With the hunting season now in full swing, the armchair foxhunter no longer needs to get his pleasures vicariously. But after those mornings when perhaps hounds do not speak to the line and the art of venery is mourned with a deeper pang, this book will lift the spirits.
With pictures by Horse & Hound’s photographer Trevor Meeks, accompanied by commentary from the magazine’s former acting editor Kate Green, this celebration of the chase recalls happier times before Blair’s ban-everything government forced through the iniquitous Act.
As H&H’s hunting columnist Nigel Peel says in his foreword, Trevor’s “photographic art” conjures all the changing seasons of the hunting field, from the rich hues of the autumn mornings to the frozen snowscape of deepest winter and the ceremony of the summer hound shows.
Names that reverberate across the seasons are here, too — among them legendary Fernie huntsman Bruce Durno with hounds on summer exercise; crack horseman David Barker with the Meynell and South Staffs; Bernard Parker, one of the longest-serving huntsmen of the 20th century with the Mid Devon, and the late Captain Charles Barclay, master and huntsman of the Puckeridge for 45 years.
The book also explores the “social tapestry” of the chase, and the point-to-point, with which it is inextricably linked; the thrills and spills of hunting in Ireland, and the “invisible thread” between huntsman and hound.
Sadly, any book on hunting now would not be complete without some reference to the countryside marches, and the thronged masses at the Liberty & Livelihood March serve as a reminder that we must keep fighting.