Part 19: Fox Hunt Training


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The Trip

We had a great night at the Smith Farm and next morning we were invited to ride along on a fox hunt training ride.  The Smith's have run foxes with their hounds for years and they were hosting a ride at their farm for the hunt club members.

The Photos

The photos below are what we saw.

A large tractor was plowing old corn stocks into the soil.

This mare knows that some sweet feed is in her future if she comes to the sound of the feed bucket.  She is trotting at a pretty good clip to get to the feed.

As the horses were being prepared for the hunt, Kathleen gets a chance to run Gail's track-steer tractor with mower deck.  A girl's work is never done.

Hunt club members started showing up with their trailers.

The mounts were in great shape.  Club members ride English rather than western.

I think the horses look forward to the excitement of the hunt.

Kathleen finished the mowing and thought the track-steer was fun.

More well-muscled mounts.

Mark prepares his mount.

The group heads toward the hunting area.

"Let loose the hounds..."  Key hounds in the pack have radio receivers and geo-locator beacons.  The whip antennas are visible.

The club had to change their hunt strategy due to the tractor actively plowing.

The farm's fields sit atop an abandoned coal mine.  The pipe above was a ventilation shaft that has turned into an artesian spring due to hydrostatic pressure.

The hounds stay close to their master until the scent is found.  When on-scent, the hounds lead.

Mark was both the hunt master and the host for the day.  The numbers on the dog's flanks were left over from a trials session for the hounds some days earlier.

The group heads through the brush to see if they can pick up a scent.  We heard coyotes the night before, but they were nowhere to be found in the daylight.

On the far side of the huge field we hit a rural road.

Corn is the primary crop and it grows "as high as an elephant's eye".

The group emerged from the brush onto the road.

Mark led the group down an old railroad grade.  The dogs have self-separated into the fast group and the slow group.

The slow hounds finally arrive.

We sped in front of the group with our "mule" so we could get a shot of them approaching.  Jumps were set up along the railway grade to give the horses practice.

The balance of the group bring up the rear.

A full loop of the area was completed and the group headed back to the staging area.

A shot of some of the equipment used to service the farm.

We had a great time on the hunt, even if no scent was detected.  Many thanks to Mark and Gail for allowing us to join them on the hunt.

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Photos and Text Copyright Bill Caid 2017, all rights reserved.
For your enjoyment only, not for commercial use.