It was bag-packing time for some last week as they headed to their new positions in hunting. By now, the new staff will have met their hounds and started the huge task of getting to know the new country and people. Both the hunts and the new staff will need time to settle in.
Too many people try and change things too quickly. Everyone wants to make his or her own mark on a hunt country, but just remember that the hunt has been there long before you. Your job is to maintain it as best you can and hand it over in as good a position — or hopefully better — than you found it.
Masters and staff need to establish a good working relationship and help each other to solve the problems ahead. This takes communication from both sides. These are not easy times for hunting; a lack of young people coming through has led to staffing issues for some hunts. This means that we all need to take responsibility for looking after and nurturing those who wish to dedicate their lives to hunting.
‘He will be missed’
Recently Heythropia was rocked by the death of long-term master and field master Richard Sumner. Richard had devoted his life to hunting and the Heythrop. He provided a top-class ride for those brave enough to follow him across the country and bred a fine pack of hounds, both in the hunting field and on the flags.
There was not an inch of the country that he didn’t know. He knew who owned it, who used to own it and, of course, how good it had been in the past. He would often ring saying, ‘I’ve just driven past… and the gate needs cutting out,’ or, ‘The rail needs replacing.’
He loved to come and see the young hounds in the summer and never missed an opportunity to view as many as he could before all the shows started. Judges were analysed as much as the hounds at the hound shows. Richard was a good judge of a hound and, of course, a horse; balance and movement were what he was looking for.
Richard will be hugely missed, not only in the Heythrop country but in the hunting world as a whole.
Buying and selling
Changing the hunt vehicles is not always an easy task. Much as they may have been looked after, they are not always in showroom condition after a life removing fallen stock from farms or bouncing across fields fixing fences. As a result, they are often hard to value.
Well, as I have discovered, the solution is easy — a company called WeBuyAnyCar. Do they really buy any car, regardless of mileage and condition? The answer is yes. You heard it here first.
Hounds on show
The first hound and puppy shows are not far away and the young hounds will be on parade for masters and hunt staff to cast their expert eyes over. They will grow and develop fast with hound exercise. The ugly duckling will turn into a swan and the swan can often turn into the ugly duckling!
With the beauty parades of the summer to look forward to, it won’t be long before the real test starts and hunting commences once again.
Ref Horse & Hound; 2 May 2019