“Tally Ho,” yelled Lyne Morgan as she viewed a gorgeous red fox crossing a field full of riderless horses adjacent to the old Mann/Banfield property on Partnership Road. Off in the distance one could hear foxhounds giving tongue (barking, to the uninitiated) in full cry, in hot pursuit.
All of this excitement occurred shortly after the start of the annual Thanksgiving meet at the home of Gogo and Austin Kiplinger on a beautiful November morning.
Attired in their most formal hunting clothes, from top hats to shad belly, hunters gathered for the 10 a.m. stirrup cup in front of the Kiplinger’s Montevideo, where dozens of hilltoppers mingled among riders and hounds. College students home for the holidays, out-of-town relatives, friends of the hunt and a few fox hunters who just didn’t have time to ride and roast turkey, all in the same day, comprised a gathering of spectators partaking of sherry, cider and home-baked cookies.
Spokesman for the hunt’s four jtMFH’s, Skip Crawford, welcomed hunters and hilltoppers, singling out 91- year- old Lyn Carroll, a 61-year Potomac Hunt member and an honorary whipper-in for much of that time.
From old timers to newcomers, (among the latter was Rick Stiffel, the new laird of “Old Mill Farm,” who was clad in a McDonald plaid kilt,) well-wishers came to proclaim “Good Hunting” to the 65 astride and a Thanksgiving blessing to all.
The Rev. Merritt Ednie of Poolesville Presbyterian Church officiated at the hound blessing, intoning as he has done before, safety and joy for riders, protection for horses and hounds and speed, tall trees and many holes for foxes.
With this blessing in mind, huntsman Larry Pitts blew “gone away” on his horn, grabbing the attention of his pack of American foxhounds. They responded immediately as the huntsman rode off toward a vacant cornfield, closely followed by hunters and a tractor-pulled wagon full of hilltoppers driven by Kyla Feeney, daughter of jtMFH Beverley Bosselmann.
With the socializing over, fox hunters hunkered down for some serious sport. Within a short while hounds went to work and hilltoppers could hear them off in the distance, drawing a line along a creek bottom, working toward the back of Poole’s store where a good chase ensued. This was just the beginning of several good runs throughout the next several hours, giving good sport and great viewing for all before a tired, but happy, field of hunters, called it a day and headed home for a turkey dinner.
Hunters, horses, hounds and foxes safely made it to their respective quarters. The Rev. Ednie did a good job.