The newcomers’ day graduate with two-toned hair and a succession of Welsh cobs who is now a linchpin of the Holcombe Harriers
Newcomers’ day graduate Louise Blundell
FROM “hunt newcomer” to amateur whipper-in, Louise Blundell has thrown her heart into the Holcombe Harriers since her first day’s hunting in 2009.
“With her two-toned hair and a Welsh pony, I thought we wouldn’t see her again,” recalls joint-master Sue Simmons, “but, nine seasons later, Louise is still coming out twice a week every week without fail.”
“I always wanted to hunt but I had to work on our family dairy farm,” Louise remembers.
She lives with her partner Carl Grimshaw and they have 300 cows, rare-breed sheep, llamas and pygmy goats.
“I first went out on a newcomers’ day and then every Wednesday that season,” she says. “I started whipping-in during my third season hunting. Carl plays football for Charnock Richard near Chorley. He plays on Saturdays and trains on a Wednesday. He was always complaining that my hobby was too expensive, so I made him promise that if I had a baby, I could hunt twice a week for ever. Our son Elliott is now six.”
Louise is not from a hunting or farming background but is obsessed with horses, particularly Welsh cobs with white socks and white faces, and hence all her ponies look the same.
“My parents gave me some money to buy my first car, but I bought my first horse Jack with the money,” she says. “They hit the roof. Jack is a Welsh cob and they are so easy to keep. They can live out with no hard food and I drive them as well — they are good in a cart.
“Jack is only 13.2hh but he won the open national hunter trials and he is 20 now. My other horse, Prince, is 14.3hh and I can jump off, run after the hounds and when I come back he’s still standing there.”
“She arranges the country for our Boxing Day meet,” says Sue Simmons. “She is joint-organiser of our farmers’ ball for 600 of our farmers, and she walks puppies, holds the hounds at the summer shows for our huntsman and has been a member of our Holcombe inter-hunt relay team. She can stick with hounds wherever they go. Her personality and her ponies light up the hunt both on and off the field.”
In fact Louise walked the hound that won the small bitch championship at Peterborough last year, Holcombe Arley 15.
“It’s the adrenalin rush that I love,” explains Louise. “It’s watching hounds work, and the thrill of keeping up with them, realising that there is no one with you when they have gone really well across some good country.”
Louise represents a more modern face of hunting; thank heavens for that newcomers’ day that encouraged her to take the plunge.