1,000 turn out for annual Boxind Day hunt in Abergavenny

Free Press Series: Boxing Day Monmouthshire Hunt - Abergavenny. The hounds lead the horses down Cross Street in Abergavenny. (3157924) Boxing Day Monmouthshire Hunt - Abergavenny. The hounds lead the horses down Cross Street in Abergavenny. (3157924)

ALMOST 1,000 people turned out to see the annual Abergavenny Boxing Day Hunt take place in the town yesterday, while hundreds more were at the Tredegar Farmers' Hunt in Bassaleg.

The Monmouthshire Hunt crowds watched around 70 riders and hounds gather outside the Angel Hotel on Cross Street, Abergavenny, for the 11.30am start.

The hunt was led by Matthew Hickmott, who has been huntsman since 2003, and was made up of riders from a number of different equestrian centres and clubs.

The Monmouthshire Hunt, organised by the Abergavenny Hunt Committee, has been taking place since the 1700s.

Just under a thousand people lined the streets to watch the hunt gather in the centre of the town before they set off.

Among those on horseback was little Phoenix-Phiél Parry, two , from Abergavenny on her pony Ellie. It was her first ever hunt.

Proud mum Myscha Dene, 24, who was leading Phoenix, said: “She’s here with Triley Fields Equestrian Centre. This is her first ever hunt, but I’ve always come along ever since I was a child, and taken part too, so it’s part of our family's Christmas tradition really."

Among the spectators, Tiffany Morgan, 26, from Abergavenny, was there to see her younger sister Chelsea take part in the hunt. She said “We always come along to see the hunt, it’s a bit of a family tradition.

Chris Thomas, 46, from Abergavenny, was watching the hunt with her family for the first time. She said: “We’ve never been down to watch the hunt before, but there’s a really nice atmosphere."

Around 400 people gathered at the Tredegar Arms in Bassaleg today, for the annual Tredegar Farmer’s Boxing Day hunt.

Supporters, friends and family, packed out the pub’s car park and the road outside and enjoyed mulled wine and mince pies before seeing the hunt off.

Just after 11am, the riders and hounds set off for a trail hunt, following a scent which had been laid down earlier.

It was Howard Jones 45th season as Master of the Hunt. He first joined the Tredegar hunt in 1947. He said: “There’s a good crowd of people here, but I hope to get a good few horses going on the hunt.”

There were around 28 hounds, most of which were bred by Mr Jones.

Mr Jones’ wife, June, who sadly died on Christmas Eve, had joined him as Master for four years.

“She would have loved this,” he said.

Mr Thomas said in terms of horses the turnout was lower than previous years. In total, there were 21 riders who followed the Master of the hounds up Caerphilly Road.

Hunting foxes was banned in 2004 as a result of the Hunting Act. Hunts now carry out a drag hunt where a scented item is dragged for the hounds.

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