Photo gallery: Fox hunting returns to Ligonier Township this weekend
The opening day of fox hunting season is Saturday for Rolling Rock Hunt, which will host a Blessing of the Hounds and a joint meet with Sewickley and Chagrin hunts at Blandings in Ligonier Township.
A landowner appreciation BBQ Bluegrass party will be held afterward at Stonehenge Lodge in Donegal Township.
The season runs through Dec. 7, when Rolling Rock Hunt joins Farmington Hunt for a joint meet in Charlottesville, Va.
Fox hunting in Western Pennsylvania dates to the 1770s, according to the Rolling Rock Hunt website. Rolling Rock Hunt dates to 1921, the year financier Richard K. Mellon had a pack of English-bred fox hounds brought to Ligonier.
Per Mellon’s 1970 obituary in the New York Times:
“Through the twenties and in the thirties, Mr. Mellon, who had inherited his father’s love of horses and guns, spent as much time as he could spare at Rolling Rock, the club his father had developed over the years on farmland he had purchased in the Ligonier Valley, 50 miles from Pittsburgh.
“Under Mr. Mellon’s supervision, the Rolling Rock Hunt was to become what Fortune Magazine described several years ago as ‘another Mellon masterpiece.’
“Started as a pilot operation in 1920 with American-bred fox hounds brought from one of the Virginia hunts, the pack was later reformed by Mr. Mellon who used the finest hounds available in England with a noted British horseman engaged as huntsman. One of Mr. Mellon’s kinsmen was to recall later that ‘most of us acquired some fondness for the sport, once we learned how to stay on a horse.’”
Dan Speicher is a Tribune-Review photographer. You can contact Dan by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .