Members of Cedar Knob Pony Club and Middle Tennessee Pony Club were invited to visit Cedar Knob Hounds' (TN) kennels and learn about horses, hounds and hunting on Sunday, February 28, 2016. As the kennel huntsman for Cedar Knob, I picked up the Caldwell and Wallace boys on my way to work so they could help out with the clinic. As we approached the kennels just after sunrise, we spotted a beautiful red fox chasing mice in the hayfield. Jacob Wallace took a picture and I was able to capture a small video. The boys were thrilled to be able to see a real red fox and he was apparently unconcerned about us watching his early morning activities.
The members of both Pony Clubs arrived at 8am, and were greeted by Albert Menefee III, MFH and huntsman. He briefly outlined the day's schedule before introducing me to the children. I gave them a short talk on getting the horse prepared to hunt. We covered fitness, tack, training and discussed the desirable traits in a staff horse and a field hunter. Albert's hunter, LER Majestic Seattle, was used as the demo horse for staff, and LT Dan, who is ridden by Albert's wife, Theresa Menefee, posed as the field hunter.
Albert Menefee, III, MFH, aboard LER Majestic Seattle. Clare Pinney photo.
Differences in tack were pointed out, as well as suitability for the job at hand. Cedar Knob members assisted with the tacking procedures. After talking at the barn and getting the horses ready, we moved over to the kennels, where Albert introduced the hounds to the children. He described our pre-hunt routine and talked about the hounds and how we like to have them interact with people.
With help from Cedar Knob junior members, different hounds were brought out and shown to the children. Each hound was appropriately loved on and there were many smiles from everyone. Albert explained the purpose of the GPS tracking collars that we use, and everyone was allowed to help with collaring. Children and adults were suitably impressed when, as Albert called out each hound by name, he or she stepped forward to get a collar.
Hounds were then loaded onto the hound trailer and directions given for everyone to get to the meet. Thankfully, Rob and Joanna Caldwell were on hand to lead our procession, so no one got lost. Albert welcomed everybody to his Foxview Farm, and made sure each rider had a guide for the day. The mounted Pony Clubbers rode in a flight with Joanna Caldwell, while non-mounted followers were guided around by Grandpa Jack. Cedar Knob Pony Club members Charlie and Harry Caldwell are junior whippers-in for Cedar Knob on a regular basis, and as Charlie was riding his young horse, he elected to ride with Joanna and help with the other children. Harry asked a younger Pony Clubber, Jacob Wallace, to ride out with him. I invited Zachary Wallace to ride out with me. Both the Wallace boys have shown a great interest in the sport, and we thought that allowing them to see what a whipper-in does would be fun for them, as well as educational.
Cedar Knob Hounds Able.
The weather was warm and sunny, so the Pony Clubbers were treated to some serious hound work, as the pack had to work hard to gain a little scent. Some hound music was heard when Bully and Briar were able to pick up the line of a bobcat. Albert insisted that Joanna keep the kids close so that they could see exactly how he cast the pack and to give them the feeling of being up close to hounds.
As the conditions were so very trying, Albert called the day after two and a half hours, and we hacked in to a wonderful tailgate provided by members of both Pony Clubs and Cedar Knob Hounds. It was a great day full of fun and learning for the children, and for them to experience firsthand the sport of foxhunting, a sport that for many is a way of life. Everyone was very thankful that Albert and his wife, Theresa, opened up their farm and do so much to encourage the younger generation - the future of foxhunting.