Horses and hounds take over Creemore
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.
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.