It was truly the voices that bayed the whispering wind (apologies to poet Oliver Goldsmith) when hounds immediately struck a line following their annual blessing at a ceremony marking Potomac Hunt’s 75th anniversary.
“It was an exciting day. We ran hard in spite of the wind,” jtMFH (joint Master of Fox Hounds) Vicki Crawford reported following a four hour stint in the saddle.
Usually, a windy day spells near disaster for good foxhunting, but the Oct. 29 formal event was an exception. Sir Reynard and his brothers and sisters seemed to pop up everywhere. Rain the previous day had forced postponement of the season’s inaugural. However, it enhanced the scent factor.
Huntsman Larry Pitts and whippers-in Nellie and Mike Hanagan, Dick Hagan and (professional) Steve Currey roaded hounds away from the Barnesville clubhouse into an adjacent cornfield where they immediately struck a line.
With the field led by jtMFH’s Skip Crawford and Peter Hitchen in close pursuit, hounds ran across Whites Store Road onto HRH Prince Bandar Bin Sultan’s farm, and ducked into the woods before turning back toward Buck Lodge Road and paying a visit to Jack and Carey Miller’s farm followed by a run across Mike Rubin’s fields.
Meanwhile, hill toppers (those who follow on foot or car) came to a screeching halt when another big red fox crossed the road. However, the Potomac hounds were too busy on their own find and ignored this opportunity.
Pulling into the Potomac Pony Club grounds, hill toppers once again were treated to a spectacular view. On the horizon another big red fox was making his way down a fence line en route to his den. A minute or so later, hounds picked up the scent and followed in full cry with hunters close behind.
It was that kind of day. All horses, hounds, hunters and foxes got home safely, just as Father George Reid, at the blessing ceremony, prayed would happen.