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to the right, and the hounds came to a check. One of His Lordship's judicious casts soon set them at work again; and although a fog intervened so dense as to render the riding very unpleasant, they rattled him along at a merry pace in the direction of Gazeley, which by the way had previously been drawn blank, when, bearing to the left, another check ensued. This difficulty being overcome by the same masterly hand, they set to run over the hills to a small covert near Hawling, and on bringing the scent out of it, some sheep, which were very inconsiderately driven forward by a few ambitious horsemen, crossed the line, and the pack were brought to the execution of those powers for which they are so justly celebrated. They picked the scent over the stained ground beautifully, carried it on to another covert near at hand, and thence to Hawling, where he was lost.
They have also had some good runs in the Broadway country, and a capital day's sport from Dumbledon; and on the 9th of December they returned to the Berkeley Kennels, after having enjoyed one of the most prosperous months of November they have hitherto experienced.
During the past month Lord Redesdale's hounds have kept pace with their neighbours in the sport which they have shewn; but I have only, unfortunately for myself, been able to meet them once since I last reported progress, which was at New Barn, on Friday, November 22d, when there was a very large Field congregated. The fineness of the preceding day formed an additional inducement to the invariable attraction which this highly-esteemed pack on all occasions presents, particularly at this popular place of meeting, and some thirty horses were stabled at Northleach during the preceding night, most if not all of which were from Cheltenham. This place of meeting being also in high estimation with the Oxonians, a fair sprinkling arrived from that classic seat of learning. It is also within reach of many of the Members of Lord Gifford's Hunt, and the first covert usually drawn being that in Sherborne Lodge Park, to which His Lordship's hounds brought their fox in the memorable run from Fuzzy Hill already detailed, it was looked upon as a probability that the same gallant animal might be met with on this occasion to retrace his steps: such, however, did not prove to be the case.
How frequently it happens when our hopes are raised to a high pinnacle of expectation that something transpires to destroy our fond anticipations; and on the other hand, when we imagine that forthcoming events are fraught with disagreeables, some unforeseen occurrence presents itself to enliven our spirits and gratify our senses. Such are the vicissitudes which "flesh is heir to," and both these positions were exemplified on this day. In the morning a dense fog covered the face of the earth, which the benign rays of the sun were unable to dispel until a late hour, while those conflicts which usually take place between Sun and Fog were watched with that intense anxiety invariably attendant on such occurrences. At about half-past twelve the atmosphere became rather clearer; and as Jem Hill's desire to shew sport is not easily restrained, the hounds were put into covert, the celebrated gorse in Sherborne Lodge Park. They had not been in it many minutes, when one of Jem's peculiarly exciting cheers assured those who know
his manner that he was convinced of a fox being in the covert. It frequently happens, ere a hound ventures to open, that he detects something in their style of drawing that informs him they are about to find, so minutely does he watch every motion of the pack. His voice was speedily recognised by his hounds, and instantly their joyous tongues proclaimed the truth of his anticipation: a halloo from the Head-whip was then heard, and in less than the moiety of another brief minute, his having broke covert was proclaimed, and It is unnecessary to remark how quickly the hounds were out of the gorse and on the line. If it was only to witness the masterly manner in which this single operation is performed by the Huntsman of this splendid pack, it is worth riding a hundred miles to see it done. The large fields in the direction of Aldsworth over which the hounds ran gave all an opportunity of effecting a start he then bore off to the left, at which moment the fog became more dense, thereby depriving the run of a very great portion of its lustre, as there arose considerable difficulty in crossing the country. The line was now over the London Road to Windrush Quarries, but the earths were stopped: he then retraced his steps over the London Road to Windrush Camp, where he was lost, in a great measure owing to the fog, which was now very thick. However, it shortly after cleared off sufficiently to justify drawing again, when a covert in Sherborne Park was visited, but it proved to be blank.-The atmosphere having vastly improved, the next move was to Rotten Pot, where another fox was found; but he was one of those who had been regaling himself too luxuriantly upon the dainties with which he was surrounded, and although he did shew himself on the outside two or three times, he never had the resolution to leave his quarters and face the open: thus his life was sacrificed to his voluptuous appetite and want of courage.
The beautiful hunting of this pack during the fog elicited notice and the highest praise from several experienced Sportsmen; and whatever may be the general opinion that lifting hounds is fatal to real hunting propensities when that faculty is required in its highest form, it was most decidedly refuted on this occasion. I for one have frequently made remarks on this subject, and have to a considerable extent been inclined to subscribe to the usually acknowledged principles; but in this matter, as in all others in which judgment is required, it entirely depends upon the manner in which it is done. It is the injudicious method which some Huntsmen adopt when lifting their hounds which renders them indifferent to their work; but it has not that effect when performed in the skilful manner which Jem Hills pursues.
Although the sport which had been shewn was quite as much as with most other packs of hounds would have been deemed sufficient for one day, having broken up the fox at Rotten Pot, they proceeded to draw Farmington Grove, when more than half the Field went home quite contented with what had been done, and little dreaming of what was in store for those who remained. A fox was soon found, and, being in an unhealthy state, was very speedily killed; simultaneously with which another fox was viewed, and the hounds instantly laid on. His first point was to Starveall Copse, thence to Cracum, and across to Bourton Hill Farm, leaving the house on the right. During this portion of the run the scent was wretchedly bad, and many of those who had followed
the hounds to this point went home, the lateness of the day, it being after four o'clock, presenting almost a guarantee that nothing more would be done, and I for one was among the homeward bound. I am therefore indebted to a friend for the relation of what subsequently occurred. While the hounds were at a check between Bourton Farm and the Stow Road, a halloo was heard in the direction of the road, upon which the hounds were taken to it, when a labourer deposed to having seen the fox cross in that direction. His evidence was corroborated by the hounds taking up the scent, and bursting off at a tremendous pace over Aston Farm, when they turned to the left, over the hills to Round Hill, through White's Plantation, across the Cheltenham and Stow Road, by the Tallyho (near Naunton Inn), to the Quarries, where they turned to the right, ran close to Guiting Village, and thence to Wynniatt's Brake, when night coming on he was of necessity given up. The pace of the latter part was capital, falls numerous, and many of the horses quite beaten.
In some of the recent Numbers of MAGA, I have read with great pleasure, and have derived much instruction from the able and intelligent papers bearing the signature of HARRY HIE'OVER, and my attention has been particularly attracted to the remarks on the martingale for hunters. Without recapitulating the whole of these opinions, I cannot avoid a few remarks on the use of these appendages myself. HARRY HIE'OVER mentions having heard many persons express a fear that in hunting a martingale would confine a horse, and prevent his rising at his leaps; and that he has heard others assert that it did so, allowing at the same time that they had never tried one. I have heard similar remarks many times, but I am quite prepared to concur in advocating the use of these auxiliaries when properly adjusted. In the first place, it must be remembered that no horse can be ridden over a country with any degree of safety, let alone pleasure, unless he is under proper control; and therefore whatever assists the rider in his command over his horse must be a necessary and valuable apparatus. If the martingale can be made to produce the effect of preventing a horse from rising at his leaps, it must be because it is too short, and that only one rein is attached to the bridle. I am, of course, alluding to the common running martingale, which, if used with a snaffle bridle, is most convenient and effective, in conjunction with what jockeys term " spare reins," on which the martingale works, leaving the ordinary reins free and independent. Thus it must be the rider's own fault if the martingale can produce any ill effects; because, on approaching a fence, the reins on which the martingale acts may be relaxed to whatever degree appears necessary; and from a similar reason, when a double bridle is required, that is, a curb and snaffle, I usually attach the martingale to the curb rein: but I never was an advocate for curbs, always preferring a snaffle bridle with spare reins, and a martingale, if the latter be necessary, for all horses possessing tolerably good mouths. There is, however, an objection to a martingale, when made as martingales usually are for racing, in countries where thick hedges prevail. It is this: when the rein is relaxed, the martingale drops through the neck strap, forming a kind of loop, which is very liable to catch stakes and such
like projections: this, however, is easily obviated by having a piece of stiff leather sewn across about twelve inches below the rings, just to prevent its slipping through the loop of the neck strap; or it may be more neatly effected by having the running part of the martingale cut with a kind of shoulder, at the same distance from the rings as the leather is directed to be sewn, so as to act in a similar manner. It is not an unusual practice to attach two straps with rings to the ordinary hunting breast-plate, by way of forming a martingale; but this is open to objection, for this reason: when a horse raises his head, and this he is very likely to do at a fence, it causes the neck strap to be lifted up from the shoulder, presenting a most dangerous means of entanglement with stray branches, stakes, and the like. It is from these circumstances that the use of the martingale has fallen into disrepute ; whereas, if it be properly made, those objections are obviated, whilst the advantages are retained.
By making the neck strap sufficiently strong, with straps to buckle to the D's of the saddle, a perfect breast-plate is formed, as the shoulder or cross-piece on the martingale part will keep the girths in place.
Another very judicious remark is made by the able Correspondent already mentioned on the subject of the rearing bit and nose martingale. He observes, "that no bit or martingale can be proper where we are, as with both these, unable to relieve our horse of its restraint by our hands;" and vents his spleen on all and every fixed martingale except on very particular occasions. Now, I must observe, that a rearing-bit or a fixed martingale are most decidedly out of character in the hunting field; nor do I ever remember having seen one used by any man intending to ride over a country. Of the above observations, I must likewise express my firmest conviction of their importance and correctness; and as the apparatus has not been noticed, I am led to believe our trusty and right worthy friend has never met with the caveson, made and registered by Mr. Heavens, 28, South Molton Street, Oxford Street. This caveson is completely under the control of the hands, and when attached to a martingale, upon high couraged and irritable horses with sensitive mouths, produces a most beneficial effect; but I shall not enlarge upon its merits, in the hope that HIE'OVER will procure one, and having given it an extensive trial, express his valuable and influential opinion on the result.
The custom of setting wires to take hares and rabbits is much more frequent than formerly: I do not mean by poachers, but by keepers and others authorised to take game. Under any circumstances it is an engine far preferable to the steel-trap, but more especially if the wire is properly constructed; that is, with a check or knot to prevent its closing up beyond a certain distance, in which case foxes cannot be held or injured, as the noose is not large enough to admit of their heads entering, and the knot will, if properly arranged, prevent its drawing close upon the leg so as to hold. If this precaution be not adopted, foxes will frequently be caught in the wires, which may not be strong enough to retain them; nevertheless, escaping with a portion of the wire round a leg, they are rendered cripples for the remainder of their lives, and are thus cruelly persecuted by being disabled from
procuring their daily sustenance, and therefore soon perish from starvation.
That the present hunting season commenced most propitiously is the unanimous declaration from all quarters: everything began satisfactorily, and all went " gaily as a marriage bell" until the frost commenced. That has caused a "check" which no human huntsman can overcome. Patience is the only alternative; and we must bear with the condition of the elements. Such severe weather at this early period of winter has not been experienced for some years. The operations of the foxhound were suspended on Thursday, December 5, by the frost, which continued till the 16th with great severity; but a change has taken place, and we may therefore look forward to a renewal of operations in the field.
Having now arrived at the conclusion of another year, it is requisite to bid adieu to the past, and welcome the new one, in the sanguine hope that it will be the harbinger of increased prosperity. That all the Readers of THE SPORTING MAGAZINE, the Sporting World, and all mankind may pass a merry Christmas, and enjoy a happy New Year is the sincere wish of their devoted servant,
Nov. 11; Shearsby Inn.-Found at John Ball: went away, pointing for Shearsby Inn, but turned to the right, over the Brook, leaving the Reservoir to the left, straight for Gumley Wood; then bore to the right, and killed, after a very brilliant fifty-five-minutes, near Bosworth Gorse. -Found a second fox at Bosworth Gorse; no scent, gave him up soon. -Found a third at Walton Holt, and had a tip-top thirty minutes, and lost him near Stanford Park.
Nov. 12; Quorndon House.-Found in Quorn Wood. A very indifferent scent to hegin with, which improved considerably.-Found a second fox at Sand Hills, and ran hard for fifty-five minutes, when he went to ground.
Nov. 14; Rolleston Hall.-Found in the Gorse; went away fast by Rolleston, then bore to the left, leaving Hosely Hall to the right, over the Brook, through Keythorpe Spinny, leaving the Ram's Head covert to the left, East Norton to the right, straight to Tugby Wood; turned to the left, and lost him in Tugby Village, after a splendid run of fiftyfive minutes without a check: we certainly should have killed, but for the mysterious shelter he took in some confounded hole, which has often disappointed before: it must be looked to.-Found a second fox at Shankton Holt, and had a capital burst indeed of forty minutes, and killed him in Billesdon Village. The scene was here most amusing, a Sweep from the top of a chimney viewing the varmint, and hallooing "Lords and Gents, on," flourishing his brush and shovel quite in the by-gone days of the Sweeps' anniversary on May-day.