96th Annual Blessing of the Hounds 2023

Posted on Tuesday, September 26, 2023
In: Hunt Reports
Written by: Karen Dickson MH

The 96th Annual Blessing of the Hounds and village foot hunt
Gates Mills, OH
It was a pleasant first day of autumn for the 96th annual Blessing of the Hounds (the oldest in North America, don’t you know!) a lively group of close to 40 gathered for a brunch at the Chagrin Valley Hunt Club, before proceeding across the street to Saint Christopher’s by the River.
In the church yard, each active beagle, as well as some retired hounds, were given a blessing and medal for divine protection throughout the season.
Our a Village Hunt immediately following was actually fair, despite bone-dry conditions, which do not help scent. The beagles found at the end of the polo field, but struggled to keep the line on the first rabbit. They got onto a second rabbit, and we had some more music, but again, as soon as the quarry squatted in a hiding place, they were hopeless to recover the scent. We experienced the same types of findings without great runs on the west hill side. When we finally arrived at our beloved Sudbury Swamp, here the moist ground helped the pack tremendously. Despite some initial confusion when our quarry tried to tiptoe in the tracks of some recently running deer, the Hounds remained honest, swung right-handed when the deer went left, and we enjoyed three loops through the swamp before the quarry ran over the hill and out of bounds.
There are so many landowners to thank when we traipse through the village… And we are grateful to all of them for allowing this near-century—old tradition to continue.
I also offer a very special thanks to our amazing staff, who had to work harder than ever, almost like a military operation, to get this big day of church-going and hunting going smoothly. They did a wonderful job and I truly appreciate them.  Thank you to all who were in attendance today.