Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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tony leahyMFHA President Tony LeahyTony Leahy, MFH of the Fox River Valley Hunt (IL), was elected to a three-year term as President of the Masters of Foxhounds Association at the Annual Meeting held on Friday, January 27, 2017 in New York. Leslie Rhett Crosby, MFH, Mooreland Hunt (AL) was elected First Vice President and Penny Denegre, MFH, Middleburg Hunt (VA) was elected Second Vice President. Also, David Twiggs was officially confirmed as the MFHA’s new Executive Director.

Retiring Executive Director Dennis Foster will remain at the office for another two months to complete David’s training. Upon his official retirement, Dennis will continue to assist the MFHA in animal rights and other areas, on a consulting basis.

I had the distinct honor of addressing the Annual Meeting crowd, the largest crowd I have ever seen, to relate how special David and his family are, and to explain President Leahy’s vision for an upcoming season of celebration. It was literally standing room only.

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 farquhar trophy denyaCanadian Grand Champion Farquhar with (l–r) Apprentice Judge Katherine Selby, huntsman, Green Mountain Hounds (VT); Judge Dr. Jon Moody, MFH, Mooreland Hunt (AL); Toronto and North York huntsman John Harrison; Mrs. Alice Tyacke; and Judge Richard Tyacke, MFH and huntsman, Sir Watkin Williams-Wynn’s (UK). /  Denya Massey photo

Toronto and North York Farquhar 2014 was judged Grand Champion of Show at the Canadian Foxhound Show on Saturday, June 18, 2016. This was the third Grand Championship for the hunt in the last three years.

It has to be exceptionally gratifying to John Harrison, who returned as huntsman just two years ago, as all three grand champions go back to bloodlines he introduced to the pack during his earlier term as huntsman twenty years ago. Common to the pedigrees of all three, going back three generations, is Toronto and North York Crafty 1995 by their Freedom 1992.

In 1995, while Harrison was hunting the Toronto and North York pack in his first stint (1991 to 1996), he received a draft from the Berkeley (UK). One was Ballad 1987, who arrived in whelp to Berkeley Freshman 1984. Freshman was by Captain Ronnie Wallace’s Exmoor Freestone 1981. “Freestone is the key,” Harrison said.

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soutbernGrand Champion Midland Striker 2015 (Midland Rocket '11 ex Staffordshire Moorland Stunning '11) with (l-r) Daphne Wood, MFH, LIve Oak; Mason Lampton, MFH, Midland; Mary Lu Lampton; and Marty Wood, MFH, Live Oak /   Leslie Shepherd photo

“I can’t take credit,” admits Midland huntsman Ken George, “because I didn’t breed him, but he’s one of a kind!”

A sober demon could be considered a contradiction in terms, but Ken describes Midland Striker 2015 as a foxhound possessing surprisingly contradictory traits. The handsome Crossbred dog hound was judged Grand Champion of Show at the tenth annual Southern Hound Show on April 9, 2016 at Live Oak Plantation in Monticello, Florida.

“The whole litter is fantastic,” continued Ken. “As an unentered hound last season, Striker was in on ten kills. He’s always right there.

Huntsmen sometimes worry about a first-year hound being too precocious. Often, by the second or third year, such hounds begin to think too much of themselves as individuals to fit in as good team members of the pack. Ken’s not worried about Striker in that way.

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virginia2015.siskin.laurenHuntsman John Gray and professional whipper-in Leilani Hrisko show Virginia Grand Champion Hillsboro Siskin '14. Looking on (l-r) are Judge J.W.Y. "Duck" Martin, Virginia Foxhound Club Co-Chairman Mrs. Richard Jones, and huntsman John Holliday, Belvoir Foxhounds (UK).  /   Lauren Giannini photo

Virginia Foxhound Show, Morven Park, May 24, 2015: Okay, says Hillsboro huntsman John Gray, if you don’t like Graphic, I’ll show you Siskin!

On May 9, 2015 at the Carolinas Hound Show, Hillsboro Graphic ’14 was judge Tony Leahy’s pick for Grand Champion of Show. Two weeks later, at the Virginia Foxhound Show, Leahy, judging in the Crossbred ring, chose un-entered Midland Striker over Graphic for the Crossbred Championship.

It proved but a minor setback for Hillsboro. In the final class of the day in the English ring, Judge Charles Frampton chose Hillsboro Siskin ‘14 as the Champion English Foxhound. So when the very last class of the day rolled around—Grand Champion of Show—English Champion Siskin faced off against Crossbred Champion Midland Striker, who had just beaten Siskin’s kennel mate, Carolinas Grand Champion Graphic, for the breed championship.

The other formidable opponents in the ring were un-entered American Champion, Orange County Kermit and Penn-Marydel Champion, De La Brooke Tullamoore ’11. But Hillsboro was not to be denied. Judge J.W.Y. “Duck” Martin crowned Hillsboro Siskin ’14 Grand Champion of Show. Crossbred Champion Midland Striker was Reserve, and Hillsboro leaves town with two Grand Champion foxhounds in the last two hound shows!.

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live oak dandy and peopleGrand Champion of Show Live Oak Dandy and (l-r) Sally Bickerstaff; Daphne Wood, MFH; Judges Linda Armbrust, Nigel Peel, and Franklin Whit Foster, MFHs; Marty Wood, MFH; and huntsman Dale Barnett / Cathy Taber photo

The eighth annual Southern Hound Show was held at Live Oak Plantation, Monticello, Florida on April 5, 2014.

It is interesting to note that of the fifty-four ribbons awarded, not including Two-Couple or Championship classes, thirty-seven ribbons went to Crossbreds and seventeen went to English hounds, which proves the value of breeding the best English hounds to the best American blood.

The day was cloudy and cool which made the spectators comfortable and allowed hounds to show at their best in the large grass ring. Kennels were set up nearby in a three-sided hay shed where hounds from Fox River Valley (IL), Green Creek (SC), Hillsboro (TN), Midland (GA), Mooreland (AL), and Bear Creek (GA) were kenneled. The Live Oak were shown out of their home kennel.

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