Published Sunday, November 11, 2012
By SARAH FAY CAMPBELL
The Bear Creek Hounds were in “full cry” Saturday for the 10th anniversary opening fox hunt, and the first one open to the public.
The Full Cry in Moreland: A Celebration of the Hunt event included more than just the fox hunt. There was a “wee” highland games competition, demonstrations from both a champion marksman and a fly fisherman, demonstrations by several retriever dog trainers, a dressage demonstration, music, food, and a visit by a pair of major celebrities in the equestrian world — eventing star and Olympian Courageous Comet and his rider, Becky Holder.
The event began with the parade and blessing of the hounds, and a review of riders. For the hunt itself, spectators traveled to watch from “tally ho wagons.”
Then everyone gathered for the hunt brunch, followed by the various demonstrations.
The event was a collaboration with Bear Creek Hounds and owners Hal and Linda Barry and the Moreland Cultural Arts Alliance.
“What’s unique about this hunt” is all the people involved, said Rene Latiolais, one of the masters of the Bear Creek Hounds. Fox hunts are expensive endeavors and it’s always a “constant fight to raise enough money to keep this open,” he said. Expansion is a “major ingredient in the success of a hunt,” he said, and helps individuals feel like a part of it.
“Expand the tent. We have to expand the tent,” Latiolais said.
He said the involvement of the Moreland Cultural Arts Alliance and the expansion of the opening hunt into a full day of events was “a great idea.” Many of the hunts are successful because of communities that support the hunt. Community support is a “vital ingredient,” Latiolais said.
Another important facet is landowners. More landowners are needed who are “willing to let us hunt the land,” he said. “We’re not trying to reduce the quarry. We just have fun chasing them.”
The Bear Creek Hounds “reached out to the Moreland Cultural Arts Alliance” to create a community type of event, said Carol Chancey of MCAA.
In Europe, traditionally “the whole community celebrates and supports the hunt,” she said. Farmers support fox hunts because the hunters help clean out the varmints that can be a serious problem.
MCAA took it as an opportunity to reach out to others, such as the dog trainers, marksmen and equestrians.
Chancey hopes Saturday’s event will create the foundation for a series of events in the future. “Part of MCAA’s goal is to promote the rich heritage of the community,” she said. “There are lots of cultural arts that revolve around rural traditions.”
The highland games competition grew out of coordination with the local Order of the Tartan. Competitors came from several states, and hopes are that the event will be the foundation for “a new highland games, in our community,” Chancey said.
Jeff and Stacy Fisher of Senoia had a great time at the event.
“I love it. It was awesome,” said Stacey, who rides horses. She also enjoyed the blessing of the dogs. “The dogs are really cool,” she said. And “everybody has been really nice and friendly.”
“The sending out of the hounds was just beautiful,” said Kate Bohannon.
Jerry Day of Days End Retrievers gave demonstrations of his dogs’ skills. “We love it,” he said of the event. “We really love to see the people of Coweta County come out and support it. It’s wonderful. We thank Mr. Barry for opening up his wonderful place for people to participate and enjoy it.”