Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Foxhunters love to travel! If you have a good travel story, share it with FHL. Click on How to Submit.

The Golden Age of Hunting?

henry alken.the finishThe Finish by Henry Alken

Foxhunters often evoke the nineteenth century as the belle-époque of English foxhunting. This may have to do with the extensive documentation provided by the famous artists and writers of the time. The efforts of Nimrod, Alken, and friends immortalized an age of rollicking runs across open countryside, dashing horsemen and women, and fine stout foxes flying across hill and dale.

Whilst The Golden Age as it is known has long since provided a benchmark of foxhunting excellence and excitement, we note that today’s foxhunters are blessed with some decided advantages.

A Visitor's View

Cubbing with the BSV 2010It was an unrivalled invitation: to spend two months hunting in the United States with Anne McIntosh, MFH of the Blue Ridge Hunt (VA). As a hunting-mad Brit who’d grown up with the West Country packs of my native Somerset, I was intrigued to learn about the tradition of the sport on the other side of the pond.

Coming over to help with Anne’s horses, I took particular interest in the type and manners of what I would usually call hunters, soon learning they were called field hunters stateside. What struck me was their condition. A sunny American summer was as evident in the bloom on these horses’ coats as in the suntans on their riders! The fact that the majority of these horses also live out throughout the hunting season (which would be impossible with our muddy British winters) I think contributed to their impeccable manners and relaxed temperaments.

The Traveling Foxhunter

Sport is in full swing across North America now, and foxhunters are on the move—visiting friends in other hunts, seeking new experiences, attending hunt weeks in distant hunting countries, and responding to long-standing invitations.

Long ago, I learned the hard way that a travel checklist is a must. So here are my personal checklists—one for me and one for my horse—that I print out fresh before every trip. Using them won’t guarantee an incident-free trip, as I once discovered after leaving all my tack behind in the stable driveway. But barring such stupidity on your part, they will go a long way in assuring that you have what you need when you get there!

Go to the Resources drop-down menu, and click on Checklist under the Travel category. Print the lists for yourself and check off as you pack. Let us know what’s missing, so we can add it for the next traveling foxhunter.

Cheltenham Week -- On the Inside

cheltenhamSteeplechasing is hugely popular in England, and the Cheltenham Festival equates to our Triple Crown, Breeder’s Cup, and Gold Cup all rolled into one. So when I spoke with George Wagner, who runs Horse Racing Trips Worldwide in Ontario and takes groups to the great races of the world, I latched onto Cheltenham as the trip for foxhunters.

"Sixty thousand racing fans come for championship week at Cheltenham, half of whom are Irish!" says Wagner.

Now if that isn’t a recipe for a good time, I don’t know what is.