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Foxhunting Life with Horse and Hound

 

By the Way

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Potpourri: Click a Thumbnail and see where it takes you

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Literature

James Barclay's Hunting England

myhuntingengland.barclayMy Hunting England, James Barclay, Ruddocks, Lincoln, UK, 2015, cloth, illustrated, large format, 143 pages, £45Foxhunters are often regarded by the uninitiated as a pack of wealthy horsemen in fancy clothes galloping gaily over the countryside. Truth be told, some foxhunters riding in their private and select world above the fray see it the same way.

James Barclay learned differently. In his just-published My Hunting England, he tells of his life in hunting with humanity, sympathy, and respect for all manner of hunting man and for his quarry.

A frequent contributor to the pages of Foxhunting Life, James Barclay was born to it. He, his sister, two brothers, mother, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather all served as Masters of Foxhounds—a family way-of-life that began in the 1870s when his great-grandfather abandoned the bank for a life of hunting. E.E. Barclay started with a pack of harriers and became Master of the Puckeridge Foxhounds in 1896. James has served as Master of five hunts from 1983 to 2012: the Essex and Suffolk, Fitzwilliam, Cottesmore, South Wold, and Grove and Rufford.

James’s new book is part memoir, part snapshot of hunting in the twenty-first century, and part tribute to those who left their mark on the sport of his life. He entered hunt service at the bottom and toiled alongside the other lads in the kennels. Nor, as he was to find, were all kennels equal.

Latest

Red Fox "Terrorizes" Australian Neighborhood

red fox.cathy summersCathy Summers photo

The Daily Telegraph, Sydney, Australia, August 24, 2015: “DON’T be fooled by its furry face—this daring fox has been blamed for killing seven pets in Kellyville and terrorising children in the neighbourhood.”

Whew! How low has “journalism” sunk these days? (Not news, just our opinion.)

Journalist Angela Ranke continues with a subhead: “Fox on the prowl in Kellyville, residents warned to lock up their pets.”

Yikes! Would Australia declare a national emergency if a coyote or bear were seen crossing the driveway? C’mon Aussies, we know you guys are tougher than that. (Not news, just our long-held impression.)

Norm Fine's Blog

You Ask; We Answer

NormanAs the new season begins, I want to remind readers about one of Foxhunting Life’s features—our Panel of Experts. Every foxhunter has the occasional question, whether it be what the huntsman, the whipper-in, or the hounds are doing; the meaning of an arcane hunting term; breeding or judging hounds; correct attire; a point of etiquette; training the field hunter; even about sporting art or literature.

I have found over the years that while there are no bad questions, sometimes there are bad answers! In the belief that our readers deserve only authoritative answers, we assembled a Panel of Experts whose breadth of knowledge and proven experience was unassailable.

Questions tackled by our Experts have included: why does a fox bark, what triggers the spring dance of huntsmen from one hunt to the next, are there different types of foxes in England, how to handle a hound that is shy of men, can foxhounds make good house pets, how to retrain a horse that exits the trailer like a cannonball, why is an afternoon after-hunt meal called a hunt breakfast, what is a July hound, what is the origin of ratcatcher, and many, many more. To see the answers to those questions and others, go to the Ask the Experts dropdown menu and click on Questions and Answers.

Literature

Cubbing

cubbing.aldinIllustration by Cecil Alden

I wouldn’t change places with any man,
Were he powerful, rich, or wise,
As I stand in the early morning chill
While we wait for the mist to rise.
There are silver threads on the bracken fronds,
And a peaty tang in the air
That goes to the head like a draught of wine,
As we stand by the cover there.

If the creak of leather and clink of bit
Makes me yearn—well I’m not ashamed,
For I’ve got no horse of my own to ride,
And I don’t suppose I’ll be blamed
If I look around with an envious heart
At the satiny coats nearby,
At the twitching ears and the nostrils wide,
And the eagerly watching eye

That seeks to pierce through the curtaining mist
Where it clings to the dripping trees,
Concealing the cubs as they wait, alert,
For a chance to run. Then a breeze
So faint, so soft, that the glittering drops
Which hang on the bramble and thorn,
Are scarcely disturbed, but the low-lying haze
Dissolves at the coming of dawn.

Photo of the Week

Peek-A-Boo!

foxintree.cilibertoJody Ciliberto photo

Mounted staff were exercising the Red Oak Foxhounds, as photographer Jody Ciliberto followed in her car. She saw a sudden commotion—fingers pointing, hounds jumping, sterns waving. Jody jumped out of the car with her Canon 60D fitted with a 35mm to 200mm lens, managed to get within ten feet, and took her shots.

“I was happy for days,” Jody writes. “It’s not often I get a chance to photograph a fox that isn’t running away!”

Click for a full screen version!

Posted August 24, 2015

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