Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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WSHS2017WoodbrookKentHuntsman Jennifer Hansen and Western States Grand Champion of Show Woodbrook Kent 2014. Judges are huntsman Larry Pitts and Mary Ewing, MFH. /   Nancy Stevens-Brown photo

Honorary huntsman Jennifer Hansen credits the Woodbrook Masters who encouraged her to take hounds on a one-thousand-mile trip (each way!) from Washington State to Southern California to participate in the Western States Hound Show. It was the first time that Woodbrook had shown hounds in many years, and it was the first time Hansen ever showed hounds. And she took home the Grand Champion Foxhound of Show, Woodbrook Kent 2014.

“I was as nervous as I could be,” said Hansen, but  “I was so proud of Kent who held his stern high all day. [Judge] Mr. Pitts said, ‘That hound just can’t stand bad!’”

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Hounds

WSHS2017WoodbrookKentHuntsman Jennifer Hansen and Western States Grand Champion of Show Woodbrook Kent 2014. Judges are huntsman Larry Pitts and Mary Ewing, MFH. /   Nancy Stevens-Brown photo

Honorary huntsman Jennifer Hansen credits the Woodbrook Masters who encouraged her to take hounds on a one-thousand-mile trip (each way!) from Washington State to Southern California to participate in the Western States Hound Show. It was the first time that Woodbrook had shown hounds in many years, and it was the first time Hansen ever showed hounds. And she took home the Grand Champion Foxhound of Show, Woodbrook Kent 2014.

“I was as nervous as I could be,” said Hansen, but  “I was so proud of Kent who held his stern high all day. [Judge] Mr. Pitts said, ‘That hound just can’t stand bad!’”

Western States was hosted this year by the Tejon Hounds (CA) at the Tejon Ranch Equestrian Center on Saturday, May 20, 2017. Retired huntsman Larry Pitts was senior judge, and Mary Ewing, MFH, Arapahoe Hunt, was apprentice judge.

A Crossbred dog hound, Woodbrook Kent is by Mooreland Eclipse 2009 ex Cornwall Kiera 2008. Kent is mostly Mooreland breeding on the top half and Fox River Valley bloodlines on the bottom half, with an important contribution from Midland.

Kent’s dam Kiera, is by Fox River Valley Keg 2005, a Grand Champion at Virginia in his time, as was his dam Fox River Valley Secretary 1999.

The dam Kiera also goes back in tail female to the highly prepotent Midland Kate 1995. The Midland K-line starting with Kate has produced more Champion foxhounds than Mason Lampton can count!


Hansen says that falling into the huntsman’s position at Woodbrook was one of the great fortunes in her life. Starting out in May, 2014, however, the hunt was seriously in need of hounds. With the help of Andrew Barclay and Tony Leahy, MFH, Hansen arranged a trip to Illinois to obtain some drafts. Barclay and Leahy connected her with Brenda Yost, huntsman at Mill Creek Hunt, and Fred Iozza, MFH and huntsman at Wayne-DuPage Hunt.

“Tami Masters [MFH, Woodbrook] and I flew home from Chicago with six hounds,” Hansen recalls.

“Kent was the only unentered hound we brought home, and he was the youngest hound in our kennel by far. As I headed into my first season as huntsman, only one hound in our pack had any previous experience hunting a drag!

“I consider Kent a gift from Mr. Leahy. He was going to be a great hound in any kennel. I think he is athletic and has enough nose to hunt coyote with the best in any country. Thankfully, he continues to be amused by pleasing me and hunting the drag, and my foxes work hard to keep our hounds entertained with the lines they lay. The first time we took him out on horseback I had to get off my horse and walk with him, and since that day he broke through his shyness and has never slowed down. By the end of his first season he was often out in front and the first hound to find the worry at the end of a line. Now going into his fourth season, Kent is honest, biddable, and his light color makes him easy to see in our heavy country. He’s a wonderful hound in every way, and a favorite of our membership. Everyone knows his name!”

Being Grand Champion of Show, a lot more people will know his name. Other participating hunts at Western States were Grand Canyon Hounds (AZ), Kingsbury Harriers, Los Altos Hounds, (CA), Red Rock Hounds (NV), Santa Fe West Hills Hunt, (CA), Santa Ynez Valley Hounds (CA), and Tejon Hounds.

The Woodbrook Hunt was established in Washington State in 1925 and is the oldest hunt west of the Mississippi. The drag hunt was recognized by the MFHA in 1962 and has recently undergone a changing of the guard,” wrote Tami Masters, MFH in  an earlier article. “Huntsman Jennifer Hansen has brought about much newfound energy and enthusiasm to the clubhouse and to the hunting field.”

Posted June 22, 2017

ceremonies2.croppedArapahoe Joint-Master Mary Ewing introduces Marvin Beeman. /  Douglas Lees photo

A countryman from Virginia, a veterinarian from Colorado, and a businessman from north Florida were honored by an appreciative crowd of well-wishers on the occasion of their induction into the Huntsmen’s Room of the Museum of Hounds and Hunting. Ceremonies were conducted at Morven Park, Leesburg, Virginia on Saturday, May 27, 2017. This was the evening before the Virginia Foxhound Show over the Memorial Day Weekend.

James Lee Atkins, Dr. G. Marvin Beeman, MFH, and C. Martin Wood III, MFH were selected by a committee of their peers for having carried the hunting horn with honor, courage, and distinction in hunting fields across North America in their lifetimes. The three men join a select club of just forty-one pre-eminent huntsmen so honored. The last inductions were made two years ago.

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People

ceremonies2.croppedArapahoe Joint-Master Mary Ewing introduces Marvin Beeman. /  Douglas Lees photo

A countryman from Virginia, a veterinarian from Colorado, and a businessman from north Florida were honored by an appreciative crowd of well-wishers on the occasion of their induction into the Huntsmen’s Room of the Museum of Hounds and Hunting. Ceremonies were conducted at Morven Park, Leesburg, Virginia on Saturday, May 27, 2017. This was the evening before the Virginia Foxhound Show over the Memorial Day Weekend.

tljones.2017Tommy Lee Jones talks about his friend, the late Jim Atkins, / Douglas Lees photo

James Lee Atkins, Dr. G. Marvin Beeman, MFH, and C. Martin Wood III, MFH were selected by a committee of their peers for having carried the hunting horn with honor, courage, and distinction in hunting fields across North America in their lifetimes. The three men join a select club of just forty-one pre-eminent huntsmen so honored. The last inductions were made two years ago.

 

 

 

 

ky.croppedMrs. James "KT" Atkins accepts the honor for her husband. / Douglas Lees photoJames Lee Atkins (1941–2013)
Jim Atkin’s career as a professional huntsman spanned the twenty-eight-year period from 1977 to 2005. He hunted hounds for the Old Dominion Hounds, Piedmont Fox Hounds, and the Warrenton Hunt, all in Virginia. His earliest experience hunting with hounds was following his father’s coonhounds at night, as did so many of those country boys who grew up during that period to become natural huntsmen. He proved to be a natural rider as well, breaking young horses, hunting them at Rappahannock, and riding them in the many local shows. Jim often competed against his friend Tommy Lee Jones, longtime professional huntsman for the Casanova Hunt, who was following a similar path.

When Jim Atkins retired from hunting hounds, he was, according to Master of Ceremonies Jake Carle, ex-MFH, the best huntsman in Virginia. In his remarks, Jake also noted Jim’s generosity in helping out young huntsmen with sound advice.

Tommy Lee Jones also spoke about his friend Jim, their horse showing experiences, and praised Jim’s quiet way with hounds. Jim also cared about giving the field a good time. Tommy Lee recalled how Jim would look back during a run to make certain the field was up with hounds and enjoying themselves.

Warrenton’s beloved ex-Master Will Allison took the microphone to recall the Atkins team—Jim and his wife Katharine (KT) Atkins. KT whipped-in to Jim, schooled hunters for the Masters and hunt members. “They were the hardest working couple,” said Allison, “and they made it all so easy for the Masters.” KT still whips-in at Warrenton and schools horses.

marvin beeman.croppedMarvin Beeman: "The hounds are at the hub of the wheel." / Douglas Lees photoDr. G. Marvin Beeman, MFH (b. 1933)
At age eighty-four, there can’t be many huntsmen other than Marvin Beeman who are still actively hunting hounds. Certainly not chasing coyotes across the open plains. His Joint-Master Mary Ewing, in her remarks, attested that Marvin still rides his Thoroughbreds at top speed to keep up with hounds. She reminded her listeners that his is a hunting country where, as far as one can see, there are no coverts and scarcely a tree to be found. And the wind blows unimpeded. On one frigid hunting day recently, she reported that Marvin mused out loud, “I wonder what the scenting will be for hounds at minus twenty degrees today?”

Hunting has been a way of life for Marvin since he began riding at the age of four. At age nine his job was gate-boy, and at the age of ten he donned a scarlet coat and began whipping-in to his father, huntsman of the Arapahoe hounds before him. He served as whipper-in for the next forty-two years, when, in 1986, father and son reversed roles. From that time to now, another thirty-one years, Marvin has hunted the Arapahoe hounds. He’s also served as a Master of the Arapahoe Hunt (CO) for twenty-seven seasons.

The man and his hunt are unique in many ways. How many hunts have relied on just two huntsmen for more than three-quarters of a century? Nor can any other hunt in North America boast both father and son inducted into the Huntsmen’s Room. And it’s not as if Marvin’s hunting accomplishments are his only claim to fame, though his mother may have played the dominant role in the intellectual aspect of his life.

Marvin, who attended a one-room schoolhouse combining children of many grades in that room, was often absent from school, whipping-in to his father. His mother, fed up with the frequent absences, dressed his father down one day. “If you want your son to grow up a dummy, just keep on doing what you’re doing,” she told him furiously. Fortunately, that didn’t happen.

Marvin went on to college and married Eunie. During one period of his life, Marvin, Eunie, and their two children all whipped-in to his father.

Marvin also graduated veterinary school, started a practice, and became renowned for his understanding of conformation as it relates to equine lameness. He has served as president of the American Association of Equine Practitioners, the Colorado Veterinary Medical Association, and the MFHA. He has been a member of the Colorado State Board of Medical Examiners, served on the USDA Agricultural Equine Advisory Committee, and served two terms on the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture’s Advisory Committee.

In addition to the Huntsmen’s Room at the Museum of Hounds and Hunting, Marvin has been honored by other institutions with inductions into the American Quarter Horse Association Hall of Fame and the Colorado Agricultural Hall of Fame.

wood and reynolds.2017Marty Wood is welcomed to the podium by his Joint-Master, Dr. John Reynolds. Recalling his first foxhunt, Marty said, "It was pouring down rain. Hounds were taking shelter under the coops. But I knew it was something I wanted to do for the rest of my life."  /  Douglas Lees photo

C. Martin Wood III, MFH (b. 1943)
North American foxhunting was influenced enormously as the result of Marty Wood’s appearance on the scene. In 1974, he and his wife Daphne established the Live Oak Hounds, and it’s been a true partnership ever since. Their hunt quickly became a model for hunting establishments in both the physical plant and the methods employed in breeding, training, and exercising foxhounds.

Marty combined his innate gifts—intelligence, competitive drive, and a critical eye for balance and structure—with financial resources in producing a pack of hounds bred to conformation standards that could not only dominate the show ring, but at the same time find and run down their game in the hunting field. In the development of his breeding acumen, he had American Ben Hardaway and Englishman Ronnie Wallace as mentors. Marty learned well, and has forever and freely passed on his knowledge and his hounds’ bloodlines to grateful hunts across the U.S., Canada, and England.

Carle.2017Master of Ceremonies Jake Carle. /  Douglas Lees photoHe has given personal time and treasure to virtually every aspect of our hunting world, from encouraging the participation of juniors in the hunting field to the conservation and preservation of open space. He has supported my own hair-brained schemes from my first notion of Covertside to my current adventure on the web with Foxhunting Life. Marty Wood has always been willing to listen and try something different.

An avid big-game hunter, Marty’s own bloodlines are replete with the genes of adventure. His father, a U.S. Army Lt. Colonel, served with the OSS during World War II, while his mother, twice a Mardis Gras Queen, piloted civil air patrol planes off the coast of Louisiana, searching for German submarines.

With the intensity that Marty brought to the hunting of his pack came, naturally, moments of injury and pain, the occasional lost temper, and even flashes of levity. Introducing Marty during the ceremonies, Joint-Master Dr. John Reynolds recalled an etiquette lessons he learned in Marty’s hunting field on his first or second hunt with the pack. On the occasion, John was fumbling to open a gate for Marty and hounds during a good run. On his feet, crowded by both his horse and the anxious hounds, John was mumbling to get his horse out of the way. Marty, impatient to get through, thought that John was speaking to his hounds. “You can talk to my wife,” Marty roared in the heat of the moment, “but do not speak to my hounds!”

The Live Oak foxhounds hunt the fox, coyote, and bobcat in a sandy, well-drained country. One measure of this great pack is when they score a hat trick and account for one of each species in a single day. It happens! And not all that infrequently, either.

Atkins, Beeman, and Wood, worlds apart in their geography, upbringing, and life history, share one thing in common. Playing the unique hand that life dealt them, each became superb huntsmen. And the benefits of their accomplishments spread beyond the borders of their individual hunting countries, improving and strengthening foxhunting in North America.

Click to see a list of all the huntsmen inducted into the Huntsmen's Room to date.

Posted June 15, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

marty woodkleckcropC. Martin Wood, III, MFH / Nancy Kleck photoFoxhounds weren’t the only newsmakers at the Virginia Foxhound Show. A few people were worth noting as well!

Huntsmen’s Room
Three individuals were introduced for induction into the Huntsmen’s Room of the Museum of Hounds and Hunting in ceremonies on Saturday evening. Before dinner under the tent, Jake Carle, ex-MFH, spoke eloquently, reverently, and at the right times humorously about the three men who have hunted hounds with distinction for many years: C. Martin Wood, III, MFH, Live Oak Hounds (FL), G. Marvin Beeman, MFH, Arapaho Hunt (CO), and the late Jim Atkins who hunted hounds for the Piedmont Fox Hounds, Old Dominion Hounds, and the Warrenton Hunt, all in Virginia.

marvin beeman  jim atkins2
G. Marvin Beeman, MFH                    Huntsman Jim Atkins

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