Horses, hounds and a Mermaid

Anything for me to eat?

The Romney Marsh and East Sussex Hunt paid its annual visit to Rye this week, with horses and hounds clattering through the High Street to be welcomed by supporters and onlookers in the Mermaid car park.

As always, it was a colourful sight with riders in red and black astride horses, some still with their shaggy winter coats and others immaculately groomed. The hounds, of course, loved being out and were their usual friendly selves, happy to say hello to all the non-mounted humans.

This year the Mermaid did everyone proud with drinks (whisky-mac and port – just the right choices for a cold day) together with hot sausage rolls and other tasty nibbles being passed round to both spectators and riders alike. 

….immaculately groomed horses….
….with a clattering of hooves and joyful barking….

After thirty minutes or so of stirrup cup and chat, the first signs of wanting to get moving came from the hounds who did their best, as only dogs know how, to to inform everybody that it was time to get going. And so with clattering of hooves and joyful barking, the Hunt set off down the Mint and on to the Marsh.

The only notable absence this year was that of the usual friendly uniformed Bobby – there in the past ready to step in just in case anyone got a little over-excited. Funding cuts had doubtless precluded their attendance, but on this occasion all were on their best behaviour and a Police presence was not required.


Photos: John Minter

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  1. What a biased report! The majority of the poulation are against returning the right to chase foxes. If these people just want to ride around the countryside they don’t have to dress up.
    I have concluded the hunt is a social glue to keep the group together.
    I’m sure this comment will upset as many people as it pleases!

  2. Dear Mr McGrath, My report of the hunt meet was a purely factual account and intended to show no bias either for or against. The Meet was a traditional and social precursor to a ride out in the Sussex countryside. And why shouldn’t the riders ‘dress up’? Would you really wish to live in a society where the clothes we wear are dictated by a higher power? Everyone there knew that (whatever their private views) they were not about to hunt foxes. For all present it was, therefore, a pleasant and colourful social gathering, made more so by the Mermaid’s generous hospitality, and I endeavoured to describe it as such.

  3. An absolutely wonderful sight. Lovely to see that not all traditions have disappeared. Look forward to seeing it again next year.

  4. I agree with Chris McGrath ..An unpleasant elitist parade. The riders do not clean up the mess after the horses, made to ride through a busy town, and when this was explained to them in recent years, seemed unconcerned, leaving it to the young staff of the Mermaid et al to literally do their dirty work. Very unpleasant event indeed.


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