Most horse people look forward to warm weather and the summer horse shows. But for those riders interested in getting in touch with their inner Downton Abbey, it is the colder months that they long for because these bring with them fox hunting season.It’s an ancient sport. Hounds once pursued the fox by scent while the human “hunters” kept up with the dogs on horseback. They raced cross-country at full gallop, leaped over fences and hedges, wore jolly red coats and tossed down stirrup cups. The whole thing generated a huge amount of excitement and fun for everyone—everyone but the fox, that is. He was simply considered vermin by the farmers and his opinion did not count.
In recent years, however, the foxes have lawyered up and the actual fox hunting part of the sport is now illegal. But the fun part has been preserved with “drags,” where an artificial scent trail is created for the dogs to track.
The Smithtown Hunt is the only remaining hunt club on Long Island. Property owners grant permission for riders and hounds to cross their land and the “hunt” is loaded with rules of etiquette and requires skilled horses and riders.
James Immordino, a sixth-grader at the Remsenburg-Speonk Elementary School, recently went on his first hunt on his horse Majestic. Linda Vonhoff, James’ mother, an avid rider, had always hoped for her son to ride on a hunt. Already a trail rider, James took extra lessons to prepare for the demands of the field. Afterward, exhausted and happy from his first outing, James hosted the after-tea lunch with his mother while the horses rested for their trailer ride home.
A special thanks to Bill Pell and all of the Southampton Town Trustees for making East River a bird sanctuary, effective January 1. This means that hunting is prohibited on this residential creek located between Eastport and Remsenburg. The tidal water is a branch of Moriches Bay that runs between the Bay Avenue Dock and the Remsenburg Marina. It also means that us human residents will be able to walk into their backyards without the risk of being hit by buckshot.
Congratulations go out this week to the Remsenburg-Speonk Elementary School students who were selected for the Hampton Music Educators Association Music Festival. The festival invites top musicians in the sixth, seventh and eight grades to rehearse and perform together.
Cole Federico was selected to play clarinet. Lindsay Andreopoulos, Emelye Ender, Joey DeLeon, Grayson Fox and Carly Traynor will be in the chorus. Matthew Leotta, Kevin Lanning, Brooke Messina and Amber Troutman will be performing as part of the World Drumming Band. Westhampton Beach Middle School students who live Remsenburg and were also invited to perform include Connor Crennan, R.J. Kern, Elena DeVita, Emma Lagattolla and Natalie Gosnell.
Congratulations to Aiden Kravitz of Remsenburg! His hard work at school and as a volunteer, not to mention his success on the mat as a wrestler, has earned him early admission to Brown University in Rhode Island.
If you are looking for a place to warm up, stop by the Westhampton Free Library for the annual Hot Chocolate Weekend this Saturday, January 18, and Sunday, January 19. Come on in to enjoy a cup of cocoa while you look through some books. The library will be closed on Monday, January 20, to honor Martin Luther King Jr.
It’s time to sign the kids up for Winter/Spring programs being offered through the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center’s Arts Education program. Winter Break Camp runs from Monday, February 17, through Friday, February 21. Several productions for all age groups will be starting soon. For more information, including costs, please visit www.whbpac.com or call Morgan Vaughan at (631) 288-2350.