Colonel E Howard-Brooke, who was born at Castle Howard, Vale of Ovoca, co. Wicklow (of which property he is the heir), resides at Belvedere Lodge, Ryde, and for seven seasons has been the Master of the Isle of Wight Foxhounds. (Taken from a family scrapbook, written in 1898 – the Colonel and family also lived at Faircroft, Binstead Road, and his widow Mrs Howard-Brooke, died at The Lawn, Spencer Road.)
The subject of this sketch joined the army in 1865, and was appointed to the First Hampshire Regiment, in which he served for ten years in India. During this time he indulged in all kinds of sport, and on one occasion, with General Sir John Davis, bagged no fewer than seventeen tigers in seven days – a truly marvellous performance. He also had capital sport among other big game, and was very successful at pig-sticking. He now combines the duties of a MFH with the command of the Third Hampshire Regiment. The gallant officer is exceedingly popular with the followers of his pack in the Isle of Wight, and is on the most friendly terms with the farmers whose land he hunts. He has had an excellent cubbing season, thanks to the good feeling existing between himself and such big preservers of pheasants as Sir Barrington Simeon, MP, Sir Charles Seeley, and others, who have given strict orders to their gamekeepers that foxes, as well as pheasants, must be found in the coverts when wanted. The prospects, therefore, of hunting in the coming season in the Isle of Wight are very promising.
The late Sir Victor Brooke, who was first cousin of Colonel Brooke, was also an ardent sportsman, and was Master of the Pau Hounds. Colonel E Howard Brooke is well known in yachting circles, and is a member of the Royal Victoria Yacht Club.
A novel feature of the Isle of Wight Hunt this season is the riding astride of the ladies. There are few among the younger members of the hunt who do not adopt this method of riding when exercising their horses. But the method is by no means common, for the reason, perhaps, that when out with the hounds it probably attracts too much attention to the fair riders. It is said, however, that when riding astride, longer distances can be covered and more difficult districts ridden over with less fatigue to both rider and hunter. The country in the Isle of Wight is very different from that in the Midlands or many counties further south, and it is necessary, therefore, for ladies to take this into consideration when they have a long day’s run in front of them. Among those who favour the new style are Mrs Forster, who, attired in a dark-coloured habit, with a perfectly fitting long coat, makes a charming figure astride. Mrs Davenport and Mrs Thornton look uncommonly well and very businesslike, while the children, who during the holidays are present in numbers, universally adopt this means of riding. Among the popular followers, none receives a warmer welcome at meets than Mrs Howard-Brooke, the wife of the enthusiastic master. Although this lady is not quite such a keen follower as some other members, she looks exceptionally well seated on her first-class mount, and speaks with spirit of some delightful runs in which she has participated.
This report is not indicative of any support for hunting by Historic Ryde Society, but merely a transcript of a family scrapbook cutting, reflecting the different standards of yesteryear.