Early starts for Boxing Day riders in Leicestershire's Quorn and Fernie hunts
While Christmas Day revellers were enjoying a much-needed lie-in, hundreds of others were up early to attend traditional hunts.
Riders were out in force for the Quorn and Fernie meets yesterday.
While some hunts were called off due to poor ground conditions caused by the downpours of previous weeks, the two Leicestershire hunts kept the Boxing Day tradition alive.
Supporters thronged the village green in Great Bowden, near Market Harborough, for the start of the Fernie hunt.
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Little Bowden resident Phil Baildon, 66, who has been attending the meet for 20 years, said: "Hunting is part of our heritage.
"The Boxing Day meet is a colourful spectacle which attracts people from far and near, and long may it continue."
Frances Sewell, 27, formerly of Slawston, was home visiting her family.
She said: "This is a fantastic tradition which I used to see when I was younger. I am so pleased it is still going strong."
The hunting of foxes by dogs was outlawed in 2005.
However, dogs are allowed to follow artificial scent trails.
Chris Parker, joint master of the Fernie Hunt, yesterday said he believed hunting would continue for another 300 years.
It came after environment minister Owen Patterson this week said there was no chance of an imminent review of the law. A Mori poll also said 76 per cent of people did not want to see the return of hunting with dogs.
Mr Parker said: "We have the full support of the people who are here today and the farmers who like to see us on their land.
"We operate under the law. Hunting has been going on for 300 years and I see no reason why it will not continue for another 300, at least.
"The number of young riders out today demonstrates its appeal."
Donations were collected for the air ambulance charity at the hunt yesterday.
Mr Parker urged people to dig deep, saying: "It does not receive any Government help and we appreciate that it is the only service that can often attend people injured in remote locations."
The Quorn Hunt attracted 500 supporters to its traditional meet at Prestwold Hall, near Loughborough.
About 80 people rode in the hall's grounds.
Supporters also collected for the air ambulance.
There was no evidence of anti-hunt protesters at either event.
A survey of almost 2,000 people carried out for animal welfare charities showed three in four people in Great Britain believed hunting foxes with dogs should not return.
Joe Duckworth, chief executive of the League Against Cruel Sports, said: "Hunting is a barbaric and sickening blood sport belonging to the past."
RSPCA chief executive Gavin Grant said: "The British people do not want a return to animals being chased and torn apart for fun. They want to see people enjoying the countryside and its wildlife while respecting the animals and the law."