Horses and hounds take over Creemore

The Enterprise-Bulletin (Collingwood) - - OPINION - GISELE WIN­TON SARVIS gise­lewin­ton­sarvis@ ya­hoo. com twit­ter. com/ gise­le­sarvis

CREEMORE — Rain cleared Satur­day morn­ing just in time for the an­nual Horse Hound and Har­vest Pa­rade.

Hun­dreds of peo­ple lined Mill Street as the first fe­male hunts­man of the Toronto North York Hunt led dozens of rid­ers a pack of hounds through an ex­panded down­town route.

With a blast of a brass horn, hunts­man Ross­lyn Bald­ing led the pro­ces­sion south on Mill fol­lowed by the Masters of the Hunt and club mem­bers in­clud­ing some Western rid­ers.

The hounds cir­cled around the horses legs with pink tongues wag­ging and tails held high.

Master of fox­hounds Lau­rel Bryne said the high­light for her was rid­ing past the Creedan Val­ley Nurs­ing Home on Mary Street where the res­i­dents came out in their wheel­chairs and walk­ers to greet the rid­ers.

Bryne stopped with her 20- yearold Ir­ish sport horse named Timmy so the se­niors could pet her horse. “He’s my pride and joy.” Be­fore the rid­ers re­turned to their gath­er­ing spot at Gor­don Feed and Seed, the rain had be­gun again.

A lo­cal min­is­ter per­formed a bless­ing for hounds and horses with a friend hold­ing an um­brella over her head. Then the pub­lic met the dogs and horses and rid­ers.

Bald­ing tossed the dogs treats call­ing each of the 42 dogs by name.

“I train them. The young ones come out with the old ones and learn from their el­ders.”

The dogs are typ­i­cally English Fox­hounds but there is a big mix­ture of hounds.

Bald­ing is the first fe­male hunts­man for the Toronto and North York Hunt group and the sec­ond fe­male hunts­man for a live pack in Canada. The Toronto Hunt is one of the old­est hunt clubs in North Amer­ica and the sec­ond el­dest in Canada founded in 1843.

As hunts­man, she rides up front and con­trols the hounds for the twice- weekly rid­ing. Rid­ers do not hunt foxes. They go drag hunt­ing where a scent line has been set out in ad­vance for the dogs to fol­low.

The hunt club moved to Creemore in 2001 first for the ken­nels, sta­ble and staff hous­ing and later for the club­house.

“I’m re­spon­si­ble for look­ing af­ter ev­ery­thing back at the ken­nels,” she said about the farm lo­cated on the 5th line. She feeds and trains the hounds and horses.

GISELE WIN­TON SARVIS/ SPE­CIAL TO THE EN­TER­PRISE- BUL­LETIN

Hunt­mas­ter Ross­lyn Bald­ing leads the pack of hounds and horses through down­town Creemore Satur­day with mem­bers of the Toronto North York Hunt Club for the an­nual Horse Hound and Har­vest Pa­rade.

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