How to Cook Thanksgiving Dinner without Missing the Thanksgiving Hunt

The Old Manse
The Thanksgiving Hunt is one of the “High Holy Days” of foxhunting. Our hunt starts from the Old Manse, which was built in 1770 for patriot minister William Emerson. The Old Manse became the center of Concord’s political, literary, and social revolutions over the course of the next century. In the mid-19th-century, leading Transcendentalists such as Bronson Alcott, Henry David Thoreau, and Margaret Fuller discussed the issues of the day here, with the Hawthorne and Ripley families. We start the morning with a “stirrup cup.”

There is much to be thankful on Thanksgiving Day, especially when you start the morning with a foxhunt. For the past few years I’ve been lucky enough to spend the morning hours chasing the scent of foxes (no real foxes involved) through historic Concord, Mass., before heading home to cook Thanksgiving dinner for my family.

There is no one who describes the balancing act between a great dinner and a great hunt than Cooky McClung, and I have linked to her column in the Chronicle of the Horse below.

Of course, I realize some people do not foxhunt on Thanksgiving Day, although I have no idea what they do with all that extra time after the turkey is in the oven.

How to cook Thanksgiving Dinner
When I first read this article, back in 1987, I had no idea that one day I’d be trying to balance Thanksgiving and Foxhunting!

I am lucky in that my family doesn’t mind having Thanksgiving dinner a little on the late side. I am lucky to have such a wonderful hunt horse. And I am lucky that the Thanksgiving Hunt is literally around the corner from where my horses live, so I save all that time by not trailering.

This year I was on the fence about hunting. I hadn’t ridden since Saturday and it was cold and damp on Thursday morning.

I’m glad, though that I went. Zelda was amazing and, despite the snow showers, we had a wonderful time!

The Old Manse
We usually draw quite a crowd at the start of the hunt. The Old Manse is right on Monument Street next to the Old North Bridge.
The first Cast
Right around the time of the first cast, the first flakes of snow started to fall!
We ride through some lovely fields in historic Concord.
The last field
The last field is quite close to where Zelda lives, so we just hacked home.

After putting Zelda up and leaving her some extra Thanksgiving hay, it was back home for an afternoon of cooking and a great meal.

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