with Horse and Hound

Betsy Parker


Evelyn “Jeep” Cochran, MBH, Retires

jeepJeep Cochran and her Calf Pasture Bassets

As dedicated, passionate—some might even say fanatical—members of the global sporting community of those who hunt with hounds, we all feel the loss of our treasured activities as the COVID pandemic rages across our countries. During this time of suffering it seems insensitive to mourn the departure of a single individual from our sporting scene, but in this case a large group of people has lost the opportunity to celebrate the career, times, and exemplary hunting life of the retiring Master of the Calf Pasture Bassets, Evelyn "Jeep" Cochran.

What? Is she dead? Emphatically not! But the pandemic has robbed all her friends of the chance to celebrate her life, her hounds, her triumphs too numerous to tally...at hound shows, at field trials, and over the course of a sporting life lived over an impressive span of years.

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david semmes and field1

David Hopkins Semmes, ex-MFH

david semmes and field1Joint-Masters David Semmes and Mildred Riddell move off at the head of the Old Dominion field from a meet at the Honorable and Mrs. Joseph W. Barr's Houyhnhnm Farm near Hume, Virginia / Douglas Lees photo

David Hopkins Semmes—longtime Master of the Old Dominion Hounds (VA), amateur steeplechase rider, and deep-water sailor—died peacefully at his home, Indian Run Farm, near Flint Hill, Virginia, on New Years Day, just four days shy of his eighty-seventh birthday.

Born in Washington, D.C., Semmes graduated from Episcopal High School then served a tour of duty in World War II as an aviation radio crewman. He graduated from Princeton in 1949, and in 1950 served in Army intelligence on the Pusan perimeter during the Korean conflict. He worked as a government service officer in Japan, Taiwan, and Hong Kong before returning to Washington to practice law.

Semmes managed intellectual property for forty-one years, notably patenting the so-called “black box” used on airplanes, and the technology used for protective vests for jockeys.

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Puppy Walkers Gone Wild

Camp2013Hunt2l-r: huntsman Chris Cerrone (hunting horn by Bounty), first whipper-in Annabelle Whitticar,
honorary whippers-in Ainsley Colgan (7) and Sam Homeyer (9), kennelman Jean Simpson with
Old Dominion hound puppies Feagan (front), Febe (behind left), Fever (behind right) on walk
Betsy Parker photo

What better way to introduce summer campers to foxhunting than by bringing a foxhound puppy or two on the trail ride with the other dogs and then writing it up in the form of a formal hunt report? Good for the puppies to be exposed to all the sights and sounds in the woods and good for the campers who have a fun ride and learn about hunting. All it takes is a multi-talented camp director like Betsy Parker. -Ed.

July 24, 2013, 7:30 am meet at Hunter’s Rest (site of the old Old Dominion Hounds kennels), Flint Hill, Virginia.
Air temp 71 degrees at first cast. BP 29.73 and rising. Breeze variable 3-6 mph from the east/northeast. Fine overcast, cool and cloudy.

Staff: Huntsman Chris Cerrone, first whipper-in Annabelle Whitticar, amateur whippers-in Ainsley Colgan and Sam Homeyer, kennelman Jean Simpson

Hunted hounds: two couple. Old Dominion Feagan, Hunters Rest Mel, Nap and Sneak. (Old Dominion Febe and Fever were left in kennels.)

The pack moved off promptly at 7:29 am from kennels, drawing east toward the Jordan River. Whips rode wide to keep young entry on track as the field jogged along the “Aiken Line” and followed Linden Lane and Redbud Lane to first covert.

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Whiskey Road Hunt Week, Aiken, SC

Installment Six

2011_Aiken_Day_Ten_Joseph_Hardiman_and_fieldWhiskey Road huntsman Joseph Hardiman takes hounds, staff and field for a long day's hunting.Betsy and friends escape frozen Virginia for a week of hunting in warmer climes. We bring you Installment Six of her daily blog, exclusive to Foxhunting Life.

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Whiskey Road Hunt Week, Aiken, SC

Installment Five 

2011_Aiken_Day_Eight_David_Smith_Wolf_Von_BlixenWhiskey Road MFH David Smith (left) greets Toronto and North York MFH Wolf von Teichman.Betsy and friends escape frozen Virginia for a week of hunting in warmer climes. We bring you Installment Five of her daily blog, exclusive to Foxhunting Life.

Monday was an open day. Gene and Barbara Hough joined me, Tom, Jackie, and Don for a hack in the Hitchcock Woods. We grabbed lunch at Rio Pablo, an excellent Cuban place downtown. There was a benefit for the Hitchcock Woods Foundation that night at the Wilcox Hotel, one of the town's oldest and most grand buildings.

Tuesday dawned cold and frosty but with that promise of spring in the air. There was a pretty good breeze, though, and I was uncertain of scenting conditions as we headed east towards Bill Scott's Fairview fixture near Lexington.

The Scotts own thousands of acres of managed timberland—pine forests cut for pulpwood and lumber—providing excellent habitat for game of all sizes. Gene Hough told me about hunting at Fairview a few years ago when the hounds held a four hundred-pound boar at bay until the huntsman dispatched it (then famously burned it at a pig roast later!).

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Whiskey Road Hunt Week, Aiken, SC

Fourth Installment

Betsy and friends escape frozen Virginia for a week of hunting in warmer climes. We bring you Installment Four of her daily blog, exclusive to Foxhunting Life.

2011_Aiken_Day_six_Tom_Neel_and_Gene_HoughTom Neel and Gene Hough out with Whiskey RoadRained all night long Friday, and into the morning Saturday. I picked up Tom at one a.m. in Columbia, and I think we arrived home only a few minutes after our little Hunt Ballers. Over breakfast in the morning, it was reported that Don was the belle of the ball (see photo from Installment Three). He danced every dance and was a most charming escort for our three bedecked ladies.

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Whiskey Road Hunt Week, Aiken, SC

Third Installment

Betsy and friends escape frozen Virginia for a week of hunting in warmer climes. We bring you Installment Three of her daily blog, exclusive to Foxhunting Life.2011_Aiken_day_four_hunt_ball_Don_Palus_Jackie_BurkeDon Palus and Jackie Burke are ready for the Ball!

I know we need the rain, but, for gosh sakes ...who ordered El Nina?

Just as the weatherman warned, one hundred percent chance of cold, nasty, persistent rain today. Whiskey Road Master David Smith swore at last night's party—a humdinger of a time at new Folly downtown on Laurens Street (precious classic housewares and nifty interior items)—that the hunt would go on, weather or not. My crew consulted briefly at bedtime last night and agreed to put off a decision until the morning.

We heard the rain pelting the tin roof of our cottage all night, and it was without dissent that we collectively decided to can hunting. I heard from several other Hunt Weekers who bailed, too, and we saw more Hunt Week folks around town when we went in to check out the Aiken village,

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Whiskey Road Hunt Week, Aiken, SC

Betsy and friends escape frozen Virginia for a week of hunting in warmer climes. We bring you her daily blog, exclusive to Foxhunting Life. 

First Installment

2011_Aiken_Day_2Don Palus, Dawn Cline, Maggie Johnston, and Jackie Burke stretch their horses' legs in the Hitchcock Woods in preparation for Hunt Week in Aiken, SC.

It poured rain last night. Woke up several times with rain pelting the tin roof of our cottage, but when I opened the door to see if we were going to float away I couldn't help notice it was weirdly warm. Like sixty degrees warm! Odd.

This morning dawned light and sunny and toasty warm. I stripped down to just my turtleneck layer for the horse trials next door.

At Full Gallop Farm, they hold training horse trials—intermediate level all the way down to beginner novice—attracting hundreds of competitors. Our Hunt Week crew is volunteering for duty to "earn" the right to school/ride/hack over their hundreds of acres of cross country jumps, show jumping fences, and dressage arenas.

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