From its inception in the 1780’s the Cattistock Hunt was nicknamed the ‘True Blue’ because, as legend has it, of a fondness shown to it by King George the Third, who we know spent a good deal of time in the area. His reign saw troubled times for the support of the monarch and those who supported the monarch were described as being ‘true blue’. We know that the great majority of the Dorset squires were of this political leaning.
The Rev Phelips of Montacute, who kennelled his hounds at Cattistock Lodge, started the hunt. In 1806 ‘Squire’ James Farquharson built two kennels, one at his home at Eastbury, near Blandford, and another at Cattistock. At his own expense he hunted nearly all of Dorset for fifty years over what is now Cattistock, South Dorset, Portman and parts of the Blackmore Vale countries.
When he retired in 1856 Dorset was divided into the hunt countries familiar to us now and Lord Poltimore, became the first master of the Cattistock, and thanks to the brilliant record of hound breeding in the Foxhound Kennel Stud Book we can trace one of our female lines to Lord Poltimore’s Sanguine 1869. Many masterships have followed and some of the longer ones have included Lord Digby, Parson Milne, Colonel Batten, Henry Higginson, Bobby Peel, Major Michael MacEwan, Gloria Abbey, George Pinney and more recently The Hon Mrs Townshend.
Today we are privileged to be allowed on many of our West Dorset and South Somerset farms, enjoying a strong support from the farming community. In return we offer an ongoing collection service for fallen stock, maintaining a strong link to our area with this important and vital service. We employ five full time members of staff to look after hounds and horses, each given old fashioned titles, such as the ‘Whipper-In’, a role that has been copied in the House of Commons through the term ‘Whips’.
This hunt, like many hunts, is entwined in our local communities, running many social occasions that provide opportunities for those likeminded country people to get together. People wanting some competition and fun, at the same time supporting their local pubs, can enjoy events like the Hunt Skittles League. Other events include the Point to Point races, the natural ladder for young jockeys, trainers and horses to start their careers cutting their teeth, and are the grass routes of all National Hunt racing, plus Hunt Balls, horse shows, hunter trials and jumble sales are just some of our input to rural life.
So the Cattistock Hunt is more than just a lot of horses and dogs galloping across the fields of West Dorset.
All the hounds have names and are very friendly. They are bred carefully in an attempt to enhance the strong qualities of the foxhound breed.
We look to breed a hound with good nose, confirmation, stamina and that has a biddable nature.
The Cattistock Hounds nowadays are a blend of the traditional Old English Foxhound (the tri coloured), the Modern English (smooth and lighter coloured) and with an outcross to the Welsh hound (creating the Modern hound with a ‘broken’ coat).