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Hounds

Virginia Foxhound Club Celebrates Sixty Years

oatlands.ohiggins jones wallace sharp haightVirginia Foxhound Show, Oatlands, 1986: Huntsman Shelly O'Higgins receives trophy from Joan Jones (now President, Virginia Foxhound Club). Judges are (l-r) Captain R.E. Wallace, MFH, Exmoor Foxhounds (UK); Bun Sharp, MB, Nantucket-Treweryn Beagles; Sherman Haight, MFH, Mr. Haight's Litchfield County Hounds.

The venerable Virginia Foxhound Club—the team that brings you the Virginia Foxhound Show each year—is celebrating its sixtieth anniversary. It seems timely to look back, evaluate the importance of hound shows in the overall scheme of foxhunting, and convince those with a passion for the sport that their membership in the Virginia Foxhound Club, no matter where in North America they hunt the fox or the coyote, is an investment that will benefit all fox hunters and their hunts.

The Virginia Foxhound Show, the largest hound show in the world, brings foxhounds of all types and all strains to the flags for viewing, comparing, and judging. Whether a Master or huntsman is seeking certain bloodlines, or an outcross to introduce hybrid vigor to the gene pool within his kennels, he sees such hounds at Virginia. And he has the opportunity to socialize and chat, in a magnificent setting, about the merits and traits of the canine objects of his desire. With your support, the best matings may continue to be made in Heaven, but they’ll be arranged in Virginia!

The Story of Old Drum

Old Drum, a black and tan foxhound whose bronze effigy stands before the courthouse in Warrensburg, Missouri, inspired an attorney’s closing argument that has endured as one of the most well-known and oft-reproduced tributes to the dog.

old drum1Bronze statue of Old Drum in Warrensburg, Missouri

One crisp October night in 1869, the music of the foxhounds was interrupted by the sound of a gunshot. Charles Burden stepped outside to listen. The hound music continued, but one voice was missing—that of his favorite dog, Drum. The next morning he went to the adjoining farm to call on his brother-in-law, Leonidas Hornsby. Hornsby had lost one hundred sheep to stray dogs and had threatened to shoot the next stray that came on his property. In answer to Burden’s questions, Hornsby claimed that his ward, Dick Ferguson, had shot a load of shelled corn at a black looking dog. The next day Burden found Drum lying dead.

Remembering the Curre on Boxing Day

modernModern English Foxhound: Duke of Beaufort's Monmouth 1977 by New Forest Medyg 1969shorthorn era Peterborough champion 1926.daphne moore Peterborough winner of the early 1900s --- thick and ponderous --- an example of the style of foxhound favored at the time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thousands of foxhunters and hunt supporters are expected to turn out in England and Wales on Boxing Day. Young and old, riders and spectators alike, entire families together for the holidays tumble out-of-doors the morning after Christmas for these traditionally celebrated meets.

“It’s the highlight of the season which starts in November,” said Peter Swann, MFH of the Curre and Llangibby Foxhounds in Wales. “This year we are expecting forty riders to take part and around five hundred spectators and supporters to join us on the green.

In Wales, the Curre and Llangibby and the Monmouthshire Foxhounds trace back to the 1600s and 1700s. The Curre remains of particular significance to foxhunters because we still see and enjoy the results of Sir Edward Curre’s bloodlines in our own Crossbreds and modern English foxhounds to this day.

It was Sir Edward Curre who provided Isaac “Ikey” Bell, father of the modern English foxhound, with the Welsh blood and the pale coloration of his breeding that has been preserved and carried on by forward-looking breeders in England ever since. Bell’s vision of the foxhound finally prevailed over the thick and ponderous, black-and-tan colored foxhounds that were fashionable early in the twentieth century. Bell’s efforts to breed lighter and more athletic foxhounds fell so afoul of the foxhunting establishment of the time that leading Masters would cross the street to avoid having to greet him.

Extend Your Weekend Sport with a Foot Pack

ashland bassets1The Ashland Bassets  /  Susan Monticelli photoWhen not following foxhounds on horseback, many foxhunters and their like-minded friends can be found following their local basset or beagle pack on foot—a perfect way to continue enjoying sport and a country lifestyle. Any foxhunter who thrills to the cry of foxhounds and hasn’t yet heard a pack of bassets in full cry must try a day’s hunting behind these wonderful hounds!

Even after dismounting from the saddle on a Saturday, many still yearn to hunt on before returning to an office on Monday. There are others who have hung up their tack for various reasons, and some who have never hunted astride yet love being outdoors on fall and winter afternoons. For all these sportsmen and women, the Ashland Bassets—hunting the territories of the Casanova, Old Dominion, Orange County, and Warrenton foxhound packs in Virginia—have provided a welcome window through which to extend one's weekend enjoyment of the countryside and venery.