The Belvoir, Cottesmore and Quorn Hunts have ‘countries’ that converge in the market town of Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire. They operate independently but are closely associated with Melton Hunt Club (MHC).[A full set of images can be viewed here – Melton Hunt Club and Household Cavalry Rides 2017]
The first Cross Country Ride was held in February 1956 from the Greenall family’s Waltham House to Buckminster and was won by Pat Newton, who also won in 1957 when the Ride took place in thick fog from Swallow Hole to the winning post at Garthorpe. The 1958 Ride took place in the Quorn country at Nether Broughton and the first Cross Country Dinner was held at The Red Lion as a ‘thank you’ to the Farmers who had hosted the Ride. The Ride and Dinner have been run annually ever since with one or two exceptions due to bad weather and Foot and Mouth disease. Under Jockey Club Rules the Cross Country has to be referred to as a Ride, with prizes ‘in kind’, and not a Race, in order not to jeopardise the Point to Point.
The Household Cavalry Ride took place at the same time as the Melton Hunt Club Ride this year. It is competed for by serving members of the Household Cavalry who ride serving cavalry horses, known as “blacks”. The ride forms part of the horses’ holiday from Ceremonial duties in London, which they return to each year in the middle of March. The ride was the brainchild of Brigadier Andrew Parker Bowles, a former commanding officer of the Household Cavalry, who was here this year to present the prizes.
This year the main ride took place over a course of three and half miles which brought them to the top of Gartree Hill, in the Quorn’s country. The cavalry finished their ride after about two miles, with a great finish between several horses.