HUNDREDS of people gathered to watch the traditional Boxing Day hunt.
Families looked on as the riders from The Hursley Hambledon Hunt met outside the Bucks Head pub in Meonstoke before setting off.
Rider Geoff Williams has been taking part in the event for the past 35 years. He said it was great to see so many supporters.
‘The hunt on Boxing Day is what we are all about,’ he said.
‘We have the freedom to roam from the farmers and it is something people enjoy. It is part of the tradition to see the crowds and those that love it coming here to see us off.’
One of the farms the riders use belongs to Bruce Horn.
It is part of the tradition to see the crowds and those that love it coming here to see us off.Geoff Williams
He added: ‘I can remember my mum and dad taking part in this tradition, so it is something I have known for around 65 years.
‘It is very important and it was nice to see a lot of supporters and families.’
People from in and around Meonstoke went to the meet to see the riders off.
Families with children of all ages and their pet dogs enjoyed watching the horses arrive.
June Ridge went along with her granddaughter Poppy, aged six.
Mrs Ridge, 68, said: ‘I come along every year and decided to bring Poppy along. She liked seeing the horses and all the dogs.
‘I think it is very important that we keep this event going on Boxing Day.
‘It gets families out of the house and into the countryside. It is wonderful.’
Terry Henderson, from Portsmouth, said events such as the hunt were important to the rural economy.
‘Without the hunt, the rural economy would be seriously damaged,’ he said.
‘It is a big tradition in England and I have been coming to see the riders off for the past 10 years.
‘To see hundreds and hundreds of supporters here is just fantastic.’
Before the riders went on the hunt Mark Thistlethwayte, chairman of The Hursley Hambledon Hunt, made a speech thanking everyone for coming and showing their support for the event.