August 12th 2007

A Toast to the Hunt

On a brilliant winter afternoon in Tasmania the Northern Hunt Club staged its next to last hunt of the season on a lovely property near Evandale owned by Mr N McKinnon.

Being my first attendance at a hunt and, having very little experience around horses, I still managed to instinctively and correctly refer to the ‘dogs’ as ‘hounds’ but blew it when talking about the men in red coats. They, the Master of the Hunt and the Whipper-ins, are known as the “Pinks” .

Jen Hodgson, riding Bucky, set off to lay the Drag (scent) and we non-riders leapt into our 4WDs to slog around to the third run and establish photo positions at the Gorse hedge jump. The hounds bayed past, some a bit off course, and the riders missed the mark on the first go. The Whips masterfully redirected the hounds and the riders regrouped and took the jumps then raced on to meet at the Port Stop.

The traditional toast to the Hunt and acknowledgement of the land owner, workers and Hunt Club is held mid-course in order to accommodate members who must keep to a strict timetable with their dairy farms. Master of the Hunt, Ian Klye, made the toast as the hounds leapt about, eager to be off again.

Then it was off to the top of a hill for a scenic view over the longest leg of the course before heading back to the mustering area and await arrival of the riders, horses and hounds at the finish.

A bbq and bonfire rounded out a lovely day replete with spectacular views, crisp winter air and blue, blue sky. The ideal hunting country made it especially enjoyable for riders and car followers, alike.

Thanks to Sandra Atkins and grandson, Justin (Whip extraordinaire) for letting me tag along.

Northern Hunt Club photos may be viewed at The Northern Hunt Club (TAS) .