Glenmore Hunt Club (VA) has been absent from the local parade scene in the Shenandoah Valley for some years. We made a joyful and just-before-the-deadline choice to make our comeback at the Christmas Parade in lovely Bridgewater, VA. It is a smaller parade, just starting out a few years ago. In the spirit of "it takes a club" the word went out for horses and riders, staff, hounds, hound walkers, bannermen, a driver for the rig (to keep the hounds from having to hike so far) and merry muckers. Ponies were washed, tack was cleaned, warm wear was pulled from storage and then....it started to snow!
Stephanie Daly Kopcinski and her youngest fox, Connor, led our hunt club along with her two other children, Abigail (carrying a fox toy) and Coulton (wearing a fox-riding horseback costume). Photo by Susannah Seith Via.
The roads stayed clear, thankfully so we could still participate. One of our newest members, Meagan Rose Ryan-Brunot, beautifully organized our participation with help from others. Meagan's work allowed us to park at the parade end, and she led us on a hack through the alleys to the parade staging area--a snow-covered soccer field--the perfect place for the hounds and horses to stretch their legs and then snooze until the start. The riders' helmets attested to the accumulation and cold, wet breeches tested the resolve of the riders, but walkers stayed warm.
Three generations of foxhunters: Berk Pemberton, Mary Lee Pemberton McDavid, and her daughter Waverly. They hunt on Missouri Foxtrotters, Photo by Jenner Brunk.
From my vantage in the hound truck, I could see my club beautifully, run ahead at a corner to shoot some pictures and video, and chat with the crowd as they "Merry Christmas-ed" us. I shouted back "Tally Ho, ho, ho." Our horses, ponies, and hounds were admired by the crowds, and our merry muckers, Diane, and Deb entertained the kids with dancing to the music, baton-twirling with muck forks, and teasing threats of something other than coal in a naughty stocking,
Glenmore's Merry Muckers, Diane and Deb. These two danced with the Christmas music when ever the parade paused, performed baton moves with manure forks, and encouraged kids to be good for thier parents or they may get something other than coal in their stockings. Photo by Jenner Brunk.
Even though a very small percentage of our full club could be there it was a wonderful, joyous, happy event and I only saw grins and big smiles from our club (five current and past Masters were there)! Here is hoping for more lovely events like this in our club's near future.
Photo by Susannah Seith Via.