Supporting Country Sports

A horse takes Helmer’s High Jump at the Fernie Team Chase

For some years now, I’ve been a sponsor of the Fernie Team Chase event at Tur Langton in Leicestershire, on farmland kindly made available by the owner Sally O’Sullivan.  The land forms a natural amphitheatre, so that much of the course can be seen from the relative comfort of the car park — although walking the course is a rewarding exercise, and most spectators do so.

For those not familiar with the event, it is of course organised by the Fernie Hunt.  In a team chase, teams of four horses and riders set off together, and aim to complete the cross-country course, including many fences, in the shortest possible time.  The time is taken from the third rider, so it is a genuine team event — there’s no point in having two stars and two stragglers.  Each team can afford to lose one rider on the way round (and several did).  One team lost two, so was sadly disqualified.

This was the final of the National Team Chase Championship, and was won by the Art Hotel Chasers.  Some of the teams have amusing and eccentric names.  We had the Wishful Thinkers; the Boring Gorings; Relentless Fight the Ban; the Norfolk Broads (an all-girl team); and even (look away now) the Cunning Stunts.  Over lunch, there was also a foot-race over the same course, which was the specific event I had sponsored.  One of the competitors in the foot-race was none other than the wife of local MP Edward Garnier.  She came second, and I had the pleasure of handing her prize to her.

For me, it’s been a pleasure and a privilege to sponsor this event over the years, and to do my bit towards supporting country sports.  Like most Leicestershire hunts, the Fernie is in good heart, and ready for the day when the hated Hunting Act is repealed.


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10 Responses to Supporting Country Sports

  1. Heidi says:

    I think you will find that the Hunting Act, although flawed, is not hated by the majority of people living in this country and that includes those living in rural areas. The Hunting Act needs strengthening because it now enables hunters to flagrantly violate the law.
    However, the Hunting Act is symbolic of what we find acceptable treatment of wildlife in this country and I think you will find that whilst the Act is hated within the Fernie Hunt, it is championed with the rest of the country. It simple is not acceptable in this day and age for this sort of bloodlust and cruelty to continue in the UK especially considering the lies which the Countryside Alliance and Hunt’s spread.
    Hunting, from my experience, brings nothing but misery for many living in the countryside. They trample land, their hounds maul pets to death, they treat people in villages like feudal overlords and that before I even begin to mention the cruelty involved, especially by terriermen. It’s about time the country stops apologising for a law that stops these thugs from their little countryside follies!

  2. David says:

    ” … ready for the day when the hated Hunting Act is repealed ”

    This is another example of your arrogance! Surely even you must be aware that the vast majority of people support the hunting act. By lying, and not accepting simple fact, you just reinforce the widely held belief that you are out of touch with the real world.

    On another point, as an MEP do you actually do anything? Because it looks to me like you’re just another politician on a gravy train!

    • Pimpernel says:

      Oh dear David does that chip on your shoulder mean you have to play the man not the ball? “Just another politician on the gravy train”….. that would be like me saying you are just another whining town dweller that has no understanding of the countryside – but of course I wont say that, as it would be rude and based on a pre conceived view that has no basis in fact.

      Of course if you aren’t an armchair general – get yourself elected.. oh wait… probably too much trouble for you David?

    • Three points, David. First, you’re wrong. Most recent polls show people fairly evenly balanced on pro and anti-hunting, but an overwhelming majority believe the Act was a waste of parliamentary time. Meantime the pro-hunting lobby can get 400,000 people on the street, while the antis are lucky to get a few hundred.

      Second point: I don’t lie, and I can tell you that the Hunting Act is deeply and passionately hated. Just because you don’t agree, that doesn’t make me a liar.

      Third, you may or may not like what I do, but I can tell you that I work harder now as an MEP (and post-retirement age) than I ever did in my previous 33 years in a “proper job”.

  3. I can see that all of the points in Roger’s reply to David’s sneering and critical remarks, are both sincerely intended and correct. And yet, as a Christian, I simply cannot accept that any so-called “blood sports” could be morally justified in any way. To some extent, participating in “blood sports” can also provide an opportunity for socialists and liberals to claim that the hunting fraternity and Conservatism go hand in hand.

    • The hunting fraternity and the Conservative Party frequently DO go hand in hand — especially out canvassing at election time! Fox hunting is sbsolutely the most humane method of culling foxes, and of wild-life management, and therefore something which generations of Christians have done with a clear conscience

  4. “Frequently” is not often enough, perhaps? After all, if the Conservative Party had more popular appreciation nationwide – then it would not need the support of this relatively small clique. And in order to gain wider national support, it needs to adopt more of the traditional Conservative values which have been so successful in the past. Many Conservative Christians would share that perspective.

    • Julian: the Conservative Party does not support the hunting lobby as some kind of electoral device to garner a few votes. We support it in part because many hunting folk are Conservatives, and many conservatives approve of hunting. But more broadly, because we recognise that hunting is the most humane way to cull foxes; because we believe in the right of individuals to make their own moral judgements; because we value traditions that help to define our culture; and because we recognise that most (if not all) of the opposition to hunting is surrogate class warfare, and a desire to “get at the toffs”. Which is odd, beacuse many poeple who love to hunt struggle by on modest incomes.

  5. Roger: In your latest reply, I share the view that it is good to “value traditions that help to define our culture”. At the same time, this appreciation of traditions is common to many people (irrespective of political affiliation). Like many people (irrespective of political affiliation), I consider “blood sports” to be a tradition which should be acknowledged but consigned to the historical records.

  6. We’ll have to agree to differ. But I continue to regard fox-hunting as a humane method of wild-life management, and should be happy to make that case to you.

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