If there is one thing I can't live without, it's a daily walk with Lion. Actually, truth be told, I can't live with Lion if he doesn't have his walk. Being an intelligent Australian Shepherd, Lion has the instincts of a herding dog and that means he needs to work, work, work, being active most of the day or he is bored, bored, bored. If you don't keep an Aussie busy, he'll keep you busy cleaning up what he has imaginatively used (and torn apart) as a toy.
|Lion usually lets me know when I haven't been living up to my end of the bargain to keep him busy.|
Lion is a well-mannered Aussie, in that he rarely destroys anything, choosing instead to wailfully moan and sigh over and over again until I head towards the leash. Last Sunday, I grabbed the leash, slipped it over his head, and set out to explore the neighbourhood on a cool autumn day.
I was so lucky I listened to Lion. Minutes into our walk, we came upon some acquaintances out on a fox hunting expedition.
|The riders enjoying a drink of sherry before the hunt.|
Obsessed as I am about horses, (I love to hack and ride dressage) I had my camera clicking as I walked closer and closer to them. Lion was trying to make me run, attempting to drag me through the dirt so he could join in on the fun. (Luckily he responds well to a gruff, "Oh, no" otherwise my friends on horseback would have been whipping out their cameras, pointing them at the entertainment courtesy of Lion.)
In our area of Canada, the fox hunt club was founded in 1873 by the Earl of Dufferin. The hunt follows a trail, not of a live fox, but a trail created for the hounds by dragging the scent of a fox across the countryside. No foxes are harmed in the making of this fun. The exuberant pack of dogs follow the scent, howling and running as they get closer and closer to their pseudo-victim.
It's great fun steeped in great tradition. Riders, already in the saddle, are offered a cup of port or sherry before the hunt. (Delicious and warming on a fall day.)
|The hounds have found the scent and are gaining speed.|
The chase travels over roughly 1000 acres of terrain, going through anything from flat farmland, through thick woods, or over stone fences.
The dress code is strict. Traditional scarlet jackets for men; black for women. White breeches, canary colored vests, white stock pinned horizontally and tall black riding boots topped with tan.
|Women riders are in black, men are in scarlett red.|
Living in the country is full of adventure. You never know what's going to greet you around the corner. Today, I can thank Lion for bringing me out just in time to see this dazzling fox hunt begin. Thanks again, Lion.