David Twiggs was officially confirmed as the MFHA’s new Executive Director.Tony 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,
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.
Although this poem was written in tribute to a huntsman in his prime, it is especially poignant because it seems to prophesy his tragic end.
Fay Bohlayer, a member of the Shakerag Hounds (GA), wrote the poem in 1981 for huntsman Michael Power on the occasion of his move from Shakerag to the Warrenton Hunt (VA). Ten years later, Bolayer’s poem was read at Power’s memorial service after he suffered a fatal accident in the hunting field. It could as well have been written for that sad occasion.
Power was a keen, hardworking, talented huntsman, and he showed exceptional sport at Warrenton. I watched one day as he had someone throw a coat over a barbed wire fence, which he then jumped to stay with hounds.
Once Bohlayer asked him which he thought was more fun: hunting or racing. Power replied, “Whichever I happen to be doing at the time.” She recalls one day behind Power when hounds were running, and to stay with them Power galloped without pause straight toward an iron gate, which he jumped. Bohlayer chose not to follow Power’s line, and after the run she came up and apologized for going around. “Not at all,” he piped in his Irish tenor. “It’s your sport, but it’s my living. I must go.”
Here’s Fay Bohlayer’s tribute to Michael Power:
On the Road: A Huntsman’s Perspective
This article—about foxhunters on the road and the joys of visiting—is being published in four installments: 1. A Huntsman’s Perspective, 2. One Master’s Perspective, 3. Another Master’s Perspective, and 4. A Member’s Perspective. Here is the first installment.
On January 20, 2012, members of the Rappahannock Hunt left the familiar hills and mountains of Virginia for the mostly flat, somewhat sandy hunting territory along the border between South Carolina and Georgia. Some of us have been making this pilgrimage for more than fifteen years now.
Blessed with perfect weather, the fifth annual Southern Hound show (“Stars of the South!”) was held on April 9 in Monticello, Florida. Having been prevented from attending in 2010 by volcanic ash over Europe, Judge Martin Scott, ex MFH Vale of the White Horse and photographer Jim Meads were on hand this year to enjoy seeing quite a few truly quality hounds being presented. Mr. Scott was ably assisted by co-judge Mr. J.W.Y. Martin, MFH, Green Spring Valley Hounds. The apprentice judge was Mrs. George Thomas, MFH, Why Worry Hounds.
Leica was a remarkable horse whose career took her from incorrigible youngster with a vicious buck to an impressive third-place finish at age twenty-four in the grueling MFHA Centennial Field Hunter Championship. She was still hunting and showing at age twenty-seven, when she had to be humanely euthanized as the result of a pasture injury.
With her bloodlines and dazzling good looks, Leica was primed to be an outstanding dressage horse. An imported bay with touches of white, she was registered Hanoverian (by Lindberg, out of St. Pr. Kari) who was also entered in the main stud book of the RPSI (Rheinland Pfalz Saar International) and Holsteiner registries.
But after abuse from trainers who pushed her too far too fast, Leica had other ideas, says owner Julie Whitlock McKee of Grantville, Georgia. McKee acquired the hard-headed mare at age four after the trainers gave up on her. The pair did not get off to an auspicious start, with Leica rearing the first time McKee threw a leg over her. Rearing and bucking would become a regular occurrence.