TVH Opening Meet

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The Tennessee Valley Hunt (TVH) held its 26th Blessing of the Hounds and Opening Meet October 26, 2014 at Blackberry Ridge Farm, near Greenville Tennessee. Blackberry Ridge farm is the home of Dr. Tracy and Debbie Dobbs, who are avid fox hunters and raise Holsteiners. A sumptuous feast was served after the hunt in the Dobb’s immaculate stud barn, which can accommodate over 100 ravenous riders and foot followers. 

Riders were turned out in their formal finest. Manes were braided, and boots and horses were polished to a high gloss. Spectators, including several small children, were able to ride in Tally Ho wagons to observe the day’s hunt. The wagon riders also benefited from the knowledge of two of the TVH masters, Carla Hawkinson, MFH and Grosvenor Merle-Smith, who explained the action to the novices. 

 After the Blessing, TVH huntsman Ryan Johnsey roaded the pack of Penn-MaryDel  hounds out to cast them in the milo and corn fields, some of which were yet to be harvested. Riders stayed out of the crops and crossed the creek following the draw. Crossing the road up to the higher ground, the pack kept their noses down and sterns up looking for scent, which seemed to be scarce that day. 

At a predetermined location, the riders and Tally Ho wagon met with the refreshment truck, where everyone got to mix with the hounds, take photos and toast the day with Champaign. Ryan then cast the hounds again on the high ground behind the Dobbs house and their “red barn,” where they stuck a line. Scenting conditions made for a fast but short run. Ryan and staff then called in the pack and everyone retired to the stud barn for the hunt breakfast.   

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