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Hillsboro Hounds Opening Meet


Photos by Lynne Thompson

By Dana N. Burke, Honorary Secretary

The Hillsboro Hounds Hunt Club celebrated its 88th Opening Hunt on Saturday October 31, 2020.  The ladies of Hillsboro Hounds, chaired by Nina Lindley, went all out decorating the “For Your Horses” wagon with mums, pumpkins, corn stalks, straw bales, apples, and carrots. There were, indeed, many treats for both humans and horses!  

Smartly turned out riders and horses looked on as Tom Warriner gave Hillsboro’s English and American-cross Foxhounds the Blessing of the Hounds. After the traditional Stirrup Cup and blessing, Huntsman Johnnie Gray set out to hunt the hounds through the beautiful countryside in gorgeous fall weather. The riders were so happy to participate in this “socially distanced” sport.

After the end of the Hunt a COVID-friendly luncheon was served consisting of delicious catered boxed lunches and desserts, along with liquid refreshments served in bottles or cans. It was a festive picnic atmosphere with children running and playing and members enjoying the gorgeous day in an outdoor open space.  

Everyone received an amazing party package to commemorate the day, filled with a Hillsboro Hounds monogrammed insolated mug, face mask and waxed cap, all in an insulated lunch bag with a St. Hubert Medal, along with a copy of Henry Hooker’s book  Fox, Fin, & Feather.  The official opening of the season inspired everyone to anticipate another great year of sport.  

By Leilani Gray, Kennel Huntsman
It was an absolutely gorgeous day for Hillsboro Hounds’ Opening Hunt. The day started with a light frost and a mostly clear sky, quickly warming to 60 degrees by noon.  Master Orrin Ingram welcomed the 58 riders, including four staff and 54 followers, to Briar Patch Farm on Blue Creek Rd. near Lynnville, Tenn.

Huntsman Johnny Gray brought out 22 couple of hounds for the formal Blessing of the Hounds.  

After Gray cast the pack at the first covert, hounds cold trailed a line for about 20 minutes in the first hour. Members had a fast run near the end of the day, but hounds were checked when the coyote left the territory.  During the three-hour hunt, hounds and staff covered 14.9 miles.

After the hunt, all returned to Briar Patch Farm for a lovely box lunch and social distancing.

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