with Horse and Hound

Meeting Martha, Part III: I Got Ledburied (and Liked It)

Intrigued by a photo of a British foxhunter with smoldering eyes and apparent ice in her veins, and sensing a story, Leslie Wylie reached out to its subject, the Lady Martha Sitwell, in the hope she could arrange for an interview. The next thing she knew she had accepted Martha’s surprise invitation to come hunting with her in England (see “Part I: How I Got Invited to Foxhunt with British Royalty” and “Part II: Darling, You’re Mad!“). What follows is Part III of Wylie’s epic weekend.

martha sitwell3.1See the girl on the chestnut toward the left who is pointing her horse straight at a 10-foot tall stand of sticks? That's me. / Viki Ross photo (http:/www.vikirossphotography.co.uk)

Breakfast of Champions
“So, let me get this straight: This is your first time foxhunting in the UK and you’re going out with the Ledbury?”

Around the fourth or fifth time someone asks me this, accompanied by a snort of laughter, I begin to feel a pinch of concern. I grew up hunting and have jumped plenty of proper-sized fences in my life but… it’s been a while. The Ledbury is widely regarded as one of the formidable hunts in the world. Was I in over my head?

On the morning of the hunt Martha comes floating down the spiral staircase into Manor Farm’s kitchen looking like she’s just stepped out of an antique foxhunt painting. Smartly outfitted in a canary vest and those vintage balloon-thigh breeches that no woman has been able to pull off since Jackie O, she exclaims “Good morning, darling!” then leans in conspiratorially.

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