Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Here you will find reviews of, selections from, and commentaries concerning books, many of which don't even appear on Amazon's radar. But what goldmines for the literate foxhunter!

The Second Whip

second whip.gilbert hollidayIllustration by Gilbert HollidayOver he goes, with a crash and a rattle,
   Hound couples clinking, ’gainst saddle and thigh;
Over he goes, and the light of the battle
   Gleams like a spark in his eager young eye.

Twigs of the hawthorn fly backward together,
   Meeting again with an ominous swish;
Over he goes, landing light as a feather,
   One with his horse and quick as you’d wish.

Kinds and condition of fences don’t matter,
   Straight as a ramrod he rides at them all;
Over he goes with a bang and a clatter,
   Knocking loose stones off the top of the wall.

Our First Foxhunt Over the Irish Banks

Here’s a second condensed installment from We Go Foxhunting Abroad: A First Venture with the Irish Banks and English Downs, Charles D. Lanier’s 1924 account of a father-daughter sporting trip to Ireland and England.

banks and ditches

We put on our hunting things Saturday morning and climbed into the flivver for our first hunt with the United.

B had taken care to remove from her coat the orange collar of our home hunt colors, and I wore the regulation “visiting” dress of American custom—dark Oxford grey coat, cream colored Bedford cord britches, plain black jack boots and hunting bowler. I have never become an authority on the niceties of hunting etiquette and was simply aware one could not go amiss in these unpretentious togs.

Our flivver soon began to overtake people bound for the meet, gentlemen and ladies jogging along on short-tailed beasts with enormous quarters and hocks, grooms leading horses with their riderless saddles carefully protected by slip covers from the showers, which appear in South Ireland without a moment’s notice or a discernable cloud; showers that pass away, generally, as quickly as they come, with no one paying the slightest attention.

Outward Bound

In juxtaposition to these times of fast and affordable air travel to and from England and Ireland for hunting holidays, here’s a look back to a 1924 account of a leisurely (and dramatic) father-daughter sea voyage—their first—to go foxhunting on the other side. It was also a different era for world events, as readers will note.

Author Charles D. Lanier was MFH of the Fairfield County Hounds (later the Fairfield and Westchester Hounds) from 1915 to 1921. His seventeen-year-old daughter, referred to as “B,” was Becky Lanier, later Becky Sharp, MB of the Nantucket Beagles, and still later Joint-MB of the Nantucket-Treweryn Beagles, who, along with her husband Joint-MB David “Bun” Sharp passed away in 1987.

becky lanierBecky Lanier, 1920

What follows is a condensed version of Chapter 1, “Outward Bound," from Charles Lanier's We Go Foxhunting Abroad: A First Venture with the Irish Banks and English Downs published in 1924. Subsequent chapters in condensed form will appear through the remaining summer months.

A Fox in the Family

Take two gray fox cubs that need a home and one family of tender-hearted animal lovers. Put them together, and you’ve got a charming menagerie that includes horses, dogs, a grumpy cat, turtles, two little boys, frogs, mice and birds.

jane king2A Fox in the Family, Jane King, Xlibris LLC, illustrated, 96 pages, $22.49 (hardcover), $14.40 (softcover), available at Amazon and Barnes and NobleA Fox in the Family is Jane King’s reminiscences about life with a smart, funny, wild animal with loads of personality. Jane and her husband Jim were known for rescuing and rehabbing animals on their farm in Indiana. So when a neighbor salvaging an old barn discovered a family of foxes under the dilapidated structure, he knew whom to call.

The Kings went home with two cubs, promptly named Frisky and Friendly by their young sons. Unfortunately, Friendly did not make it, succumbing to a mysterious malady, but Frisky went on to become a member of the family, accepted by everyone except the cat. Frisky and his best friend, the terrier, Bandit, managed to get into all kinds of trouble, including breaking their legs at the same time in a dust-up with the horses. Their favorite playtime activity was a rousing game of snatch-the-tennis-ball, and they spent hours playing before collapsing together on the sofa to nap.Their other favorite sleeping place was under the covers with the boys.