Annual hunt goes ahead –minus horses

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HUNDREDS of people braved the chill for the Suffolk Hunt, which is believed to have been held for the first time in 30 years without horses.

The annual event in Hawstead on Monday, attended by more than 400 people, instead featured a hounds exercise.

The custom took place minus horses because of the freezing conditions and a day later than usual as hunts do not ride on Sundays.

Richard Ames, senior master of the hunt, said: “It’s not the traditional Boxing Day hunt we would have done but everybody still enjoyed it.

“We always start off with mulled wine and mince pies.

“Then we took the hounds on an exercise for about an hour and a half and more than 60 people joined in.

“It was a nice morning and we all walked off the excess turkey and Christmas pudding.

“We had to do it on foot without horses because the ice was too dangerous.

“With their metal shoes, it would have been like being on ice skates.”

He added that it was probably the first time in three decades the tradition was held without horses.

Meanwhile, the Government has decided to shelve a vote on repealing the ban on fox hunting until 2012.

Prime Minister David Cameron had pledged a vote on repealing the ban.

When asked about the move, Mr Ames said: “From all aspects, there’s many more things in the country that need to be sorted rather than fox hunting.”