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Andrews Bridge Foxhounds

andrewsbridge

Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Website: www.andrewsbridgefoxhounds.com


jnafhc17.finalistsFifty-six junior finalists line up for their commemorative photo at Foxboro, home of Belle Meade Master and host Epp Wilson. / Eric Bowles photo

Junior foxhunters, their horses, parents, and friends traveled from thirteen states to Thomson, Georgia, where the Belle Meade Hunt hosted the finals of the fifteenth annual Junior North American Field Hunter Championships on November 11-13, 2017.

Throughout the course of the informal season, hunts around the country held qualifying meets from which the young finalists were chosen by mounted judges. Of the 216 juniors who qualified to compete in the finals, fifty-six young riders from eighteen North American hunts—more than twenty-five percent of those qualified—traveled to Belle Mead to hunt, compete, see old friends, and make a pile of new friends. And did they have a wonderful time! It was truly a pleasure to see.

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lisa peterson.crop.pmd.freudy(l-r) Sally Teelin, author Lisa Peterson, and huntsman John Ference with the Penn-Marydel foxhounds of the Fairfield County Hunt, circa 1978 / Freudy photo

November brings forth fall, foliage, and foxhunting. The first weekend of the month is the beginning of the formal season for many hunts with its blessing of hounds, hunt breakfasts, and equestrian fashion pageantry that splashes the color of autumnal leaves with scarlet, black, and brown flashes as horses, hounds, and exuberant riders gallop along.

Foxhunting Life published a lovely article by Epp Wilson last month about the Golden’s Bridge Hounds (NY), its pack of Penn-Marydel foxhounds, and its young huntsman Codie Hayes. I had the pleasure of hunting with Golden’s Bridge as a guest a few times in the last decade and thoroughly enjoyed watching the hounds work. I also recall as a teenager hunting with the Fairfield County Hounds in Newtown, Connecticut with their pack that included Penn-Marydels.

According to a Chronicle of the Horse magazine article in 2005, “The consensus among huntsmen with exclusively Penn-Marydel foxhound packs is that they’re unbeatable for their nose, voice, and ease of hunting.” Not only that, but because they are so agreeable to hunt, as one huntsman said, “They sort of hunt themselves and don’t require a lot of additional work.”

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Hounds

lisa peterson.crop.pmd.freudy(l-r) Sally Teelin, author Lisa Peterson, and huntsman John Ference with the Penn-Marydel foxhounds of the Fairfield County Hunt, circa 1978 / Freudy photo

November brings forth fall, foliage, and foxhunting. The first weekend of the month is the beginning of the formal season for many hunts with its blessing of hounds, hunt breakfasts, and equestrian fashion pageantry that splashes the color of autumnal leaves with scarlet, black, and brown flashes as horses, hounds, and exuberant riders gallop along.

Foxhunting Life published a lovely article by Epp Wilson last month about the Golden’s Bridge Hounds (NY), its pack of Penn-Marydel foxhounds, and its young huntsman Codie Hayes. I had the pleasure of hunting with Golden’s Bridge as a guest a few times in the last decade and thoroughly enjoyed watching the hounds work. I also recall as a teenager hunting with the Fairfield County Hounds in Newtown, Connecticut with their pack that included Penn-Marydels.

According to a Chronicle of the Horse magazine article in 2005, “The consensus among huntsmen with exclusively Penn-Marydel foxhound packs is that they’re unbeatable for their nose, voice, and ease of hunting.” Not only that, but because they are so agreeable to hunt, as one huntsman said, “They sort of hunt themselves and don’t require a lot of additional work.”

The physical appearance and conformation of the Penn-Marydel has seen changes over the years. Hunts forced to move due to development may find themselves in a new and different type of hunting country. Or coyotes have moved into the hunting country, displacing the foxes. Hounds have had to adapt to more or less rugged terrains and longer and more robust runs after coyotes than those of the wily fox who will start and stop, run in circles, and try to “outfox” a pack of hounds. And depending where you are foxhunting across the country, the pack may be comprised of larger or smaller hounds with longer or shorter legs to get where they need to go, either tightly bunched or perhaps well spread out as they hunt.

aiken trailer2Penn-Marydel foxhound, Aiken Trailer 2012 /

A Historic Hound
In the world of foxhunting, you have your English hounds and your American hounds, and then you can also have your Crossbred hounds (English-American foxhound crosses). But all hounds in America originated from the Southern hound brought from England in the 1650s to the new world. Even George Washington was an avid fox hunter and bred his own packs with detailed breeding and pedigree records.

Over the centuries, different types of American hounds evolved through the work of dedicated hound breeders. These breeders were trying to produce hounds more suitable to their own unique hunting countries, and also to better cope with the imported red fox in the nineteenth century which was faster than the native gray fox or the spreading deer population in the last century. They infused bloodlines of other hound types from other places such as France and Ireland, and refined the types through repeated generations of matings by selecting sires and dams that passed on the traits they sought. The pure Penn-Marydel, in fact, has hound bloodlines from both England and France.

At some point, a type of hound bred in Pennsylvania and on the Eastern Shores of Maryland and Delaware was singled out for its ease of handling in the kennel and its fine performance in the field. By the 1930s, sportsmen started to organize these hounds into a specific breed of American hound called the Penn-MaryDel, a combination of the three states’ names from which they hailed. In 1934, the Penn-Marydel Association was formed to preserve the bloodlines of this foxhound and to keep a stud book.

Today, the Masters of Foxhounds Association (MFHA) is the keeper of the stud book of all hounds registered with MFHA-recognized hunts across North America. The Foxhound Kennel Studbook has been published annually by the MFHA since 1973.* Penn-Marydels were included, but listed as American hounds, not as a distinct breed. In the world of foxhunting, hounds are often crossbred with other types of hounds, such as an English to an American, or Penn-Marydel to an English, and many times just for one generation in order to infuse a needed trait into the kennel bloodlines. For example, if a hunt has moved to a new hunting country that has more open fields and more coyote, they may want to breed toward hounds with longer legs and larger lung capacity to run for longer hours than what the old country demanded of them in dense woods.

In the early 2000s, Penn-Marydel breeders worked with the MFHA to determine what rules were needed to consider a purebred Penn-Marydel to be registered with the Association as a separate breed. At the time all Penn-Marydels were considered American hounds if bred to an American hound. If a Penn-Marydel was bred to a Crossbred or an English hound, the offspring were categorized as Crossbreds.

The original Penn-Marydel Stud Book goes back to 1933. To be a registered Penn-Marydel, a hound needs to trace back five generations of registered breeding in that studbook. In other words, to be considered a registered Penn-Marydel, the hound must have five clean generations of Penn-Marydel breeding without an outcross. Starting in 2009, the MFHA began to register Penn-Marydels as a separate breed under its own name rather than just list them as American Hounds.

va14.callarBlack and tan Penn-Marydel, Golden's Bridge Phoenix 2012 (out of Andrews Bridge Powder 2007), was Grand Champion Foxhound at the 2014 Virginia Foxhound Show. (l-r) Joan Jones, President, Virginia Foxhound Club, huntsman Ciaran Murphy, Golden's Bridge Foxhounds  /  Liz Callar photoPenn-Marydel hounds come in the traditional hound tri-colors of brown, black, and white, and some come with ‘ticking’ or little flecks of darker color sprinkled through the white hairs. But some foxhunters prefer a strain of just black and tan Penn-Marydels, most famously hunting with the Andrews Bridge Foxhounds (PA).

According to the Chronicle article in 2005, “The Andrews Bridge hounds are most recognizable for their distinctive color — black and tan. The color harks back to the pack’s origins. The Andrews Bridge Foxhounds were started by Sam Riddle, who was more known for owning the famed race horse Man o’ War. He began the pack at his Glen Riddle Farm in Ocean City, on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, at the end of the nineteenth century. When Riddle died in 1951, the pack went to his nephew, Walter Jeffords, Sr. He wanted to distinguish the pack from other packs, so he decided to breed and select on black-and-tans. [Robert] Crompton, MFH since 1968, kept the color.”

For another Foxhunting Life article about the Penn-Marydel, click on “What Is a Penn-Marydel?” by Jody Murtagh, ex-MFH. More articles on the breed may be found by using the Search Function (upper left).
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* The MFHA began publishing the Studbook in 1908, the year after the Association was established, but not annually; it was updated every few years or so until 1973 when John Glass became Clerk and Keeper of the Foxhound Kennel Stud Book, It has been published annually since.

Posted November 3, 2017

Click to visit Lisa Peterson’s Blog, Lisa Unleashed for more about history, horses, dogs, and hounds. Lisa is the owner of Barn Girl Media, a public relations and communications consultancy company in Newtown, Connecticut. She earned her junior colors with the Fairfield County Hounds (CT). She can be reached via e-mail.

graham buston.smallHuntsman Graham Buston brings the Blue Ridge hounds to the first draw, where a fox was quickly unkenneled for a field of juniors participating in one of 31 qualifying meets for the 2016 Junior North American Field Hunter Championships. /  Michelle Arnold photo

Every junior who qualifies by competing at any one of thirty-one Qualifying Meets offered across fourteen states and provinces will be eligible to compete in the Junior North American Field Hunter Championship Finals this year. The meets are in full swing.

The Blue Ridge Hunt hosted a qualifying meet on Saturday, September 24, 2016 at the McIntosh farm situated just above the Shenandoah River under western brow of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Anne McIntosh, MFH led the field of hopefuls, judges, and hunt members, the latter riding behind the junior competitors for a change.

Hunting was excellent, with foxes getting away right at the start and giving the judges plenty of opportunities to watch and judge the young riders and their mounts in action. And everyone viewed the quarry at least once!

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JNAFHC2015.heatherjumpHeather Feconda, Loudoun-Fairfax Hunt (VA), was Champion, 13 & Over, on Yogi. /  Richard Clay photo

The Junior North American Field Hunter Championship competition that began modestly twelve years ago between a handful of geographically-close Virginia hunts continues to expand in scope. This year’s competition involved juniors from twenty-seven hunts located across six MFHA Districts.

The program is succeeding because it’s purpose rises above just competition. Founders Douglas Wise, MFH, Old Dominion Hounds and Iona Pillion from the Blue Ridge Hunt had a larger dream: bring children to new hunting countries and open their eyes to the fact that these playgrounds don’t just happen to be there for them by chance, but have been nurtured and conserved for the perpetuation of wildlife, open space, and for those who treasure the natural world.

“We want these kids to know what a conservation easement is,” said Marion Chungo, one of the organizers.

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