The Alliance’s support of the hound shows continued with a hugely successful West of England Hound Show at Honiton on Thursday, 4th August.
Following an incredibly wet show last year, this year’s annual event enjoyed good weather which saw hunting enthusiasts from across the country migrate to Devon to witness record entries vying for top honours. Hunt supporters and those from rural communities united around the various rings to show their support for the different types of hounds competing against eachother, whilst a huge number of children also greeted the East Devon hounds when they were welcomed into the main ring following the very popular hound parade.
The Countryside Alliance was delighted to support the hound show as a sponsor once again this year and the large number of hunt entries across all the hound breed rings, as well as visitor numbers, is testament to the hard work of Peter Sadgrove and his dedicated team.
A highlight this year was the hotly-contested Young Handler Class (pictured), which was won by 13-year-old Matthew Osbourne, who is a keen member of the Courtney Tracy Minkhounds. The Young Handler Classes, originally created by Richard Walton who plays an integral part in the organisation of the hound show at Honiton, have gone from strength to strength across the hound show circuit, with much support and admiration for this next generation of hunting enthusiasts.
“Hunt kennels have long been a place where children have enjoyed spending time, learning about hounds and the importance of hound welfare from experienced professionals whilst having fun with friends at weekends and during school holidays,” said Polly Portwin, the Alliance’s Director of the Campaign for Hunting. “It is so encouraging to see our youth able to showcase their talents and dedication to their hounds and for those to be recognised and rewarded in this way.”
It was a victorious day for the Tiverton Staghounds who landed both the doghound and bitch hound championships during the judging of the three staghound packs, whilst the Axe Vale and the Cotley packs also had a successful day, taking the equivalent two championships in the harrier ring. The Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire Minkhounds sealed the same double in the judging of the pure-bred minkhounds with the Culmstock taking the part-bred championship, however, the supreme championship was awarded to the Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire's pure-bred.
Stoke Hill and North Dartmoor Beagles claimed the doghound title in the beagles ring with the Chilmark and Clifton Foot taking the honours in the bitch hound classes and there were championships for the VWH (doghounds) and the Beaufort (bitch hounds) in the foxhound ring.
Tim Bonner, our Chief Executive, and Polly Portwin, the Director of the Campaign for Hunting were in attendance at the show where they were able to meet members face-to-face at one of the highlights in our summer hunting calendar. Many visitors combine the hound show - which is an important part of the larger Honiton Show - with a trip to the coast or a mini-break locally, giving the day a wonderful holiday feel, with a relaxed summer atmosphere where many families and children congregate around the rings.
The Countryside Alliance looks forward to continuing its support for the West of England Hound Show and many others in 2023 and beyond.