Self-described mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend, landscape architect and now MFH, Christine Gracey has been a horse crazy girl since the age of four. Eight years ago, she met some members of the Eglinton and Caledon Hunt (CAN) at a coffee shop after a hunt and peppered them with questions. After capping at two nearby fixtures that fall, Gracey was so excited and giddy after the experience that her husband bought her a subscription for Christmas.
eCovertside: What do you hope to bring to ECH as a new MFH?
Christine: I hope that I bring a spirit of cooperation and a "get things done" attitude. There is a great deal of work involved in running the club throughout the entire year, and we need to have a lot of volunteers willing to help out and dedicate their time and effort to do everything that needs to be done. We need to make sure that all the talk gets backed up with all the work. That is something I can do.
eCovertside: What motivates/inspires you in your role?
Christine: I see the amount of enjoyment and camaraderie that our members get when we get together, whether it is at a hunt, a breakfast, a hunter pace or at any of the other social events. We need to ensure that continues to happen, and every member, landowner and guest has a positive experience every time they interact with ECH.
eCovertside: Has anyone in particular served as a mentor to you throughout your hunting life? If so, how did they influence you?
I think every person that I hunt with is an influence and I can learn something from them, as they are taking the time to do something they love. It’s easy to say "I’m too busy," or "It’s raining too hard to go out today," but these people have learned the important lesson, that you have to take some time out to make yourself happy and enjoy life. And every person older than I that takes a fall and gets hurt and comes back out again serves as a great inspiration.
eCovertside: What do you view as the biggest challenge to sustaining hunting in your territory? How do you foresee handling this challenge?
Christine: One huge challenge is to keep land open and available to hunting. As the city creeps north and the large farms get lots severed off and there are more and more small acreages, it increases the amount of work required to get permission to cross private lands. As it stands now, we have over 550 landowners that we have to keep in touch with. I think we have to strive to stay in touch on a regular basis, and not just get in touch right before we want to cross their land.
It’s also a challenge to increase membership, to keep up to the ever-increasing costs of running a hunt club. We depend a lot on fundraising, and there is always uncertainty with that. We are trying to combat that by working hard to increase our membership, both by keeping members and attracting new members.
eCovertside: What is your favorite thing about hunting?
Christine: I like the fact that no two hunts are ever the same. There is an unpredictability that I love. We have to be ready for anything: a slow day with difficult scenting conditions, a quick fast run two minutes after we leave the fixture, a beautiful day that starts out lovely and ends up with you drenched, and those all too rare, wonderful, perfect days with the field closely following the huntsman and hounds, watching them work, and going on a great run as they hear the hounds start to speak. Every day is different, and there are always new experiences to be had.