Crowds gather for Boxing Day Brocklesby Hunt

The hunt heading through the Mausoleum Woods.  (Lin)
The hunt heading through the Mausoleum Woods. (Lin)

A great Christmas tradition took place on Boxing Day when hunts across the country held their Boxing Day meets.

The Brocklesby Hunt met at the Point-to-Point course on Lord Yarborough’s Brocklesby estate where a large crowd gathered to see the horses and hounds.

Lord Yarborough joined around 60 mounted followers to ride with the hunt. There was also a contingent of people following on foot, on bicycles and in cars.

Before the hunt set off, huntsman Gareth Bow, who is now in his second season working Lord Yarborough’s hounds, paraded them along the course in front of a large crowd.

Nowadays trails are laid prior to and during the day using fox urine. The hounds pick up the scent of these trails and the riders then have the thrill and excitement of trying to keep up with the hounds as they cross the country.

The Brocklesby have around 40 mounted followers on a typical Wednesday and around 75 on a Saturday.

Sue Kirkby travels from Louth every week to ride with the hunt with her horse Melton. “I come hunting to blow the cobwebs away after a hard week as carer for my husband who has Alzheimer’s disease,” she said.

“It gives me a little bit of my life back riding across private countryside you wouldn’t normally be able to see from the road let alone go over. Melton always knows when it is one of our special days together.”

John Broughton from Barnetby is also a regular follower of the hunt. “I have been going to the Brocklesby Boxing Day meet for over 50 years now. It is a timeless British tradition.

“To see the wonderful Old English Foxhounds being paraded at Brocklesby Park, their home for centuries past and hopefully their future is living history. It is a great opportunity to learn at close quarters what hunting is all about, the people, the horses and the hounds.

“And it gives me enormous pleasure to see my three-year-old Grandson Jake, and lots of other young people enjoying it all too.”

Sixteen year old Tom Broughton was riding with the hunt on a Point-to-Point racehorse called Kayjaydee. Tom, who has also been pony racing and rides out for trainer Nick Kent is hoping to ride at the Brocklesby Point-to-Point, which takes place on Sunday March 23.

He said: “Riding with the hunt is a really good way to improve and to learn to ride well. I have been coming with my Dad since I was young and it has certainly helped me. I hope to ride in my first race very soon.”