As we Pack up our horses and trailers and wave farewell to fellow Hunt members and our hunt staff, the end of hunt season in our part of Canada means time for us to take a break. Rest from those early mornings and long days, repair or look for new equipment and hunt attire, and riding takes on a more leisurely pace. But is that vacation time for hunt staff? What do they do during the winter months when they stay at home.
Hounds still need care and attention, and not just feeding and cleaning of kennels. Consider this, at the end of the season they are fit and have been doing their job for three months now.
Unlike most of our horses, where pasture time is welcome, they still need and want regular walking, exercise and the introduction of play time to counteract their enthusiasm and boredom. That is in all weather and depth of snow.
Then there is hound care, that entails checking for soundness, healing cuts and scrapes, administering shots and worming medicine. Repairing collars and equipment. Have I left anything out?
Oh yes this also the time of year when hounds in whelp are examined and puppies start arriving. It is also the time of year when the Huntsman decides on the introduction of the next season's young entry to the pack and their training begins. This entails walking out with the pack with the young coupled to start off with a seasoned hound until they become fully integrated into the pack.
This past year the TNYH kennels have gone through some renovations that make them much more comfortable for hounds and their human caretakers. Once the construction is complete, staff will be cleaning up and getting everything organized for the upcoming hunt season. With a few of these sunny days I can almost believe that spring hunt season is around the corner. Regards to All
By Bev Nicolson, Photos by Sarah Giles