Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Sad Time For Aiken

I try to write happy , upbeat things but sometimes I can't always be that way. I am currently away from Aiken but feel it is important to write this blog.

Right before I left on this trip, at nineA.M.. I was bombarded by a purple faced screaming Linda Mclean. This visit was unannounced and a big surprise. I was minding my own business about to teach a lesson to a paying client when Linda arrived.Screaming and yelling with a wagging
, she scolded me me like a bad child.She huffed and puffed like a baseball umpire telling me "YOU;RE OUT!" Her demenour was laughable.After scolding me,she stomped up from her chair and ran out to her car like a coward.She drove away spewing the pebbles from my driveway like a bankrobber in a getaway car

I consider this inappropriate behaviour from a Master of Foxhounds.There was no discussion. The decision had been long made behind my back.Apparantly she has wanted to do this for a very long time. This is in fact the second time she has demanded my resignation.

The first time she made such cowardly demands was due to rumour involved by another one of Aikens fine citzens. I have known Linda most of my life .We both have a long standing history in Aiken with our families.Her current behaviour is a direct insult to the way we were brought up.But Linda is a much more social animal than myself. She is easily swayed by gossip and stories and does not have a backbone strong enough to seek the truth. Information gained at cocktail parties and restaurant jabber are the primary sources of her opinions.

Linda has decided for the second time that all I care about is myself and my eventing. She has declared to all behind my back for some time that I am not interested in hunting or the Aiken Hounds. An interesting concept. None of it true in any sense of the word and completely unfounded.

Our differences are ethical. I believe in the maintaning the integrety and history of the Aiken Hounds. Linda does not. Linda is pro drugs and I am not. I think this was where the trouble started. I cannot abide seeing first hand the majority of our staff and our master using drugs to be able to ride to hounds or to ride in the famous show in the woods. Full stop.Mrs. Hitchcock would roll in her grave.

There are plenty of opportunties to learn how to ride to hounds. But most people think they know it all and do not need to practice. Her attempts at down grading the quality of the drags is sad. Her attempts at making it more like live hunting are a crime. The Aiken Hounds is a drag pack. Let's hope it does´t die out completely with Linda.

Linda has made the assumption that my lack of participation at hound shows means I do not like hunting or the Aiken Hounds.This is not true. I work for a living and have little time to attend shows I am not actively participating in.

Hound shows are great fun when one has the time.I do not have the time.Nor am I interested in the subjective opions of the judges.

Linda has excluded me from every aspect of the Aiken Hounds.. Never in the history of the Aiken Hounds has any Master made the hunt their own personal hunt. I have been told by Linda and Dennis Foster of the MFHA that this is indeed Lindas hunt and she can do what she wants.So she has chosen to dismis me the way she has chosen to put so many of our hounds down.In Linda's world everythinig is disposable. A warning to all of those that choose to remain.

I am disgusted by Lindas cowardice. I despise untruth. Her holier than thou attitude is contemptuous.

I have written about the honor of wearing the green coat. I have written about the beauty of the Aiken Hounds for years. There is nothing I would not have done to prove my loyalty to the hunt.Once again, Linda has chosen the wrong path.

I am sad it has ended this way.Aiken is changing so fast. Gone are the days where one´s word is one´s bond. Gone are the days of honesty. Gone are the days where the Master of Hounds is not afraid to ride.

Linda says she needs a new Joint Master that will show more interest in the hunt than I did. I hope she will at least explain to the new JM their duties according to Linda. It is not easy to be a mind reader. It is a sad time for Aiken.It is a sad time for me.


Arthur said...

Even though riding better is the answer to the drug thing, you have touched on a very important facet of hunting today v. years ago.

An experienced horseman told me recently that in a manner of speaking, we treat our horses too well in this day and age. When asked exactly what he meant, he replied that when he was growing up fieldhunters were often:

kept out 24x7;
no shoes;
no grain;
no trailer (so they were hacked 2 or 3 miles to a meet);
ridden much more regularly and harder during the week.

Think about it.

A clipped horse that is full of grain, kept up the night before in a cozy stall with a manger full of hay, 4 shoes, ridden lightly since the last hunt, put on a trailer Sat. AM and he comes off in 35 degree weather with a chilly breeze blowing up his back and he is expected to stand quietly with a 20-50 other horses after a short gallop when hounds move off?

Really, it is amazing some of them do as well as they do today and no wonder ace is used. Today's schedule's do not allow for yesterday's luxuries (grooms and daily riding) and drugs are a quick fix for any number of situations in today's fast paced world where time is not an option.

Exposing such wonderful creatures to drugs, taking the edge off of their character because of our own shortcomings, is sad. Find a horse that you can handle, and if you can't don't ride.

Anonymous said...

Wonderfully said Arthur!!!!