Hounds' Junior Members Earn Colors
The Moore County Hounds held the first junior foxhunt of 2007 on a breezy, warm Jan. 2.
Fourteen juniors joined over 50 adults at Mile Away farm in Southern Pines.
Mile Away Farm has been the home of the Moore County Hounds since the early 1940s when Ginnie and Pappy Moss purchased the farm that was exactly one mile from their livery stable on the corner of Connecticut Avenue and Broad Street in Southern Pines.
The junior hunt is an opportunity for junior members of the Moore County Hounds to ride at the front of the field with the senior hunt-staff. Juniors are paired with staff members in order to experience firsthand the sight of hounds working, and to assist the staff with the hunt.
Hunting tradition calls for the oldest junior riders to assist the Masters in the hunt-field. Kailyn Mangrum, 14, was junior huntsman for the day, assisting huntsman Jody Murtagh in his search for a fox.
The warm weather and slight breeze didn't provide the best scenting conditions. However, the pack of Penn-Marydel, Crossbred and English foxhounds stayed on course for over an hour and finally found a grey fox.
Joint Master, Richard Webb, said "We had a nice run on a lovely grey fox that ran around in circles for about 45 minutes and then gave us the slip."
Webb was aided by junior member Sarah Baker.
Other junior members assigned to the staff for the hunt included: Caroline Kirkland and Kaily Meeks, who assisted Mike Russell in leading the Hilltoppers; and Sarah Ross, Francesca Huber, Erin Kirkland, Beth Pennington and Jean K. McInnes, who assisted staff Whippers-In Melanie Wyatt, Cindy Pagnotta, Lynn Dillard and Kerrie Hay. The other juniors rode in the field.
Wyatt, who trains many of the junior riders, said she "told the kids riding today that they are experiencing a piece of foxhunting history. They are continuing the traditions that began back in the 18th century during the time of George Washington."
The Moore County Hounds recently awarded two juniors their colors. Huber and Cody Murtagh may now sport the red and blue, which represent the junior colors of the Moore County Hounds, on their hunt-coat collars. The awarding of colors is a right of passage for members who have hunted regularly for two seasons or more.
"I love the way the juniors come out so keen to hunt," said Webb. "They all ride so well."
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