Friday, 8 April 2016

The Future

The Hunting Cup, Under 17s Dinner and The Future

Every year the East Kent Hunt Branch of the Pony Club award The Hunting Cup to a youngster who has shown particular merit on the hunting field. Historically this was presented at the "Clean-up Rally" held on the day after the Point-to-Point at Aldington but in more recent years it has been presented on the day of the P-t-P in the parade ring. This year, the "regular" photographers were all set to "snap" the winner on Easter Monday but as you know the P-t-P had to be cancelled due to the condition of the ground. Luckily half of The Gather was with the Good Friday set-up team as was this year's recipient. Unfortunately they had attended armed with post-drivers, string, knife and various tools that might come in handy but without a camera! Therefore the photograph of Bella receiving the well-deserved award from Suze Gibson MFH had to be taken on a telephone.

On 7th April there was, what your correspondent takes to be, a first - the East Kent Hunt with West Street under 17s Dinner. Bella, Angus, Amelia, Immy, Toby, Millie, Bethan and Alice had a superb dinner thanks to Nicola and Joshua. A great new initiative - well done to all concerned.

Many thanks to Kimi for the photograph

The EKHwWS has always had a very positive relationship with the Pony Clubs in their country with mutual support. The Pony Clubs provide an excellent opportunity for those youngsters with no "hunting connections" to come along and find out what it is all about. As we know, hunting, even trail-hunting, is addictive and over the years whole families have been drawn in by a child's attendance at a Pony Club Meet or Mock Hunt. There are even folk who now follow on foot because they were introduced to following hounds by the Pony Club even though they are not from "hunting families".

As is often the case our young supporters are drawn away from the hunting field as University or work calls and the demands on their time make it difficult to to carry on as the demands of work, mortgages and children of their own make hunting difficult. But, to quote Dickens "there is a passion for hunting; something deeply implanted in the human breast" and that spark glows until time allows it to be re-kindled. Some return to horses and the mounted field, some find the wherewithal to buy a pony for their children and some buy a stout pair of boots - one way or another they are drawn back to the magic of a dawn draw in the Autumn, the excitement and conviviality of the Opening Meet or the magic of watching hounds try to work out the trail.

We are lucky to have these 8 junior stalwarts - they, together with those who were unable to attend the dinner, are the seeds of hunting's future.

Let's hope that our generation's efforts might just secure a repeal of the Hunting Act so that the future generations might have the opportunity to develop that love of hounds, the chase and Charlie's guile in the time-honoured fashion.

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