If you didn’t get the chance to hunt at Westminster on September 25th, here’s an update from Jennifer Fuller, who has been driving the hound truck while Declan recovers from an injury, and Rhonda Hettinger who whipped in. Thanks to both of them for reporting! For all of us who couldn’t be there, it will spur us to get to the next hunt.
Jenn writes, “It was a beautiful day, though a little steamy. We had a small field, but they enjoyed great views of the hounds hunting the fields. Ginny let the hounds out of the truck at the cast to enjoy a taste of yummy Westminster grass before they headed out. We had five couple, the same group as Tuesday that hunted so well together — Justice, Concord, Jeannie, Jiingle, Cameo, Charmer, Apple, Dandy, Diva and Dreamer. All ten hounds came in together at the check and at the finish and as always we enjoyed a great variety of munchies and good company at the tailgate tea that followed.”
Rhonda adds, “the hounds behaved very well in response to some changes to their usual routine–because the wooded trails had been intentionally blocked (thanks to the ATVs!) we could not continue beyond the fields on the first piece. The hounds were honest and stopped when the scent did, then held up for us–where no one would have really blamed them if they had kept on into the woods where they’ve always gone, looking for more! (And the folks doing the model airplanes must have had a great view of the hounds… I’m very grateful to them for not having any take-offs while Cricket and I were alongside the landing strip…)
The steamy weather must have made scenting a little harder on the second piece, but hounds worked well and gave tongue throughout. I had a great–if private–view of them working down in the corner of the second field, as they worked at keeping and/or finding the scent. A slight bobble at the “red gate” (which always seems to pull hounds like a magnet!) was quickly sorted, when hounds almost immediately responded to Ginny’s call, and picked up the line again. And at the end, they again obediently stopped at a different spot than we’ve usually used.
Since they’d worked so well, we really hated to miss out the third piece, back through the long fields, but it was really heating up–and the hounds didn’t have the luxury of a proper swimming-spot to cool off, as they do some other places. Besides, we’d noted that only the upper half of the fields had been mowed, with standing water in some churned-up ruts where something had got deeply stuck. We figured the field would have had to follow by the road, and staff might have sunk right out of sight (the lower side is wet at the best of times!) so rather than risk it, we loaded hounds and hacked back.”