Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Grand-Champion-foxhound-Brazos-Valley-Sandy-Dixon-MFH-John-Tabachka-huntsman-Sewickley-HuntSouthwest Grand Champion of Show Brazos Valley Precious 2016, shown by Sandy Dixon, MFH, is a lucky mistake. Standing is judge John Tabachka, professional huntsman for the Sewickley Hunt (PA). / Tara Tibbetts photo

Brazos Valley Precious 2016, an American foxhound, was crowned Grand Champion of the Southwest Hound Show on April 22, 2017. Precious is closely inbred; her sire and dam were littermates, Brazos Valley Mystic 2010 and Molly 2010, respectively. An unusual breeding practice for sure, and about which I was anxious to talk to breeder Sandy Dixon, MFH of the Brazos Valley Hounds (TX).

Both Mystic and Molly were hound show winners in Virginia, and their sire and dam were hound show winners. The four foxhounds comprising the first two generations from Precious account for eight grand championships at MFHA-sanctioned hound shows! And if you go back just one more generation, who appears in Precious’s pedigree (top and bottom, because her paternal and maternal grandparents are the same) but Potomac Jefferson 2005, the MFHA Centennial Grand Champion Foxhound...the king...the Clarke Gable of the North American foxhound world.

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dr. steven thomas on RomulusDr. Steven Thomas, huntsman, Fort Leavenworth Hunt, on Romulus

His day job is demanding, and he’s never hunted hounds before, but Dr. Steven Thomas has been preparing for his new responsibility as huntsman of the Fort Leavenworth Hunt (KS) since childhood.

“Time management will be the biggest problem I’ll face,” Thomas acknowledged. “We’ll need a lot of volunteers,” he adds. But he has admiration for his fellow hunt members, the foxhounds in kennels, and the distinguished history of the Fort Leavenworth Hunt. He’s definitely looking forward to hunting hounds this season.

Thomas grew up riding Western, and, as a boy, coon hunted with his grandfather who ran his own hounds. He never rode without a pommel in front of him until he hooked up with the late Tommy Jackson, huntsman at the Mission Valley Hunt in Kansas.

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potomac jefferson.wenzelPotomac Jefferson 2005, the toast of North American Foxhounds, winning the Grand Championship at the 2007 Bryn Mawr Hound Show one week after capturing the same honor at Virginia. (L-R): George Hundt; Vicki Crawford, MFH; Larry Pitts, huntsman; Lance Taylor; Jake Carle, judge. /  Karen Kandra Wenzel photo

The fabled American foxhound who, along with his get, cornered the silver market in North America has passed on. Potomac Jefferson 2005 was the MFHA Centennial Grand Champion Foxhound at both the 2007 Virginia Foxhound Show and the Bryn Mawr Hound Show one week later.

That year, 2007, marked the one hundredth anniversary of the founding of the Masters of Foxhounds Association. The entire year was filled with special exhibits, competitions, and events all across the country, attracting large and enthusiastic crowds of foxhunters, horses, and hounds. The classes of all the hound shows were swelled with the best examples of foxhounds that could be mustered, along with their supporters. The year 2007 was a big deal.

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central states14.kid rock12.glencarterGrand Champion Kid Rock 2012 was shown by North Hills huntsman Tyce Mothershead with the help of wife and whipper-in Hillary and daughter Finley. / Glen Carter photo

North Hills Kid Rock 2012 was judged Grand Champion of the Central States Hound Show in Stilwell, Kansas on Saturday, May 3, 2014. The handsome white Crossbred dog hound (North Hills Ira 2011 ex Their Passion 2012) is the product of outstanding bloodlines from Fox River Valley (IL), Iroquois (KY), and Midland (GA).

Brazos Valley Mystic 2010—multi-time Grand Champion foxhound in past years—was Reserve Champion for the second time this year.

Huntsman David Raley from the Moore County Hounds judged entries from the Brazos Valley Hunt (TX), Bridlespur Hunt (MO), Fort Leavenworth Hunt (KS), Mission Valley Hunt (KS), and North Hills Hunt (NE). Foxhounds were judged in two divisions: American and English/Crossbred.

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frv convoyFox River Valley Convoy, unentered Crossbred dog hound shown by Tony Leahy, MFH, is Grand Champion of Show at the Southwest Hound Show. / Sammy Buczkowski photo

Fox River Valley Convoy, an unentered Crossbred dog hound, was judged Grand Champion of Show at the Southwest Hound Show. Brazos Valley Mystic 2010—Grand Champion of Show for the last three years running—made a hard run at an unprecedented fourth consecutive title, but finished as Reserve Champion to Convoy.

The Southwest Hound Show was held on April 19, 2014 at Greenwood Farm in Weatherford, Texas. All hounds are shown in the same ring, and were judged this year by Tony Gammell, professional huntsman for the Keswick Hunt (VA).

“It’s a lovely, small show; you can walk around and see everyone, said Tony Leahy, Master and huntsman of the Fox River Valley Hunt (IL), who looks forward to entering Grand Champion Convoy in the fall. “It was my first visit to Texas, and the people couldn’t have been nicer, more accommodating, or more welcoming.”

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