April 24, 2018
Oak Grove Hunt Opening Meet
Oak Grove Hunt Club held its Opening Meet and Blessing of the Hounds on October 29, 2016 at Lodge Farm, Holly Springs, MS, home of Dr. Shannon and Amanda McGee. Amanda is Jt. Master and Huntsman for Oak Grove.
October is normally a cooler month, but this day very hot and dry. It had not rained for two weeks and a record temperature was set at 85⁰F. Obviously these were not good scenting conditions for hounds to find a fox or coyote, and it was hot for riders to wear coats. It is said in the mid-south that horses, sweat, gentlemen perspire and ladies glow. As there was plenty of heat to generate all three, the Masters of Oak Grove opted to allow riders to hunt in shirtsleeves. None the less horses were groomed and braded and riders were decked out in traditional formal hunt attire – at least for the Blessing.
Holding to tradition, the Reverend Dr. Paul Criss of the New Salem Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Lakeland, Tennessee officiated the blessing. Tommy Brannon, MFH told the riders and spectators about the legend of St. Hubert, the patron saint of hunters and fisherman, and St. Hubert medals were bestowed on the riders.
Spectators were transported on Tally Ho wagons to a covert on the McGee’s farm where the hounds were cast. The coverts were thick with vegetation still leafed out, but there several trails had been mowed in the tall grass and horses had no problem getting through. Scent was non-existent, however, and understandably, so was the run.
The hunt finished at Oak Grove’s new kennel, where hounds were put away for the day. A bonus for the hounds was that there were several children on the hunt and Amanda encouraged them to dismount, go in the kennel and pet the hounds. There was a whole lot of waging going on! Afterwards, riders and spectators retired to the McGee’s home for food, drink and live music from the front porch.
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