Hunt hero

The new­com­ers’ day grad­u­ate with two-toned hair and a suc­ces­sion of Welsh cobs who is now a linch­pin of the Hol­combe Har­ri­ers

Horse & Hound - - News Insider - By FRANK HOUGHTON BROWN

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.

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