Country mouse goes autumn hunting

Autumn hunting is under way. This is traditionally the time when the young hounds are introduced to the mysteries of the chase, and, in the old days, it was used to disperse young foxes so that they didn’t concentrate in one area. Thus, the old name of cubbing. It’s also a good time to introduce the human young entry and their ponies to the sounds of hounds in full cry and cantering in a herd.

There were 58 mounted on Saturday attired in ‘ratcatcher’ of tweed jacket, brown boots and ties for the meet at 4pm. Access to beautiful swathes of deep clover (the August rain has been like a magic wand) and the wide expanses of stubble is one of the privileges of late-summer hunting.

There are even foot followers around to open and shut the gates, which would seldom happen on an ordinary riding day. I can’t blame the jumbo bale for making Jack swerve, depositing his eight-year-old rider in the process.

Nonie won the Junior Tumblers award last year, so has got the hang of re-mounting quickly. Only her muddy back gave her away and invited questions, but it was a good story to recount over hot dogs and ginger beer before we headed home in the gloaming.