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Boxing Day Foxhunts


A Junior rider named Carolyn

L to R: Lauren Graves age 11, Sophie Brown age 17, & Allison Graves age 13

Little girl on leadline is 5-year-old Tinsley Saunders, on her pony Riot, who is listening intensely for the hounds! Pictured with trainer/Huntsman’s wife Casey Balloch-Johnsey

Little girl driving pony is Zsa Zsa Beauchene (5yrs old) driving her welsh pony Cruze with grandfather Frank Niceley and brother Skyler Beauchene.

A group shot of riders and the pony driving
By Tommy Brannon, MFH

Boxing Day is a very important holiday in England. It takes place on December 26, the day after Christmas. Traditionally, Boxing Day was when the upper classes gave gifts to the merchants, mongers and delivery people who supplied all of the groceries and goods needed to keep a large manor house running throughout the year. These gifts were “boxed” up and left for the delivery boy or at the grocers shop. Think Downton Abby.  

There is also another tradition on Boxing Day: foxhunting. This hunt usually has the largest turn out of riders in the season. There is traditionally a large turnout of foot followers for the hunt, too. Many children are introduced to their first hunt, often on a new pony on Boxing Day.

Here in the Mid-South, several foxhunting packs have taken up the old English tradition of a Boxing Day hunt and introducing children to their first foxhunt. Pony Clubs and young riders joined several hunts on December 26, 2016.

Unfortunately for the hunting side of things, December 26 was unseasonably warm throughout the mid-south, with temperatures reaching in the 70’s. This does not make for good scenting. Hot air rises, and the coyote and fox scents lift above the hounds’ heads. They just can’t smell the quarry! The warm temperatures, however, made for a comfortable, fun day to ride. Mounted children, and their parents following, could enjoy a great day outdoors and be introduced to the fun of their first day at the hunt.

Longreen Foxhounds and Oak Grove Hunt Club, both hunting in Mississippi, had blank scenting.

Tennessee Valley Hunt hosted a Boxing Day Junior Hunt on Monday, December 26. Participating in the hunt were nine junior riders and two junior drivers sharing their pony. The hunt was held at the Riverplains Farm near Strawberry Plains, Tennessee, owned by Frank & Cyndie Niceley.

Photos by Rachel Niceley of the Tennessee Valley Junior Hunt on Boxing Day.

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