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Boxing Day 2020
Everyone is familiar with the Christmas Carol “Good King Wenceslas,” whose lyrics refer to the Feast of Stephen. St. Stephen’s Day, December 26, is a traditional day for fox hunting and horse racing, as he is the patron saint of horses.
In Great Britain, December 26 is also known as Boxing Day. In England’s aristocratic past, this was the day that tradesmen such as butchers and bakers received gift boxes from the “Lord of the Manor.” While today’s world is more egalitarian, Boxing Day is still a traditional day to go fox hunting on both sides of “the pond.”
Although there is never a guarantee of a great hunt on any particular day, every foxhunter loves a day of riding and sport on Boxing Day. They also get to show off those new boots, flask, or bridle that they got for Christmas.
Following are reports of some of the 2020 Boxing Day hunts in the Mid-South
The fixture for Longreen Foxhounds Boxing Day hunt was Millseed Lake in the Arkansas Delta across the Mississippi River and southwest of Memphis. This is very flat terrain with mostly row crop fields, crisscrossed by drainage ditches that are too deep and steep to ford and too wide to jump. Fortunately, there are a lot culverts in the ditches, some wide enough for tractors, but most so narrow that horses have to cross in single file. One rider commented about one narrow partially washed out culvert: “I’d cross that one only when the adrenalin is up!”
Huntsman’s report from Susan Walker, MFH:
It was an awesome day, with several coyotes viewed. We had ten couple (20 hounds) out for the day’s hunt, which was a first time hunt for young hounds Uhoo, Ubetcha, and Uhoh. This was also her first hunt wearing scarlet for newly minted Jr. Whip, Caroline Dulaney.
The hounds worked hard in ditches and along Millseed Lake, since the winds were quite chilly, out of SSW at 11-15mph. In an open field, such winds can blow the scent completely away. Before long, the pack swept out into the open and kept picking up bits and pieces of scent. Finally, when one coyote ran out of the cover and streaked north, the fast galloping commenced. He was viewed almost the whole gallop! The GPS collars revealed that the hounds had gone 16-20 miles.
After such a run, I picked up the hounds on the Crooked Bayou, almost to Hwy 38. Eight couple were on, while two couple were thrown out of the run and went in with the field.
The staff provided great help for the hounds. Awesome day!
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