Meeting the Costs of the Hunt

Kyle Jones unearths the real expense involved in riding to hounds.

Fox-hunting in Britain now looks doomed. Or could there be a last-minute stay of execution? If it does survive, it will be by the skin of its teeth and as some form of pest control. There is one certainty. It will never again be referred to as ‘sport’.

Yet when fox-hunting was considered a sport, from its inception in the eighteenth century, it was far from an amateurish or cost-free pursuit. It demanded huge amounts of money and providing the financial wherewithal was a continual issue. The decline of the wealthy landed elite, economic shifts away from agriculture, and obstacles ranging from railways to barbed wire continually tested the dedication of fox-hunting enthusiasts. It is surprising fox-hunting survived the twentieth century at all, given the ensuing financial crises.

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