Kitchenham Farm, Ashburnham
They say 'never take your hounds out on a wet & windy day' but the weather did not slow the down at all, & from the very first field they were laid on into they hunted at top speed all day.
It was damp & cold waiting for Adrian & Andy to run, but well worth it once the hounds started hunting. At Windmill Hill our resident QC's horse decided to roll under him, as it collapsed he cried out ' please do'nt tell Jane'. Roger replied 'you'er amongst friends, don't worry'. It was a good fun day in spite of the weather.
Sussex Oak, Blackham
A large field gathered at Blackham ready to tackle the ever popular hedges. The ground is getting slightly on the firm side and we could do with some rain. As usual this popular walking area caused a few minor problems as did the numerous deer which seemed to frequent the area. The hedges took some jumping and there were several empty seats.
Sam was suffering from a hangover and lack of sleep and gave up her ride to Andy who was foot following today. Gundrada who was trying a new horse, offered him her hat and breeches, he accepted the hat but declined her breeches. After five hunts we returned to a traditional tea Indian style !
It was a cold day with the frost coming out of the ground & it soon became apparent although able to hunt 30 minutes behind the quarry, the lack of scent meant that where the numerous walkers crossed the quarry's line it was too much of a temptation for the hounds.
Jenny Robert's horse slipped up on the side of the Long Man and Andy for the second week running fell with the honour of being the first person to do so at Virgins Leap. The best hunt of the day was the last, once we got away from all the walkers the hounds settled & hunted really well.
Bill remounting after a very long walk!
It was an interesting day, the huntsman for a change had to work hard and Bill had his work cut out bringing hounds on on his feet. We all warmed up on Whizz's super stew.
The jump building team consisting of Roger, Nic, Paul, Andy and Carol built and mended more jumps than they care to remember but what a day it made ! After an excellent meet given by our generous hosts Claire & Edward Barham it was good to have Claire riding with us all day at the front of the field. There was a cold wind & the odd shower, the hounds were in great form, Andy & Chris, our quarry sprinted their way round, only getting lost once. The fences took their toll with Andy getting a nasty kick in the face, and even Nic ended up with a dirty coat!
The double of hedges sorted out those who were in control of their horses .The day was spent trying to keep in touch with the hounds & survive all the fences .
A large number of riders assembled at Stidolphs for a long days hunting. There were numerous empty saddles including Caroline Owen once again, my goodness her horse does go well without her. Linda lost another shoe & poor DAVID had to go home !!!
It was a cold day, the hounds were on top form, the Quarry Chris and Andy didn't keep us hanging around and ran the vast distances on the North Downs faster than they have ever had to before. As usual the hunt round the Park was as good as you could ask for.
Outside the Ringlestone inn the hounds chatting up the footfollowers whilst Nic receives his instructions from gamekeeper Jeff.
Hounds take some refreshment before trying to pinch the ballcock
Following a day of torrential rain & gales we were blessed with fine weather, a brisk breeze & excellent going for our day on the cliffs above Beachy Head. This year we hunted in the reverse way round to other years to make life easier for the quarry who are still moaning about the "ups" on the Downs.
This worked well to start with with the hounds ignoring the numerous walkers we always have in this area. The second hunt started behind the hotel on the open downland, with a long gallop down hill the hounds & horses flew at top speed heading perilously close to the cliffs where the rescue services were retrieving a body of a jumper.
With most horses nearly out of control it was time to hope the tack did not break. Right on cue the hounds turned inland and up hill and allowed everyone to take a pull. We finished the day back at Cornish Farm where during tea we were able to admire John Hobdens smart ponies.
Out watching was Jeremy Whaley, joint Master & Huntsman of the Borders Bloodhounds, who had brought his son Henry along to see what a proper pack of Bloodhounds looked & worked like.
For the first time in living memory the sun shone for the Hever meet. Conspicuous by his absence at the meet was joint Master Nigel Dean who has sadly badly damaged his knee whilst skiing and will be unable to ride for the rest of the season. As usual with this meet there was loads of jumping for the field, hounds flew especially on the third hunt of five, around the woods making it difficult to stay with them. David Thompson's horse lost yet another shoe & did not complete the day again, whilst Linda looked magnificent in her new hunt coat. Eminent Veterinary Surgeon Howard Newitt fell off his event horse when it turned sharp left & he didn't, & was nearly trodden further into the mud by his partner Lindsey who was following just behind.
The forecast was not good but when we arrived the weather was fine and despite the overnight rain the going was fine. Chris was our only quarry and the hounds hunted him extremely well which included hunting through a party of walkers who happened to be standing on the line where it crossed a footpath.
A large drop hedge was only jumped by Huntsman Nic, Whippers-in Alex & Bill, Fieldmaster Nigel & Chairman James. An excellent varied day with good views to Londons Docklands.
We were extremely lucky to have good weather as the day before was thick mist and the day after was wet and windy and the downs would have been unhuntable. The going was perfect for the horses and the hounds who flew up and down the hills but for the quarry is was a very hard day as they still maintain there were more ups than downs.