98th Blessing of the Hounds held on Thanksgiving morning
Published 9:23 am Monday, November 27, 2023
LANDRUM—The Tryon Hounds and a crowd of spectators gathered on Thanksgiving morning to participate in the Blessing of the Hounds, a local tradition dating back to the 1920s that marks the opening of the formal hunt season, which is now in its 98th year.
Equestrian enthusiasts and community members have enjoyed fox hunting in the area for nearly a century. All the riding members of the hunt were dressed in formal hunting attire, including bright scarlet jackets associated with the sport.
Father Robert Ard of Holy Cross Episcopal Church in Tryon officiated the Blessing of the Hounds. Father Ard eloquently blessed the hounds, horses, riders, and the riders participating in their first hunt. The event also included the presentation of St. Hubert medals.
“The tradition dates back hundreds of years,” Tryon Hounds member Dr. David Ahrenholz explained. “Since fox hunting is a dangerous sport, hunters believed that St. Hubert, the patron saint of hunters, would protect their hounds and keep them safe during the hunt.”
After the official blessing, participants raised a toast with champagne before heading out with the dogs. The joint masters then led the pack of foxhounds and their fellow riders into the cool, crisp fall morning.
The Blessing of the Hounds took place at Thanksgiving Farm, owned by Jenny and Alan Taylor.
“We moved here about twelve years ago, and when we bought the property, we knew the event took place here, and we were glad to let it continue and participate in this local holiday tradition,” Jenny said.
Refreshments were offered to riders and spectators, including hot chocolate for the children. The Tryon Hounds was recognized by the Masters of Foxhounds Association in 1935 and today boasts an active and enthusiastic membership of riding and non-riding members who volunteer countless hours to various community projects.