Page 76 - The Chapka 2016
P. 76

 The Melton Hunt Club Ride
Among other equestrian exploits in 2016 was the Melton Hunt Club Ride. This annual race is held alternatively over Quorn, Belvoir and Cottesmore country, this year falling on the Belvoir. Having been won (well, the ‘First Line Cavalry Man Trophy’ at least) the year before by Captain Purbrick, it was all up for grabs in the 2016 race. Having acquired a horse named ‘Paardeburg’ from Ireland only 4 weeks prior to the event – an unusually deep name for another horse from the depths of the Emerald Isle, and presumably so called due to its obstinate and stubborn nature, much similar to that of General Cronje at the battle of the same name – Captain Purbrick rashly entered at very short notice in an attempt to defend his title as First Line Cavalryman. Thus, Paardeburg and Purbrick duly reported to Waltham on the Wolds in the cream of Belvoir country on the 7th February 2016.
The course had been reassuringly drenched over two weeks of torrential rain prior to the event and Paardeburg left a shoe deep in the quagmire before the start was reached. Once at the start, and showing his Irish temperament, Paardeburg promptly went berserk, causing much of his steering tackle to snap thus rendering Captain Purbrick entirely without a say in direction and speed. As they approached the Hedge/Tarmac road com- bination, both horse and rider closed their eyes and prayed. With legs splayed, but probably thanks to the lack of a shoe, both screeched over the obstacle. The race continued. Over 30 hedges lay between the start and the finish and already there was a tangled mess of horse limbs and flailing jockeys at fence five where the mud had got the better of everyone. Luckily, the Paardeburg-Purbrick duo were far from this, having settled into a very comfortable if steady pace; so steady indeed that halfway round, rider could be seen chatting to and sharing a hipflask with another competitor!
With only a mile to go and now largely relying on finding holes in the hedges, rider and horse looked set for a finish. A quick course correction brought both back on line for the actual finish line. A heavy lather on both and the Lycetts Melton Hunt Club Ride First Line Cavalry Man trophy was once again a Lancer trophy. Should 2017 provide fortuitous, the result of which will unfortunately not make the publication date of this journal, the trophy will have been thrice won by a Lancer; it may even be renamed The Lancer Cup.
  The GOC's official snorkel party
Field Sports
It has been another very good year for field sports. Cat- terick Garrison and its surrounding areas have provid- ed a multitude of activities from driven shoots and duck flighting to pottering around the training area with a dog and gun.
The issue of a declining grouse population in Catterick blighted the start of the season. This is the third year in a row where days have had to be cancelled. Those at the Catterick Training Area Shoot (CTAS) AGM agreed to seek professional help in investigating the reasons why the grouse are in ever-apparent decline. Despite the limited grouse, there were some cracking days on the moors and in the surrounding woods as the pheasant and partridge came into season. The average bag for pheasant and par- tridge shoots this year was ninety-four birds per day with the grouse at a steady fifty.
In the 2017/8 season we will continue shooting at Warcop and CTAS. And, this year saw an excellent introduction to game shooting for Troopers and Junior NCOs and we hope that this, and the ever-increasing interest in clay shooting on Wednesdays, will create a steady stream of people tak- ing up this wonderful sport.
 Purbrick and Paardeburg

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