A horse and foxhound with a combined age of 44 who hunted alongside each other for many seasons are now enjoying their twilight years in retirement together.
Foxhound Factor, 14, and hunter Mickey, 30, who both belonged to the Albrighton & Woodland, are now living out their days in happy retirement with the Robbins family.
“We walked Factor as a puppy,” Kay Robbins told H&H. “He came to us when he was about eight weeks old with a bitch and they were the first hound puppies we had.
“We would follow on foot and Factor would spot us and immediately move to the outside of the pack to come and say hello.”
Factor trail-hunted for seven seasons and in 2012 had surgery to remove part of his stern [tail], returning to the Robbins family for some R&R after his operation.
“He came to stay with us and the intention was that he was going back to kennels, so we tried to keep him that way,” she said, adding that Factor had other ideas.
In 2013, the Albrighton Woodland amalgamated with the Albrighton and Factor was drafted to the Curre & Llangibby, where he was due to be reunited with previous master and breeder, Peter Swann MFH.
As he was then seven and had started to slow down a little, it was decided that he could retire to live with the Robbins family.
“He settled into a pet’s life quite easily to be honest!” she laughed, adding he is “brilliant with the grandchildren” and would even share the cat’s feed dish.
“He very quickly adjusted to being a pet and seemed to like his new life and all his new canine friends that he met on his walks.”
Both Mickey and Factor spent many days on the hunting field together and parading hounds at shows.
“Mickey was Peter’s horse when he was with the Garth and South Bucks [which has since formed part of the Kimblewick] and brought Mickey with him when he joined the Albrighton & Woodland,” said Mrs Robbins.
“But he injured his back, so it was decided he needed an easier life.”
Once his back had recovered, he was offered to the Robbins’s on loan aged 17 and he continued to enjoy hunting in the field and did some days whipping-in with Mrs Robbins’ daughter, Ashleigh Robbins.
“He was quirky — a proper flight animal — but over the years he has mellowed so much,” she said.
“He is 30 now and very happy in his field. He’s so lovely and always happy to see people, he will come up and put his nose on my shoulder. He doesn’t like being on his own, so he has a 10.2hh Welsh section A companion called Blue, who he absolutely adores.”
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