UNCOVERING THE PASSION BEHIND AMERICAN FOX HUNTING

ASK: CREATE A SHORT DOCUMENTARY ABOUT A UNIQUE SUBCULTURE


BACKGROUND


I stumbled upon fox hunting at a family gathering earlier this year when a family friend was telling me her plans for her new house in Goochland, Virginia. She told me one of the main reasons she was building it was so she could go all in on her new hobby: fox hunting. Fascination immediately set in for me. To buy land and a horse, build a brand new house and a barn, and layout an entire field is not only dedication to the sport, but also rather expensive. I wanted to know more on why it's worth it.

As I dug in further, my goal became showing the passion behind fox hunting and debunking the common misconception that it’s a blood sport.

Where did it come from?

Fox hunting originated in England and Ireland during the 1500's to maintain the fox population that had grown out of hand. In 1650, the first hounds and horses were brought over to America for fox hunting, but the sport became about the chase and tradition. Today, hunt clubs in the United States do not kill the fox. On many occasions the fox will disappear into one of it's many underground holes.

What is it?

Fox hunting is an activity involving the tracking, chasing, and occasional killing of a fox, traditionally a red fox. The trained foxhounds or other scent hounds, are led by a huntsman and followed by an unarmed group of people on horseback.

Student work- all work is speculative; Disclaimer- this video is 11 minutes long


TAKEAWAYS


No one starts off fox hunting.

Fox hunting is a fast paced sport filled with intense trail rides. People must know how to ride well . Most people start out in the horse show world and get tired of the prim and proper environment. Others have ridden horses their whole lives and crave something a little more intense. 

Their commitment is unwavering.

Fox hunting is not a casual sport people pick up. Once they decide to do it, they go all in. The majority of people will do whatever it takes to make fox hunting their lifestyle and not just a hobby. 

Equestrian lovers are very passionate people.

All of the people I spoke to had different backgrounds and were on different skill levels in fox hunting. The common thread amongst them all was their passion for not just the sport, but for life itself. They believe in living every second to the fullest and doing what they love while they can. People who fox hunt love nature, have a deep respect for animals, and enjoy being around others that do to.

Choosing your horse is a very big deal.

 Ask any person who fox hunts what's the most important thing about the sport and they'll answer: the relationship with your horse. To them, their horses are their teammates and most trusted confidants. There is a mutual respect between the two that creates a strong bond when they are in the field together. 

The thrill of the chase is what keeps them going.

Watching the hounds and huntsman work is something they cherish. Each person that was interviewed mentioned the feeling they get when the huntsman blows on his horn to signal a fox has been sited.


WHAT I LOVED ABOUT THIS PROJECT

  • Honing my ethnographic interview skills
  • Filming & editing
  • Bringing the story of others to life