The general duties of a Master are outlined in Wadsworth’s invaluable pamphlet. A thumbnail sketch is that a Master is responsible for all aspects of the hunt, including landowner relations, keeping the country open and paneled, seeing that county and state laws concerning kennels are in order, and most importantly and often most trying, keeping the hunt financially afloat. Oak Ridge Masters share these responsibilities, but each Master has specific areas of focus as well, as described below.
Rita Mae Brown
• Everything to do with hounds, including hunting them, feeding and caring for them, training them, breeding new ones, and drafting them in and out as needs dictate.
• Providing a home for the kennels and all associated storage buildings. Also, providing for the various deliveries of food and other supplies needed for the hounds.
• Providing transportation for hounds and staff horses to and from meets.
• Construction and maintenance of main kennels, including hound runs and fencing.
• Hiring and firing of all hunt staff, professional and amateur, including the training of same.
• Work closely with the Hunt Secretary on club business.
• Rita Mae as Huntsman is always busy before and after meets with the hounds. Please wait until the tail gate to chat with her.
• Make sure that there are appropriate flight leaders for each hunt and have the fields ready to move off when hounds arrive.
• Recruit and develop new Field Masters for each of the flights.
• Help Masters and members recruit new members – this is everybody’s job.
• Work with David to coordinate trail clearing, jump building, and fixture development.
• Work with David and club members to coordinate social activities, including the Hunt Ball, Opening Hunt Breakfast, and other special hunt breakfasts, as appropriate.
• Organize and lead Summer Rides to keep members involved and horses and riders fit.
• Coordinate fund-raising activities to help support the annual operating budget.
• Serve as a contact person for members and guests with questions or issues with an attempt to reduce RMB’s load in this area.
• Manage all of the club’s financial matters.
• Develop with the other Masters an annual budget.
• Pay the bills for hounds and staff and other club needs.
• Prepare and track the bills for club member dues.
• Collect and account for all club-related revenues.
• All dues payments should be sent to David at 211 4th Street, Charlottesville, Va., 22902.
• Coordinate and disseminate information to club members about hunt safety and hunt etiquette and attire.
• Work with Bob to coordinate trail clearing, jump building, and fixture development.
• Work with Bob and club members to coordinate social activities, including the Hunt Ball, Opening Hunt Breakfast, and other special hunt breakfasts, as appropriate.
Wow. I don’t know where Rita Mae Brown finds the time or energy to give me the personal delight in all the characters and their ornery behavior that are in her books. With that being said, I would love the life she lives and maybe someday I might be able to experience the fruit of her labor either joining a hunt or just watching from a distance; but I don’t see enough hours in a day for me to walk in her shoes.
I was lucky enough for her to invite me to Opening Hunt as well as her home. We followed the hunt in a truck and it was amazing. I hunted as a youngster,and it was a trip into the past -what was the best part of my life.
I have read all her books and have copies of everything she has written. She is an amazing woman and a wonderful author. Her days are full, starting early in the morning. I followed her as she walked the puppies each tethered with an older hound. She knows the voice of each of her 180 plus hounds and they know her voice and horn.
It was a joy to talk to her and watch her work the hounds and hunt. The hunt breakfast was sublime both times I attended
I was truly humbled by both the invite and her taking the time to visit with me.
Thank you for sharing your adventure, I envy you. I dream of this life almost daily and have since being a young girl all starry eyed over horses and hunts. RMB is an example of what life in the last season should be and hopefully one day I will be able to just get close enough to see, smell, hear, and ride the thrill not by just reading her books but by joining in.
Thank you again Cindy for your posting.