloped land for the wildlife on Long Island. We are partnering with federal, state and local authorities to conserve all our natural resources. Included in this effort is a focus on maintaining open spaces, which also provides valuable watershed protection for our precious water supply.
The history and traditions of fox hunting have made us more aware of the importance of the preservation of our undeveloped land. As stewards of our environment, it is our obligation to protect existing territories available to us as well as to preserve nature's balance within new territories as they are made accessible.
A goal of the Smithtown Hunt is to raise public awareness of the importance of land and building conservation and the historical preservation of our rich heritage. We draw upon the knowledge of experienced specialists to present seminars, clinics, exhibitions and field trips. Everyone is invited to participate and a calendar of events is available on request.