NE HT 1Terry Holmes photoThe New England Hunter Trials were the topic of discussion at our annual meeting in 2011. The late Donald Little MFH for Myopia, was there and he said,” Elaine I think Green Mountain ought to take this on. You have beautiful territory and this is not the Myopia /Norfolk Hunter Trials”. He was referring to the fact that these two Hunts had taken on hosting most of the Hunter Trials for New England in the past. My new Joint Master Terry Hook (stressing the word new), not knowing what was involved, looked and me and said something like “I think we can do that”. Immediate agreement with the group followed and it was a done deal.

I have Don to thank for this educational and challenging journey. Our first Hunter Trial ever hosted was that summer in preparation for the New England Hunter Trial. We had never even had a Hunter Trial within our club. Luckily, Anne Hamilton, a seasoned hunter of many years, took the reins and put on our dress rehearsal. We learned many valuable lessons and the event was a success.

What goes into one of these events was a new experience for me. I had planned my daughter’s wedding and many NE HT 2Photo by Terry Holmespony club events, and thought I could do this! Because of the great membership and spirit of volunteerism we have at GMH, it did work. As is the saying, “it takes a village”, and this is certainly an event no one can do on their own. We have many talented individuals in GMH and they were all put to work.

Naively, I thought a jump course would need to be designed and built and that would be the bulk of it. First, I formed a solid group dedicated to jump building. We spent hours constructing coops, banks, stonewalls and a drop. Siting was a challenge and although I knew the terrain well, footing and flow of the course were important considerations. We had essentially three courses to be organized, and even after they were planned and execution was under way, many other tasks were still at hand.

Some of the many tasks I had not thought about included finding someone to get and educate 24 jump volunteers, someone painting signs, advertising, clerical duties, organizing the rules and rulebook, gathering the old trophies, catering, tent, announcer, and getting jumps sponsored to defray costs. The list went on and on. We are the most northerly Hunt in New England so most hunts had to travel several hours to participate. One of our landowners, David and Francie Caccavo, hosted a barn party the night before and members opened their homes and barns to those coming from a distance.

NE HT 3Photo by Terry HolmesThe October 2012 Hunter Trial arrived with a cool, crisp day full of sunshine and incredible fall colors in Vermont. We had representatives from Green Mountain, Wentworth, Norfolk, and North Country. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and lots of silver trophies were awarded and lunch were served under a tent, with all the food catered for free by Polly Wilson, one of our members. The day went off well with a few lessons learned which will make this year’s 2013 New England Hunter Trial even better. We have high hopes that all seven New England Hunts send representatives to enjoy our beautiful countryside and win some silver.

Being part of the hunting community is a humbling experience. The kindness, generosity, and enthusiasm of its members has truly been a life changing experience for me.

Elaine Ittleman is Joint Master of Foxhounds for Green Mountain Hounds (VT).

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