This Week in...
Flying Fox a Threatened Species
The stuff of horror films, yet actually a pretty cute critter, performs a vital service for farmers but battles to survive.
Tot Goodwin Speaks by Mary Kalergis
He was hunting his beagles at the age of eight to help put food on the table for a family of eighteen. He was mentored by Hardaway and learned from some of the best in the sport on both sides of the Atlantic.
Hillsboro Godfrey Is Grand Champion at Southern Hound Show by Kathy Barnett
See the difference one year’s development makes in transforming an unentered class winner into an adult foxhound and a Grand Champion.
Randy Rouse, MFH and Steeplechase Icon, Dies at 100
Master of Foxhounds, retired champion race rider, Thoroughbred trainer, musician, and national steeplechasing icon had one heck of a ride for an entire century.
Murphy Sweeps Open Jump Races at Old Dominion
Jef Murphy rides winners in both the Open Hurdle and Open Timber. Double wins also for Jimmy Day, Liam Mc Vicar, and Doug Fout.
Randy Rouse, 100, Sets New American Record at Orange County
One week before his passing, Rouse sets new record as oldest winning trainer.
Flying Fox a Threatened Species
- By Norman Fine
The flying fox, so called for its large eyes and pointed ears and snout, is not really a fox at all. The other common name for the mammal is fruit bat. It’s the largest of all bats in the world with a wingspan of nearly five feet. Its senses of smell and eyesight are well-developed, and it doesn’t rely on echo-location to catch flying insects for its diet. Its subsists on blossoms, nectar, pollen, and fruit and serves as an important pollination vector in the reproduction of many tropical fruits.
The flying fox is threatened with extinction in much of its habitat, especially on islands in the South Pacific where it is essentially trapped because of its limited flying range. Some islands, like Mauritius, have introduced mass culls at the insistence of farmers whose harvests are reduced by the bats’ consumption. Yet the bats provide the farmers with a critical pollinating service.
In the Marianas, flying fox meat is considered a delicacy, for which a large commercial trade developed. According to Science Magazine, “the dire situation of island flying foxes worldwide calls for effective, science-based conservation strategies to prevent further loss of biodiversity and function.”
Posted April 16, 2017
Tot Goodwin Speaks
- By Mary Kalergis
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!
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.
I was born in 1944. One of my older brothers worked for Ben Hardaway, and I used to like to hunt on foot with him. When two of his July hounds ran out in the road chasing a fox, I was able to get ahead and stop a tractor-trailer before it ran over them. I think he really appreciated that, and he gave me a job grooming his horses. I can still remember Sparkle and Sanction, especially Sparkle, with her curly hair—she looked just like a white collie. She was a heck of a foxhunter. After I’d been his groom for a while, he asked me if I wanted to learn how to ride, and I jumped at the chance. He asked his trainer, Ann, to give me lessons. Well, the way she gave me lessons was by putting me on top of the young horses to get them saddle broke. She’d lunge ’em for a while, then put me on and let us go. I got bucked off many a time, but I did learn how to ride. To this day, I’m not too crazy about the Connemara/Thoroughbred cross. They put me on the ground too often!
By the time I was in my early twenties, I was a pretty good rider and started whipping-in for Hardaway. Back then, there was very little traffic on the roads, and when it got dark, we’d just ride on back to the barn, knowing the hounds would get back to the kennel to get fed in the morning. Once he started hunting in Ireland, he started packing up his hounds and expecting them to be more biddable. Elsie and Tom Morgan came over from Ireland to hunt with us and taught us a lot about their ways of pack huntin’. Back in those days, we had a lot of foxes everywhere. We just expected to catch one every time we went out. Nowadays, the coyote have run the fox just about clear off, and so now foxhounds around here hunt coyote instead of fox.
Back when I was whipping-in for Hardaway, a hound hardly ever got away from me. I’d just push ’em on to the rest of the pack if they weren’t where they were supposed to be. When the pack would split, it was my job to figure out what hounds weren’t running with the huntsman and get them back to the hunted pack. Heck, a lot of times I don’t even think he’d know they’d split. Back when I started hunting, if you got after something, you could go. In 1965, landowners didn’t mind so much if you hunted through their property, and there wasn’t nearly so many roads and traffic.
I was fortunate to get the opportunity to hunt all over the world with Mr. Hardaway, and I picked up a lot of helpful knowledge along the way. I’m probably the first black person to ever foxhunt in Ireland. I’d whip-in for Elsie Morgan when I was over there, and she was so well regarded that no one ever bothered me. Times have changed quite a bit, but in the foxhunting world, not so much. I’m the only black MFH in America right now. Just the other day, a group of us from Green Creek were having breakfast together before the meet, and someone came up and asked me, “Do they let you hunt, too?” I could say, “Well, since I’m huntsman and Master, if I don’t go, they don’t go,” but I don’t go that route. I just say, “Yes, I go too,” and leave it at that. I learned a long time ago to just keep my head down and be polite. Back at Midland, when I used to get the Hardaway horses ready before the meet, I’d be in my overalls as the barn help. Then I’d be in my hunt staff riding clothes out whipping-in, and I swear I don’t think a lot of folks who saw me in the barn beforehand even realized I was the same person out hunting. Most folks just see what they expect to see.
I think my family was proud of all the opportunities that foxhunting gave me. Before I started traveling with Hardaway, no one in my family had ever traveled much. When we weren’t in England and Ireland, we spent a lot of time traveling around the country, especially with the Virginia hunts. Every October, we’d go stay up there a solid month and hunt around everywhere. Melvin Poe and Buster Chadwell were two of my greatest inspirations. I learned a lot watching those two men hunt hounds. We went up to Essex to get Chadwell to help us deer-proof our hounds, and that pack he had back in the sixties was one of the best I ever did see. I had all kinds of crazy adventures working for Hardaway. One time, he sent me to Texas to pick up a load of fox and bring ’em back to Georgia. Now, of course, it was just as illegal then as it is now, and no one would do it now, but everybody had to do it back then because the mange and rabies had pretty much wiped out our fox population and the coyote hadn’t shown up yet. Dealers selling young fox sprang up out West to meet the demand. Those dealers dealt in a little bit of everything— rattlesnakes, bear, boar, you name it—and they’d sell it to ya. Well, I was driving through Mississippi with another black fella named Leroy, and we had about thirty fox in cages in the back of the van. We got pulled over by the police, and when they asked us what we were carrying in the van, Leroy spoke right up and said, “Corgi puppies.” The cop even shown his flashlight back at the cages, but I guess he believed us because they just let us drive on.
I worked for Mr. Hardaway for over twenty years, but after a while, I think he felt dissatisfied with me. I think there comes a time when a young man has to move out on his own. Once you taught them everything you know, it’s time for them to go, but I was so tore up when he first fired me. I didn’t know if I wanted to hunt anymore, even though I got several job offers right away. I went in the logging business with my brother for a few years until Dick and Peg Secor asked me to help start a fox pack in 1989, which we named Green Creek Hounds. I agreed to come up for four weeks, and I’m still here. The territory in this part of North Carolina felt like home. John Burgess was also a Joint Master along with the Secors, and I just loved working with them. Peg had some Piedmont American hounds, and I had some Midland-bred Julys, and that was the formation of the Green Creek pack. I’m not much interested in a drag hunt. Foxhunting to me is all about jumping live quarry, but I will lay a drag of fox urine and oil to train the puppies before the season begins. Meanwhile, I’ll pick up any dead fox or coyote I find on the road and keep it in the freezer until I’m drag hunting the puppies. Then I’ll thaw out the carcass and place it where they can find it at the end of the run. It’ll really make ’em keen.
Now, with radios, my whips are always calling me and telling me they have two couple over here or three couple over there. Well, I don’t need to hear that—I just need them to get those hounds packed up with me. It’s not the huntsman’s job to pick up what he’s doing and go running after hounds spread all over. That’s the whipper-in’s job. The Green Creek Hounds are probably a tougher pack than I really need, but they are the type of hounds I really like. They’ve been bred for their keenness more than their biddability. When they get rolling, you can’t really stay with them. A horse can’t get through the woods as fast as a hound. We only hunt two days a week and these hounds need to hunt, so I usually take the whole pack of thirty couple out every time we go out. Trouble is, my whips have a hard time pulling them up if they are running on something. A lot of people whipping-in today have never hunted without a radio, so they don’t know how to use their ears like we used to do when we had to rely on our own instincts.
When I got to Green Creek twenty-five years ago, you could do some serious hunting without bothering anybody or putting your hounds in danger of getting run over. No matter when or where I’m hunting, I always prefer a bi*ch to a dog hound. The females are always the keenest hunters. But a good dog hound pulls his weight and when the pack really gets to rolling, you want a mixture of voices to ring out through the hills. Seems like the females are best at chasing, but the dogs do most of the catchin’. The females absolutely hate a male fox and when they get on one, they’ll run him to death. Now I suspect that a dog fox probably leaves a stronger scent. I know a pregnant fox is hard to chase. Hounds won’t half run it and if they do get on her trail, she’ll usually just jump in a hole. I suspect they don’t have much scent at all. Once the fox vixens are bred, I’ve heard they will run to a dog fox and he’ll lead the hounds away from her. If that happens, I guarantee ya he’ll take you on a chase out of the country! It seems like when fox are chased, it’s like they enjoy it. They know they have the advantage over the hounds, who have to run with their noses on the ground.
Now because coyote are pack animals, they’ll pull a trick or two on ya. I’ve seen a coyote lie down flat in the grass when they get tired and a fresh one jump up and lead the hounds away from the original hunted coyote.
I guess because of all the years traveling with Hardaway, I still love to travel to other hunts every chance I get. I’m going to Belle Meade in a few days to hunt with Epp Wilson. He used to hunt with Hardaway’s Midland hounds a lot when I was a young man. I go to a lot of hunts and help them get problems straightened out. I did that last week down in Lowcountry. I like going in somewhere and helping someone out. It’s a challenge and gratifying when you can help out. I guess if you do something all your life, you learn a thing or two along the way. I always appreciated it when folks helped me out, and I like to do the same thing for other folks.
I’ve been lucky to live a life where every morning when I get out of bed, I’m looking forward to my day. Training and hunting hounds is my life’s satisfaction. The more time you spend with your hounds, the better pack they are. One thing I love most about my wife, Colleen, is she loves my hounds, and they love her too. I trust an animal’s instincts about people. They know who to trust.
Posted April 18, 2017
Hillsboro Godfrey Is Grand Champion at Southern Hound Show
- By Kathy Barnett
Grand Champion Hillsboro Godfrey 2016 / Leslie Shepherd photo
It could not have been a more perfect day for the eleventh Southern Hound Show at Live Oak Plantation, Monticello, Florida, held on April 8, 2017. With fifty-two degrees rising into the low seventies, hounds and staff were showing at their best.
The Grand Champion of Show, Hillsboro Godfrey’16, was Unentered Champion here last year, bred and shown at the time by Tony Leahy, Master and huntsman of Fox River Valley Hunt (IL). Leahy graciously gave Godfrey to Hillsboro at the conclusion of the 2016 Southern Hound Show.
We have reproduced last year’s show photo of Godfrey (below) to illustrate the difference one year’s development made in transforming an unentered youngster into an adult foxhound and a Grand Champion. Note the deeper chest and added muscle easily seen over the loin and hindquarter, and the generally increased bone and substance all over.
Unentered Godfrey at last year's Southern Hound Show / Leslie Shepherd photo
Godfrey’s breeding is South Shropshire Goblin’12 ex Massbach Charity’12. The sire was entered in England and subsequently acquired by Leahy. The dam is from Leahy’s pack entered in his Cornwall country, and goes back to mostly Midland bloodlines.
Reserve Grand Champion of the Show, Live Oak Eager’13, is interesting in that she is four generations back to a two-time National Champion Treeing Walker Coonhound, Parrish’s Adios Eagle.
Reserve Grand Champion Live Oak Eager / Leslie Shepherd photo
Judges scrutinized entries from Bear Creek Hounds (GA), Fox River Valley Hunt (IL), Hillsboro Hounds (TN), Live Oak Hounds (FL), Lowcountry Hounds (SC), and Midland Fox Hounds (GA).
English judge Mr. Charles Frampton, Master and huntsman of the Heythrop was joined by Lt. Col. Bob Ferrer, Master and huntsman of the Caroline Hunt (VA). Mrs. Michael Moran, MFH, Mr. Stewart’s Cheshire Foxhounds (PA) was the Apprentice Judge.
Three packs were missing that showed last year. Green Creek Hounds (SC) was forced to cancel the day before the show; Mooreland’s huntsman suffered a broken heel while saving his Jack Russell from two coyotes that were trying to kill it on his front porch; and Palm Beach Hunt (FL) did not attend.
As in years past, the Two Couples classes, an indicator of depth in a pack, were deemed by the judges to be unusually strong. Fox River Valley won first and second in the Two Couple of Dogs but were bested in the Two Couple Championship by Hillsboro’s Unentered Bitches, two of whom were first and second in the Unentered Bitch class.
Complete results are posted on the MFHA website under Hounds/Hound Shows/Results.
Posted April 14, 2017
Randy Rouse, MFH and Steeplechase Icon, Dies at 100
- By Norman Fine
Randy Rouse on his steeplechase champion Cinzano. The pair went to the post 11 times, and won every race. / Douglas Lees photo
Randolph D. “Randy” Rouse—Master of Foxhounds, retired champion race rider, Thoroughbred trainer, musician, and national steeplechase icon, died early Friday, April 7, 2017 at age one-hundred.
He was the oldest trainer in North American Thoroughbred history to saddle a winner, ever. He was ninety-nine last April when his Hishi Soar won the Daniel Van Clief Memorial at Foxfield Spring Races. This season, at age one hundred, just one week before his death, he sent Hishi Soar to the starting line again and won the Open Hurdle Race at the Orange County Point-to-Point in Virginia.
Douglas Lees photoRouse became Master of the Fairfax Hunt (VA) in 1961. The Fairfax Hunt recently merged with the Loudoun Hunt West (VA), and he continued as MFH of the combined Loudoun Fairfax Hunt, giving him fifty-five seasons as Master.
Before becoming a trainer, Rouse was one of the top amateur race riders in Virginia. He and the late Dr. Joe Rogers, longtime MFH and huntsman of the Loudoun Hunt (later Loudoun Hunt West) raced against each other over many courses in their day. With the merger of the Fairfax and Loudoun Hunt West, Rouse remained tied by history to his old, departed contemporary. We can imagine them now, hooking up on yet another backstretch.
Rouse and his prized steeplechase champion Cinzano ran eleven races as a team and won eleven races. He rode his last race at Belmont in 1983 and won that one, too.
He helped to launch the Fairfax Races and served as its chairman for more than three decades. Washington Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke was a regular at the Fairfax Races, and the pair were close friends. Rouse helped Cooke buy horses and was Cooke’s guest at Super Bowls.
Rouse received the National Steeplechase Association’s (NSA's) highest honor, the F. Ambrose Clark Award, at the NSA Race Chairmen’s meetings in Middleburg in late January. He was only the twenty-sixth recipient of the award, created in 1965, to recognize those individuals who have done the most to promote, improve, and encourage the growth and welfare of American Steeplechasing.
Rouse’s contributions to steeplechase racing were monumental. He assisted the sport through some of its most challenging times in the 1970s, serving as president of the National Steeplechase Association from 1971 through 1974. In that period, New York racing largely abandoned steeplechasing to accommodate off-track betting, and Rouse began the highly successful transition to a focus on steeplechase race meets rather than a reliance on Thoroughbred racetracks.
He was instrumental also in inaugurating the moveable National Fence for hurdle racing in 1974—a time when both race meets and racetracks were having difficulty maintaining natural brush fences.
Rouse was born in Smithfield, Virginia and raised in Newport News. He settled in Northern Virginia after graduating from Washington and Lee University in 1939 and served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He founded Randolph D. Rouse Enterprises, a construction and investment firm, in 1947.
He was married for just two years to the late Audrey Meadows—Jackie Gleason’s co-star in the long-running popular 1950s TV series "The Honeymooners." The marriage ended in divorce in 1958.
He is survived by his wife, Michele, whom he married in 1983. Michele was riding races at the time, also winning, and retired finally after year's of Randy’s urging. The couple resided in Arlington, Virginia, and have a farm in Aldie.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to Middleburg Humane Foundation (4094 Whiting Rd, Marshall, VA 20115), Best Friends Animal Sanctuary (5001 Angel Canyon Road, Kanab, Utah 84741-5000), or a favorite charity
. Burial is to be on a future date, Ivy Hill Cemetery, Smithfield, VA with a private family ceremony.
Posted April 10, 2017
With appreciation to Don Clippinger, whose tribute published by National Steeplechase Association on April 7, 2017 contributed to this report.
Douglas Lees photo
Murphy Sweeps Open Jump Races at Old Dominion
Featuring the photographs of Douglas Lees
Easy Exit and Jeff Murphy (left) are Open Hurdle winners over Del Bando and Liam McVicar. / Douglas Lees photo,
Six jump races—three hurdle and three timber—and two flat races completed an eight-race card at the Old Dominion Point-to-Point at Ben Venue Farm in Virginia on Saturday, April 8, 2017. Jeff Murphy swept both the Open Races—Hurdles and Timber.
In the Open Hurdles, Murphy rode Easy Exit to an easy win by a seven-length margin for trainer Doug Fout. This was Fout’s first of two wins for the day.
Canyon Road and Jeff Murphy (left) are Open Timber winners over Worried Man and Brendan Crowley / Douglas Lees photo
In the Open Timber, though closely dogged by the second-placed Worried Man, Murphy never relinquished his lead aboard Canyon Road to give trainer Christopher Kolb a win for the Gordonsdale Farm entry. Murphy and Canyon Road are old acquaintances in the winner’s circle, the pair having won the Novice Timber Race at Warrenton two seasons ago. Last season, with Mark Beecher up, Canyon Road again won the Warrenton Open Timber Race.
Sweet Talking Guy and Erin Swope pass pacesetter Rutledge Classic and Emme Fullilove (partially obscured) to win Lady Rider Timber. / Douglas Lees photo
In the Lady Rider Timber Race, Rutledge Classic and rider Emme Fullilove set the pace for much of the race. He’s the Virginia 2016 Leading Amateur/Novice Rider Timber Horse and a winner of that race at Piedmont this year. Fullilove is Virginia’s 2016 Leading Lady Rider Over Fences. Nevertheless, Sweet Talking Guy, owned, trained, and ridden by Erin Swope, stalked Rutledge Classic for much of the race before taking him on and battling down the stretch to eke out a win by a scant two-lengths.
Show King and Liam McVicar are Maiden Hurdle winners. / Douglas lees photo
Trainer Jimmy Day and his rider Liam McVicar had a great day, that team posting two wins and a second placing. Their first win came in the Maiden Hurdle when Show King grabbed the lead after the second fence and romped across the wire by a thirty-length margin for Shannon Hill Stable.
Officer's Oath and Liam McVicar are winners of the Virginia Bred/Sired Flat Race. / Douglas Lees photo
The second Day/McVicar win came in the important Virginia Bred/Sired Flat Race with Bruce Smart’s runner Officers’ Oath making a strong, undisputed finish. Officer’s Oath won the same race at Warrenton this season, placing him well in contention for this year’s series championship sponsored by Northfield Farm.
Trainer Doug Fout posted his second win for the day in the Novice Rider Flat Race. Victoria Lawrence, riding Betsy Mead’s So Far Away, kept her mount in the thick of the battle in the seven-horse field, hooked up with two other horses down the stretch, and eked out a close win only in the final strides to the wire.
Posted April 13, 2017
So Far Away and Victoria Lawrence, winners of the Novice Rider Flat, running at the far left of the field are mostly obscured. / Douglas Lees photo
Randy Rouse, 100, Sets New American Record at Orange County
Hishi Soar, owned and trained by Randy Rouse wins the Locust Hill Open Hurdle Race with Gerard Galligan in the irons. / Douglas Lees photo
In May, last year, at age ninety-nine, Randy Rouse, MFH of the Loudoun Fairfax Hunt (VA), saddled his Hishi Soar, put Gerard Galligan up, and won the featured race at Foxfield in Charlottesville—the sanctioned $25,000 Daniel Van Clief Memorial optional allowance hurdle. That feat made Rouse the oldest American ever to train a Thoroughbred winner.
Last Saturday, April 2, 2017, Rouse, brought Hishi Soar to the Orange County Point-to-Point Races at Locust Hill Farm, put Galligan up again, and won the Open Hurdle Race in a five-horse field. That feat, by our reckoning, makes Mr. Rouse the first one-hundred-year-old American ever to train a Thoroughbred winner.
Randy Rouse at the races. / Betsy Burke Parker photoBefore becoming a trainer in his mature years, Randy Rouse was one of the top amateur race riders in Virginia. He and the late Dr. Joe Rogers, longtime MFH and huntsman of the Loudoun Hunt (later Loudoun Hunt West) battled each other over many race courses in their day. With the Fairfax and Loudoun Hunt West now merged, Rouse, who has served as MFH of the Fairfax Hunt since 1961, is still tied by history to his old, departed friend.
Running patiently in back, Hishi Soar allowed Fall Colors to set the early pace the first time around, let Mizyen take over the lead the second time around, and, with three furlongs to run, jumped the last fence alongside the leader, pulled away in the stretch, and won easily by a two-length margin.
Georgetown Burning (Kieran Norris up) leads Class Cherokee (McLane Hendriks) on hs way to winning the Novice Timber. / Douglas Lees photo
With a strong card of timber races offered by Piedmont the week before, Orange County carded but one timber race for the day, Novice Timber. Trainer Neil Morris, MFH of the home team, saddled Georgetown Burning and put 2016 American Leading Rider Kieran Norris up, earning a visit to the winner’s circle for owner Lana Wright.
Two hurdle races were on the card, Maiden and Open. The Maiden race drew thirteen entries, enough horses to split the race into two divisions. Two flat races, Novice Rider and Open Flat completed the five-race card.
Cubra Libre ((Shane Crimin up) leads the field in the Maiden Hurdle winning the first of both divisions for trainer Richard Valentine and owner Kinross Farm. / Douglas Lees photo
Kinross Farm made a strong showing, bringing the winning hurdlers in each of the two Maiden divisions. Both horses are trained by Richard Valentine. In the first division, Cuba Libre ridden by Shane Crimin took charge for most of the race, held off a rush by Matasaaway, and crossed the wire by a length’s margin.
Mutin (Kieran Norris up) completes the Maiden Hurdle sweep for trainer Valentine. / Douglas Lees photoIn the second division, Valentine saddled French-bred Mutin who went wire-to-wire for a ten-length win in the hands of 2016 Leading Rider Kieran Norris. A second visit to the winner’s circle for Kinross Farm, Valentine, and Norris.
Emme Fullilove, a winner over timber the week before at Piedmont, won the first race of the day, Novice Flat, on Delawana. Fullilove was Virginia’s Leading Rider Over Fences in 2016.
Click for complete results of the day’s racing.
Posted April 7, 2017
A highly aerodynamic Emme Fullilove (left) on Delawana bests Scented Up (Mike Woodson) to win the Novice Rider Flat Race. / Douglas Lees photo