The Blessing of the Hounds on Thanksgiving morning is an annual tradition that has taken place in Southern Pines for more than 100 years. This is the opening meet of the Moore County Hounds, the oldest fox hunting club in North Carolina.
Riders who are members of the Moore County Hounds will come dressed in formal hunting attire which includes the signature red hunting jackets called “pinks”, white pants, leather riding boots, and hunt caps. Other visiting riders may participate by invitation only. Before the releasing of the hounds for the mock fox hunt, the riders and hounds gather to receive a blessing from a local Episcopal priest. The idea of the blessing dates back to the early medieval days when hunters believed that St. Hubert of Liege, the patron saint of hunters, could protect their hounds and keep them safe during the hunt.
The hunt takes place on over 4,000 acres owned by the Walthour-Moss Foundation.
The Blessing of the Hounds has become a big tailgating event for the thousands of spectators who come to watch the pageantry of this tradition. It is a time for the community to come together to show its pride in the equestrian culture.
>> See pictures from the event at Buchan Field in Southern Pines on 11/24/16, courtesy of The Pilot.