This year the Toronto and North York Hunt celebrates 175 years of sport, longer than Canada has been a nation. To commemorate this historical event an Invitational Joint Meet was held Saturday, October 27th from the Toronto and North York Hunt kennels in Mulmur, Ontario and our fellow Canadian hunts were invited to attend. As of Friday, October 26th we were expecting over 70 riders and an additional 30 guests for the complimentary breakfast, a lot of pressure for our huntsman, Rosslyn Balding and our hounds to perform!

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Huntsman Rosslyn Balding and the pack. Photo Courtesy Karin McDonald of Beaumirage Digital Photography.

Saturday morning, if you lived in Southern Ontario, you woke up to a blanket of snow and much more falling! Slippery road conditions, jackknifed tractor trailers on routes to the meet left many riders with the disappointing decision to leave their trailers and horses at the barn. So on the day approximately 40 riders braved the driving conditions and 40 additional guests for the breakfast attended. As it turned out, contrary to normal winter storms, the further north you travelled, the less snowfall had accumulated and by mid-afternoon the skiff of snow covering the grounds at the kennels had completely disappeared.

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Hounds at work as the snow melts. Photo Courtesy Karin McDonald of Beaumirage Digital Photography.

Those fortunate enough to ride in the hunt were not disappointed, with hounds finding straight away in the first draw! A blistering pace was set off to the northwest. After a long, fast, run through some difficult terrain, hounds checked and were cast but were unable to pick up the line again in a deep gully. Hounds were collected and taken to the far side of the gully. Working well, hounds found again and relentlessly chased their quarry north once more, where two coyotes were viewed, but hounds stayed together on the hunted one. Both fields were treated to several views of the quarry closely chased by the pack in open, harvested corn fields where he tried his best to double back and lose his pursuers. GPS signals identified the area where hounds slowed down and the hunt was concluded. Ros rode in to be with her hounds and determine the outcome, unfortunately it was like trying to find a needle in a haystack, so hounds were gathered and the horn signaled “Going Home” with all on.

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The snowy conditions provided good scenting for stalwart visitors. Photo Courtesy Karin McDonald of Beaumirage Digital Photography.

The hunt from start to finish lasted over three hours with tired hounds and staff returning to the kennels after four hours. Many riders without mounts followed by road and at times the traffic jam on some of the narrower paths almost required a traffic signalman! The clubhouse was full, the open bar was bustling and the food was warm and hit the spot on the first snowy day for the fall of 2018.

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The determined field enjoyed a three-hour hunt. Photo Courtesy Barb Redford of Red Koru Photography.

Other initiatives to celebrate our 175th include a special edition of the Toronto and North York Hark! Magazine which you can view online here. Celebrations will conclude with the TNYH 175th Hunt Ball, Saturday, November 24th where it all started, at the Toronto Hunt (Golf Club) located on the Scarborough Bluffs at the east side of Toronto overlooking Lake Ontario. For those interested in attending the Hunt Ball please email Constance Boldt at: constance.boldt@utoronto.ca who will be pleased to provide you with complete details. Hope to see you there!

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