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Juniors

Junior Field Hunter Championships: A Big Tree From a Little Acorn

jnafhc claire goff.betsy parkerClaire Goff riding Miss Congeniality was judged 1st Field Champion, 13 and over, of the 2016 Junior North American Field Hunter Championships at the finals hosted by the Iroquois Hunt. With Claire are (l-r) Dr. Jack van Nagell, MFH, host, and President of the MFHA; Marion Chungo, organizer; Douglas Wise-Stuart, MFH, Old Dominion Hounds, and co-founder of the event; Cathy Murphy, daughter of the late Pat Murphy, longtime Iroquois huntsman ; and Cindy Goff, Claire's grandmother and former member of the Iroquois field. And the cute dog is Bert! /  Betsy Burke Parker photo 

Junior foxhunters and their parents traveled from thirteen states to Lexington, Kentucky, where the Iroquois Hunt hosted the finals of the 2016 Junior North American Field Hunter Championships. Thirty-three hunts participated over the course of the informal season by holding qualifying meets from which the finalists were chosen by mounted judges. In thirteen years, the program has grown steadily in participation and geographically from its modest start involving a few hunts in Virginia.

The program is succeeding because it’s purpose rises above just competition. Founders Douglas Wise, MFH, Old Dominion Hounds (VA) and Iona Pillion from the Blue Ridge Hunt (VA) had a larger dream: bring children to new hunting countries, broaden their hunting perspectives, and open their eyes to the fact that these hunting countries don’t just happen to be there for them by chance, but have been nurtured and conserved for the perpetuation of wildlife, open space, and for those who treasure the natural world.

“We want these kids to know what a conservation easement is,” said Marion Chungo, one of the organizers.

Qualifying Meets for Junior Field Hunter Championships Are In Full Swing

graham buston.smallHuntsman Graham Buston brings the Blue Ridge hounds to the first draw, where a fox was quickly unkenneled for a field of juniors participating in one of 31 qualifying meets for the 2016 Junior North American Field Hunter Championships. /  Michelle Arnold photo

Every junior who qualifies by competing at any one of thirty-one Qualifying Meets offered across fourteen states and provinces will be eligible to compete in the Junior North American Field Hunter Championship Finals this year. The meets are in full swing.

The Blue Ridge Hunt hosted a qualifying meet on Saturday, September 24, 2016 at the McIntosh farm situated just above the Shenandoah River under western brow of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Anne McIntosh, MFH led the field of hopefuls, judges, and hunt members, the latter riding behind the junior competitors for a change.

Hunting was excellent, with foxes getting away right at the start and giving the judges plenty of opportunities to watch and judge the young riders and their mounts in action. And everyone viewed the quarry at least once!

Essex Offers Basic Course In Foxhunting

EssexSeminar01Foxhunting 101 starts with a skull session in the Essex kennels tackroom. / Tiffany Evitts photo

Some hunts seeking to attract new members are pro-actively educating prospects. The venerable (1912) Essex Fox Hounds (NJ) offered a presentation this summer at their kennels in Peapack called “Foxhunting 101.”

Huntsman Bart Poole and whipper-in Sam Andrews gave a presentation in the afternoon at the hunt stables in Peapack, after which questions were invited. After the presentation, participants mounted up, introduced their horses to hounds, and rode practice turns around the field. Fifteen participants then joined the Essex subscribers and local landowners for a roading exercise. The course which ended with refreshments was priced at $50.00 a person.

Hooking Kids With a Junior Hound Clinic

Juniors love to go hunting, but for them isn’t it mostly about the rider and his or her horse? How about the hounds? Couldn’t we set the foxhunting hook deeper by connecting interested juniors with hounds as well?

andy and erin bozdan cropHuntsman and whipper-in, Andy and Erin Bozdan, spend a day with the Loudoun Fairfax juniors acquainting them with hounds. /

The Loudoun Fairfax Hunt (VA) is thinking about just that. They are hosting a Junior Hound Clinic this summer—a one-day affair, easy to put on. I’ve long been involved with hound programs for juniors and this is one idea that I hope appeals to other hunts.

The Hunt

Enjoy this foxhunting essay by ten-year-old Libby Nelson. It was awarded second place in the United States Pony Clubs Hildegard Neill Ritchie Foxhunting Writing Contest. Judges were Nancy Ambrosiano, former USPC Foxhunting Committee chair; Mary Pierson, lifelong Pony Club supporter; and yours truly from Foxhunting Life. Libby is a D-2 member of the De La Brooke Pony Club in the Maryland Region and aspires to be a junior whipper-in with the De La Brooke Foxhounds.

libby nelson and gallant gabe Libby Nelson and Gallant Gabe

I was cantering through the beautiful autumn woods when someone yelled, “Fox!” My horse reared and in lightning speed I was on the ground and thought to myself, “Back to dream horse.” I had grown out of my pony a few months ago and I was looking for a calm, safe foxhunter. I was taking a gorgeous grey out hunting. He was supposed to be a “gem.” Apparently he has a fear of foxes. This guy wasn’t as much of a “gem” in the hunt field.

The next day I found a bold bay and took him hunting. I was all packed and ready to go. It was time to load him on the trailer when his owner called. She said she had forgotten to tell me that he doesn’t load without his friend, Clyde. After two hours of trying to get him to load, I had to accept the fact that I was going to miss the hunt.