Woodbrook Hunt Clubthe  Woodbrook Hunt Club

 







 

 

History of Our Hunt

Woodbrook Hunt Club


T
he Woodbrook Hunt Club is a 98 year old organization dedicated to riding to hounds -- a pursuit that goes back to well before George Washington hunted his own pack of hounds in colonial Virginia. WHC is the oldest fox-hunting club west of the Mississippi. Today the club continues its rich tradition on the last remaining three percent of native prairie in the Puget Sound Corridor. The sport is alive and well all over the world (although its existence is threatened in England by political forces). This is not an historical theatrical recreation, but a living tradition full of excitement and avid sportsmanship. Fox-hunting is not a competition sport. The idea is to enjoy riding your horse out in the wild while appreciating the work of the hounds seeking and chasing the scent of the game. Woodbrook is one of 170 member hunts of the Masters of Foxhounds Association of America. The pedigrees of our foxhounds are maintained by the MFHA's Keeper of the Stud Book.
           Woodbrook Hunt Club

We at WHC strive to maintain the traditions of riding to hounds. We sport the scarlet and black coats you see in the old hunt prints. We keep 13 or more couple of American Foxhounds in our kennels. They are hunted by our Master of Foxhounds assisted by several Whippers-In, all unpaid. We have a clubhouse for "hunt breakfasts" and parties, an annual Hunt Ball and Hunter Trials.
At Woodbrook, it is only the scent we chase, as we are and have always been a drag hunt, that is, a hunt where a scent is laid down in advance over a prearranged series of courses (photo - below left). We do not kill foxes (in fact we don't seem to have any foxes here). We don't pursue live game. No guns or hunting license, etc. are required. Galloping and jumping are central to our sport. However, in our country all the jumps are optional.

Woodbrook Hunt Club     Woodbrook Hunt Club
photos © --- courtesy of Troutstreaming Outdoor and Sports Media

We have existed so long because of the military reservation at Fort Lewis, which we are allowed to use (in common with the public and other groups) pursuant to a permit system and a licensing agreement through the Army Corps of Engineers. We are not only grateful to, but dependent upon, the U.S. Army for our sport; and all who ride with us must sign a release-of-liability that frees Fort Lewis and the Hunt from responsibility for any mishap that may occur during the risky business of riding and galloping across a country whose primary use is military training. There are definitely hazards, including the dreaded concertina wire, which make it wise to ride in the track of another rider.

Woodbrook Hunt Club     Woodbrook Hunt Club
photos © --- courtesy of Troutstreaming Outdoor and Sports Media
             
Woodbrook Hunt Club

We welcome newcomers, and do our best to initiate them into the traditions of the sport, which include horsemanship, courtesy, safety, courage, awareness of the environment and of one's surroundings, and also the traditions of dress and turnout. Hunt cap and black boots, black coat and stock tie are worn on formal hunts, scarlet coats and/or collars by those awarded their colors. Guests are welcome, and membership is not expensive. This club is not a snobby organization, and there is no waiting list to join. Members take turns preparing the "Hunt Breakfast" served in the clubhouse following every hunt. Riders and non-riders are invited to join us for these meals. Before each hunt, the "Field Master" explains the basic rules, which amount to safety rules, such as "Do not pass the Field Master and do not ride over the hounds." Guests are asked to introduce themselves around at the meet and try to enlist a member to serve as a guide or mentor during their first hunt, for their own safety and enjoyment.

Woodbrook Hunt Club

The Master of Foxhounds' word is law during the hunt. The M.F.H “carries the horn” and is in charge of the hounds. The staff is comprised of Whippers-in and other members. Whoever is serving as Field Master is in charge of the "field" of riders; often the field is divided into faster and slower sections, each with its own Field Master. Riders often change from one to another field during the day, and they should inform both Field Masters of this change. Hunts generally start at 11:00 in front of the clubhouse, and return by about 2:00 for the hunt breakfast. For some hunts, a car caravan can be organized to allow parents and others to follow horse and hounds. The biggest and most festive hunt days are Opening Day, the day after our Hunter Trials; New Year's Day; and the Blessing of the Hounds, usually the Saturday after Thanksgiving.


Woodbrook Hunt Club
photo © --- courtesy of Troutstreaming Outdoor and Sports Media

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Woodbrook Hunt Club

Woodbrook Hunt Club 
Woodbrook Hunt Club
woodbrookhuntclub@gmail.com

253.588.1522 (clubhouse)
Kennel Address: 6206 150th St SW, Lakewood, WA 98439

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Woodbrook Hunt Club