with Horse and Hound

The Bridges of Belle Meade

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No, this is not a professional bridge-building crew on a typical workday. They’re Belle Meade foxhunters and family members, and they build, repair, and replace bridges in the Belle Meade hunting country on evenings and weekends.

Admittedly, they could be pros. After all, there are fifteen hunt-built bridges in the country. Each bridge has a name―they’re landmarks, after all―and staff members know the location of each and how to get there from wherever they happen to be.

IMG 0013Wendi’s Bridge

This fall was a wet one for much of the Eastern US. Hurricanes sent rain inland from the Gulf of Mexico and from the Atlantic. One early-October hunt at Belle Meade was canceled because of high water. Here’s a photo of Wendi’s Bridge, taken on the day before the cancellation, and it shows why the bridges need regular attention. And note that it is still in place!

Along with this photo, Master Epp Wilson wrote to his member, “Glad we have fixed so many bridges lately! Otherwise, several of them would have gotten washed away!”

Here’s a suggestion for the next MFHA Staff Seminar. For Masters who have water or bottomless creek beds running through their country, wouldn’t “How to Build a Hunt Bridge?” be a good topic? Epp Wilson would be happy to pass on his hard-won knowledge.

Epp uses steel I-beams to prevent bouncing when horses cross, and for the weight when high water runs. A takeaway: “When it comes to building a bridge, it’s not just a question of how to build it; it’s also a matter of where to best locate it,” Epp warns.

Posted October 18, 2021