The 2015 Sedgefield Performance Trial in Hoffman, North Carolina proved to be our hunt club's best year. Classy, #7, was top hound after two days of competition. There were eleven hunts participating: Rockbridge, Goshen, Sedgefield, Whiskey Road, Mecklenberg, Delabrooke, Red Oak, Green Creek, Low Country, Last Chance and Full Cry. Stonewall Classy '11 is by Potomac Tennyson (Tenson) and Stonewall Clara. She is a beautiful, hard hunting hound who exhibits an enthusiastic spirit about everything and everyone. Hope Lynne Graves has sponsored her every year. Her sister, Clover who is expecting her second litter of pups this spring by Jockey, is just as good.
Stonewall Texas who won best overall hound in 2012 was third best hound this year followed by Clergy (best overall in 2014) in fourth place. We took Abby and Charlie and they did very well and won some ribbons, also. I am so proud of our hounds and very pleased with our members who work hard and support our club.
Eleven of us participated at the trials and stayed together at the Chadbourne Lodge. They are Elizabeth Wood, Nina Berke, Diane Burroughs, Kate Fairfield, Cheryl Microutsicos, Emily Schilling, Judy Bernaldo, Susan McDougall, Billie Bryant and Mary K Whitmer. The weather was much colder than ever before. Sunday morning's drive to the hunt was a low of 22. However the cool temperatures were much easier on the hounds and horses.
Friday night was hosted by Fred Berry, MFH and Huntsman for the Sedgefield Hunt and the most incredible host. He introduced all the judges, whippers-in and huntsman, participating hunts and laid out the game plan for the entire weekend. Dinner was excellent and since the weather was extremely cold and windy for that time of year, we were packed up tight in the clubhouse which made for a cozy atmosphere. Doug Davis performed the auction for the Calcutta which turned very profitable for some Stonewall members when their hound won one of the top 4 places. After much fellowship seeing old friends and meeting new ones we hit the sack praying we could sleep as the excitement continued to mount.
The first day was sunny, clear and you could feel the eagerness in the air. I was told that 180 riders were present. Hounds settled quickly and hunted very well for their huntsman Lincoln Sadler. It took over an hour of hunting and Fred Berry's plea to Theresa and me to dismount before hounds found their quarry. Searching for the perfect powder room took a while.
That coyote was viewed going away and away he went with all the hounds screaming and horses on a fierce gallop. I was holding on as we flew through the pine forest, making sure my horse, Jubilee, didn't step in one of the many holes left by previously culled pine trees. As hounds came close to Naked Creek they began to circle. My Garmin showed they went around and around. Road whips as well as Lincoln and others stopped them and called them up not wanting them to cross the creek. It had been a wonderful morning but we needed to conserve some energy for the next day.
After a good lunch at the clubhouse, we headed back to the Lodge to clean up and feed hounds and get some R&R while some did a bit of shopping. There is never enough time to do it all but we try.
Saturday night started with an excellent coyote seminar back at the clubhouse where we learned many facts about their habits. The Sedgefield members put together another delicious dinner. The cutest huntsman award was very funny as many huntsmen had to act out different animals. George Harne of Last Chance Hounds won the coveted prize of a pink cap and fancy golden crown. Finally, head judge, Mitzi Cabeen of Smith Mountain hounds, gave the results. Texas was top hound for the day! We gathered an armful of ribbons and drove back to the Chadbourne hoping for some good sleep.
On Sunday, we had an even better day of sport. First the mighty pack of the BEST hounds found a fleeing coyote. We were taken for a exhilarating chase through the beautiful pine forest following Lincoln who knows his way. He manages that whole 6,000 acre area. Eventually that coyote split town and left us for good. After gathering hounds and recasting down in a thick green gulley or swale area that is called a "head", hounds spoke the best of the whole weekend as they circled back and forth. We could hear them and see a hound pop out every now and then. Because they stayed in such a small area and in a tight bunch, Lincoln thought it must be a bobcat. It could have been as multiple species can live together in the same large covert. Further down the head where I stood still on Jubilee, a small grey fox darted out the opposite hillside. I lost sight of him as he crested the hill, but Robert Taylor, Huntsman for Goshen, viewed him circling back. Hounds settled back on the line and off we went. This time our pilot took us across country and we had another fast gallop. The Garmin helped at this point when I showed it to Lincoln and we were able to get to just the right place where hounds appeared to have lost. What a day! Fun, fun, fun! All hounds were collected. Judges were given a ride back to the clubhouse to start recording the scores.
After lunch was the hound show. This is done to allow Chris, whipper-in and head score keeper, time to count the scores from the judges. First the dog hounds were lined up and Clergy came away with the blue and Charlie was fifth. After the girls were judged, Classy was fourth. Cameron Sadler, MHF for the Moore County hounds was the judge.
Mitzi commented on the great day of sport before announcing the results. We were shocked at how well our hounds scored against some of the best. Our club was also overall best hunt and our friends at Rockbridge were second. Now it was time to pack up and leave though some of our group had already left. It was sad to say goodbye. The whole weekend was a first class affair. Fred Berry and Jan Sorrells and all the other Sedgefield members had done another outstanding job. I thank them and our Stonewall members for a very special weekend.
Your Huntsman, Lili