By kind permission of His Grace The Duke of Beaufort and in aid of the Avon Riding Centre for the Disabled & The Beaufort Hunt. Pony Club Area 9 Discount.
Ride around the iconic Badminton Park, home of the 4 Star Badminton Horse Trials.
Last year attracted over 400 riders who took advantage of the excellent going due to early morning rain to tackle the 60 jumps and help raise £2000 for the Royal British Legion.
The earliest records of hounds being kennelled at Badminton date back to 1640 when the then Marquis of Worcester hunted mainly deer, but hare and fox as well. A detailed history can be accurately traced from 1728 but it was not until 1762 that the 5th Duke of Beaufort, returning with his stag-hounds after an unsuccessful day put his hounds onto Silk Wood - now part of the Westonbirt Arboretum - and had such a fine run with a fox that henceforth he concentrated on foxhunting; hunting the country around Badminton - now the Beaufort - as well as a large area of country north of Cirencester now the Heythrop.
Dukes of Beaufort have either hunted hounds themselves or have been in the Mastership since the title was created in 1682 and the hounds, kennels and stables still belong to them. The 10th Duke was master from 1924 to 1984 and so great was his contribution to foxhunting he became universally known as "Master". The Beaufort is one of the few remaining private packs although it is basically financed by subscription.
The hunt dress is peculiar to the country in that the Huntsman and Whippers-In wear green and the subscribers a blue coat with buff facings - the Beaufort Liveries.
Hounds have been kennelled at Badminton since 1640 but the pedigree records have only been kept up since the mid 1700's. The furthest back an individual hound can be traced generation for generation is 1743, approximately 59 generations in all. This makes the foxhound one of - if not the - most chronicled animal in the world today. During this time they have been systematically bred for the sole purpose of hunting the fox, although since 2005 now a trail with an emphasis on nose,stamina, and character.
All the puppies bred at Badminton are put out to walk on farms at 6-8 weeks and some of the puppy walkers are the 3rd and 4th generation of families to do so. The fact that they live with a family for their formative months helps bring out their genetic friendliness. Anyone who has visited a kennel or seen hounds at a show surrounded by children can vouch for this.
Hounds are the most magical animals to work with. The Beaufort Hounds are also famous for their conformation - in particular their size and quality. They win prizes at all major hound shows and their blood lines are in demand in many other kennels in this country as well as America,Canada, Australia and Europe. Their consistent size and quality owes much to the fact that they have been bred by one family since their inception, and to the selective breeding programme carried out by 'Master' the 10th Duke for sixty years. He controversially introduced a Welsh outcross in the 1930's through a Brecon Bitch Petrel `32, now one of the strongest female lines in the Kennel. More recently there have been a number of Welsh outcrosses, in particular Plâs Machynlleth Miller `63, through New Forest Medyg `69, an outcross which produced a famous stallion hound and Peterborough Champion Duke of Beaufort's Monmouth `77. When Captain Ian Farquhar arrived from the Bicester in 1985, he brought bloodlines lines from another Welsh outcross with him that of Vale of Clettwr Fairy `73 whose progeny was passed down predominantly in the Beaufort Kennel through Bicester Farrier `84 , who also had the New Forest Medyg line. The Welsh blood was added to again by usinga stallion hound from the famous David Davies Welsh pack, Bouncer `94 a line that produced outstanding quality hounds such as Bailey 2003 one of the most influential dogs of his era, winning Peterborough himself and siring at the Beaufort alone 4 more Peterborough Champions stamping his progeny with size and class as well as ability. Bombardier one of his sons became the first rough coated dog to win the championship at Peterborough. Halifax `06 another Peterborough champion (by Bailey) has also been a prolific sire who through his dam Fanfare`01 had the best of the Midland Hardaway (USA) blood.
In 2004 renowned hound judge Martin Scott wrote:
"In 2004 the Duke of Beaufort's celebrated its 50th Peterborough championship win. This quite some feat especially when the nearest rival is the Heythrop with just 27 champions over that time since 1887. Being champion does not necessarily mean they are the best working hound, but it does mean that the judges at the time considered them the best looking hound. However, it is has always been Capt Farquhar's breeding policy to breed from only the best workers."
Click the button above to see a list of those champions from Badminton and they year they were made champion. The year or numbers after their name denote the name they were entered, which is important and saves confusion, for example in 1960 Duke of Beaufort's Palmer `59 was champion while his name sake Palmer `02 was champion in 2003 and another Palmer `83 was champion in 1985!
The Hunt has an annual Charity Meet in January each year and in addition also collects for the Earl Haig Poppy Fund each November at the Opening Meet and for the Hunt Staff Benefit Society on Boxing day.
The various constituent parts of the hunt also give to many local causes such as:
Heals of Malmesbury
Tolsey Doctors Surgery,
Sherston “Local Talk” Magazine,
BadmintonAreaLuckington Pre School
Easton Grey Church
Grittleton Cricket Club
Tetbury Rivers Trust
The Beaufort Hunt and The Beaufort Hunt Supporters Club make numerous donations to charities local and national throughout the year from the proceeds of hunt functions and collections at Meets.
Tetbury Hospital (New Year Meet 2019) - £1000.00
Richard Preest Fund (100 Acres Charity Meet) - £2026.00
Royal Bristish Legion (Badminton Ride) - £2000.00
Hunt Staff Benefit Society - Boxing Day Meet 2018 - £4200.00
Parkinson's UK (Bristol) - £1313.28
Willberry Wonder Pony (Supporters Club 2016) - £500.00
Earl Haig Poppy Fund at Opening Meet - 2016 - £1,630.30
Badminton Church Restoration Fund (Badminton Ride 2016) - £1,000.00
SSAFA (Badminton Ride 2016) - £4,000.00
Breast Cancer Care UK (2016) - £2,050.00
Hunt Staff Benefit Society (Boxing Day Meet 2015) - £4,460.00
Badminton Church Restoration Fund (Carol Service 2015) - £1,000.00
Horse World - £200.00
Wiltshire Air Ambulance (Supporters Club 2015) - £1,000.00
Countryside Alliance (Yeomanry Ride 2015) - £693.00
Badminton Church (Badminton Ride 2015) - £1,000.00
Hope for Tomorrow (Badminton Ride 2015) - £6,000.00
Earl Haig Poppy Fund at opening Meet 2015 - £1,212.15
Brain Tumour Support (Charity Meet 2015) - £2,005.95
Wiltshire Air Ambulance (Point to Point 2015) - £1,188.96
Hunt Staff Benefit Society (Boxing Day Meet 2014) - £3,700.00
Earl Haig Poppy Fund at Opening Meet 2014 - £1,581.16
Countryside Alliance (Yeomanry Ride 2014) - £1,005.00
Wiltshire Air Ambulance (Supporters Club 2014) - £1,000.00
Air Ambulance Wales, Grt West, Wilts (Badminton Ride 2014) - £5,000.00
Hunt Staff Benefit Society (Boxing Day 2013) - £3,735.55
Heart UK from Horse Show 2013 - £1,000.00
Earl Haig Poppy Fund at Opening Meet 2013 - £1,348.00
Riding for the Disabled (Hampsley Hollow) - £1,700.00
Salvation Army (Point to Point 2012) - £2,000.00
Air Ambulance (Charity Meet 2013) - £2,186.22
Didmarton Village Hall - £200.00
Great Dauntsey Church floor in Bell Tower - £100.00
Badminton Village Club centenary celebrations - £300.00
Bristol Childrens Hospital - £400.00
Old Sodbury CE Primary School - £200.00
Southern Spinal Injuries Trust - £200.00
Ebony Horse Club - £200.00
SOSCIC Sherston Old School Project - £200.00
Badminton Church - £200.00
Bristol Urological Prostate Cancer Unit - £1,500.00
Seagry and Startley Village Hall - £200.00
Hawkesbury Church - £200.00
RNIB Blind Charity - £1,000.00
PROPS Charity - £200.00
Earl Haig Fund (Opening Meet 2012) - £1,108.33