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Mells Fox Hounds: Boxing Day Hunt


Olivia Davidson Cedar Knob Pony Clubber and Alice Rolli Graduate Pony Clubber (photo by Jill Wallace)

By Boo Shepard Montgomery

The highlights of our Boxing Day Hunt, on Saturday December 26, 2020, were the intrepid juniors from two pony clubs who came out and persevered all morning, in spite of very cold and windy conditions.  We had a handful of riders from each of our two local Pony Clubs: Cedar Hills Pony Club, organized and wrangled by the able Barbara Holt, a longtime member of Mells Fox Hounds, and Russlyn Kimbrough; and the Cedar Knob Pony Club, organized by Jill Wallace. 

We started the hunt in our Round Top Country on the southwest side of State Route 166, where we drew blank.  After briefly gathering hounds, we crossed back across Hwy. 166 to the northeast side and Huntsman Charles Montgomery, MFH drew the north side of Cooper’s Valley to Knubbin Ridge Rd. At Knubbin, we crossed over into the North Woods, where hounds were able to draw in the covert out of the substantial wind. They hit a line between the Wilderness Trail and Tent People, but couldn’t hold the line.

We then crossed back over Knubbin Ridge Rd. and drew the Valley Behind the Show Barn, where hounds hit a line at Cow Coop and carried it to the Ridge between the Valley Behind the Show Barn and the Valley Behind the Cabin. But, again, they were unable to hold it and take it farther.

At that point we started to draw back toward the meet. With challenging scenting conditions of frozen ground, wind, and rapidly rising temperatures - from frigid to cold - all 15½ couple of hounds were on, our juniors were still out with us, and so we gathered hounds and went in. 

The Hunt was followed by a delicious breakfast at the Haggard’s Cabin, hosted by Kathy and Bill Haggard, MFH.  
Clare Pinney, Professional Whipper-In, gave us and the Juniors a brief history of the tradition of Boxing Day. She explained that this British custom goes back to the days of the Edwardian Manors, where the service staff and tenant farmers were required to work on Christmas Day, either tending to their farms, or serving the family in the manor homes. In recognition of their efforts, the ladies of the Manors would box up the food and trimmings from their Christmas celebration and take it to the service staff in order for them to have food and a holiday celebration of their own, in recognition of the work they had done for the families throughout the year.

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