SOME of the annual tradition of Boxing Day hunts went ahead in North Yorkshire, despite freezing conditions.

This year, the hunts were postponed a day as Boxing Day fell on a Sunday, but yesterday, riders turned out at Malton and Easingwold.

The pack of the Middleton Hunt, at Malton, gathered in the town’s market place at 11am. In Easingwold, the York and South Ainsty Hunt also turned out.

However, David Jukes, of the Zetland Hunt in Richmondshire, said weather conditions were too dangerous for hunting to go ahead.

Mr Jukes, 51, assembled with the hounds on the green in Aldborough St John, but was forced to do so on foot.

Last year, several of the regions’ events were cancelled due to similar conditions, with ice and snow making it dangerous for horses and hounds to take part. Joanna Newitt, secretary of the Middleton Hunt, said this year’s turnout had been impressive, considering the weather. Mrs Newitt said: “We had a few more out last year, but couldn’t actually go out. This year the meeting went ahead, and a few of the riders even decided to go out on a hunt.

“It was mainly as a bit of exercise for the horses and hounds really, rather than an actual hunt.”

As well as the riders turning out for the event, the show drew a small crowd.

Mrs Newitt said: “There were about 15 riders all together, but on a good day we can usually get 80 or 90. The numbers will have mainly been due to problems with the weather and transport.

“The crowd were very supportive and very generous too, with their contributions to the collection for the hunt staff. We’d like a nice thaw now, after 33 days of snow and being unable to get out.”