The Middleburg Hunt’s Christmas parade (with video)

The snow made the Christmas in Middleburg celebration a white one on Saturday

WE woke up this morning in Middleburg, Virginia, to a white blanket of snow, perfect for the annual Christmas in Middleburg celebration that features the town’s Christmas parade. Or, rather, almost perfect. The snow hadn’t been forecast to start until noon, which would have been as the parade was ending, but instead it started early in the morning and had made roads slushy well before the parade–led by the Middleburg hounds every year–was due to start.

Traditionally, the hunt rides up a back road and into the parking lot behind Middleburg’s historic Red Fox Inn for a stirrup cup before moving off to lead the parade. We had chosen the lot to watch for the hunt, hoping for some good close-up video of the hunt’s tri-colored American hounds. There we waited. And waited. And waited, as the snowfall grew heavier. Eventually, it started sticking to our hats and coats until we resembled two houndblogging snowmen. Off in the distance, through the snowfall, we could dimly perceive horse shapes, but they seemed to be milling around rather than coming our way … and eventually, after about an hour, word came that the hunt, for safety’s sake, had decided to skip the ride up the slushy hill to the Red Fox stirrup cup and just start the parade from another point.

The houndbloggers sprang into action (okay, we more creaked stiffly into action, having been standing in the snow for quite some time, and sloshed off to find a new vantage point along the parade route) and were able to get a little video of the hounds as they passed by, looking a little chilly themselves. It was cheering to see how many spectators had come out to watch and how they enjoyed the view of the hounds, who are truly picturesque and quite different-looking from the largely English and crossbred pack at Iroquois.

The Middleburg Hunt has about 40 couple of American hounds, and the hunt itself has a very interesting history. The hunt was founded in 1906 after the Great Hound Match of 1905 drew significant attention (and hunting visitors from numerous other states) to the Middleburg area.

More on the Great Hound Match later this week! There is an ample supply of information on this curious event at the National Sporting Library, and we’ll touch on that here in a few days.

For now, we hope you enjoy the video and that it helps put you in the holiday spirit. The tail end of the video includes some caroling and a pretty four-in-hand carriage team.

Where's that flask? The houndbloggers needed one while waiting (fruitlessly) for the Middleburg Hunt behind the Red Fox Inn.

After the hounds had passed, we spent a pleasant hour warming up over lunch at the Salamander Market before heading out to do some shopping (free hot cider and rum at the Highcliffe Clothiers! Hooray!).

Happy Holidays everyone!

We understand that some snow fell in Lexington, too, so we hope you’re all safe and cozy by your fires tonight!

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7 thoughts on “The Middleburg Hunt’s Christmas parade (with video)

  1. Pingback: Happy birthday, hound blog! « Full Cry: A Hound Blog

    • Hi, Mark–great to hear from Highcliffe! I think we might actually have frozen to death if you all hadn’t come to the rescue, like the St. Bernards of Middleburg. Thank you very, very much. And don’t worry: I’m planning to stop in again this very week. It is the Christmas shopping season, after all …

    • Glad you liked it! I wish we could have gotten a little more of the hounds, but I don’t blame the hunt for abbreviating their schedule, considering the weather.

    • Hi, Nico–glad you liked it! As far as I’m aware, they don’t have any English blood, although presumably that should be “no recent English blood.” I’m not an expert on American hound breeding, but I know many of the early hounds foxhunting in America in the 1700s would have been imported from England and France, so, very probably, there’s English blood very, very far back. But I am fairly sure that the current Middleburg pack is American, and not even crossbred, as far as the current description on their website has it.

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