February 22, 2019
Chula Homa Hunt Opening Meet
The Chula Homa Hunt hosted its thirty-sixth annual Opening Meet and Blessing of the Hounds at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Jim Crews, Tilda Bogue,on November 10, 2018at Canton, Mississippi. Riders and spectators from Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee, Alabama, and Louisiana braved the first real cold weather and super slippery mud to attend, making it the largest mounted fox hunting event in central Mississippi.
Janice Clemons and Allison Crews co-chairedthis event. Hunt festivities began with a catered breakfast and silent auction. Masters and staff then gathered the hounds for the blessing and stirrup cup. Father Kevin Slattery, Vicar General of the Catholic Diocese of Jackson, Mississippi,officiated the Blessing. After the Blessing, the hounds were cast. Once the hounds were cast, spectatorsfollowed on specially designated tally-ho wagons to experience the hunt.
“The hounds ran coyote all day. We were out from 11:00 until 11:45, when we had checkpoint; and then from 12:30 until 2:30 p.m. What a great day!” said Allison Crews.
Foxhunting has existed in North America since Colonial days and was enjoyed extensively by night hunters, farmers, and landed gentry. The earliest record of imported hounds was on June 30, 1650, when Robert Brooke arrived in Maryland with his family and pack. By the early 1700's, foxhunting was increasing rapidly.
The earliest surviving record of American foxhunting in the modern manner is for the pack instituted by Thomas, Sixth Lord Fairfax in 1747 in northern Virginia. Much of what is recorded about early hunting comes from letters written by Lord Fairfax and the diaries of George Washington. Washington was an ardent foxhunter who owned his own pack of hounds, and hisdiaries are laced with frequent references to foxhunts. On one occasion while Congress was in session, hounds ran near the Capitol. Many congressmen ran outside to watch hounds and some jumped on their horses and joined the chase.
North American foxhunting has evolved its own distinct flavor, which is noticeably different from the British. North American foxhunting emphasizes the chase rather than the kill. Also, hounds predominately hunt coyote rather than foxes. The larger coyote usually provides longer and faster runs than foxes.
Every hunt has two seasons - cub hunting when young hounds are introduced into the pack and the formal season. Opening Meet signals the beginning of the formal season.
When the formal season opens, formal attire is required.Black leather boots, breeches, heavy or light hunting coat, a shirt with a stock tie,and a protective helmetare essential. Masters and the staff, i.e., huntsman and whippers-in, wearthe huntlivery on red [Pinque]coats with white breeches and black boots with tan leather tops. Members wear black coats, buff breeches, and black boots. Some ladies add to the elegance and ride sidesaddle. Mississippi’s Chula Homa Hunt has several members who ride aside, and this year, five rode to hounds aside.
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