Foxhunting in Ireland (Part 3)
Our third and final hunt was relatively uneventful, as we were now seasoned Irish foxhunters. We easily navigated to the meet, which was at an unmarked intersection of two unnamed roads. We skillfully tied our stock ties and our capping fees were in our pockets when we rode out. On this hunt we were able to spend less time trying to stay on our horses and more time enjoying the beautiful Irish countryside.
After our experience at the previous hunt we were hoping that this one would be less brushy (it couldn't possibly be more brushy, could it?) and were horrified when one of the first riders we saw had racing goggles on her hunt cap. But luck was with us and we encountered very little brush, but also very little fox scent. We did get our first, and only, view of an Irish fox on this hunt but the hounds had difficulty picking up the scent. As evening approached we still hadn't had a good run yet. Most of the field had already gone home when the small field that remained was rewarded with a run on a five o'clock fox, who eventually got away. During this run one of our riders had to jump wire for the first time and well, lets just say that no one who followed had to jump the wire.
With our last hunt over and it was time for our final post-hunt pub gathering (the pub was just a bit down the road, of course). This is where we learned how the weekday hunts in Ireland can get such a large turnout - the farmers who hunt arrange the winter chores around the hunt schedule and the school children get the skip school. Ahh, to have been born into a family who understood the importance of foxhunting. We also learned a useful tidbit for next year - that the best time to go hunting in Ireland is late January and early February...