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September 25, 2009

Free Rein With: Lynn Lloyd

Fate took Lynn Lloyd to Reno, Nev., more than 30 years ago. She packed everything into a truck and trailer and set out from Pennsylvania. “I was running away from a bad situation in the East,” she said. “I loaded my two horses, my dogs and my stuff, and I just started heading west.

“I thought, ‘Well, by the time I run out of money or I hit the Pacific, I should have figured out what to do with my life.’ And I ran out of gas in Reno. It was the best thing that ever happened to me,” she said.

Flat broke, Lloyd dug into the landscape in Reno and made it her home. And she hasn’t looked back since. “You couldn’t drag me back to the East. Here, no matter where the hounds go, you can go. I get a lot of Europeans who come and hunt, and they can’t even fathom it, the open space,” she said.

“It’s the West! What isn’t to love about Reno? Everything’s legal—you can carry a gun, you can drink and smoke, and there’s prostitution. The open spaces out here are wonderful, and I love the climate. I just love it,” she said.

When she first laid eyes on the rolling desert and Nevada mountains, Lloyd had a vision. “I looked at all the land and said, ‘There needs to be a hunt here.’ The country is just too beautiful not to,” Lloyd recalled. And in 1980, the Red Rock Hounds began, with Lloyd as master and huntsman.

Name:  Lynn Lloyd
Home Base:  Reno, Nev.
Age: 59

Who is your real-life hero?
Rita Mae Brown. I think she’s just amazing—what she’s done for the women’s movement is inspiring, and to start [the Oak Ridge Fox Hunt (Va.)], she’s remarkable.

What do you think is the most important issue facing the sport of foxhunting today?
Loss of land—the fact that more than 50 percent of the population now lives in an urban setting rather than a rural one. I think we’re losing the whole balance of life. We’ve lost touch with the earth, with the cycle of life and death that’s so natural. People just don’t seem to understand that anymore—they’re so far removed from it now.

If you hadn’t become a professional huntsman, where would you be today?
I’d still be training horses. I love horses and hounds.

What quality do you most admire in a horse?
Kindness.

In a hound?
Desire to hunt.

If you could hunt a pack anywhere in the world, where would you choose?
Australia definitely intrigues me. I would love to hunt a pack down there. I wonder if I would have enough guts to jump the wire fences they jump, but I’d love to try. I think the more places you can hunt, the more you get educated, and the more it opens your eyes to things. They all do it differently.

What’s your most frivolous self-indulgence?
Buying another horse—just one more.

What word or phrase do you overuse?
Just do it.

Jack Russells, yes or no?
No—I have a cat population, and they kill cats. They’re no part of my life.

How many miles are on your hound truck?

At the moment 210,000, and my debate is do I replace it or just keep going with it?

What’s your favorite time of a hunting day?
I love setting out, but I don’t go out early—usually about 11 a.m. It’s a pretty time of day, and you’re starting the hunt. I love starting out—I hate coming in.

If you could sit down in a room with an anti-hunting representative, what’s the one thing about your sport you’d want to try and make him understand?
That hunting is actually a huge part of our soul as a human being. In general, no matter how deeply it’s buried in the mind, we are hunters. And that the fun thing about mounted hunting is that we have all the fun of the chase without necessarily ending the life of the quarry.

Do you have any superstitions?
I really don’t—oh, maybe one. I believe what we put out into the world is what we get back. So in everything I do in my life, I try and put good vibrations into it.

Describe yourself in three words.
Fun, hard-working, passionate.

If you could go back and change one decision you’ve made in your career, what would it be?
I don’t think I’d change one decision, I honestly don’t. Every decision I made brought me to where I am, and I’m so happy where I am. I’m a lucky person.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
I rode a horse across the United States in 1973—I don’t know if it’s my greatest accomplishment, but I sure had more fun doing that than anything. How many people get to take a year out of their life and have no responsibilities to anyone or anything? The freedom of that was phenomenal. I think it was better than a college education.

Do you believe in ghosts?

Yes, absolutely. I’ve seen a few. I think there’s so much life that we as humans don’t see or have the ability to see, but it’s all around us.

What’s the last book you read?
At the moment, I’m reading, “The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court.”

 
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