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People

Tot Goodwin Speaks

Jefferson "Tot" Goodwin whipped-in to Ben Hardaway for over twenty years, then in 1989 became huntsman of the Green Creek Hounds (SC). He’s the only black MFH in America. From a new book, Foxhunters Speak (The Derrydale Press, 2017), here is one of fifty interviews conducted by the author, Mary Kalergis.

Mary will be signing her books at the Virginia Foxhound Show in the Foxhunting Life booth. Come visit!

tot goodwin.kalergis.crop

My granddaddy and dad always hunted dogs, and I started hunting the beagles every weekend when I was about eight years old. Now my granddaddy was a horseman. He used to break and train horses right outside of Columbus, Georgia. He died before I was old enough to really ride, so as a kid, I never had the opportunity to ride any nice horses. My parents had mules that plowed the farm. As a little boy, I never heard of mounted foxhunting. We hunted coons, rabbit, and deer on foot and ate everything we caught. There were sixteen kids in my family, so we never wasted any food.

Huntsmen On the Move: 2017

As we approach the 2017/2018 season, Foxhunting Life makes its annual report on the recent moves of eight huntsmen across the North American hunting countries.

hughjulierobards.cropped.cancelliRetiring huntsman Hugh Robards, wife and first whipper-in Julie, and the foxhounds of the Middleburg Hunt / Chris Cancelli photo

Round I:
Hugh Robards’ decision to hang up his hunting horn after fifty-five seasons in hunt service got Round One underway. Fully half of those seasons, and certainly the most visible, Robards spent in Ireland’s challenging ditch-and-bank country as huntsman for the County Limerick Foxhounds. There, he provided world-class sport for Master Lord Daresbury (whom he succeeded as huntsman), the hard riding members, and a constant stream of hunting visitors from around the globe.

For the last three seasons, Robards has carried the horn for the Middleburg Hunt (VA). As difficult as his personal retirement decision must have been, the Middleburg Masters and members paid Robards such a stirring tribute at their Hunt Ball that he had to have felt the sincere respect and affection in which he was held, notwithstanding his short tenure there. The members made certain that the ball revolved about him with mounted photographs of his career, the showing of a specially produced video, and speeches—sincere and well-earned, to recognize an illustrious career.

Melvin Poe Speaks

The late Melvin Poe remains a legendary American huntsman, and undoubtedly will for all time. From his earliest days, Melvin absorbed the ways of the forest and the habits of every wild creature.

From a new book, Foxhunters Speak (The Derrydale Press, 2017), here is one of fifty interviews conducted by an accomplished author highly experienced in the art of the interview. Mary Kalergis has traveled the country to learn how foxhunters acquired their passion. For books inscribed by the author, purchase directly.

GTPics 27Mary Kalergis photo

I was born in 1920, five miles down the road from where I live now in Hume, Virginia. There were ten of us in the family—five girls and five boys. My dad worked for a dollar a day. He had hounds when I was a little boy, and as soon as I got big enough to hunt, that was all I wanted to do. I loved to hunt skunks and possum at night when I was a schoolboy. We had no coons in those days. No beavers either. Those skins would have been worth a lot more than skunk or possum.

Stella Smith: Eighty-Five Years Following Hounds

stella smith at ninety.mullinsStella Smith celebrates her ninetieth birthday hunting with the Tara Harriers (IRE). Her son, Henry Smith (shown right) is Master and huntsman. /  Noel Mulliins photo

What does one do to celebrate a ninetieth birthday? Well some people probably go on a cruise, while a few may go on a religious pilgrimage, then others are just happy to be upright. But not Stella Smith. To her, age is just another number. So she went for a day’s hunting with the Tara Harriers, hunted by her son Henry. This was not just impulse, as Stella rides out most mornings on her family farm at Corballis, Donabate, in North County Dublin, Ireland, on her coloured hunter out of a mare that happened to be in foal without them knowing. Hence the name, Surprise.

Michael Dempsey, longtime Master and former huntsman of the Galway Blazers, describes Stella as the most natural horsewomen ever to cross Galway stone walls, getting the most from any horse she rode. Stella (Briscoe) who her mother described as a lovely mistake, there being such an age gap between her brother George and her sister Constance, was born into a hunting and racing family.