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Foxhunting Life with Horse and Hound

 

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Hunt Reports

The Grallagh Harriers at Moyvilla

coopers hill1.1-15

The morning’s heavy showers abated, affording my visitors a promising start at the Moyvilla meet, County Galway. I am still forming opinions on which hunt on our card is best, but Moyvilla would be among my favourites. It regularly brings out the best in Master and huntsman David Burke!

Skies were clearing nicely as we drove to the meet, air temperature considerably cooler than previous days. Martin McNamara, who just started riding in September and is a recent convert to the stone walls, was on Darcy, a fifteen-two-hand Irish Cob gelding. Andrea Ypma, visiting from Canada, was excited to be part of the foot followers. She had arrived in Ireland two days earlier for a three-week immersion into the Irish Hunting culture with us at Coopers Hill Livery. The wall builder was tasked with the important job of escorting Andrea to all the finest places to watch the fox bolt and view some of the horses jumping the walls.

Horses

What Foxhunters Can Learn from Eventers

In the last issue of FHL WEEK, Kate Samuels wrote about what eventing horses can learn by going foxhunting. Your editor was reminded of an article we published back in 2010 that turned that question on its head somewhat. We had asked Olympic three-day medalist James Wofford what foxhunters can learn from eventers. As we are now in that part of the hunting season when a traveling fox may take us for the longest and most arduous run of the season, we thought it would be worthwhile republishing Wofford’s advice.
                                                
Carawich-Blue_Ridge_1978_copyJames Wofford on Carawich, 1978 / Gamecock photo

For most of us field members, perhaps one of the greatest single factors influencing the joy we experience in a day’s hunting is our riding ability. The more competently we are able to cross the country on our horse, the closer we come to a totally fulfilling experience.

Since eventers know just a bit about crossing the country, we asked instructor, team coach, author, and Olympic medalist James Wofford to discuss some of the principles of his particular discipline and how they might be applied to the hunting field.

People

Blue Ridge Huntsman Guy Allman Returns to England

Once again the time of year has arrived when hunts and huntsmen contemplating change make their decisions known—one to the other. Foxhunting Life will feature at least some of these huntsmen’s personal transitions through the coming months.

guy allman.kleckNancy Kleck photo

Guy Allman, popular huntsman for the Blue Ridge Hunt (VA) for the past three seasons, received an offer he couldn’t refuse. He’ll return to England—home for him and his wife, Fran—to carry the horn for the Bicester with Waddon Chase Foxhounds. Guy will succeed huntsman Patrick Martin, who is retiring after twenty-two seasons hunting the pack.

The condition, fitness, and biddability of the Blue Ridge hounds testify to Allman’s work ethic. He spends a great deal of time training puppies early on, so by the time the season starts they are ready to enter, off the couples, all at once. On the first day of the season, every hound to be entered is out with the pack. And it’s a big pack, typically twenty-five to thirty couple, virtually every hound in kennels capable of walking on four legs.

Also on the first day of hunting, every hound is fit not only for the chase but for the late-summer weather as well. Allman wants hounds as oblivious to the heat as he appears to be. There are to be no excuses.

Literature

Strike Hound

strike hound.kleckNancy Kleck photo The fox crossed here, a car follower
Points as the foxhound pack roils roadside,
Takes the scent up onto the asphalt,
Loses the line, circles back to churn again
While one tri-color, by herself, crosses over,
Scrambles up the stone wall, squeezes
Through the boards on top, runs nose-down
Serpentines until she finds, gives tongue
On the fox’s line. The pack comes to her,
Oh yes, hot fox, they bay, go screaming off as one.
That’s the bitch I want to be.

Wendell Hawken earned her MFA in Poetry at Warren Wilson College in Swannannoa, NC. Collections of her poems include, The Luck of Being, published by The Backwaters Press, Omaha, in 2008 and The Spinal Sequence by Finishing Line Press, Georgetown, Kentucky in 2013. Individual poems have appeared in literary magazines including Narrative, Shenandoah, Southern Poetry Review, and Poet Lore.

Remembrance

Peter Hitchen MFH (1938--2015)

peter hitchen.vicky moonVicky Moon photo, circa 1980s

Peter Hitchen, MFH, died January 12, 2015 from complications stemming from injuries sustained in a fall in the hunting field a month earlier. He was seventy-six. At the time of his passing, Peter was serving in his twenty-seventh season as Joint-Master of the Potomac Hunt (MD).

Peter was born in England but didn’t start foxhunting until he emigrated to the U.S. in 1962. After settling in the Washington, D.C. area, Peter was introduced to the sport by a friend. He also met his bride-to-be, Nancy Tilton Orme of Leesburg, Virginia, who also encouraged his involvement with hunting to hounds at The Loudoun Hunt.

From that time on, Peter never let anything interfere with his maturing love of and passion for foxhunting. After many seasons of whipping-in at the New Market/Middletown Valley Hounds (MD) and later at The Potomac Hunt, Peter joined Irvin L. (Skip) Crawford as Joint-Master of Potomac in 1987. With huntsman, Larry Pitts, they oversaw the development of what is unquestionably one of the premier packs of American foxhounds in the United States, giving good sport to their members and garnering championships and grand championships at the hound shows year after year.

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