Tuesday, January 5, 2010
P u p p i e s !
People think it looks like England. I have not yet been to England. They ride beautiful horses and chase fox (coyotes too) on horse back following Foxhounds. They do not kill the fox and it is all about formal English riding skills.
They also chase rabbits with Beagles and Bassets on foot. On these hikes there are no guns or hunters. Sometimes the hounds do catch a rabbit. I am told that this is not supposed to happen.
It is a nice walk across private land and a chance to see part of the countryside that is usually not available. It is a good excuse for a social time with friends, with their own dogs on lease. I do not own a dog at this time.
Going out with hounds is like going back in time, when farming had the need to control fox and rabbit. It is a completely different energy. It is also formal, with a Hunt Master in proper clothing and a horn!
I do not hunt. I regret that I was a trapper when I was young and I now do not approve of wearing fur unless you are an Eskimo. I did enjoyed reading "Where the Red Fern Grows" because I was a "boy in the woods". Most often, I am happy with a quiet nature walk with my binoculars and camera.
My friend took me to the kennels to see the new pups. The kennel is home to two packs of about 20 Beagles and 20 Bassets When we arrived, two sets of older pups (3 month & 6 month) were out in the field. As they returned I lay on the ground with my camera and you can see how I was greeted!
I took over a hundred pictures during a second walk out with the young hounds. I was watching closely. Noting a creature that is not quite a pet and yet not wild. These dogs had different priorities than what a dog owner is usually familiar with. Total attention to Betsy, the Hunt Master, but only within the context of the pack and the hunt. When they are hunting they show little to no interest in the human presence, but when back at the kennels, they are responsive, well behaved and delightful to be around. These kennels are also immaculate.
Below is a painting that I just finished from my day out. It was the concentration and readiness to Betsy that became my interest. Betsy returns the same level of attention, by knowing all 40+ dogs by name.