ZETLAND HUNT NEWSLETTER
We hope this newsletter finds you well, staying safe and enjoying this remarkable dry weather in contrast to the extremely wet huntng season that has just been.
We just thought we would take this opportunity to update you on what has been going on since the very enjoyable breakfast, last days hunting and hunting tea in March. It seems a long time ago considering what is happening at the moment. On that note a massive thank you once again to all who helped and provided us with the above.
James and Harry have been very busy laying covert helping to provide that important habitat for our Trails to been laid. Along with sprucing up the kennels and replacing a few hunt gates, we decided to start getting some hunt jump building done (social distancing of course). As you can see below these should last the test of time!
We have had a remarkable respons to our "Sponsor a stable door appeal" with all 23 taken. All the stable doors are in the process of being replace by some modern,maintenance free stabel doors which may end up lasting longer than the plaques that are to be added. We would like to say a big thank you to all that have sponsored so far.
With horses out on their holidays, our focus turns to the all important hounds. These, James informs us, are all very well. Ordinarily, at this time of year, we would be busy preparing for the Puppy Show and hound shows. Unfortunately, the hound shows have been cancelled but we remain hopeful that we can hold a puppy show at some point late summer. This may have to be restricted, for obvious reasons. We will keep you informed as the situation changes. It such a shame as this is a time when we can all catch up with one another, celebrate our wonderful hounds, reminisce over the season and look forward to the next.
In addition, as soon as restrictions are lifted we are hoping to be able to hold a kennels open day in the autumn just before scent training.... Fingers crossed...
At this time finances are, of course, a great concern for many and the Zetland Hunt is no different. Please consider paying monthly for your subscription if at all possible.
Jimmy Wilson and Chris Gibbon have kick started the 100 club off again to try and raise a few vital pennies. The cost is £50 per year starting from the 1st May. There will be 4 draws a year. 1st prize is £250, 2nd prize is £100 and 3rd prize £50 and depending on when and where these are drawn a bottle of something for 4th. Please help and support where you can. Funds are never to far away from our minds...
On a very sad note we have just heard that Ken Wilson has passed away peacefully at home. Ken was a very keen hunting farmer who supported the Zetland Hunt all of his life, farming at High House along with his sons Jeffery and Tony. One of hunting’s true characters, a gentleman through and through who has done a lot of good for the Zetland Hunt behind the scenes. He will be sorely missed by all of us.
Please all stay positve and we hope to see you all later in the season with the Zetland hounds going full flight after our quarry over many of our new jumps.
The Joint Masters
As I write the hounds are laid sunning themselves on their yard blissfully unaware of Covid-19, luckily their lives, and for the most part ours, haven’t changed that much here at the Kennels. Obviously strict protocols have been stuck to! The hounds, after having had a fairly busy and successful season, have to be let down gradually in the first few weeks after finishing. This entails exercising considerable distance on the bikes to keep their minds focused! Last year’s puppies will all be back from walk and hopefully off couples so the added exercise and different situations will aid their education.
After a few weeks we are back to shorter distances and hopefully the sun starts to shine and the hounds become happy in dreaming about their past hunting days rather than trying to go hunting.
At this time of year we begin preparing for the forthcoming season so will gradually be upping the exercise and distance covered on the bikes, hardening their pads and toning their bodies ready to start mounted exercise mid August.
This year we have been lucky to have 3 early litters. Two are by our own stallion hounds Dublin and the Infamous Flanders and one by Cheshire Gripton. They are all now out at walk enjoying time away from kennels. Puppy walking is a valuable time for our young entry and here at the Zetland we are very lucky to have tremendous walkers, to whom I am very grateful.
Flanders enjoying his tub of cold water
This season’s young entry are all flourishing and although the puppy show is not imminent, we have been practicing anyway. I feel they are a good lot, with some crackers amongst them so it is a little disappointing that the hound shows are cancelled this year as it would be great to have had the chance to continue the Zetland
The off season gives us time to catch up on much needed maintenance In the Country and at the Kennels. It’s all busy, busy, busy. There is an old Hunt service saying that if it stands still long enough paint it! Unfortunately I can’t just paint over things so it has to be made right first. The stables and facilities have all been washed out and now in the process of being spruced up- new gates and window cills have been replaced in anticipation for the new doors. We have also made new doors/gates for up at the kennels and rebuilt others. Fencing has been replaced and creosoted as part of an ongoing project, and this year we have managed to get all guttering and facias repaired and painted. I suppose there Is a bonus of no one being able to get away on holiday!
We are not complete in our task yet, jobs for the future include completion of the concrete rendering in the Kennel yards and passageways and fixing the ceilings in some on the rooms at the kennels to name a few. If we ever get back to some sort of normality help is always greatly received!
I would just like to take this opportunity to wish everyone well and stay safe. And also thank Harry, Katrina and Imogen (before being furloughed) for your continued hard work.
Mastership on Foot or
MFH on (shanks) Pony
When I agreed to enter the Mastership and then the Zetland members agreed to have us it was not the plan to be grounded. As with anything new, I was pretty nervous about carrying out the task anyway. Once it was clear that I was going to have to do it from the ground, my uncertainty scaled even greater heights. Not only that, on huntng days it was clearly going to add extra pressure on my joint masters. This was meant to be fun; it wasn’t looking promising.
When I agreed to enter the Mastership and then the Zetland members agreed to have us it was not the plan to be grounded. As with anything new, I was pretty nervous about carrying out the task anyway. Once it was clear that I was going to have to do it from the ground, my uncertainty scaled even greater heights. Not only that, on hunting days it was clearly going to add extra pressure on my joint masters. This was meant to be fun; it wasn’t looking promising.
I need not have worried. The process of setting up the day is no different except having cleared the country I had to walk it twice. Once to get to know it myself and then again with the field master. Once the hunting started, I cannot remember ever enjoying a season hunting more. To my great surprise that first cry from a hound as they strike off on a line, which then turns to a crescendo of music, augmented by the Huntsman’s horn, still stirred the blood like nothing else can. Instead of inspiring me to do idiotic things on a horse, it inspired me to run and to keep with them if at all possible. Of course, much of the time it was not possible; but it was uncanny how mentally it felt much as my horse might. When in touch the adrenaline ran, I felt I could keep going; I could or would jump anything. When I lost touch and everything was quiet, my head went down, I felt exhausted. I might refuse the smallest obstacle. Indeed, I think I spent as much time pulling thorns out of myself after a day’s hunting as one does from one’s horse!
So, I loved it. My joint masters could not have been more supportive, likewise James and his team. And of course everyone following be they on a horse or on foot. The pride one feels in those hounds as they pour it on, is the same be you on your feet or on your horse. To feel one is a very small part of that is a such great thing. Next season, if the medics can stir from their Covid induced torpor then maybe my shoulder will be fixed and I will be back to doing “idiotic things on a horse”. If not, it will be Shanks’ again and I will look forward to it just the same.
As The Masters and James have mentoned, fund raising is going to be important. It will be difficult to reopen The Arches and maintain Social Distancing in the near future.
The 100 Club will be restarting but we are also looking at Hound Sponsorship and, if we can organise an Open Day, a Hound Grand National.