Mells Foxhounds Boxing Day Hunt

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By Tom Brannon, MFH; photos by William Kenner

Mells Foxhounds, located in Lynnville, TN, hosted both the Cedar Knob and Cedar Hills Pony Clubs at its annual Boxing Day Hunt, Dec. 26, 2021. There were 60 riders in all with four fields, which included two fields of junior riders. Huntsman Charles Montgomery brought 12 couple (24 hounds) to the fixture at Master of Fox Hounds (MFH) Bill Haggard’s “Cabin.” The day was spring-like warm, with a fine mist in the air and Bill said that the scenting was good. Here’s how Bill described the hunt:

The hounds found a coyote right away, but this was a clever fellow and he knew how to evade the pack, doubling back at one point and then taking off across the hilly territory and crossing Highway 166. The pack stayed together, however, and when the quarry crossed the highway with the full pack in pursuit, all of the Road Whips sitting in their cars got a full view. In fact, everyone, including all of the children, got a view of the coyote that day. They also got to see some fantastic hound work and observed how well the Whips work and coordinate with the Huntsman in such challenging hilly terrain.

After the coyote had given the group such a good run, Charles gathered the hounds and roaded them back to the Cabin. The Pony Clubs hosted the post-hunt meal, where Charles gave a play by play account of the day’s hunt from the huntsman’s perspective to the mesmerized guests. In his talk, he pointed out that, when the coyote doubled back during the hunt, the hounds ran to heel, i.e., backwards, and Whipper-in Clare Pinney turned them around and sent them back in the proper direction. This explanation of the day’s sport at the meal by the huntsman has become a Mells tradition. He names hounds and what they have done that day, as well as what the staff did. To riders who may only see a part of the action, it paints a broader picture of the day’s hunt.

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