A Visual Recap of Foxhunting in Cheshire Country, Autumn, 2011 –::– Opening Meet, Formal Hunting, Runnymede Tuesday, November 1, 2011 Formal Hunting moves to 11:00 A.M. in November from 9:00 the previous month. Riders met at St. Malachi Church to park their vehicles and hacked to the Meet at Runnymede, about a mile away, down the hill and a long driveway, along a creek ruled by a venerable Blue Heron. The Joint Masters, Huntsman and Whip, wearing Pinque for the first time this season, are joined by the Field (the riders following the hounds) on the lawn of Runnymede. Runnymede is known for its broad, open fields and sloping terrain, punctuated by fences with gates and coops, with creeks emptying to the Doe Run, and eventually to the Brandywine River. –::– Byrd Road, Webbs Woods Saturday, November 5, 2011 The Meet at Byrd Road encompasses a large woods, Webbs Woods, and is flatter than Runnymede, with many foxes. The Meet is close by the Veterinary School at the University of Pennsylvania, New Bolton. Cheshire encourages family participation and many children join their parents on the hunt
Festival in the Country The week before Fair Hill International CCI3* and 2* (October 13-16) was soggy, so much that fields were flooded and I rode strictly on the roads, foregoing hunting on Thursday because the footing was so slippery. Friday was overcast with intermittent showers as I donned my wellies and fleece and headed down to Fair Hill, Maryland to go walk the course. Between leaving the vendor tents and the far side of the course, clouds blew in with yet another rain shower; fortunately fleece is still warm and comfy even when wet. View of clouds and raindrops in the water at fence 22 for the 2* But glory be! Saturday began cold and as the morning progressed past 6 A.M., the sun rose and it turned into a perfect day spend in the country with blue sky, bright sunshine and magnificent foliage in yellows and crimson. It doesn’t get much better than that. Creature comforts The organizers of the event thoughtfully placed many, many trash barrels everywhere. You didn’t need to carry that empty drink bottle more than a few steps.
Sunday afternoon, during a break between the two star and three star show jump phase to decide the winners of the Plantation Field Three Star Event (Unionville, Pennsylvania), visitors were witness to a spectacular jump-off, of sorts, between some of this weekend’s event riders. Three years ago the organizers of the Plantation Field Three Day Event sponsored a casual puissance jumping event during the lunch break. Puissance features a wall that increases in height with elimination of riders as they fail to clear it until there is only one rider and horse combination remaining – a horse version of musical chairs. It’s popularity with the crowd got the organizers last year to entice several event riders to participate and it resulted in a strip-tease of sorts as Doug Payne gamely traded articles of clothing for the right to stay in the game. This year the Professional Riders Organization sponsored the event for the benefit of Operation Homefront, an organization which provides emergency funds for military families and wounded veterans. As the contest progressed and a wall came down, off came the boot of one rider in compensation… **** **** but as the brick wall grew higher and higher, Jenny Brannigan topped them all and retained all her accoutrement