We were told that a hunt would pass through our woods, so when we heard the horn and the dogs we went looking for the action. Luckily, it was a Wednesday and our two gardeners were with us (one being Neil, who you met in a recent post). Jane used to join the hunts when she was a bit younger, but still knows the people and is very familiar with the activity. She was able to explain some of the protocols to us, including things like seniority influencing the number of buttons on your jacket – the more senior, the warmer! Amongst the red and black jackets worn by the riders, there were two gold – one in front of the hunt, controlling the dogs, and the other at the back to ensure gates were closed and no stragglers left behind. This young man was the latter. For him his role was a paid job. He’d moved to West Berkshire recently, where he is now employed most days of the week, assisting with hunts.
BTW – just in case you’re concerned, they were not hunting animals – they set a scent for the dogs to follow.