by Polly Portwin

Hunting enthusiast, farmer’s daughter and point-to-point jockey Phoebe Taylor, whose fiancĂ©e Sam Jones is the whipper-in at the Belvoir, has written a poem which considers what hounds in kennels are thinking about the lack of hunting this season due to lockdown.

Phoebe, one of three hunting-mad sisters, is currently recovering from a broken collar bone and shoulder sustained in a pointing fall in December. She has written a number of hunting-related poems, many of which were published in a book she presented to her mother Phillippa, a former joint-master of the Bicester Hunt with Whaddon Chase, for her birthday.

“We’ve always hunted as a family and have experienced some interesting and entertaining moments,” explained Phoebe. “I’ve written poems about the opening meet, the fun of Boxing Day, the joys of children hunting on ponies and many others which feature memories of our times hunting together.”

Polly Portwin, head of hunting at the Countryside Alliance said: “Phoebe’s hunting poems really resonate with those who have shared similar experiences on the hunting field and they have the ability to bring a smile, which is particularly welcomed during these difficult times.” 

Explaining Lockdown To Hounds by Phoebe Taylor

How can one tell a hound that “Lockdown 3” has come around?
At first in March lockdown one, all our hunting practically done.
And to the hounds we must try to explain, why from hunting we must refrain.
Hounds overheard in the kennels today: “Hope we go hunting soon” they say.
The weather seems fine, not overly warm, but definitely nothing too different from norm. 
We’ve hunted in worse weather before, but sometimes wait an hour for the ground to thaw.
The huntsman seems in not too bad a mood, but why we can’t go hunting he doesn’t allude.
The whipper-in is present and correct, we haven’t been hunting so he hasn’t been decked!
The horses they stand in their stables all day, they are having no fun either, we hear them neigh!
Us doghounds we spy on all of the bitches to see if they’re hiding some terrible itches!
When we ask them about it they simply shout: “It’s your fault that none of us can go out!”
They think they heard coughing from our yard and that’s the reason from hunting we’re barred!
So many times we’ve tried to reply, to tell them that’s all a terrible lie.
But being women, they never hear, and begin to cry and let out a tear.
Honestly, we’re driving each other round the bend, if hunting doesn’t start soon the season will end.
I’m not even sure if Christmas has been, so little tinsel this year we have seen. 
What happened to this year’s Boxing Day meet, when all of those people turn up on their feet?
For it’s not just all the days hunting we’ve missed, we love being stroked and cuddled and kissed.
Every morning we set off on exercise, which isn’t as much fun in anyone’s eyes.
Why can’t they simply just jump on a horse, so we can all go and draw Poodle Gorse? 
But now we come to think of it, maybe it’s not we who are unfit... 
The humans they do seem a little bit cross, and more grumpy than usual, especially the boss!
But then a visiting bitch named Iris, she told us about this terrible virus
That’s spreading in humans it sounds very bad, lots of them are dying, which is awfully sad.
And now we are not cross at all, just hope they are all vaccinated before the fall.
Now we know that coronavirus is the reason why, that for now, we cannot cross fields in full cry.

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