Hubertusjagten

Last weekend marked, at least in my opinion, the highpoint of the Danish calendar – the Hubertus Hunt (Hubertusjagten). The name is misleading because it’s not actually a hunt – it’s a cross country horse race.  That minor detail aside, everyone competes in hunting get up and technically they are chasing two riders who set off in advance wearing fox tails pinned to them, so it’s got a very hunt-like feel to it. It was a little hard to get a sense of what the event would entail, but I read online that 40,000 people attend, so I figured it was pretty safe to just show up at Dyrehaven and follow the crowds.

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We blindly followed anyone in a parka and gumboots, which was basically everyone

Our crowd following plan appeared to be working as we found ourselves being overtaken on the road by red-jacketed riders.

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Ant and his bike, which all of a sudden looked like a shit steed compared to those hunters
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En route to the starting line

We found the marshalling area / starting line and spent a little while there checking out the parade of horses. This event also seemed to be an excuse for Danes to show off their handsome gun dogs… actually all kinds of fancy dogs – we even had a borzoi sighting. It was basically paradise, given my deep love of horses and Ant’s obsession with pure-bred dogs.

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So many gallant steeds

We didn’t wait for the actual start, because our blind crowd-following drew us further into the park. It was surprisingly freeing, not having any clue where we were going or wht we were going to see – just following the herd like good little Danish sheep. We eventually ended up at a viewing area below some jumps that seemed like as good a place as any to watch from (plus the borzoi was there). We were reassured that we’d been led to a good vantage point when the royal carriages showed up.

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First royal sighting of the year

Sadly, despite our Mary (and Fred, or as I like to call him Frelderrrigggghk, because my Danish pronunciation is so good) attending last year, this year the royals really phoned it in by sending Prince Henrik, Queen Margarethe’s cranky husband. Reading his wiki (and subsequently a bunch of bitchy news articles) is hilarious – he is supposedly retired from public duty, mainly because he chucked a tantrum and ran away to France and sulked because everyone likes his wife Margarethe and son Frederik better than him, for minor reasons like (1) she is the actual Queen, and (2) Frederik is one million times younger and cooler than he is. What a baby – he needs to go hang out with Prince Phillip and whinge about how life hard is being married to Queens because no-one acknowledges what a special little snowflake you truly are. He had Prince Joachim’s kids in tow, but still… our quest to befriend (or at the very least see at a distance) Mary and Frederik continues.

What we did manage to see was some very intense horse riding, with the riders coming thundering down the hill after going over a jump.

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So action packed my camera couldn’t cope
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More blurry action

This video probably captures it better than my not-so-still still shots, plus it has the added bonus of some high-pitched Danish whooping. Funnily, everyone in the crowd seemed to know people in the hunt, so there was a lot of cheering and waving going back and forward, even from the riders.

After the riders had passed, we again followed the crowds…

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Mass migration

They led us up to Eremitageslottet, where the race eventually ends. At that point it had started to rain and it was absolutely freezing, so we were pretty keen for someone – anyone – to win…

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Bit hard to see, but the string of riders is spread out along the field behind the crowd, heading towards the last jumps
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At last, the ‘foxes’! (on the left you can see the tail pinned to his jacket)
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Getting very cold and grey and rainy and freezing as the riders come past

The event ends with a parade of all riders past the royals in the hunting lodge, and with the prizes being awarded to the winners. Everyone looked suitably mud-spattered and happy to not be charging through ponds or over jumps any longer. The overall winner was Mette Kaufmann on Churchtowns Star, while the pony category was won by tough little Ida Ursin on Tamson – girl power all round in the Hubertus Hunt. The winning horses get special red blankets and probably deeply confused about why they are being paraded around and around in front of a cheering crowd.

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Prince Henrik – looking less cranky than his reputation implies – and Prince Joachim’s kids (l-r) Felix, Henrik, Athena and Nikolai, who were disappointingly not Mary and Fred’s children, but were very well behaved nonetheless
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Hullo!
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Prince Henrik – probably looking pleased because Frederik is not there upstaging him – with the winners
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I don’t think the cup was filled with sugar cubes, but I agree it was worth a look just in case
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Post-race debriefs
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Check ya, royals – please remember to send Fred and Mary next year ok…

At this point we were basically frozen and convulsively shivering, but not at all deterred from making this an annual event (ponies, royals, and borzois, oh my!).

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Heading home, only a little frozen

 

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5 thoughts on “Hubertusjagten

    1. Ha, if we didn’t now live in a post-politically correct world in which it’s probably ok to fox hunt again, that’s totally how I’d be marketing it!

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