Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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The Blue Mountain Pony Club in Maryland won the seventh annual Live Oak Hounds USPC Foxhunting Challenge Award for 2013. The Challenge Award is made possible through the generous support of Mr. and Mrs. C. Martin Wood III, Joint-Masters of the Live Oak Hounds in Monticello, Florida and Past Presidents of the MFHA.

The Award is designed to encourage Pony Club members who do not regularly hunt to try the sport and to reward members who hunt on a regular basis to act as mentors to the less-experienced Pony Club members. Ten thousand dollars in awards are distributed each year among the top six Pony Clubs who introduce the greatest number of active Pony Club members to the sport of foxhunting. The United States Pony Club was established by foxhunters, and the two organizations share a close bond.

The 2013 Challenge winners are:

First Place
Blue Mountain Pony Club in Maryland. Blue Mountain Pony Club members hunted with Blue Mountain Hunt (PA).

Second Place
Cedar Knob Pony Club in Tennessee. Cedar Knob Pony Club members hunted with Mooreland Hunt, Longreen Foxhounds, Shawnee Hounds, and Full Cry Hounds.

Third Place
Old Dominion Hounds Pony Club in Virginia. Old Dominion Pony Club members hunted with Old Dominion Hounds.

Fourth Place
Elkridge-Harford Pony Club in Maryland. Elkridge-Harford Pony Club members hunted with Elkridge-Harford Hunt.

Fifth Place
Lowcountry Pony Club in South Carolina. Lowcountry Pony Club members hunted with Lowcountry Hunt.

Sixth Place
Live Oak Hounds Pony Club in Florida. Live Oak Hounds Pony Club members hunted with Live Oak Hounds.

kuenzi.heatherThe authorPicture this: four hunts—Bridlespur Hunt (MO), Full Cry Hounds (AL), Grand Canyon Hounds (AZ),and Mill Creek Hunt (IL)—bringing their best three couple of hounds to the field; thirty-five enthusiastic mounted riders; and sweeping vistas of open hunting country loaded with coyotes. This made for an action-packed five days of foxhunting activities consisting of a three-day Foxhound Performance Trial, foot hunting with the bassets, and a joint meet of foxhounds. It all took place at the  Flint Hills Invitational Performance Trial, held on March 7-9, 2012, generously hosted by the Moingona Hunt staff and members. The Flint Hills area of Kansas is an immense rolling prairie of tallgrass and recognized as one of America’s unique treasures.

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conner_and_lawyerHuntsman David Conner and Rockbridge Lawyer 2008.              Jan Sorrells photo

Rockbridge Lawyer 2008 and his littermate Lead scored a one-two punch at the Carolinas Foxhound Performance Trials on March 26 and 27 in Hoffman, North Carolina. Competing against hounds from twelve other hunts, the Rockbridge pair finished first and second respectively after two days of hunting. We talked to Conner about his handsome and talented hound.

Trial organizer Fred Berry, MFH of the Sedgefield Hunt, has been actively involved in foxhound performance trials for years—first judging, then organizing. As a result of Berry’s considerable experience, he has introduced some interesting new wrinkles into the management of his trials to improve both the hunting and the experience for the field.

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full_cry_largoFull Cry Largo, hunting back home, just after being judged top hound at the Belle Meade Foxhound Performance Trials. She still carries her number 17, which was painted on her for the competition. Adrian Jennings photoFull Cry Largo was judged top hound at the Belle Meade Foxhound Performance Trials held in Thomson, Georgia on February 25 and 26. Belle Meade Lifeguard was runner-up to Largo, and, with three hounds in the top ten, Belle Meade took top honors among the hunts. For complete results, click here.

“Largo's story is a great testament to how hunts and huntsman can work together to help each other out and find the right fit for hounds,” says  David Hyman, MFH and huntsman of the Full Cry Hounds (AL). “It's truly a unique fraternity.”

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Tragedy struck Saturday, February 28 at Belle Meade Hunt in Thomson, Georgia, according to a press release from Epp Wilson, MFH and huntsman. Dr. Lewis McCurdy, a visiting huntsman from Tuscumbia, Alabama, fell from his horse when it missed a turn while hunting. Dr. McCurdy, a large animal veterinarian, was visiting along with several other members of the Full Cry Hunt from Tuscumbia. He has been a passionate polo player and fox and coyote hunter for over twenty years. He has been a staff member and has hunted the hounds for his home hunt in Alabama.

Dr. McCurdy was immediately assessed and cared for by an emergency medicine physician and two other physicians and a nurse who were riding directly in front of and behind him. They all witnessed the accident. He was wearing an ASTM safety approved equestrian helmet which Belle Meade Hunt members are required to wear. Ground ambulance and air ambulance were instantly called, and he was transported by helicopter to MCG Trauma Center in critical condition. He had sustained neck injuries and died at the hospital Monday afternoon. His wife Nancy McCurdy and their two grown children were at his side when he passed away.

Dr. and Mrs. McCurdy are well-loved by family and a large circle of friends. Dr. McCurdy is known for his spirit of adventure and passion for foxhunting and polo. He is also known for his generosity and kindness and has advanced many youths’ lives through college scholarships. He and Mrs. McCurdy have two children and five grandchildren.

"The McCurdy family, community and hunt family are in our thoughts and prayers at this difficult time. We all appreciate the rapid response and professionalism of the local Fire Fighters, Ambulance and Flight Paramedics. Their team effort assured that Dr. McCurdy received the best care as quickly as possible," said Epp Wilson.

In another report, The Huntsville Times said that Dr. McCurdy was chosen by the Alabama Veterinary Medical Association as Vet of the Year in 2007.

"We lost a great veterinarian and friend today," said Dr. Angela Concannon, president of the Madison County Veterinary Medical Association. "He never met a stranger and was very, very passionate about veterinary medicine. It was one of his great loves and it showed through everything he did. Please keep praying for his wife and family."

McCurdy was a 1974 graduate of the Auburn University School of Veterinary Medicine.

Posted March 1, 2011