I posted this somewhere else and it caused a right stir…

Nothing too contentious, just some observations…

Fox hunting is part of village life in many rural areas and has been for centuries but over the past few decades it’s changed quite a bit and not just because of the ban. I’ve seen lots of reporting, from the BBC to activists, but none of them seem to have a clue about what’s happening!

Anyway, there are a number of local hunts and Boxing Day is always a favourite – whatever the weather. People gather in the car park at the local pub and the landlord usually serves a few snacks and something ‘warming’, like brandy or whisky!

If you ever visit it’s important to learn a few little things to avoid injury…
It’s Boxing Day 2011 and we are all gathered around the car park as the riders start to turn up – I user the term ‘riders’ loosely as some of them can’t tell a hoof from an ar*ehole (for the uninitiated, the hoof is on the bottom of the leg, four is a good number). The ar*ehole is at the back. Now, there’s nothing interesting about a horses ar*e so if you’re close enough to check out all the detail a life threatening moment is likely.

Some horses have two ar*eholes, the first place to check is what’s in the saddle 🙂 Not all riders are ar*eholes though so we spend a bit of time doing a muppet test – sorry, equine skills and experience assessment. Starting with the clothes.
Local members will be wearing serviceable, reasonable quality stuff that may have seen better days but isn’t tatty. Professionals will be in red jackets, usually, and we chat but there’s nothing more to check. Wealthier members will have higher quality but not ostentatious clothes, they’ll be calm and experienced. They may not be very good but they know how to keep out of the way so no worries there. It’s the last lot we’re checking for…

Usually given away by the deliberate flash of a designer label, like a Mulberry Brazilian hide protector for their Blackberry. They often have a glazed expression – we keep out of their way!

After a few snifters the hounds arrive and the riders get ready for the off. This is where it starts to get hairy and why you need to know who the muppets are. They won’t ride much, hunt occasionally and gallop rarely. They can’t jump for shit!
Now, 30 or more riders are about to set off galloping, following a pack of dogs chasing summat no-one can see, the riders are half-cut and will top-up regularly to keep the cold out! They’re all sitting on a half ton animal whose brakes work in an unpredictable manner (“Whoa, boy” is pure Hollywood), a third of these riders are muppets. Finding this out when the leading horse balks at a fence is the best way to view Yorkshire from the window of the Air Ambulance…

We check the horses too. Ears back – BAD, bulging eyes – BAD, twitching around – BAD! Get at least six feet between you and them. Some of them are sly b*ggers – a steady gaze from a horse that’s gently moving its ar*e around in your direction signals time to move.
Curiously, foxes are few and far between around these parts, probably because most of the land is laid over to arable farming. So, no nice tasty lambs, ducks or chickens to have a go at. Piglets are too risky – you wouldn’t believe what a p*ssed off sow can do…

…there’s an old dog fox, though, regularly sits on a hummock near where the hounds are kennelled, waving his brush defiantly while the hounds all go mental. Not that they know it’s a fox, they’re just dogs and the fox is an intruder. It’s the only fox they’ve ever seen!

So what does the hunt actually chase if they can’t get the scent of a fox? Whatever smelly thing the rag gets dipped in – the rag is dragged behind a lead horse starting about 10 minutes ahead of the rest. Rumour has it they’ve been using the remains of last nights Big Mac for a while now. So the hounds probably have an image of ‘going large’ rather than cute old Basil 🙂

Whatever, it’s still a fact that no fox has been caught in living memory…