Chasing Tail – Why Fox Hunting is the hottest extreme sport you’ve never seen, let alone tried (or just A Perverts Guide to Foxhunting…)

Chasing Tail – Why Fox Hunting is the hottest extreme sport you’ve never seen, let alone tried.

Who doesn’t like the thrill of the chase? How about a sport that is hundreds of years old, involves a private club, speed, thrills, horses, hounds and the rugged outdoors? What if it involved lots of ladies in tight pants straddling horses, spurs, whips, alcohol and getting to say “bitch” as much as you like? Mounting regularly? Breeding? How about offering the lady of your choice the chance to wrap her lips around your flask in public? Thinking you will surely die, yet living to tell about it? Who wouldn’t like this sport?

Guess what? Our ancestors were on to something. They may not have had Xbox but they did have the hunt box. They practiced the extreme sport of foxhunting – formal, expensive, dangerous and an incredible amount of fun. Traditionally a very private and exclusive sport, fox hunting has been made rarer over time by urbanization. While it may be difficult to pursue country sport in the city, fox hunting continues today -even just outside most of our major cities. Today, fox hunting is also much more egalitarian and truly more about chasing rather than harming fox these days. If you enjoy risk, danger, adventure and nature, and have a desire to party like your ancestors, fox hunting might be the sport for you.

THE GENERAL IDEA – PURSUIT OF A FOX

Ever had your dog chase a squirrel? Chances are there is a lot of chasing and not much catching. Fox hunting is like that. A pack of hounds (not dogs), Foxhounds, bred for hundreds of years to follow the scent of fox, are taken out loose to “find” the scent. Once found, the hounds follow it wherever it leads. Hunt participants follow the hounds on horseback, wherever they go, at whatever speed they go, over whatever terrain or obstacles they happen to meet.

As fox hunting is usually a fall and winter early morning sport, alcohol is allowed and helps to keep the participant warm, numb the pain of waking early and give them the “balls” to follow the hunt. This is the same principle you find when skiing where bars are located conveniently on the slopes. Traditionally, hunts begin with meets (where people meet, eat, mount their horses and have some alcoholic beverages). Much sport/comedy usually ensues. Like a video game, there are all sorts of special rules, language and “levels” of participation during the hunt. Unlike a video game, you will be given all of the secrets and codes before play begins. Also unlike a video game, any blood will likely be real.

After defying death by riding a horse at speed following hounds for a while, most hunts conclude with a lot more food and a lot more alcohol at a luncheon. At a luncheon one has the opportunity to exaggerate prowess, show off a fresh injury, discuss breeding and compare the bodies of the bitches at the hunt that day. Unlike Vegas, what happens in the hunt field makes excellent gossip and entertainment. Fox hunts do traditionally have black tie hunt balls and other non-riding events. Fox hunts also often have many non- riding members as well. This is good news because if you find that you absolutely, positively can not ride a horse well enough (blind, missing limbs, broke or just lazy, etc), you can still participate as a “social member” or a “hilltopper”. A “hilltopper” follows the hunt by means other than a horse which can mean follow in a warm car with a buddy and the cooler. It is truly an ADA friendly sport. Trust me. You have no idea how much fun following hounds chasing a scent can be until you have tried it.

THE PARTNER WHO WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE OR PERHAPS END IT

There is the whole horse back riding part of fox hunting. Ideally, you will learn to ride a horse before fox hunting. Fortunately, there are many attractive young horse riding instructors around who can help with your hands, seat and position as you learn to mount and ride proficiently. Riding lessons are expensive and you will pay by the hour. Hopefully you will learn good rhythm, balance and stamina and will make a good impression when you fox hunt. If for some reason you lack these gifts, do not worry or let that discourage you. Many people ride regardless of skill and we are grateful for they are the source of free entertainment.

You will need a horse to ride. You do not want one that will bust your balls all the time. You should have fun riding it and it shouldn’t hurt when you do. Ideally you will find that perfect horse to ride – the one that jumps anything in its way, carries you through creeks and up dangerous banks with ease. Less ideally you will find a horse that bucks you off, rears, bites, kicks and falls down frequently. The former will become a true companion in life; the latter can help you to end your life. Whatever horse you do choose to ride will need to follow some rules. Rules like “never ever under any circumstances kick a hound” and “do not run over the horse in front of you”. Horses that follow rules and take good care of their riders are partners worth their weight in gold. Unlike women, they do not expect jewelry if ridden frequently.

Horse shopping is a lot of fun. Hopefully you will take a horse trainer with you, to help you shop. Shopping is much more fun and successful when money is no object. Ideally you can purchase a “made” horse. Another option is a “green” horse. “Green” does not refer to color or to the amount of cash needed to procure it. “Green” is a term to describe a horse who is basically an undrafted rookie. Good luck shopping. Remember that whether you purchase a thoroughbred ex-racehorse or a horse that is like a large lumbering sofa with ears, there will still be a place for you in a hunt. It is a matter of personal taste. Finding the right horse is like finding any other perfect partner. Hopefully your horse will be attractive, athletic and generous. Such a horse will literally save your ass and show you a good time without embarrassing you in public.

UNIFORM AND SPECIALIZED EQUIPMENT

Fox hunting does have a required uniform which to the uninitiated may seem odd. The uniform has been tested over the centuries – literally. This is the fun and kinky part. You are required to have tall black leather boots and a long stock tie. Whips are optional. Here is a brief list of common hunting uniform components and their purposes:

Helmet – Tree branch! Rock! Drooling in a wheelchair prevention! (Secret status indicator section)
Wool vest – warmth wet or dry, hides contraband
Wool Coat – Vital warmth wet or dry, identifies sex and status at distance
Boots – Thorns!, water!, SHIT(horse, hound and holy)!
Stock Tie – Emergency bandage (The blood is real),(shit)
Stock Pin – Secure the tie, hold the bandage on,(shit)
Gloves – Vital grip, warmth, prevents blisters from braking hard

Fox hunting also requires specialized equipment to allow you to ride the horse. A saddle, bridle, martingales, pads, and combat worthy protective leg boots all are used to outfit your horse. Importantly, there are other gadgets available to attach to the saddle including wire cutters, sandwich cases (who doesn’t get hungry?), and the all important FLASK because you may indeed want a drink while you are out there. Usually there are at least two whips, wire cutters and very often one handgun in the hunt field (I told you this could get exciting). Note: Participants do not carry wire cutters, whips or a gun in ice hockey, baseball, football, golf, or poker tournaments. Whimps.

TRY IT, YOU’LL LIKE IT

Great men fox hunt. George Washington fox hunted. Lots and lots of lovely ladies still fox hunt. Mount up. Try it. You might just get a view of real fox tail. Tally Ho!

CMF 2007

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Ahhh – a simple list of horseback riding levels…..

In a message dated 7/7/2009 8:43:41 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,

Beginner:
Has held a horses reins on the ground. Has had horse snot wiped on them. Has had to jump out of the way of stamping feet. Wrinkled nose at poop smell. Sat on horse (which kept stamping in a scary tilting way).  Instructor spent a long time fixing stirrups and trying to show one how to hold the reins. Horse walked around and tried to eat grass. Horse refused to move. Horse wanted to stand in the middle of the ring and yank my reins scratching its legs. Instructor spent a lot of time “helping” – loudly. Very sore and dirty afterwards.
Advanced Beginner:
Can sit on horse and steer it. Knows how to ‘kick’ it. Able to walk around the ring. Still grossed out by poop and arena dust. Has spent time learning posting and cantering (not a good experience). Can not yet post and steer well. No steering at a canter yet. Fell off. Has ridden enough to have 1st serious case of ‘helmet hair’.  (male has ridden enough to be injured in a personal area). Handed a whip by instructor. Not able to steer and use whip at the same time. Purchased a whip.
Intermediate:
Know the horses name. Able to put on saddle and bridle. Foot stepped on. Can’t wait to be able to jump. Can walk, trot and canter while steering. Has fallen off 4 times now. Has gotten back on. Prefer a certain horse to another. Considering leasing or share boarding because you want to be able to go on the trails. Can’t wait to be able to ride on the trails. Spending $200.00 per month on riding lessons. Have heard about a schooling show and been told that you can enter it.
Advanced:
Have leased a horse. Toe has been broken. Jumping x’s and small verticals. Have had numerous refusals that resulted in falling off. Got ribbons in schooling shows. Received full blown horse snot blast in the face. Very familiar with manure. Purchased saddle, bridle, tack trunk and all the requisite crap. ‘Hobby’ is running around $400.00 per month. Know everyone and every horse at the barn, have ridden in clinics. Can tell which leg on a horse is lame. Glad it isn’t your horse as you know enough to know that it will be expensive. Receiving the SmartPac catalogs. Developing opinions.
Terminal:
Officially one of those mentally ill ‘horse people’. Have opinions – STRONG opinions on all aspects of horses, riding and the industry. (Have read ‘Tug of War’ by Gerd Heuschmann, will throw up if you see another over bent competition dressage horse, openly disdainful of people drugging hot/unsound horses and most aspects of modern veterinary medical practices.)  Have shown dressage and eventing in the past but stick to Fox Hunting now. Can list names of other area ‘horse people’ that are loved or detested.  Own several horses at the moment and live on a horse property. House full of horse motif stuff.  Turning down offers of free horses weekly.  Have had horse diarrhea on bare hands.  Looking to get together with other like minded/mentally ill Fox Hunters to purchase a state where they can take over…..

> Sorry everyone, I was not very clear in my question. I’m asking riding > instructors if they have a simple list of riding levels pertaining to > students or prospective students–so the riders might rate themselves. > This is for riding in general

Beating Anorexia

Just wanted everyone to know that I am still successfully beating Anorexia. Some might find it shocking to learn that I can eat a half gallon of Hagen Daaz Coffee ice cream covered in freshly ground almonds every day. Truthfully, I do and I enjoy every damned bite.

Naturally, the ice cream is just one of the many weapons in my arsenal against Anorexia. I also stock a very “sturdy” DNA type and whole milk lattes.  Now I know what you are thinking – “doesn’t being heavy bother you?” and the answer is “not so much”. Why? Mostly because I am never going to have sex with you anyway so I really could give a flying fuck what you think about my appearance. As long as I can hop on a treadmill and bang out a mile, I actually feel just fine thank you.  You will not turn a Great Dane into a Jack Russell. Never going to happen.

Official Hunt Report

Official Hunt Report:

According to my sister, the Johannesburg (South Africa) Beagle Pack had a nice
hunt this past Sunday morning.

Mill Creek had its 1st hunt of the season and I actually participated ! I just fox hunted on something I picked up in a bucket at the airport! Before I get to the details of the morning – and I do mean morning (hounds departed at 6:00 am), let me give you some background so that you understand the history
behind my brave pursuit of country sport….

Eleven years ago I decided to breed my fabulous dressage mare (TB/Tennessee Walker) and selected a nice big 17 hand Hanoverian from Germany named Lehnsritter. I drove to O’Hare Airport multiple times to pick up my ‘buckets o’ sperm’ before my husband figured out what I was up to. That said, mare took,
filly born, branded ISR, fussed over and then (IMPORTANT) a horse property was purchased to accommodate my ‘problem’. The Filly chewed on my shoelaces and was nicknamed ‘Goat’ because I figured I would give her an ‘L show name’ at a later date.

I keep all of my horses until death which means I was in no hurry to train Goat because I would have her for 30 years. So we moved to the horse property, stopped riding as much and started shoveling and remodeling. I started FOX HUNTING on my fabulous, dangerous, psychotic and much beloved Mr. Mean. When
baby Goat was about four, disappointed with her small size (16 hands) which completely fails to make my butt look smaller, I rode her a little bit ( like 5 times). As my eggs neared expiration, I decided to QUIT MY JOB TO MAKE BABIES and have them surgically removed from my abdomen ! (Yes, that was a dumb
decision) Naturally, that meant the riding of Goat ceased and the horses were basically warehoused although I did still hunt occasionally.

Two summers ago, I moved Goat to the Equispa for a month because she was injured and she needed to be weaned from her mother (at age 9!) and then last summer I moved her to the hunt barn and actually rode her 5 times in one month bringing her total rides up to about 15. Then I trail rode her about four more
times until she bucked me off right before last Thanksgiving and the snow and ice ended the fun. This year. I rode her/walked down the driveway once in May and brought her out on hound exercise the Monday before last. Hound exercise was really exciting and she put in a massive spook or two. I was sure I would die but we both lived which inspired me to FOX HUNT this horse yesterday even
though she is totally green.

Green as in she can go on trails with others and walk, trot, canter but does not know how to canter in an arena or how to stay on the rail or go over more than a cross pole. Still, I took her to the hunt barn on Saturday and to get any kinks out, went on a trail ride Saturday evening that involved all three gaits and log jumping. She was fabulous on Saturday evening and I thought she would be good and tired for her 6am hunt Debut on Sunday morning. My mother
called with encouraging word that my sister who rides jumpers in South Africa , thought I was truly nuts to take this mare out and that I was sure to be killed. All of which bring me to the hunt report…

Which began at 4:30 am which must be the most despicable hour of the twenty four we are allotted. No person should ever have to rise before 10:00 am and only fox hunting and children can cause me to. As I dressed in cubbing attire and drove to the club, I called my sister in Johannesburg to let her know that should I die, she would inherit a very talented mare. She allowed that I more
likely would just end up in a wheelchair and pointed out that even a broken arm would be quite an inconvenience with a toddler. I drove on, smug in the knowledge that my darling Goat would be so exhausted from hauling my large derriere the previous evening that she would be a dream to fox hunt for the first time.

Dream she was, as I approached her stall at the club, I noted that my stallion selection for dressage had been dead on. Goat was performing a lovely, rhythmical piaffe at the stall door while screaming at the other horses, trailers and activity. (Apparently the mothers screaming dna had dominated.) I sought to subdue her with a carrot and place a saddle on her back as she raced around her stall, causing the saddle to fall off before the girth was
even on. Fortunately, a sympathetic FOLer (you know who you are – THANK YOU!) in the stall next door, held her head so that I could tack her, all the while thinking that my sister might have been on to something and that I hate riding in slippery boots instead of chaps. As the mare has less than admirable ground
manners, I was actually grateful to be on her back rather than under her swinging, screaming, brainless head. (The same head which caused an ER visit for a nose x-ray last summer.) With great difficulty ( assistance was needed again), I got her near enough to the mounting block to get on – which did feel much safer except for the sliding sensation from the too loose girth. Fortunately, she allowed me to tighten the girth and we had a few moments of
walking the club yard which seemed to help immensely. I reminded our hunt secretary that I wanted Evanston, Northwestern Memorial or Lutheran General hospitals and she agreed that they all had good spinal units. I instructed our auto traffic whip to tell my husband that I loved him.

Our Master welcomed some new members and we were off, heading down the road in the direction of Gurnee Mills (the shopping mall to the south). I was glad that Goat was barefoot as we danced down the pavement edge, single file. We headed east towards the fields west of the interstate and walked and trotted
into the territory. We had a major spook as some hounds came up from behind and Goat expressed grave concern over the hounds working in the corn along side. I was so very pleased that she at least did not show any inclination to kick anything. My biggest difficulty was controlling how quickly she was attempting to insert her head into the rear of the rider in front of us. Yes. The rider. 

Naturally, as this is a major sin, I was working my tail and her mouth off, getting her to stay back, with more success as she settled and/or started to get tired? I was very fortunate that the Angel/rider ahead did not object, knew my situation and was babysitting us. We did walk, trot, canter as a field while our huntsman worked the edge of a woodland along the cornfield
waiting for hounds to find. Goat got some plough/slippery edge/ditch/washout/rocks mileage. As we hit the end of the first hour, it was time to for us to leave the field as she isn’t hunting fit and I didn’t want to over do it. My hunting guardian and I left the field uneventfully and hacked back to the club down the road with lots of cars (many driven by complete ***holes!) and even
had a bicycle encounter. None of which seemed to phase Goat. I was so happy to get off and I can’t even imagine how happy she was to have me off her back !

After taking care of goat, I changed into shorts and a T-shirt and sat on the sofa in the club debating the merits of single payer vs free market health care (how ironic) until the rest of the field returned at about 9:30. I went to help untack the huntsman’s horse while she did hounds and as for the hunting, I have no idea how it went after I left except that apparently no ambulances,
veterinarians or taxidermists were needed. Which, I guess, makes this entire email pointless for those of you who expected a play by play of the hound work. My apologies. I can only assure you that as I am able to concentrate on hound work, rather than the prevention of quadriplegia, I will deliver much more detail regarding the actual hunting.

On the unrelated topic of marketing our sport to others…..Have you noticed that Fox Hunting is so much more daring than bungee jumping or sky diving? If one bungee jumps the cord will either break and you will go splat or it won’t and you will be fine. In sky diving you will either have a successful parachute landing or you will go splat. Both are fairly boring in that disaster will be
predictable. Fox Hunting offers so much more! The endless variation in the ways that you could go splat! The horse could fall, you could fall, you could break an arm – or a neck or even the horse ! There are two parties involved, one of which does not speak at all and poops in public! Both can die, separately or simultaneously – who knows? Indeed who does know? No one, not
even the hounds, know where they are going to go or at what speed. You ride on the larger parties back and communicate with it by using your legs and hands in a language you made up, while possibly at great speed, while possibly going over rough terrain and jumping obstacles! Or, alternately, you could just spontaneously
fall off in a corn field or get your eye poked out by a tree branch. What could possibly be more daring than something referred to as a blood sport? No one ever really knows if it is going to actually be a blood sport and if it is, then whose blood? Who knows? What excitement!

A certain huntsman said with great disgust “hunting, its all about the food” when referring to the complete lack of appreciation of his art form. I am a purist and maintain that hunting is actually all about surviving to eat the food and furthermore, that the unknown is why gentlemen carry flasks.

P.S. I think that if the hunts want more members, dress code should allow black britches for those of us with AQHA rear ends….. The thought of beige britches is enough to discourage fox hunting!!

Opening Meet

Hunt Season Begins:

Rip roaring start to Mill Creek’s Opening Meet today. Nice Blessing with a good crowd out to see us off and then we were off – and I do mean off. Banks, jumps, deep mud, ditches, crazy turns, highway runs, bridges, creeks, all at top speed for the 1st 20? minutes. I thought the borrowed horse I was on would die of a heart attack (I just repeated “please don’t fall” silently to myself) – but more on that later…. Rest of the day was mostly blank but it is hot and very dry here right now which doesn’t help the scenting. Hounds were working well and we did view. Funniest sight of the day: One of the hounds swimming the creek/river and I do mean swimming, paused in his paddling to try to shake the water off while largely submerged. Least funny sight of the day: My heavy wool coat arm ripping away from the rest of the coat during a creek crossing. Juniors were asking “What happened to your coat?” My answer: “Obesity”. Sad. Dreading the tailor bill. Anyone have a LARGE black frock coat for sale???? Help! Out 3.5 hours. Fabulous luncheon at the MFH’s house afterwards which is why I need a LARGER coat…… 🙂

Fox Hunt Bickering Online: Response

Re: Hunt bickering

I hate to interrupt the warfare as I love a good story, but I must point out that the whole thing proves what I have suspected all along – Fox Hunters are as nutty as anyone. (Except perhaps VA polo people?) Every Hunt has a stable of characters. I love mine. Quite a mishmash. Let me spread some sunshine by reminding you that although you may all be nuts (I sure hope so), you are all my nuts, and I adore you all – if only for your good taste. It seems we may have a diversity of backgrounds and etiquette standards but I choose to assume that recent etiquette failures are motivated by a desire to combat perceived or real slights of a huntsman and are motivated by affection. Perhaps I am naive. As far as criticism of another hunts hounds or performance, that crosses the etiquette line. As long as the membership is happy, the hunt is a success. I don’t care if they have hounds that chase raccoons sideways (provided they treat the landowners well and support the MFHA). There may exist a Fox Hunt Club composed entirely of hunch-backed Trolls who don’t care what the hounds are doing and want nothing more than to trot out in preparation for the Hunt Breakfast (I am not actually hunch-backed). Still. One never knows. More than a few maintain that hunting is all about the food afterward – which undoubtedly freaks out Huntsmen everywhere. No doubt some slight was involved somewhere but if I had a dollar for every personal or professional slight that occurred within our various American Hunt Clubs, I would own Middleburg, VA and have cash enough left to pay for sorely needed liposuction and a nose job. Remember, could be much worse – look at the Hunt characters in the Rita Mae books.

The warmest of wishes to you all. I only hope I have the honor of guest hunting with any of you in the future – regardless of reputation or method. That is, as long as you follow up with food afterwards….

Martha Stewart and the Chicken Murders..

Stories

Some years ago, thrilled to have my own wooded property, I aspired to be
like Martha and have my own laying hens. After asking around I was referred
to a neighbor who had several young hens that she had hand reared but did
not intend to keep. I happily took them home and set up an outdoor screen
room to keep them in. I put the plastic dog crate with the 3 hens up on a
low table and opened the door figuring that the screen house was enough
‘coop’ for them to run around in until we (my husband) built the Greek
Revival inspired chicken coop I had in mind. So for several days, every time
I went outside into the yard, the hens would come out of the crate and start
eating and drinking from the bowls in the screenhouse. I kept them locked in
the dog crate at night. I noticed that they ALWAYS seemed to be in the crate
when I came outside and that they always ran to the food and water when they
saw me which I thought was odd but I had never had a chicken before. About
five days later I was running out of the chicken feed the neighbor had sent
with the hens, so a friend and I left for Farm & Fleet at about noon to
purchase more food and proper chicken dishes. Naturally when I returned at
3:00 pm, the chickens had completely vanished without a trace. Not a
feather. The next day I had my first Tally Ho on our property as Reynard
was rolling around in the dust in my horse paddock in broad daylight with
his fat belly in the air. Now of course I know that my poor hens were being
hunted the entire time. As the house is in heavy woods you really do not kn
ow what is out there – except of course when the wild racoons pee on your
head while you are safe (ha!) in your own bed. Still, that is another story
entirely. Not that either story is likely to be included in Living
Magazine any time soon….