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Saturday, 21 February 2015

Fox Hunting

Fox hunting originated in the United Kingdom in the 16th century  It  became a favourite country pursuit, providing a fine spectacle with the red or scarlet coats of the huntsmen.

The steeplechase horse race originated from a bet in an eighteenth century hunt club. After a bad day fox hunting, one man suggested a race to a steeple in a straight line. To stay on the line, the racers had to overcome obstacles.

In mid 19th century England fox lovers sabotaged the hunt by dragging pungent red herrings (salted and smoked red to preserve them), along the route away from the fox. The hounds become confused, following the scent of the herring rather than the fox, hence the phrase “red herring” meaning to follow the wrong clue.

Despite being of great weight, the English writer Anthony Trollope had a passion for fox hunting. Two or three times a week he went hunting on a cart horse leaving destruction everywhere.

Oscar Wilde never took up hunting, he said of fox hunting that it was "The English country gentleman galloping after a fox- the unspeakable in pursuit of the uneatable."

Hunting with dogs is now banned in the United Kingdom, though hunting without dogs is still permitted.

Source Red Herrings and White Elephants: The Origins Of The Phrases We Use Every Day by Albert Jack 

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