Richard Gurney: Sharing is the way forward *H&H VIP*


  • With the season now over, our thoughts turned to our first point-to-point and then quickly to a date that is fast becoming not only an important fundraiser, but also the best fun.

    The hunt scurry is a joint venture between the Old Surrey Burstow and West Kent (OSB&WK) and the Crawley and Horsham, held at Stone Hall, West Sussex, courtesy of the Greenwood and Martin families. The event, while in its infancy, has a unique atmosphere and everyone involved is there to have fun, celebrate the end of the season and, in some cases, have one last jolly before their horses are put out to grass.

    The importance of teamwork

    The component that makes this event so special is teamwork. Andrew Coveney is a retired master (OSB&WK) and, for as long as I can remember, he has been clerk of the course for both our point-to-points. He excelled himself this year by building a terrific course — fair, with very inviting fences.

    Andrew’s wife Fiona was in charge of entries and admin, and on the day knew the 60-odd entries by name. Just as on a day’s hunting, the field was from a diverse cross-section of society — adults, children, old jockeys, young jockeys, subscribers, local equestrians, enthusiasts and a brace of Ladies.

    Fiona finished fifth in the novice class before making sure the open went without a hitch — it did and was won by 16-year-old Michael Roberts. What a ride he gave his willing companion; we will all be hearing of him again.

    My daughter Issy rode my hunter Murphy and, as any parent knows, watching one’s children compete is never relaxing. In fact it is a pastime that should only be taken with copious amounts of gin and tonic surrounded by friends reassuring you that all is well. Issy finished 10th in the novice and all was indeed well.

    Arty Martin is secretary of the Crawley and Horsham and sets the day up with Andrew. Our relentless fundraising arm, the Jorrocks Hunt Club, caters for the day with a stocked bar and delicious burgers and hot dogs, which were enjoyed by the massive crowd all day.

    The commentator, Jamie Hawksfield, is a retired master of the Crawley and Horsham and he gave an excellent and very funny commentary for a man who is usually so shy and reserved. He was supported by Phil Hall, master of the Mid Surrey Farmers’ Draghounds.

    I will have missed someone out and I’m afraid I didn’t take down a note of all the winners, but it wasn’t about that so much. It was about a great team effort, sharing a super-successful event with our neighbouring pack and creating an atmosphere that said to me, “We are in a good place and the future looks bright.”

    Judging commitments

    Puppy shows are not far away and I am looking forward to judging at two; it was huge honour to be asked to judge at Honiton this year with Andrew Osborne from the Cottesmore. Thankfully he is my senior, so I will take his lead.

    Having said I would do it, I am now spending far too much time worrying about it. If you see me this summer, please do not hesitate to come over and offer me suggestions on how I may raise my game by August.

    Ref Horse & Hound; 4 April 2019