Letter: Hunting: our last true sport

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The Independent Online
Sir: Fox-hunting is the last true sport available in these islands. Only in fox-hunting does the opportunity arise time and again to display courage with responsibility and chivalry to one's fellow man or woman.

Hunting is dangerous. Horses fall at fences or stumble and fall at the gallop across treacherous ground. Courage lies in facing these dangers and seeking to overcome them. Responsibility is knowing your own and your horse's limitations and trying to keep within them. Chivalry comes in helping a fellow rider who has fallen: catching their horse and helping them back in the saddle; fetching help if needed - sometimes just calling it a day and walking home with someone who is in shock and lost their nerve; watching out for the children whose courage often exceeds their capabilities.

No wonder that there are few friendships as strong as those forged in the hunting-field. Yes, we hunt the fox because he eats our food. Not to extinction and not cruelly, but to keep him in his place. And, being human, we have turned this most natural of activities into a theatre more beautiful than any in the West End.

The challenge is to bring this unique and humanising experience to more, not fewer, people.

GEOFF STOVOLD

Blackham, East Sussex

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