Saturday, December 27, 2008

Boxing Day - Friday, December 26

A large crowd gathered at the meet with many new faces out to enjoy the hunt. The Sedgefield horse and hound trailer pulled up, followed by a few hounds (no, we do not make our hounds run to the meets now) - deer hounds that were hunting close by. Once the deer hounds were out of view, the trailer door was opened and out came 13½ couple hounds.

The hounds were cast into the first covert, the Pines by Pete’s house, where they started a short run up the hill through the Pines. After deciding they could be on the line of the deer hounds, we moved on to hunt toward the Bobcat Patch.

Our hounds worked hard in the tall grass. Some spoke but never got anywhere with it; they could have put something to ground.

We hunted for about another 30 minutes until it was decided to head in. From Paula’s calculations there was only an hour and a half of sunlight left in the day.

As we came out of the woods into the big field below the trailers, the hounds became “Super Charged” (playback of last Sunday’s hunt at Plainfield )! First, the hounds took off toward the right and the whippers-in moved quickly in front to stop the action. They did stop running right, but then made a 180-degree turn and were off again, in full cry! The pack raced down the field and into the Pines at the bottom. We listened to them sing while they went up through the pine trees and down the other side. The field followed the pack's cry until the hounds stopped near the wooden bridge, where we were able to catch up.

Once more, we started back to the trailers. As we hacked up the big field, the pack was still fired up! At the top of the field, beside the trailers, Photographer (who was being tortured the whole way up the hill by not being allowed to follow scent) spoke and led the pack, at racing speed, down the field. They started into the Pines until the gun shots combined with scolding and the cracking of hunt whips halted their pursuit.

All 13½ couple were loaded safely into the trailer.

Thanks to Pete and Jennifer for hosting the tailgate! It was a Merry Boxing Day!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

December 21, Plainfield Road

After the hard rain Saturday night through Sunday morning, it looked like we would not be hunting, but around 8:30 a.m. the rain clouds cleared. The hunt met at Plainfield Road at 1:30 p.m. The pack consisted of 15 couple hounds including a new American hound from Why Worry Hounds, Keeper, and one of our new entry out for his first day hunting, Budweiser.

We moved off and Fred cast the hounds behind the meet. For the next couple hours the wind was blowing and hounds were having trouble holding a line. One would speak, others would honor, we would start to get excited about a run, then it was done and hounds were back in search of more scent.

As we started moving back toward the trailers, the wind began to die down and the temperature started to drop fast. Hounds lit up in the bottom behind the meet! They ran along the bottom, then swung around and came back to the swamp. The pack took a plunge into the cold swamp water, still in full cry, and ran, swam, and jumped through the low grounds. We watched and listened with no way to stop them from the bank; what an awesome picture it would have been!

Fred, atop his “trusty steed” (a.k.a. Judy’s wonderful Thoroughbred, Patriot), followed by Jennifer leading the field, raced along the trails around the swamp where the hounds had gone. We crossed a wide section of the creek, about chest high for most the horses, and raced on, hoping to get back with the hounds and stop them before they were out of the territory. Fred, Lloyd, Chris, and Jennifer galloped up the power line and into the woods on the far side as many of the hounds were still racing ahead in front of them. The rest of the field pulled up and waited on the power line.

We heard the horn; 12 couple of hounds along with their huntsmen and a couple of whippers-in came back out to the power line. As we headed in, being joined by more hounds on the way back, Lloyd and B-12 decided to provide more entertainment for us all. B-12 practiced his Lipizzaner style leaps and bolted, thinking the gun shot off of him was the cue.

On the way up the gas line the pack fired up again! Fred and Chris were able to get around in front of them once more to stop the action before it got too far along. Once all back together we moved on, heading back to the trailers once more. And again an “old faithful” spoke and the pack followed; scent was amazing! We stood in a small field by the road, just a little way up from the trailers, and waited for the whips to round up the hounds, who were “super changed,” as Fred called them back from the hot scent all around them!

Finally, for the last time, we started back to the meet. With all 15 couple tucked away in the Sedgefield hound and horse trailer, the hunt came to its close. There was much to talk about at the tailgate!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Sedgefield Hunt traveling team had a great trip and joint meet with the Why Worry hounds in South Carolina last weekend. We hunted two days: Saturday with our hounds and Sunday with the Why Worry pack. Folks are still talking about Saturday's hunt. We were very lucky with scent and the fact that there was lots of game and the good work of the whips in stopping hounds before they got out of the country. Sunday the Why Worry hounds ran great as well-unfortunately the best running was across a swamp- but we could really appreciate the speed and drive of the beautiful hounds.

The hospitality of the Why Worry members and staff was fantastic. Lots of fun and fellowship and hard riding. As they say in Aiken, "It's a good life if you don't weaken."

A special thanks to George and Jeanie and their beautiful joint-master, Lynn, who really went the extra mile to make us feel welcome. Thanks thanks thanks.

On another note: A couple of weeks ago we drafted several hounds to the Aiken hounds, a drag pack. One of the hounds was Poncho. Some of you may remember that he won lots of ribbons at the Carolinas hound show for his stunning good looks and that he is also a "Centennial Hound," meaning he placed well in a Centennial Performance Trial. Unfortunately for us, he became too vocal. However, he has found a second career. According to the folks at Aiken who I talked to, he is now everybody's favorite. Even members of the field know him. Way to go, Poncho.

Finally, as you can see from the picture, there is a gray fox at Fuquay Farms. This picture was taken by our game camera over the last few days. The lump you see is some of our barbecue. It will be a fat fox soon. Thanks to Donald for the camera work.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Thursday, December 4 at Lenox Farm

For the first time ever, Sedgefield hosted the District (NC and SC) Masters’ Meeting, which included hunts at two of our territories. On Thursday afternoon, Red Mountain brought their 17 couple of foxhounds to our Lenox Farm territory in Caswell County. David, their huntsman, was hunting the hounds, and several of their whips and masters and members were there as well as some from other hunts too. The first couple of hours were blank, and we were hunting back towards the meet, when Fred, Carol and Katherine (Aiken huntsman) saw some tracks and debated whether there was fox, coyote or bobcats around. So David cast the hounds from there, and they took off in cry. We believe there were 2 grey foxes in the covert, one of which they chased around for a while. Then the non-hunted fox proceeded to head towards hwy 150. We stopped the hounds from running into the road, but unfortunately, the fox met an untimely death when it got hit and killed by a car on the road. David tried to get the hounds back onto the trail of the hunted fox, but as it was getting dark by that time, he decided to gather them up and head for the meet.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Hunt - November 27, 2008, Fuquay Farms

It was a beautiful day for a hunt. Martin and family (including 10-day old Martha Ann) provided a lovely stirrup cup. We also had a photographer out for portraits and possible photos for our calendar, a new project this year.

We started at the fox ravine and wound ourselves around the territory until we were on the other side of Paul's land in one of the fields. The hounds found a line in the woods and made their way down the hill toward Odell's bottom. After ascertaining that the hounds were going to keep going, Fred led the field toward the bottom. Because we couldn't make it through the woods, we galloped back down the trail, across the field, around the pasture, through the rye field and into the woods, where we picked up the hounds. We then did a loop from the bottom around the pond and finally back to the fox ravine for a last sweep.

Fred declared that since it was Thanksgiving, we'd retire a little early so (in his words), "the women can cook and the men can watch the women cook." Let's hope Elaine puts him to work.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sunday, November 23 at Lennox Farm

The hunt started slowly, as two hours went by and the hounds had hardly made a noise. The deer hunters to whom we sub-lease the territory were riding around checking their stands, and it seemed that the extra activity would dampen our prospects.

Fred worked the hounds along the edge of a large field and the pack perked up as a few hounds began to speak. After a few minutes, more hounds joined in as the pack started to follow the line. The hounds ran past Chris M., Lloyd's whipper-in in training, and into the woods. Fred followed and he and Chris M. took off after the hounds as they ripped through the countryside.

After about 15 minutes, the hounds had made a large loop and Fred guessed it was a red fox. But this changed as their direction straightened and the pack moved off the farm. Fred and Chris followed for another 20 minutes, trying to get in front and stop the hounds, navigating a fallen timber moonscape and not knowing exactly where they were. They got within a few hundred yards, saw the pack running along a ridge and tried to blow the horn and shoot to get them to stop, but the hounds were locked on and kept going.

At about this time, the field, led by the other whipper-in Chris M., somehow caught up without a radio and the group tried to follow the hounds through the thick woods. It was getting dark and thankfully the hounds had slowed and we bumped right into them. The run had lasted at least an hour and Fred was convinced it had been a coyote.

We brought the hounds back and had all fifteen couple. Everyone went to Claude and Jan’s house afterward, where they had a great dinner prepared, taking the tailgate to another level.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

November 19, 2008 - Fuquay Farms

Today's hunt was fairly uneventful.  We put a fox to ground, but did not get on any long runs.  We had a large turnout for a Wednesday.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Hunt Night on November 14th Hosted by Red Mountain Hounds

Not rain or even ankle deep red mud could dampen the spirits of Sedgefield Hunt members Cindy Rice, Mary Marshall Fariss, Elizabeth Folk, Laura Folk and Rene’ Folk, who participated in Hunt Night hosted by the Red Mountain Hounds. We braided our horses under the barn shelter, watched a few of the AA jumping rounds, shopped a little, changed at the hotel then warmed up our horses in the indoor JB Hunt arena.

We enjoyed the friendly camaraderie amongst ourselves and with the other Hunt members. When it came time to show, the Sedgefield Hunt members were on task. Mary Marshall, Elizabeth and Laura competed in the Junior Flat Class and Mary Marshall and Elizabeth competed in the Junior Over Fences. Elizabeth won the flat class on her horse, Motown Mo, and Laura closely followed with a second on Cindy’s pony, Moo Cha Cha. Mary Marshall and her horse, Cee Cee Fariss, placed 4th in the jumping and Elizabeth placed 2nd which enabled her and Mo to take home the Champion of the Junior Division ribbon.

Cindy and Rene’ competed in the Ladies Flat and Rene’ competed in the Ladies Over Fences class. Cindy brought home a 5th on her hunt horse, Grayson, and Rene’ brought home a 4th on Supra Scarlett. Rene’ then won a 2nd in the Over Fences class which enabled her to take home the Reserve Champion in the Ladies Division ribbon.

After 5 minutes of debating, Mary Marshall, Rene’ and Elizabeth competed in the Trios over Fences. Talk about fun!!!! Our team placed 3rd even with Cee Cee bucking every now and then!

We were so glad Lore Fariss and Randy Jones were there to cheer us own and cluck when needed! Lore took lots of pictures and Randy posed with lots of ribbons! We all enjoyed the refreshments Red Mountain furnished while we were between classes. An absolute fun time on a rainy evening!

Monday, November 17, 2008

November 16, 2008 - Plainfield 1:30 p.m.

Hunting was slow; we sighted many deer and a few turkeys, but no luck finding a fox or coyote.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Opening Meet

This past Saturday, November 8, 2008, Sedgefield Hunt held the 2008- 2009 hunt season Opening Meet. Our Plainfield Hunt territory was beautifully decorated with elegant horses and the excited (somewhat awake) faces of their riders. At 8:30 a.m., riders gathered for the stirrup cup and Blessing of the Hounds.

At 9:00 a.m. the SH Foxhounds and Huntsman/Joint Master of Foxhounds, Fred, moved off with the “go ahead” from Joint Masters Martin and Richard. First Flight followed, led by Field Master Kit and Hilltopers led by Field Master Paula. Fred hacked the 11 ½ couple hounds to the first covert, across the field.

The day (sunny and warm, making for pretty pictures, but not excellent scenting conditions) was going slow and blank. As we started up the power line, a couple hours after moving off, a foot follower, Frank, standing up the power line called down that several deer had just crossed the power line above us. Our hounds walked on, right over the hot deer line; yes, we do have an awesome pack of Penn-Marydels!

After coming up the power line, we moved back across Plainfield Road by the Thanksgiving Coop and the hounds lit up! Photographer led the pack down the field, and into the woods as Fred blew “Gone Away.” The pack ran in full cry with all in until they finally stopped in a patch of woods, where they put a grey to ground.

We went on in search of a coyote willing to give us another good run. Walking along the bottom of a small, tall grass patch off the gas line, Kit and Paula instructed their field members to go “Tall Grass Hunting.” In military style, everyone turned where they were, side by side, and moved across the field. We stirred up a deer, but were unable to find our coyote. After another half hour we headed in.

With the hounds put away, horses untacked, and people ready to eat and drink, everyone gathered at the tents for the Masters' Breakfast. We had a wonderful meal, in great company. Awards were given and colors were awarded to Ben, Kaitlyn, and Elizabeth F.