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elora Horse & Hound parade

Favorite Memories From the Hunt Field

Spotlight on Safety: Poisonous Plants


Editor & Master’s Message


Hunt Ball

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Master’s Report

Elora Horse & Hound Parade

Inaugural ECH Jumper Jackpot

24 29


Spotlight on Safety - Poisonous Plants


Blown Away


MFHA Hark Forward Friendship Tour


Favourite Memories


I shouldn't have, but....


Mountain Trail Clinic


The Drop In


View Between the Ears


In The Field


In Remembrance - Charlie Armstrong


Opening Meet


Ad Index/Contributors


Riding with Hounds Pull-out

Editor Mrs. Christine Gracey MFH Art Director Mrs. Karin McDonald Masters of Foxhounds (MFH) Mr. Alastair Strachan MFH Mrs. Christine Gracey MFH Mrs. Susan Rasmussen MFH Huntsman Mr. Colin Brown Honorary Whipper’s In Mr. Alastair Strachan, MFH Mr. Hugh Robertson Mrs. Tina Walker Mrs. Victoria Francey-Brown Mr. Mark Hurtig


13 Road Whips Mr. Jeremy Shrubbs Mr. Jim DiNoto Mrs. Sheila Lundy Board of Directors Mr. Alastair Strachan MFH Mrs. Christine Gracey MFH Mrs. Susan Rasmussen MFH President - Heather Evans Past President - Ms. Priscilla Reeve, ex-MFH Treasurer - Mrs. Wendy Brett Secretary - Mrs. Tina Walker Mr. Andrij Brygidyr Mrs. Christine Scharf Mrs. Susan Murdoch Cover Photo : Karin McDonald, Beamirage Photo www.kmgdesign.ca

For more information on the Eglinton and Caledon Hounds please contact: Mrs. Tina Walker ​Honorary Secretary secretaryech@gmail.com Click for upcoming events, news & images: www.eglintoncaledonhounds.com

Eglinton and Caledon Hounds

Photo : Lori Metcalfe


Horse of Your Heart


Editor's Message I am very happy to present you with our seventh Stirrup Cup magazine, put out by the Eglinton and Caledon Hounds. This magazine showcases many of the events that we have participated in throughout the past year, as well as our main activity of riding to hounds. We want our readers and supporters to see how much enjoyment and fun we get from these activities, and what a great family oriented sport this is. We have many adventures throughout the lovely and local countryside, in all seasons and in all weather! From Puppy shows to Jumper Jackpots and Hunter Paces, from the Hunt Ball to the Elora Horse and Hound Parade, as well as over 40 Meets per year, we are a busy and active group. We welcome newcomers to our group, and are happy to see past members returning to a sport that they have previously enjoyed. We encourage all ages and levels of riders to join us, we have a safe place for you to ride with us. This is a non-competitive sport, one where comraderie and friendships are an important part of the overall picture. We also would like to thank the landowners who graciously allow us to access their beautiful properties, advertisers, our Art Director Karin McDonald and all the others who support us in so many ways. We thank you all, and hope you enjoy this magazine snapshot of our year. Christine Gracey MFH, Eglinton and Caledon Hounds Editor, Stirrup Cup Magazine


Master's Remarks Our club started operations in 1930 and we have been ‘ Riding to Hounds ‘ every year since then. In North America there are about 165 clubs like ours with several of those in Canada. We take our hounds and horses to areas as far south as Caledon, as far north as Dornoch with Belwood and Mono Cliffs on the western and eastern limits. Our members come from all of these areas and people who want to try a day with us are very welcome – there are slow, medium and fast riding groups, each with a leader. We also have horses available for hire on a daily basis. We work hard to maintain relationships with hundreds of landowners and to add new ones to those who already grant us permission to cross their lands. We are incredibly privileged to be able to do this and from all of us at the Eglinton and Caledon Hounds, THANK YOU. Each club keeps a pack of hounds and these are bred very carefully over the years. All hounds are entered into a central database and there are over 70,000 hounds recorded. We can trace the ancestry of each of these hounds back many, many generations. Our hounds are our best ambassadors and are very popular with spectators wherever they go. Our professional staff look after the health, diet and exercise needs of the hounds on a daily basis. For those interested, we are licensed by the Ministry of Natural Resources and carry a large insurance policy that provides coverage for our members and those landowners whose lands we cross. We hope that you will join us at some point as a spectator, at a social event or best of all, on horseback!

Photo: Lori Metcalf

Alastair Strachan MFH, E  glinton and Caledon Hounds eglintoncaledonhounds.com



Jumper Jackpot

Winners, Ella Marquis and Fluff on Fire.

Images by Janice Byer, Life with Horses Photography & Karin McDonald, Beaumirage Photo On a sunny Wednesday in August, the ECH Jumper Jackpot committee and dedicated volunteers descended upon the Caledon Riding Club to prepare for the first-of-its-kind event for the Hunt. The VIP tent went up, the blue wine came out, the PA system was checked and the jumper course was waiting. Considering the summer we had, we were lucky with the weather and dodged much rain in the week leading up to the event, ensuring that the ring was in great shape and the footing was perfect for the horses.

In the early afternoon, the first of our 39 competitors arrived and started walking the Albert Scharf-designed course. Before long, the grounds were busy with horses, riders and spectators. At 3pm our huntsman, Colin Brown, blew the horn to kick off the competition. The class consisted of one round with a maximum time. Any who completed that round with no jumping or time faults moved onto the jump-off. From an original field of 39, 17 horse and rider combinations went

through to a very fast jump-off. Frank Merrill Jr, ex-MFH, was in fine form with his announcing skills, providing insight into some horse and rider combinations and interesting colour commentary throughout. The jump-off was a terrific mix of big horses, small horses, experienced horses and green horses. Most of the riders went into the jump-off on a mission and really gave it their best shot. The final placings came down to just seconds between horses! We had a lovely ribbon and prize preSofia Funk

Laura Boardman


Eva Marquis

Jesse Gallant

Ashley Cooper

Lindsay Hickey

Josephine Bradford

Taylyn Andrews

sentation in the ring with the impressive $1000 first prize going to Ella Marquis and her little paint pony, Fluff on Fire. Prizes were presented by Master Christine Gracey and Master Sue Rasmussen, followed by a victory gallop. A big shout out to the Committee for pulling this event together: Master Alastair Strachan, Christine Scharf, Blaine Nicholls and Ashley Bates. Thank you to Albert Scharf for his course-designing skills and to our volunteers on the day of for helping pull it off without a hitch!! Looking forward to another Jumper Jackpot in 2018 so get your horses going... you never know who might ride away with $1000 of prize money!! ‘Till next year, Kelley Givlin y

Kelly Belanger

Anthony Blurton Jones 7


Photos: Karin McDonald

Spotlight on Safety

Common Ontario Plants that are Poisonous to Horses Horses are usually quite discriminating when it comes to their choice in grazing materials, but it is much easier to prevent an accident than try to fix the sometimes permanent damage caused by these local plants. These are all easily found and common plants in Southern Ontario. Horses are most likely to ingest these when they are short of food and/or pastures are overgrazed. Young horses are also most likely to be adventurous and try these plants. YEWS (Taxus) There are many varieties of evergreen yew shrubs that are commonly used in residential and commercial landscapes as individual shrubs, mass plantings or hedges. All parts of the plant are extremely poisonous to horses, and as little as a single handful of the needles can be enough to kill a horse.

TANSY RAGWORT (Senecio jacobaea) This is fairly common around our area as well and is often found in pasture areas. Symptoms of poisoning include weakness, fever, poor coordination, liver failure and yellow mucous membranes.

BUTTERCUPS (Ranunculus) Everyone knows these cute little yellow flowered plants, and they are very commonly seen in horse paddocks. However, the sap in the stems and leaves is an irritant to horses, and can cause the following symptoms: colic, mouth blisters and drooling, bloody urine, diarrhea and weak pulse. When the buttercups are dried as they would be in hay, there is no danger to the horse.

RED MAPLE (Acer rubrum) This tree is often grown in residential landscapes as well as growing in damp areas in the wild. The leaves are very poisonous to horses, and it takes a very small amount to make them ill. Dried and wilted leaves are poisonous rather than fresh leaves. Symptoms include anemia and depression within one to five days of ingestion.

HORSETAILS (Equisetum arvense) and BRACKEN FERN (Pteridium aquilinum) Field horsetail can be found in damp pasture areas, close to wetlands or ponds, but also in sandy or gravelly areas. Bracken Fern is found in pastures near open woodland. Consumption of either of them causes a thiamine deficiency in horses. The plants are toxic both in the ground and when they are dried and found in hay. Symptoms include weight loss, a staggering gait, constipation, convulsions and an increased heart rate.

CLIMBING NIGHTSHADE (Solanum dulcamara) This is a very common vine in Southern Ontario. All parts of it are poisonous to people and horses. Symptoms include dilated pupils, lack of coordination and mental ability, loss of appetite, diarrhea, abdominal pain and possibly unconsciousness and death.

ST. JOHN’S WORT (Hypericum perforatum) Another commonly seen plant in pastures and roadsides, this one causes photosensitivity to horses. Symptoms include inflammation of white or light-coloured skin areas. Affected areas are usually around mouth, tongue and muzzle and may become red, swollen and peel.

Other common plants for horses to avoid include Milkweed, Burdock, wild Mustard, Hogweed, Datura varieties and Canola. As there is no antidote for poisoning from many of these poisonous plants, the moral of the story is to ensure adequate pasture for your horses and good quality hay from a reputable supplier. Watch what your horses are eating!

WHAT DO I DO IF MY HORSE EATS A POISONOUS PLANT? ➣ If you suspect your horse has eaten a plant that is poisonous, the first course of action is to call your veterinarian. They will be able to tell you what to do for your horse until they get there. ➣ If the poisonous plant is located in or near a pasture that other horses have access to, remove the horses from the pasture until the plant can be removed. y For more info visit http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca 9

Eglington and Caledon Hunt Host the

First Friendship Tour stop Sept 20th, 2017 By Barbara Smith Who do you call for overnight accommodations for 10 horses and 5 people when your plans fall through 12 hours before arrival? In this case we were blessed to land on the doorstep of Christine Gracey MFH of the Eglington and Caledon Hunt in Caledon, Ontario. She was completely nonplussed by our 12th hour arrival and Joint Master Alastair Strachan had made arrangements for the horses. We pulled into Sleepy Fox Farm, the lovely hunter barn of Al, and daughter Jennifer, Borrett, at midnight after driving 15 hours from Illinois. This was the first Friendship stop on the MFHA Hark Forward 2017 tour. We had just left Massbach Hounds -Fox River Valley Hunt in western Illinois, where the 1st Hound Performance Trial had successfully concluded. Swinging wide into Canada, crossing the border just north of Detroit, we drove east to the Eglington and Caledon Hunt (1930) located about 2 hours northwest of Toronto. Beautiful hay fields and wooded coverts are bordered to the west by the Niagara Escarpment, a geological wonder left by the retreating glaciers of the last ice age. The day after arriving, we wanted to stretch our horses’ legs a bit after the long haul, so Christine Gracey MFH took us for a trail ride at Mono Cliffs. Hikers, Mennonite picnickers and riders all enjoy this provincial park that climbs the Escarpment.

The language of the flask is universal. 10

Members of the MFHA Hark Foward Tour (Nancy Smith, Judith Craw, Barbara Smith, Jean Derrick & Epp Wilson) enjoy a relaxing hack along the trails at Mono Cliffs, part of the Niagara Escarpment Parks System

That night Adam Gracey grilled a delicious salmon with dill and we met several other members who brought sides to share. Dessert was Canadian butter tarts and they made my trip (twice as tasty as pecan pie)! After dinner Epp Wilson MFH (Belle Meade Hunt) explained to our northern hunt brethren about the Hark Forward initiative. The MFHA is excited about the new headquarters in Middleburg and, in addition to fundraising, is reaching out foxhunters to share resources and help with issues we are all facing nowadays. Shrinking hunt membership, landowner relations, as well as needing to educate the public about foxhunting’s support of land conservation are but a few of the concerns of every hunt. Epp Wilson is encouraging all foxhunters to get involved and participate in some of the events of the MFHA Hark Forward

celebration.: hound performance trials, joint meets, hunter trials and these “friendship” stops. By sharing stories and hunt experiences, we renew friendships and learn about ways to capture the interest of the next generation and increase the positive perceptions of a sport that we love and cherish. Wednesday morning we met at a 2000-acre dairy farm, Henria Holsteins. Alastair Strachan MFH, who was also hunting the hounds that day, greeted us warmly and introduced us to the landowner, Henrik. We had already met Hugh Robertson, first whipper-in, and Tina Walker, Honorary Secretary and Fieldmaster, last evening at dinner, as well as, their Joint Master Sue Rasmussen. Today everyone was in formal attire including a gentleman in top hat and tails, and a lady in sidesaddle and veil.

By sharing stories and hunt experiences, we renew friendships and learn about ways to capture the interest of the next generation...

Happy horses wondering where their next adventure will take them.

It was going to be hot so we moved off quickly into the cool of some wooded coverts, skirting hayfields and tall corn. In Canada they say “Headlands, please.” which we quickly understood to mean single-file around crops. Alastair Strachan had invited Epp Wilson to ride forward with him and at the end of day, Epp was so impressed with the quiet, relaxed way of Alistair’s hunting that he urged him to come with us to the next Performance Trial and help judge. We are hoping he will! The hounds hunted hard for about two hours before the coyote was viewed streaking west across open fields. We reversed course and

The impressive Henria Holsteins

jumped back over a ditch that horses had calmly dealt with earlier, and galloped around corn. Breaking into open fields we moved off quickly in pursuit. The coyote ran for the next hour and we covered about 10 miles back northward. It was awesome and fun and why we come to do this. Happy grins and pats to the neck of fit horses were the finishing touch as we waited with Alastair and whips to collect all hounds.

liness. Epp Wilson had asked Colin Brown, their huntsman and his wife Victoria, for a tour of the kennels and he left in the hunt truck. He reported a lovely operation and at dinner was telling us that they put boards up between runs in the winter for warmth . Sometimes the cold is so extreme they can have frost-bitten hounds within 15 minutes if out in runs. Perhaps we can leave some Georgia heat for them!

We joined members for a delicious shepherd’s pie breakfast, after which the landowner gave us a tour of his ultra-modern dairy, which impressed us all with its efficiency and clean-

The next day we thanked our hosts and the barn owner’s before heading off for the next Friendship stop at Genessee Valley Hunt in Genesseo, NY. y

Alastair Strachan, MFH with Epp Wilson

Collecting the hounds



I shouldn’t have, but...

by Christine Gracey

Photo: Beth Munnings-Winter

As a horse crazy teenage girl in the 1970’s, a wannabe Barn Rat, I took every opportunity to spend time with horses. Deanna (my partner in crime in all things horsey) and I travelled by bus to the last stop on Route#8, a few kilometers past Square 1 Shopping Center, to the last remnants of rural Mississauga. Our destination was a dilapidated barn filled with a mixture of horses and ponies, boarded there by various owners. We had the opportunity to visit one of these horses, owned by an unknown friend of a friend of Deanna’s mother. For endless amounts of time, we curried and brushed ‘Rampage’, a chestnut gelding, who was way too much horse for us to actually ride. Upon finishing this job and admiring our hard work, we turned our attention elsewhere… There was a tiny, shaggy Shetland stallion in the stall next door. ‘Scrappy Man’ was the nametag on his stall door. In all our visits, we had never seen anyone paying any attention to him. As a stallion; he was kept inside by himself, and to us he appeared to need some love and attention. ‘Don’t you think we should clean him up a bit?’ ‘Yes, he looks like he would like that.’ ‘The poor boy is probably so bored.’ We moved from one stall to another. Scrappy was a dapple grey with a flaxen mane and tail. He looked sideways at us with a bright eye. He couldn’t actually look at us straight on, as his forelock was long, wild and tangled, covering most of his face. Grooming tools in hand and working away at him, we cleaned that little pony up to the best of our very amateur abilities. Unfortunately, that did not take long as he was such a little guy. ‘Now what?’ ‘The bus doesn’t come for another hour.’ We eyed the pair of scissors that were in the grooming kit. ‘We could just trim up that forelock a little bit, couldn’t we?’ ‘I think he would like to be able to see better.’ ‘Just a little bit of a trim!’ So we cut that shaggy forelock nice and straight. ‘Hmmm, it doesn’t look quite right, does it?’ ‘Better take a little more off.’ We trimmed a little more off the bottom, and a little more, and again…and again. Deanna and I stood back to admire our work. As we looked at Scrappy, we realized in dawning horror that we had done something very wrong. Something we should not have done, to a pony that did not belong to us. Cute little Scrappy was now sporting a bushy little brushcut sprouting between his ears. He looked at us straight on with his twinkly dark eyes now fully visible. He looked happy, but that did not help us with our feelings of guilt. We looked at each other. ‘Let’s get out of here.’ ‘Run!’ We took off as fast as we could to the bus stop. And then we waited and waited, at the mercy of the Mississauga bus schedule. Twenty agonizing minutes later, we could finally breathe a sigh of relief as we hopped on the Route#8 bus heading for home, never daring to return to that barn again. y

But, I LOVE my bushy locks! 13

Member’s Notes

The Drop In H

is boots hit the ground first. As he rolled to break the impact the symbol of the Luftewaffe, the silver eagle, flashed briefly into view. As he sat up the parachute settled gently about his shoulders like a shroud. But this was not the end for the German pilot. Even in war there are times when humanity can transcend the brutality of the conflict and this was a gentleman warrior who may have been down but was not defeated. This is the story of how, as a nine yearold, I played a modest part in capturing a German prisoner of war. At the time, I was standing in awe in an open field while fifty planes of opposing air forces engaged in mortal combat overhead. This was in August, 1941 at the height of the Battle of Britain. On a clear day the sky became a canvas of intertwining contrails as the fighter planes wove in and out in their deadly dance. At times the sky was a scene of unraveling and knotted trails of condensation among the cotton wool clouds of a perfect summer afternoon. The newly formed lines in the sky at first were tight and well defined. Over the course of a minute or two the edges became ragged and the clear delineation started to fade as the wind scattered the white puffy tracks. Interspersed with these positive white lines was the occasional black vertical line of smoke from a wounded aircraft. Such lines would always be descending, sometimes straight to earth, sometimes in a spiral of death throes and sometimes in a curve as a pilot fought at the controls to bring his steed to a softer landing. But, always downward and always with the colour of death. Of course we would stand there and cheer on the Spitfires and the Hurricanes as they dueled with the enemy’s Messerschmidts and Dorniers. It was all there right before our eyes as though it was a performance specially

by Derek French

staged for us earthbound audience. We watched for an attacking plane to get into a commanding position and then wait for the rat-a-tat –tat-tat of its cannons. A hit was unmistakeable. First we would see a flame and then oily smoke would be the telltale of the knockout punch. While we would be cheering on our own team we would switch to neutrality as a plane began its deathfall from the sky. At this point all bias was abandoned and the watching crowd started to root for the pilot, regardless of nationality. “Bail out, bail out” we cried as all who beheld this final act projected and prayed in support of humanity, regardless of the uniform. One, two, three … seconds would pass as we imagined the pilot struggling with his canopy. As the seconds ticked by we would fear for his life and the impending fate that awaited his abrupt return to earth. Five, six, seven … “there he is, he’s out just in time” the crowd shouted as we saw the sudden white bloom of the flower that was his parachute and ticket to life. On one occasion those of us working at harvest time in the stubble of the wheat fields had occasion to play more than just a bystander’s role in this theatre of the sky. As a nine-year-old, I was paid sixpence an hour to do my small part in bringing in the summer’s harvest. Labour was always in short supply as the regular able-bodied workers were conscripted into the armed services. Those that were left were the young, the elderly and anyone else who could turn out to ‘do their bit’ as the wartime saying went. Not the least of these helpers were the ladies of The Womens’ Land Army. This was an organization for those women who preferred to work on farms rather than in the munitions factories. Usually there was a half dozen or so of these well-muscled ladies billeted in the village to

work on local farms. It was a warm August day and yet another of those occasions during the Battle of Britain when the skies were filled with aerial combat. We had paused in our daily routine of ‘stooking’ the sheaves of wheat in rows so that the grain would dry out over the next two or three days. All eyes were on the battle unfolding above us when we noticed a German Messerschmidt had been knocked out of the sky. We counted down the seconds and with much relief we saw that the pilot had successfully bailed out. His parachute opened and he began the descent. It was a southerly wind and although his plane was seen to crash a mile or more away from us to the south, it was apparent that he was coming ever closer. At first there was just a feeling of relief that he would be safe but as he descended we noticed that he was coming our way. He was getting nearer, lower and likely to land nearby. Fascination with the spectacle turned to nervousness and finally to near panic. What were we expected to do? Should we run for our lives or should we stand our ground and take on this enemy combatant face to face. I was bundled out of presumed danger to the rear of our army of harvest warriors. Our hesitation decided the role for us to play. As the pilot descended, the assortment of nervous elderly farm workers, Land Army women, children and dogs grabbed our pitch forks or any item that would give us courage. Our unexpected visitor came to a gentle grounding in the very field in which we were working. He was right there within the circle which had formed around his landing point. There was a long silence during which our weapons wavered and trembled and the fighter pilot rose to his feet and carefully gathered up his parachute. Still not a word was spoken

On a clear day the sky became a canvas of intertwining contrails as the fighter planes wove in and out in their deadly dance. 14

The battle in the sky was over ... as the wind washed away the scars of war. as we wondered what to do next. The spell was broken by our prisoner, or was it that we were his prisoners? “Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen” said the tall, smartly uniformed young man in perfect English. “I wonder if any of you could offer me a light” said this elegant creature from space as he drew out a silver cigarette case from his pocket. “That was a rather harrowing experience but I do apologize for dropping in on you like this”. This unexpected turn of events was enough to break the tension and a nervous laugh went up from us, his captors. Now we knew for sure who was the captured and who were the captors. The proper balance had been restored. “I suppose you should relieve me of this” said the prisoner, as he tossed his pistol on

the ground. At this one of our number stepped forward and lit the man’s cigarette and the wavering pitchforks were lowered. The pistol stayed where it had landed. It was just a matter of a few minutes until we heard the tinkling of a bicycle bell and the village policeman arrived. Authority was at hand and quickly took charge.. The two adversaries marched off side-by-side to the waiting army truck that had driven up to collect our gentleman prisoner. The battle in the sky was over and the crisscross of those contrails had begun to fade as the wind washed away the scars of war. The farm lunch wagon arrived with my mother at the wheel accompanied by one of my sisters. It was the daily routine when they brought the giant teapot that could serve a dozen thirsty people. Work never did quite resume that afternoon. After all, our har-

vest-field warriors had just been ‘doing their bit’ for the war effort and the sheaves of wheat could wait for one more day. Arrangements were made to meet at the Horse and Hounds pub that night to take full advantage of the heroism that had been displayed and to feign reluctance in accepting the free beers which could rightly be expected. This had been a day to be savoured, to be ruminated upon and tucked away in the memory to be trotted out in later years for our future grandchildren. Maybe with just a little enlargement here and there to make the story more entertaining but not at the expense of truth. I returned home with a chest bursting with pride and knowing that I too had played my part, however small, in the war effort.

WW2 was one step nearer victory. y


In the Field

Photographers Lori Metcalfe & Karin McDonald capture the beauty of days spent riding with hounds.

“It takes a good deal of physical courage to ride a horse. This, however, I have. I get it at about forty cents a flask, and take it as required. ~ Stephen Leacock



Opening Meet 87th Annual

Sept. 16, 2017 Ramshead ~Erin, ON

Field images courtesy Barb Redford & Karin McDonald

It’s not always guaranteed, but this year the sun shone down on us for the Eglinton and Caledon Hounds 87th Annual Opening Meet. We were filled with anticipation as we met at Ramshead, the scenic country home of the Kindbom family, who very graciously host meets for us throughout the year. Horses were sparkling clean and braided, tack had been oiled and polished, and our members and guests wore their very best formal hunt season clothes. As we met on the edge of the lawn, we greeted old friends, shared a stirrup cup of Port and enjoyed a savoury snack. Then we attempted the almost impossible (for us) task of getting over 40 horses and riders to line up. Perhaps by the time we hit our 100th Opening Meet, we may get that done to the photographers satisfaction! To the sound of the horn, Master Strachan led the hounds off for a great day in our traditional Caledon hunt territory. Then there was a quick trip home to clean up and don slightly fancier clothes, and we returned to Ramshead for a lovely evening breakfast on the patio, hosted by the Kindboms and the Joint-Masters. We all enjoyed the view of the ponds and the beautiful grounds that we so often ride past. And as is also is our tradition, we had a wonderful evening. y


T he E g l i n t o n

a n d C a le d o n H o u n d s Welcome to the excitement and exhilaration of “Riding to Hounds”! The music of the hounds in “full cry”. The sound of the horn echoing off the woodland hills. The excitement of the chase. The thrill of galloping over the countryside, the view of vistas that takes your breath away. The camaraderie of friends pursuing the same passion. Riding to hounds is a wonderful recreation for the whole family that can be enjoyed for a lifetime. What could possibly be better!

F i r s t A L i t t le H i s t o r y Foxhunting has existed in North America since colonial days and was enjoyed by hunters, farmers and landed gentry. The earliest record of foxhunting in Canada was in 1650. The earliest established hunt in Canada was the Montreal Hunt in 1826. The popularity of foxhunting continues to grow. Currently there are 165 organized hunts in North America. Our own local hunt is the Eglinton and Caledon Hounds. It is an offshoot of the Toronto Hunt which was formed in 1843. In 1930, The Eglinton Hunt, was formed and located at the corner of Avenue Road and Roselawn Avenue in Toronto and was recognized as a separate hunt under the Mastership of George Beardmore. When the expansion of Toronto necessitated finding new country, hounds were moved to their present location on Creditview Road in Caledon in 1963 and the name

changed to Eglinton and Caledon Hunt. Today there are approx. 100 members who participate not only in hunting but also with many related activities. T he M a s t e r s The leaders of our hunt are known as ‘Masters of Foxhunting’, a position of overall responsibility that has been a tradition over the centuries. The role of the Master can be likened to that of a president of an organization and is one which carries with it considerable responsibility and prestige. The Masters will often lead the riders in the field, and when they are performing this role they are known as Field Masters. Other members of the hunt can perform the role of Field Master, as well. In this case they are also known as Field Masters and they have responsibility for the safety and control of the riders.

Photo : Lori Metcalfe

Learn everything you need to know about being a member of ECH in this special tear-out section.


The Fields Followers of our hounds ride in one of three groups. Experienced riders on steady horses who are comfortable jumping obstacles at speed usually will ride with the ‘First Field’. The “Second Field’ rides at a slightly slower pace and jumping is optional. The ‘Third Field’ known as the ‘Hill Toppers’ keep mostly to a walk and trot. The ‘First Field’ follows the hunt as closely as possible without interfering with either hounds or the Huntsman and Whippers-in. The pace can reach cross country galloping speed and fences are usually negotiated in order to keep up with the hounds. The ‘Second Field’ is not far behind. The ‘Hill Toppers’ move at a distance endeavouring to see the hounds working, and anticipate where game may be flushed to observe a ‘viewing’. Riders are not permitted to pass the Field Masters and must obey the directions of the Field Masters. If a rider decides to retire for the day, he or she must advise the Field Master and request permission to leave. It is important that a rider does not cross through an area which will be hunted that day, as this could interfere with scenting.

Huntsman Under the direction of the Masters, a professional Huntsman is responsible for the kennels and all aspects of managing the hounds, including breeding, training, exercise, and of course, hunting. The Huntsman contributes to fostering a positive relationship with all landowners who provide permission to hunt on their lands.

Glossary of Hunt Terms All on - All hounds present and accounted for Away - When the quarry has left a cover and gone away; the hounds are gone away. Babbling - When hounds are giving voice or barking for no good reason. Cast - When the huntsman sends hounds into a cover or brings them together and then sends them another direction, he is said to be casting his hounds. Challenge - When drawing for a fox, the first hound, which throws his tongue, is a challenge. Check - When hounds in chase stop for want of scent, or have overrun it.


Couple - Two hounds (any sex). Hounds are always counted in couples.

The Huntsman is assisted by Whippers-in who participate in the hunting. This includes turning back hounds if they are running onto land not permitted to hunt, or busy roadways, rounding up hounds, and exercising of the hounds under the direction of the Huntsman.

Drawing - When hounds are working a covert or an area they are said to be drawing it.

The Hounds Training starts before a hound is 1 year old. The young hound is sometimes coupled with an older hound until it learns to stay with the others. They are then introduced to horses. As hounds hunt over private farmland, they must ignore all farm animals and pursue only the chosen quarry. Hounds begin to hunt at 12 to 18 months of age. The goal is to establish a pack of hounds that will run uniformly, give great voice, show stamina, develop a keen nose, and be obedient to the huntsman.

Pinks - A term used to describe the red or scarlet hunt coat. Whelps - Unweaned puppies.

the hounds hunt

Coyote can range in a large territory. The coyote, when chased, will run in straight lines and may take the hounds out of their assigned hunting areas. The coyote scent is stronger than the fox, and coyote chasing is more common in our area. Foxes are territorial. It knows good and bad scenting days. It can lead the pack on a merry chase, evading it by cunning or jumping into the first available den or hole.


Gone to Ground - When a fox or coyote goes into a natural earth, hole or drain.

Photos : Karin McDonald


Full Cry - When the whole pack is running hard after the quarry and throwing or giving tongue.

G e n e r a l E t i q u e tt e



Guest Rider

of the


the field. Avoid riding close to houses and farm buildings whenever possible. Never gallop down a landowner’s driveway or past his house. Circle all livestock so as to not disturb them. • Riders who have a horse that is inclined to kick out must wear a red ribbon on the horse’s tail and ride at the back of the group. Horses that are young or considered “green” should wear a green ribbon on the tail. Hounds always have the right of way. • A word about tack and bitting. Hunting can be as exciting for the horse as the rider. Horses tend to become stronger when galloping in a group. We recommend you consider using either a running or standing martingale and look at using a bit which will provide stronger “brakes”.

Photos : Karin McDonald

• To come out to hunt you must be escorted by an existing member of the hunt. • Arrangements will be made with a Master to bring a guest to a meet. There is a fee to be paid by a guest of the hunt (known as a “capping fee”) as well as waiver forms to be signed at the meet prior to mounting up. Your host should provide you with full details and introduce you to the Honourary Secretary (who has the forms and collects the fees) and the Masters at the meet. • When riding, a guest should always follow the path set by the Field Master and obey any instructions given by the Field Master. It is considered proper etiquette to ride behind the experienced riders with “colours”. • Care must be taken when riding on cultivated fields; you should always ride single file and close to the outside perimeter of

for a

W h a t Y o u C a n E x p e ct

at a

Typical Meet:

We hunt in various terrains and weather conditions. Discuss with your host, what attire is appropriate for your day of hunting. Proper turnout is not only a hunting tradition but also a sign of respect. Plan to arrive in time to sign waivers and pay fees before mounting, and be mounted at least ten minutes prior to “moving off “time. In this ten minute period riders gather to hear announcements and are introduced to the landowners who are thanked for providing permission to hunt their land, and guests are introduced to the field. At this time you will also be offered a “Stirrup Cup” (a drink of sherry or port) prior to the hunt commencing. Once the hunt moves off, be prepared to meet other members of the field and forge new acquaintances to enjoy your hunting experience. A hunt can last several hours; you would be wise to bring a snack and or a drink with you. At the conclusion of the hunt, either a ‘tailgate breakfast’ is enjoyed by all or you will be invited to attend an evening breakfast with your host to enjoy a hearty meal, liquid refreshments and swap tales of the days hunting escapades.

Riding to hounds is a most enjoyable experience and we would love to have you join us... For more information please contact : Mrs. Tina Walker, Honorary Secretary secretaryech@gmail.com

or visit www.eglintoncaledonhounds.com 21


Social Scene

Hunt Ball

celebrating Canada’s 150th Birthday It happens quite frequently to those who attend Hunt Balls… You walk in to a fantastically decorated ballroom, looking your stylish best, go to the bar to get a welcome drink, and introduce yourself to the person next to you in line. They give you a very strange look and say ‘I was riding beside you today.’ And as you take a second look and imagine them in helmet and hairnet and sunglasses, perhaps with a splash or two of mud on their face, you realize indeed that you do know this person. The only appropriate response is ‘Well, you clean up really well!’ Our ECH Hunt Ball had a red, white and black theme to commemorate Canada’s 150th Birthday this year. After a great morning hunt in our Reddickville territory and a fast run at the end of the day, we all cleaned up really well! Welcome drinks, a wonderful dinner, lovely silent auction items to bid on and a fantastic live auction all helped ensure that our members and all our guests had a great evening. Hope to see you there next year! y


There couldn’t have been a nicer day for the 6th Annual Elora Horse and Hound Parade! The sun was shining and the day was warm as over twenty ECH members, Huntsman and hounds, guests and sponsors arrived for the parade all dressed in their formal season hunt clothes, with horses braided and bathed, and looking fantastic. Paul Hinder and members of his committee had been planning for months, adding sponsors and volunteers, coordinating with the local police, and planning the route. All their preparation work was well worth it as the Parade went smoothly along the main streets of Elora. At our first stop alongside the Town Hall, welcome speeches were made, a cheque for $4000.00 was presented to the Groves Memorial Hospital and another cheque for $4000.00 was presented to the Canadian Cancer Society. 24

The two absolutely adorable mini ponies worked the crowd soliciting additional donations. A piper played as the crowd got a chance to meet and greet the horses, riders, huntsman and hounds. One hound took the opportunity to visit a local restaurant, but rejoined the Parade as it continued on! This year we had three ladies riding sidesaddle, showing us the grace and glamour of a bygone era. As we rode through town we saw lots of smiling faces and children waving to the riders and taking the opportunity to get close to the hounds. We are pleased that this event continues to get bigger and better each year, and happy to give back to our community by contributing the monies raised to the local Groves Memorial Hospital in Fergus. (See more photos - page 26) 25

Cont’d from page 25



Books by Shelley Peterson Horses, Mystery, Danger, Intrigue.

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O SHELLEy PEtErSon is the bestselling author of seven published novels for young readers: Dancer, Abby Malone, Stagestruck, Sundancer, Mystery at Saddle Creek, Dark Days at Saddle Creek, and Jockey Girl. She raises horses at Fox ridge, her family’s stable in Caledon.

Shelley PeterSon


ird has always dreaded Christmas. For as long as she could remember, her mother Eva would go into a tailspin of selfishness and drama as the holiday approached. This one was no different, and Bird is once again dumped at Saddle Creek Farm with her Aunt Hannah while Eva parties. At midnight on Christmas Eve, in the midst of an ice storm, Cody (the loyal coyote) alerts Bird that elderly Laura Pierson is in danger down the road. Bird mounts champion show jumper Sundancer, and with Cody, they head out to save her. The family’s plans fluctuate due to the storm, but people finally gather for Christmas dinner. While the after-dinner bonfire burns, a Christmas miracle unfolds, but at great cost to a loved one. In Christmas at Saddle Creek, Bird beholds the magic of the universe and the circle of life, and learns the true meaning of Christmas.


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The Horse Of Your Heart But a jump to try deeply the boldest and best; Just a tug at the leather, a lift of the ear, And the old horse is over it-twenty foot clear. There is four foot of wall and a take-off in plough, And you’re glad you are riding no tenderfoot now But a seasoned campaigner, a master of art, The perfect performer-the horse of your heart. For here’s where the raw one will falter and baulk, And here’s where the tyro is pulled to a walk, But the horse of your heart never dwells or demurs And is over the top to a touch of the spurs. To you who ride young ones half-schooled and half-broke, What joy to find freedom a while from your yoke! What bliss to be launched with the luck of the start On the old one, the proved one, the horse of your heart !

By William Henry Ogilvie ~ 1869-1963

Photo : Lori Metcalfe

When you’ve ridden a four-year-old half of the day And, foam to the fetlock, they lead him away, With a sigh of contentment you watch him depart While you tighten the girths on the horse of your heart. There is something between you that both understand As it thrills an old message from bit-bar to hand. As he changes his feet in that plunge of desire To the thud of his hoofs all your courage takes fire. When an afternoon fox is away, when begins The rush down the headland that edges the whins, When you challenge the Field, making sure of a start, Would you ask any horse but this horse of your heart? There’s the rasping big double a green one would shirk, But the old fellow knows it as part of his work; He has shortened his stride, he has measured the task, He is up, on, and over as clean as you’d ask. There’s the water before you-no novice’s test,


Blown Away Member’s Travels


nce a year, fox hunters from everywhere trade in their boots, both muddy and clean, for dress shoes and high heels and attend the hunt balls. This year, many from the Eglington Caledon Hunt Club traded in their boots for toes in the sand, as we traveled to the beautiful island of the Dominican Republic for the wedding of our fearless Huntsman, Mr. Colin Brown and our fabulous Whip, Ms. Victoria Francey. After a few days of beach shenanigans, a beautiful bridal shower, a rehearsal dinner during which which many drinks were had, it was finally the big day. We all loaded onto a spectacular boat and headed off to a deserted beach for the ceremony. At this point, many of the attendants had given up on shoes and enjoyed the ceremony barefoot in the sand. The beach where the ceremony was held can only be described as idyllic. The chairs and altar were set up facing this indescribable beach with the crashing waves of water, just as the sun was setting on the horizon. The only thing that completed this sight was seeing the happy bride and groom, who stood in front of the altar ready to be married. The ceremony was performed by our very own Mr. Hugh Robertson, who could not have been better suited as officiant, adding many hilarious and personal touches to the wedding ceremony. At one point, Hugh even brought out his whisky filled flask to pass to not only the bride and groom, but to all in attendance, capturing the feel of the hunt field. It could not have been more ideal, even when two horses rode along the beach, just as the couple were reciting their vows. Once the wonderful ceremony had ended, we headed back to the beautifully decorated boat for the reception. Before the meal, we had speeches from the bride’s tearful father and mother, Ray and Sue, as well as speeches from Mr.Alastair Strachan, Mrs.Tina Walker, and the bride’s sisters, Julia and Elyse. The speeches were all touching and completed the loving feel of the evening. After a delicious meal, the tables were pushed aside, and an evening of dancing commenced. The couple’s first dance was followed by a dance with the bride and her father, and then the groom and his new mother-in-law. Following that, everyone joined the dance floor and twirled the night away. Late into the night, the boat dropped us back on land. Everyone headed back to the beach with bottles of champagne to toast the happy couple one more time, while standing barefoot in the sand, champagne in hand, and the sounds of the ocean in our ears. y 30

by Kelsee Nicholls


Cheers Colin and Victoria

Member’s Notes

Favourite Memories from the Hunt Field

“I’m from Ireland; I know a bit about bogs” By Derek French, ex-MFH

It was just chance that the Meet that day was at ‘Tramore’, the other Irish name of the two properties owned by Doc McCormack. The best known of the two was ‘Tralee’ the home of a fine collection of four-in-hand and other coaches and an annual cross-country driving competition for coaching enthusiasts. Tramore was not so grand or as well known but provided the hunt with access to some open country that was otherwise hard to cover. It was a crisp autumn day with the sun shining on a fresh fall of colourful leaves brought down by the strong winds of the night before. The light frost had the hounds and the horses eager for a great run in the Ontario countryside. Steve, the Huntsman, set off to the west and cast the hounds into the Beech and Maple covert south of county road 3, one concession to the east of #26. It was a pretty scene that set the stage for the excitement to follow. The whip’s radio crackled “ware stag that just popped over the wire fence on the west side. No hounds on the line”. “OK” said the Huntsman, “we’ll move south and draw that gully with the creek”. This was an opportunity for the Field Master to let the field blow off some pent up steam along a ride through the bush and over the undulating terrain. The first flight riders were hard on his heels as they followed the bends in the track through the mature trees. The second flight were slower to follow and decided to cut straight across one of the meandering curves and go straight across a dip in the ground where there were no trees and a slight hollow covered with the red and gold fallen leaves. The leader of the group and two companions chose to ride around the edge of the hollow but a fourth rider, eager to


catch up, urged her horse across the middle of the harmless-looking glade. Amid much splashing of surface water, followed by flying mud as the horse got further towards the center, progress began to slow. First the knees disappeared from view and then the muddy waterline was up to the horse’s belly. As the rider’s carefully polished boots changed from shiny black to muddy grey, she realized the crossing was not going well. She pulled on her right rein and kicked with her left spur in an effort to turn the horse around and go back the way she had entered what she now realized was a deep swamp. Attempt-

ing to turn the horse in the same position caused the horse to stir up the mud and clinging ooze. At this point a piercing yell was heard from a minuscule rider on a 14 hand Connemara pony. Trixie Montgomery had been in the first flight when, sensing that pretty looking dell in the woods was not as innocent as it looked, she had glanced back to see how other less-experienced riders were fairing. “Don’t turn your horse’s head. Keep going straight ahead and beat the $#*! out of him”, came the commanding cry from her slight frame. At this point the young rider in the swamp had started to dismount to lighten the load on the horse and pull the horse out by the reins. “No, no, no. Stay in the saddle and kick him on”, came the next instruction. “Kick him on and whack his back end as hard as you can. You have to drive him through the bog, rather than digging him in deeper as you try to turn him”, came the authorative command. The lesson in bog riding proved successful and a thoroughly shaken pony clubber, covered in mud but much relieved, offered her thanks to Trixie Montgomery. “Glad to have helped”, said Trixie. “You see, I’m Irish, and I know a bit about bogs”. y

“First the knees disappeared from view and then the muddy waterline was up to the horse’s belly.” 32

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Follow Us on Facebook 33

ECH Events

Happy Trails Horse Park hosts the ECH Mountain Trail Clinic As riders we are always interested in trying something new with our horses. On August 26 and 27, ECH member Blaine Nicholls organized a new event for us; a Mountain Trail Clinic at Happy Trails Horse Park in Stoney Creek. Not only did he organize the Clinic, he led the participants through the two days, as he has capably done for many clinics throughout the world in past years. Blaine also has extensive experience in building trail courses for well-known and international horse shows.


Working together, the participants built confidence and improved their partnership with their horse as they maneuvered various obstacles such as gates, walkovers and bridges both from the ground and on horseback. Feedback from our members and the guests who participated was overwhelmingly positive, and even experienced hunt riders and horses came away from the day with new skills and confidence. We will be offering this again next year and strongly recommend it as an inspirational learning experience and a fun day. y

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Photo: Kelley Givlin

The View from Between the Ears

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In Memorium

Sadly missed, Lovingly remembered. Charlie Armstrong sadly passed away Wednesday, September 6th at 96 years of age, leaving behind his beloved Lenore and family, and many friends and admirers. He was a Joint Master of the Eglinton and Caledon Hounds for 22 years and his contributions to the club were enormous and greatly appreciated. He was passionate about horses which was evident whether he was riding to hounds, driving hackney ponies at the Royal Agricultural Fair or racing and breeding standardbred horses. Many will remember the ‘Barn Dance’ being held at Green Gables, the family farm in Brampton and the dinner nearby, held in his honour during the year of the 75th anniversary of the club. From all of us at the Eglinton and Caledon Hounds, we wish to express our sadness and pass on our condolences to his wife, Lenore, his daughters, Jennifer, Caroline and Nancy and extended family.

Photo : Karin McDonald

Advertisers Index

Eglinton and Caledon Hounds

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thanks the following contributors :

Article Submissions: Derek French, Christine Gracey MFH, Kelley Givlin, Barbara Smith, Kelsee Nicholls Photo Submissions: Karin McDonald, Lori Metcalfe, Barb Redford, Kelley Givlin, Heather Evans, Christine Gracey MFH, Barbara Smith, Life with Horses Photography, Kelsee Nicholls Beth Munnings-Winter


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Stirrup Cup 2017  

A celebration of Riding to Hounds, country life, camaraderie and, of course, our love of horses & equestrian pursuits.

Stirrup Cup 2017  

A celebration of Riding to Hounds, country life, camaraderie and, of course, our love of horses & equestrian pursuits.


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