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2014-04-13 11.05.15Emily Esterson photoHaving recently returned from the Biennial Staff Seminar in Lexington, I wanted to share with you much of what was made available to the select audience of Masters and staff. First, a note of thanks to whoever booked the block at the Griffin Gate Resort, although I must add that having been spoiled by the Pierre in January, I can only assume that the critic that awarded the Pierre with five stars is not one and the same as he who awarded this one the same honor. To the hotel’s credit, it was clean, comfortable, conveniently located to the meeting site, and the staff was friendly.

Much was to be learned at the seminar, and even more could have been learned had I actually attended all of the meetings, but Lexington beckoned, and more to that later. Of particular interest to me was the presentation on Coyotes, because I have long maintained that eventually the government will place a bounty on them, similar to that on wolves at the turn of the 20th century, at which time they will be eradicated to the point that the government will then declare them to be an endangered species, at which time we will no longer be permitted to hunt them. I also learned how to feed our hounds a nutritionally sound diet on a budget that approximates that of Germany’s Bishop of Bling. One serious omission from the presentation on the Duties of a Master was the lack of any discussion of hunt breakfasts, but I am confident that a brief note from me to the speaker should remedy that for future presentations. The social media was especially informative. Since social media is a modern invention, and Foxhunting is both ancient in terms of its history as well as the average age of a Master, consequently bringing these two in line poses some unique challenges. I am sure we will be hearing more from Dennis on this topic in the future.

The highlight of the offerings in and about Lexington, at least for me, was the barn tour arranged for the MFHA members at Gainesway Farm, a breeding farm just outside of Lexington. In addition to the well-manicured 1,500 acres, the beautifully maintained outbuildings and barns and the newborn colts on display having just been foaled within the last few days, we were treated to witness an actual breeding with, in our case, a sire commanding a $150,000 stud fee. The mare, slightly but apparently not sufficiently treated with Rohypnol, responded to the advances of her prospective paramour with a vicious mule kick, whereupon they were both removed to neutral corners, I suspect never to meet again, given the potential damage to the sire which he was lucky to escape. Sadly, Mrs. Master was there, also, taking copious notes, no doubt adding a maneuver to her repertoire for foiling my amorous advances.

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