Oak Grove Opening Meet
Oak Grove Hunt Club held its 71st Opening Meet and Blessing of the Hounds on November 16, 2019 at Dr. Shannon and Amanda McGee’s Lodge Farm in Hudsonville, Mississippi, just north of Holly Springs. Amanda is Huntsman and Jt. Master of Oak Grove Hunt Club.
The weather was perfect for a fall day with blue skies and temperatures in the low 50s. Members and guests were warmed the traditional Stirrup Cup, which is the secret recipe of Foxy Walker who has provided the mixture for the past 45 Opening Meets. Foxy and her late husband Harold Walker, along with their children, foxhunted with Oak Grove for many years.
The Blessing of the Hounds was performed by Rev. Paul Criss of the New Salem Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Lakeland, Tennessee. Riders were given St. Hubert Medals as part of the ceremony to wear around their necks during the hunt. St Hubert was the patron Saint of Hunters and fisherman.
St. Hubert (658 - 727AD) lived in the Ardennes region of what is now Belgium and was an avid hunter. Legend has it that he was out hunting on a Good Friday morning when he should have been in church and he saw a vision of a cross between the antlers of a magnificent stag that he was stalking. He took this to be a sign from God to dedicate his life to God, which he did, giving all of his possessions to the poor and eventually becoming the Bishop of Liege. He did not completely give up his sport though, but continued to enjoy God’s creation throughout his life.
The day’s hunt was fun for all of the riders, plus the spectators who rode on the Tally Ho Hay wagons. A new opening had been made in the fence to the west of the McGee’s front pasture to access land that Oak Grove had only hunted once before a few years back. The land owner and farm manager of this territory joined the hunt on horseback and his knowledge of the terrain was invaluable! This farm land in the rolling Mississippi hill country consists of no till row crop interspersed with wooded areas where coyote, bobcat, and fox live. Care was taken by the riders to stay on the tractor roads and the paths in the woods. This was not a problem because the trails were abundant and the trees had already shed their leaves. The beauty of the fields and forest would be something that St. Hubert would have appreciated!
After the foxhunt, the traditional Hunt Breakfast was served on the grounds of the McGee’s home, high on a hill overlooking the territory.
Oak Grove Hunt Club was founded 1946 and hunts in north Mississippi and west Tennessee, October through March. Guests are welcome with permission. Contact Amanda McGee, MFH at: 901-606-2119.
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