The 2015 Sedgefield Performance Trial in Hoffman, NC proved to be lucky number seven for Stonewall Hounds. This was Stonewall’s seventh year participating in the performance trials and Stonewall Classy, #7, was top hound after two days of competition.
Eleven hunts participated, including Rockbridge, Goshen, Sedgefield, Whiskey Road, Mecklenberg, Delabrooke, Red Oak, Green Creek, Low Country, Last Chance and Full Cry. The weather was much colder than previous trials. During Sunday morning's drive to the hunt the low temperature was 22; however, it was much easier on the hounds and horses.
Friday night was hosted by Fred Berry, MFH and Huntsman for the Sedgefield Hunt and the most incredible host. He introduced all the judges, whippers-in and huntsmen, and participating hunts and laid out the game plan for the entire weekend. Dinner was excellent and since the weather was extremely cold and windy for that time of year, we were packed up tight in the clubhouse which made for a cozy atmosphere.
The first day was sunny, clear and you could feel the eagerness in the air, with 180 riders present. Hounds settled quickly and hunted very well for their huntsman Lincoln Sadler. It took over an hour of hunting and Fred Berry's plea to Theresa and me to dismount before hounds found their quarry. Searching for the perfect powder room took a while.
That coyote was viewed going away and away he went with all the hounds screaming and horses on a fierce gallop. I was holding on as we flew through the pine forest, making sure my horse, Jubilee, didn't step in one of the many holes left by previously culled pine trees. As hounds came close to Naked Creek they began to circle. My Garmin showed they went around and around. Road whips as well as Lincoln and others stopped them and called them up not wanting them to cross the creek. It had been a wonderful morning but we needed to conserve some energy for the next day.
After a good lunch at the clubhouse, we headed back to the Lodge to clean up and feed hounds and get some R&R while some did a bit of shopping. There is never enough time to do it all but we try.
Saturday night started with an excellent coyote seminar back at the clubhouse where we learned many facts about their habits. The Sedgefield members put together another delicious dinner. The cutest huntsman award required the huntsmen were required to act out different animals. George Harne of Last Chance Hounds won the coveted prize of a pink cap and fancy golden crown.
On Sunday, we had an even better day of sport. We were taken for an exhilarating chase through the beautiful pine forest. Eventually that coyote split town and left us for good. After gathering hounds and recasting down in a thick green gulley or swale area that is called a "head," hounds spoke the best of the whole weekend as they circled back and forth. We could hear them and see a hound pop out every now and then. Because they stayed in such a small area and in a tight bunch, we thought it must be a bobcat. It could have been as multiple species can live together in the same large covert. Further down the head where I stood still on Jubilee, a small grey fox darted out the opposite hillside. I lost sight of him as he crested the hill, but Robert Taylor, Huntsman for Goshen, viewed him circling back. Hounds settled back on the line and off we went. This time our pilot took us across country and we had another fast gallop. The Garmin helped at this point when I showed it to Lincoln and we were able to get to just the right place where hounds appeared to have lost. What a day! Fun, fun, fun! All hounds were collected. Judges were given a ride back to the clubhouse to start recording the scores.
After lunch was the hound show. This is done to allow Chris, whipper-in and head score keeper, time to count the scores from the judges.
Mitzi commented on the great day of sport before announcing the results. Stonewall was also overall best hunt and Rockbridge were second. The whole weekend was a first class affair. Fred Berry and Jan Sorrells and all the other Sedgefield members had done another outstanding job.
2015 SEDGEFIELD PERFORMANCE TRIALS RESULTS
Team HGA Total
Full Cry 317.5
Whiskey Road 222.5
Red Oak 105
Green Creek 60
Last Chance 40