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Hunts parade, but no riding on frozen ground

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Hunts across Shropshire and Mid Wales made do with parades of hounds for their annual festive meets, but there was virtually no horse riding because of dangerous icy conditions across the region.

Hunts across Shropshire and Mid Wales made do with parades of hounds for their annual festive meets, but there was virtually no horse riding because of dangerous icy conditions across the region.

The traditional Boxing Day hunts had already been moved because of a "no hunting on Sundays" rule.

Many took the decision not to take their horses out on the frozen ground.

Oliver Dale, joint master of Ludlow Hunt said: "There were no horses out because of the weather, the frost and the snow.

"We had a parade through the town and there was a nice number of people, all things considering."

Mr Dale said he was unsure of the precise numbers but said several hundred people had turned out to watch.

He added: "Weather permitting, we should be out on Wednesday and Saturday this week.."

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The North Shropshire Hunt met at the Burlton Inn, Burlton, near Ellesmere, and organisers said the turnout was strong despite the harsh weather.

William Warner, a joint hunt master, said the horses and hounds were there but that the members did not go out on horseback because of the conditions. He said members together with their families and children attended to sample the festive atmosphere.

"We had an excellent meet and there were lots of people enjoying the Christmas cheer," he said.

"We encouraged members to give their MPs logical and practical information about how the current law might be repealed and ways of finding a middle road."

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The Wheatland Hunt was to meet at Morville, near Bridgnorth, but planned to be on foot.

Albrighton Hunt was also planning to put on a parade of hounds.

Oliver Hill, one of the masters of the United Pack based in Bishop's Castle, said members would hold a short parade, but would not a full event due to the adverse weather conditions.

Nationally, hunt supporters were out in force for the traditional post-Christmas meets and called on the Government to revisit the "farcical" hunting act.

Jill Grieve, from the Countryside Alliance, said the decision to continue the ban on hunting with dogs into next year was understandable because of other matters facing the country due to the deficit, but said ministers needed to at least make clear what was legal or not under the existing act.

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