CAZENOVIA — The Limestone Creek Hunt (LCH) is planning a “Holidays, Horses, and Hounds” shopping event at The Brae Loch Inn on Sunday, Dec. 3 from 1 to 5 p.m.
Established in 1939, LCH is a registered 501(c)(3) charitable organization that promotes a love of horses and hounds, good sportsmanship, land conservation, and a spirit of good fellowship through the enjoyment of various social activities, including trail rides, clinics, hunter paces, and programs to educate people on foxhunting traditions.
The upcoming fundraiser is open to the public and will feature a diverse array of giftable items from several different artists and craftsmen.
According to LCH Vice President and Joint Master of Foxhounds Jenny Coughlin, the hunt club has asked the participating vendors to donate to LCH based on how well they do at the sale.
“Hopefully, they will all do well and be able to donate generously,” she said. “I am a big believer in having events that I personally would like to attend, and this sounded fun! . . . I put together what I think should appeal to just about everyone; it is not at all just for horse people. There will be everything from stocking stuffers to major gifts for all ages, even for hard-to-shop-for dads and husbands.”
The Brae Loch gift shop will also be open for even more options.
A fruit and cheese platter will be provided, and a cash bar will be available.
Coughlin said she conceived the idea for the event last summer when she needed some work done on her boots.
“That was when I met Penny Ploughman and right off realized I had to get her to Cazenovia,” she said. “That led me to think of the talented craftsmen and artists that we had within our club membership and community. The Brae Loch has always been good to us, and their upstairs is a great open area for a social kind of shopping experience. . . . The artists appreciate having a place to sell their wares. Many of us are involved in Cazenovia’s not-for-profit organizations, which we are so fortunate to have so many of. It can start to feel like you are always asking for a donation of some sort from the local businesses and craftsmen. While I know they give what they can, it is our intention to create an event where they are also able to benefit.”
Ploughman, who is the founder of Ploughman’s Saddlery & Belts, handcrafts over 50 styles of belts and bracelets for active, fashion-conscious equestrians and those who simply appreciate equestrian style and fashion. Based in Albany, she designs and creates a variety of leather goods as well, including dog collars and leashes, bookmarks, leather baskets, napkin rings, blanket carriers, and hand-sewn hunt “appointments” and tack. She also sells a variety of English-made foxhunting appointments, including stag horn crops, whip thongs, sandwich cases, conical flasks/cases, wire cutters/cases, bolt cutters/cases, folding saws/cases, and radio and cell phone cases. Visit ploughmansbelts.com prior to the event for any special requests.
Gretchen’s Confections and Café will offer artistic chocolates handcrafted from high-quality ingredients and presented in elegant packaging. Gretchen Christenson, owner of the Auburn-based business, is a riding member of LCH. To learn more about Gretchen’s Confections, visit gretchen-s.com.
Deborah Dougherty Wester is a Cazenovia-based painter who predominantly does oil landscapes. She also paints roosters, chickens, other animals, and holiday themes on stemless wine glasses. Her work can be found at Cazenovia Artisans and on her website at Deborahdoughertywester.com.
Jacquee and Larry Lukens will be traveling from State College, Pennsylvania to join the event. Jacquee’s Bijoux offers handmade necklaces and matching earring sets. Jacquee has collected semi-precious stone beads and handmade glass beads from the Czech Republic and other supplies from all over the world. Larry, the former president of Nittany Valley Woodturners, creates hand-turned pens with cross ink cartridges under the name Stonehenge Woodcrafts.
Cazenovia artist Judy Goldthwait specializes in equine art and pet portraits. Shoppers can talk with her about commissioning an oil painting of their beloved show horse, backyard pasture companion, or loyal lap dog. The artist will also have hand-painted giftware, original oil paintings, and prints. Learn about Goldthwait by visiting jgportraits.com or searching “Judy Goldthwait – Equine Art & Pet Portraits” on Facebook.
Linda Kellish and her son Jeffery own Overbrook Farm and have been breeding, training, and promoting Morgan horses for over 25 years. Earthstar Designs is their multi-craft business that includes ceramics, functional pottery, garden art, and rhythm beads, which can be used to calm both horse and rider, teach riders to move with their horse, and provide a pleasant sound for warning and cadence while on a trail. The artists use a variety of glaze techniques and decoration to make their pottery and can produce custom items. Their work is available on eBay and Etsy or by emailing [email protected].
Penny Hazer of Windswept Hill Clayworks is an amateur potter who creates functional ware inspired by colors and textures found in nature. Hazer owns Windswept Hill Farm, a small backyard horse farm in Cazenovia, and she is a riding member of LCH.
According to Coughlin, who served as LCH president for 10 years before taking over her current position, the mission of the hunt club has always been to provide the youth and adults of CNY and surrounding communities with education, training, instruction, and opportunities for participation in the traditional art of fox viewing, foxhunting, and related activities.
“LCH and its membership have an enduring appreciation for conservation and preservation of the natural landscape and wildlife and a great sense of upholding the traditions of our predecessors on this beautiful land,” Coughlin said.
She also noted that the term “foxhunting” is somewhat of a misnomer.
In England, foxhunting emerged to help control the fox population on farmlands, as the animals were a significant agricultural pest with no natural predators.
In America, however, the fox is not considered the agricultural pest that it is in England. Therefore, the foxhunting practiced by many American hunts, including LCH, would be more accurately described as fox chasing or fox viewing.
“This area is home to red fox and grey fox, as well as coyote,” Coughlin said. “The thrill of the sport is to watch and listen to the hounds try to find the scent left by the animals in question and to follow the scent for as long as they can. Upon occasion, one will even be treated to a view of a fox or coyote as they exit the area — sometimes quite nonchalantly. The hounds are trained to try to ignore the scent of animals that are not quarry, primarily deer.”
Coughlin also rebutted the idea that only the “landed gentry” participate in foxhunting.
“[That misconception] would certainly be negated if one quizzed the riders on their professions,” she said. “Our present membership includes veterinarians, business owners, students, salesmen, office workers, and retirees. All these people, however, share a love of hounds, horses, and nature.”
LCH currently has 85 members; 35 have riding privileges, and the remainder are social and honorary members.
Riders hunt two days a week during the active hunt season and typically have 15 to 25 horses in the field. The club owns a pack of 25 foxhounds and has two employees — Huntsman Doug Russell and Kennelman Colt Russell — who live with the dogs at the LCH kennel in Erieville during the hunt season.
According to Coughlin, the funds donated to LCH through the “Holidays, Horses, and Hounds” event will go towards supporting the club’s community and educational projects.
One such initiative involves helping to maintain trails used by the hunt.
“The heart of our territory is the Burlingame area, which encompasses the [Cazenovia Preservation Foundation (CPF)] trail system,” said Coughlin. “The gorgeous carriage trail, which includes ‘The Grand Allee,’ was originally put in place by the Hubbard family of Deer Hill. LCH has since taken over stewardship of those trails and has spread an impressive 800 tons of stone on the carriage trails of Atwell’s Knoll and, more recently, behind Fairchild Hill. To put this into perspective, there are 20 tons in a truckload. While LCH has done all the manual labor, the expense of the stone has been shared by LCH, CPF, and the Lorenzo Driving Competition. LCH continues to have a harmonious relationship with CPF and is appreciative of being invited to continue the traditions set forth by the Hubbard family on the property.”
One of the hunt’s most visible community/educational events is the Parade & Blessing of the Hounds. Each September, the LCH pack and horses are blessed on the opening day of the formal season at Lorenzo State Historic Site following a parade through the Village of Cazenovia.