The Belle Meade Hunt

Founded in 1966 at the bequest of William Preston Smith.  The name is from the Smith's home, Belle Meade, in Virginia.  On January 25th, 1968, the event was accepted as a recognized hunt on the recommendation of the Southern District Representative Mr. Ben Hardaway III. Belle Meade Fox Hunt runs from November through March, beginning with the Blessing of the Hounds on the first Saturday in November and then hunts are held each Wednesday and Saturday through March. The single wagon riding at the first meet has grown to 25, carrying 500 riders, and is the main reason Belle Meade's Opening Meet is the most unique anywhere. Natives who haven't missed a hunt in years ride along with the visitors in the wagons. The wagons extend across a mile or more of fields and woodlands, a whooping and hollering part of the chase.

As horses and riders thunder over the 20,000 lush green acres of hunt country, spectators snap pictures and passers-by slow or stop their cars to see the fabulous scene. Belle Meade not only draws viewers and visitors from as far away as Canada, Switzerland and Australia, it also accounts for many who arrive for a hunt or a season, then return to live and retire in Thomson. This hunt is noted for not killing the fox, but merely chasing it for the sport.