Celebrating its 142nd anniversary, the Iroquois Hunt will hold its annual Blessing of the Hounds at the Iroquois Hunt Club on Saturday, November 5th at 11:30 a.m.
The Episcopal Bishop will officiate the event, blessing the land owners and farmers, hounds, horses, coyotes and, lastly the riders dressed in formal hunting attire. The picturesque ceremony follows the tradition of honoring St. Hubert, the patron saint of hunting. The Iroquois Hunt is an integral part of the farming community in Fayette and Clark counties serving to assist landowners in protecting their house pets and cattle from coyotes. Although the sport is called foxhunting, the hounds chase the scent of coyotes keeping them from forming packs and becoming emboldened around livestock.
The ceremony lasts approximately 30 minutes and ends as the riders mount their horses and move off with the hounds to begin the hunt. A quartet of musicians playing french horns providing music before and after the ceremony for the many farmers, neighbors and members of the public who attend each year.
The Story of St. Hubert, The Patron Saint if Hunting
The legend has it that after losing his wife in childbirth, Hubert retreated from the court life to hunting, losing himself completely- until- he was stopped in his tracks on one Good Friday morn by a stag. The animal turned, and looked bluntly in his eyes. It was then Hubert saw a vision of crucifix between the stag's antlers. The sign became the turning point of his life, and his hunting practices. The code of conduct during the hunt and ethical treatment of quarry ensued as a result. Iroquois hunt celebrates the Blessing on the first Saturday of November.
The Hunting Season is traditionally under way with the Blessing ceremony. It is a red-letter day In full regalia of pink coats for huntsmen, that falls around Saint Hubert Feast of November 3rd. In addition of being hunters' patron, St.Hubert (656-727 A.D.) is credited with bringing the sport to its new level of ethical standards.
Blessing Day Schedule of Events
- Riders, Horses, and Guests gather.
- Hounds Arrive, Masters and Huntsman Make Opening Remarks.
- Episcopal Bishop officiates the Blessing.
- Each Rider Kneels To Be Blessed and receives the St. Hubert Medal.
- Riders and Hounds Proceed to Miller Trust Farm.
- Spectators and guests follow by Car 1.2 Miles to the farm field entrance on the left.
- Huntsman’s Stirrup Cup open to all guests.