- By Norman Fine
Thousands of foxhunters and hunt supporters are expected to turn out in England and Wales on Boxing Day. Young and old, riders and spectators alike, entire families together for the holidays tumble out-of-doors the morning after Christmas for these traditionally celebrated meets.
“It’s the highlight of the season which starts in November,” said Peter Swann, MFH of the Curre and Llangibby Foxhounds in Wales. “This year we are expecting forty riders to take part and around five hundred spectators and supporters to join us on the green.
In Wales, the Curre and Llangibby and the Monmouthshire Foxhounds trace back to the 1600s and 1700s. The Curre remains of particular significance to foxhunters because we still see and enjoy the results of Sir Edward Curre’s bloodlines in our own Crossbreds and modern English foxhounds to this day.
It was Sir Edward Curre who provided Isaac “Ikey” Bell, father of the modern English foxhound, with the Welsh blood and the pale coloration of his breeding that has been preserved and carried on by forward-looking breeders in England ever since. Bell’s vision of the foxhound finally prevailed over the thick and ponderous, black-and-tan colored foxhounds that were fashionable early in the twentieth century. Bell’s efforts to breed lighter and more athletic foxhounds fell so afoul of the foxhunting establishment of the time that leading Masters would cross the street to avoid having to greet him.