WEDNESDAY 1ST JANUARY 2020
The dust had barely settled after successfully sabbing the East Kent hunt on NYE when just minutes after returning home, champagne on ice to start the NYE celebrations we received a tip off through the HSA tip off line that the Ashford Valley Tickham fox hunt were meeting in Frinsted at midday on New Years Day! Sabbing on a hangover has never deterred us before and we quickly made last minute plans to attend…. it would be rude not to welcome the Ashford Valley Tickham in to 2020 after all!
As we arrived in to Doddington it became clear where the meet was as we joined a large procession of horse boxes heading to the meet. After roughly 5 minutes of trundling along the horse box in front of us stopped for no reason. It was clear they were desperately seeking advice from the hunt about what to do with us behind them… causing a huge traffic jam in the process! Eventually they moved on and we all arrived at the meet at Madam’s Court, Frinsted.
Shortly after arriving we had the pleasure of Neil the huntsman turning up with his hounds. The look on his face upon seeing us was priceless!
The hunt moved off at 12.30 and had a large field by the Ashford Valley Tickhams standards of 20 riders plus 6 red coats. There were many faces we didn’t recognise so don’t worry, we don’t suspect they have mustered up some new long term supporters from anywhere!
We quickly got behind the hounds and terrier man, following them on the road. This really set the tone for the day! The hunt were out for just 2 hours and did a circle through Ringlestone, Wormshill, Milstead (dangerously close to the M2) then back through Torry Hill to the meet. During this time they spent at least 80% of the time on the roads with us behind them. Occasionally huntsman Neil would duck into a wood to try and shake us off but with the drone we were easily able to follow them. He also tried splitting the field from the hounds on numerous occasions which also failed, hopefully he’s learnt his lesson now that, that won’t work! In all we counted him actually cast his hounds just twice, both times having to call them back as we got the drone back on them!
All in all a hugely successful day for us with relatively low numbers on our side. This absolutely was not how the Ashford Valley Tickham hunt wanted to start 2020! Long may it continue! Thank you to whoever contacted the HSA tip off line – we will always take action on your behalf. You saved lives today without a doubt.
There was one incident early in the day when the hunt rode straight into a riding school who were out for a tack, completely spooking their horses and nearly causing a serious accident. The hunt refused to move to let them pass causing the school’s horses to get dangerously upset. Eventually the hunt had to help restrain one horse while the hounds passed. We were reminded of how anti social hunting is, blocking roads with horses and hounds. If the riders involved in this incident would like to contact us then please do. We have no idea what your views are on hunting but we have footage of the whole incident and good contacts in the Police should you wish to pursue anything further.
A great start to the new year for us all in all. Roll on 2020!
Down with the hunt !!