with Horse and Hound

Stella Smith: Eighty-Five Years Following Hounds

stella smith at ninety.mullinsStella Smith celebrates her ninetieth birthday hunting with the Tara Harriers (IRE). Her son, Henry Smith (shown right) is Master and huntsman. /  Noel Mulliins photo

What does one do to celebrate a ninetieth birthday? Well some people probably go on a cruise, while a few may go on a religious pilgrimage, then others are just happy to be upright. But not Stella Smith. To her, age is just another number. So she went for a day’s hunting with the Tara Harriers, hunted by her son Henry. This was not just impulse, as Stella rides out most mornings on her family farm at Corballis, Donabate, in North County Dublin, Ireland, on her coloured hunter out of a mare that happened to be in foal without them knowing. Hence the name, Surprise.

Michael Dempsey, longtime Master and former huntsman of the Galway Blazers, describes Stella as the most natural horsewomen ever to cross Galway stone walls, getting the most from any horse she rode. Stella (Briscoe) who her mother described as a lovely mistake, there being such an age gap between her brother George and her sister Constance, was born into a hunting and racing family.

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