This photo essay is posted at KLM Images.
All stacked up
Hounds work well as a concentrated essence since, despite being members of a pack with a common purpose, no two are alike. Here we have two hounds scenting, two ready to roll, and one howling in frustration at standing about. If you could take this in your hand and squeeze it like a sponge, pure “foxhound” would ooze out.
As this woman asks the huntsman what direction he’ll be going in, she is investigated boldly by one of the hounds, The three vertical creatures stack up tidily with the patient horse as a crossbar.
These horses are more like a coiled spring. They’ve been pulled back and cocked, and the master’s horse in front looks like it’s about to release. This is the moment before the command is given to begin hunting and purpose is given to the assembled throng.
The huntsman and pack form the vanguard, with the whippers-in as flankers, and there may be up to three distinct fields of hunters following. Maneuvering these groups with their particular rights-of-way in tight surroundings requires both experience and skill.
First we have the sweep of the cavalry starting off, separating the civilians from the folks in uniform.
Then we have a well-executed reversal of direction.
The first field follows the huntsman down the lane, the huntsman changes course and barrels through in pursuit of his target with the various fields standing out of his way, and finally the first field neatly reverses to follow him.
It’s the nature of this sort of event that there may be many photos of riders going by; these follow a sort of formula and individual expressiveness is a fairly distant consideration.
That makes it all the more a pleasure when one can focus on particular subjects with their personality on display.
This hound is looking back to see if the rest of the pack is coming.
The whipper-in on the right is having a grand time.
The whipper-in on the left provides an excuse for a landscape with the Blue Ridge Mountain as the backdrop on this dark and gloomy day.
Finally, the whipper-in standing in her saddle to get a better view provides interest to the autumn landscape.