The Bridlespur Hunt was founded in 1927 with the inspiration, support, and assistance of the late much-loved gentleman and sportsman, Mr. August A. Busch, Sr., with an original draft of hounds from the well-known Joseph B. Thomas-Percy Rockefeller pack at Overhills, North Carolina. The pack consisted entirely of American hounds, or, as better known, Virginia hounds. The hunt was recognized by the MFHA in 1929.
By careful breeding, observation, and culling of the less desirable, the two early guiding spirits of the hunt, Mr. August A. Busch, Jr. and Mr. Adalbert von Gontard, Sr., developed a pack with most excellent nose and voice. They began to hunt the area of west St. Louis County, with kennels on Squires Lane in Huntleigh. The Bridlespur hounds have gone out twice a week since that time, even during the war years of 1941 to 1946, when a great many hunts in this country were forced to cease activities.
After the development of west St. Louis County began making it impossible to foxhunt, under the leadership of Andrew J. Shinkle, MFH and James B. Orthwein, MFH new kennels, clubhouse, and skeet shooting range were completed in St. Charles County, and the country west of Weldon Springs, which includes the vast Busch Wildlife Area, was opened and paneled.
Through the years English foxhound bloodlines have been bred into the pack, developing an excellent Crossbred pack. Many hunts throughout the country have found it necessary to cross their American hounds with English hounds to obtain more control. This has become more important as the rural areas have developed and highways have appeared. The English hound is more acceptance of discipline and control, and crossbreeding has helped in this area without sacrificing the voice and drive of the American hound.
The Bridlespur Hunt is involved in many endeavors throughout the year other than actual foxhunting. We make our facility available to many organizations to further the proliferation and enjoyment of horse-related activities in the St. Louis area. In addition to our annual Bridlespur Charity Horse Show, we hold schooling shows, hunter paces, and hunter trials, all of which are open to the public.
Our membership consists of a cross section of businessmen and women, professional persons, housewives, students, etc., all bound together by their love of riding to hounds or simply their interest in belonging to a group who loves the outdoors and takes pleasure in horse-related activities.
MFHA President Tony Leahy and the Fox River Valley/Massbach Hounds hosted the kick-off Performance Trial on the Hark Forward Tour in their western Illinois hunting country on September 16 and 17, 2017.
By the time it was over, everyone took home a renewed appreciation for the hard work and knowhow it takes to make and maintain a good hunting pack of foxhounds. Certainly the fact that littermates brought up by different hunts and trained by different staffs, rose like cream to the top of the scoring is convincing proof that breeding matters! Next stop on the tour is Millbrook, New York.
This year, 2017, marks the ninetieth season for the Bridlespur Hunt Club (MO). The Club has survived two World Wars, loss of land, uprooting of hounds and clubhouse, and hopefully will endure for another ninety years at least. Over the years, the Hunt has been honored by the patronship and Mastership of wonderfully dedicated individuals.
Bridlespur was founded in 1927 with the support and assistance of the late Mr. August A. Busch, Sr., president of Anheuser-Busch and brewer of what is still the most popular beer in the U.S. Mr. Busch obtained his original draft of hounds from the well-known Joseph B. Thomas1-Percy Rockefeller pack at Overhills, North Carolina. The pack consisted entirely of American hounds or, as better known, Virginia Hounds. By careful breeding and observation the two guiding spirits of the hunt, Mr. August A. Busch, Jr.2 and Mr. Adelbert von Gontard, Sr., developed a pack with most excellent nose and voice. Today, the pack consists mainly of Crossbred hounds.
Bull Run’s Spree was the top scoring foxhound in the Belle Meade Hunt Foxhound Performance Trials held in Thomson, Georgia on January 20 and 21, 2017. Of thirty-six hounds competing, Spree won three of the four scoring categories: Hunting, Trailing, and Endurance. In the Full Cry category, he was second.* His combined score led the field in points.
Six foxhounds from each of six hunts competed—Belle Meade Hunt (GA), Bridlespur Hunt (MO), Bull Run Hunt (VA), Farmington Hunt (VA), Fox River Valley Hunt (IL), and Mill Creek Hunt (IL). The three top scoring hunts, based on the combined scores of their hounds from first to third, were: Bull Run, Fox River Valley, and Belle Meade.
Trial Huntsman Sam Clifton was called upon during the award ceremonies to announce his choice—the hound he’d most like to take back to his own kennels. Huntsman’s Choice is an honorary award and receives no official prize, but, as in past trials, Sam’s reasoning for his personal choice was worth hearing.
The Fort Leavenworth Hunt (KS) put together an Opening Meet Weekend attracting foxhunters from ten states and featuring the hunt’s unique place in our nation’s history. One hundred mounted riders and fifty car-toppers participated in a three-day program that included a historic ride on the 5,600-acre post, Opening Meet, Military Hunt Ball, wreath laying ceremony at the Buffalo Soldiers monument, and guided tours. The events were led by both military and civilian personnel, as appropriate.
Attending guests included current Masters from Bijou Springs Hunt (CO), Bridlespur Hunt (MO), North Hills Hunt (NE) as well as members from other hunts hailing from Alabama, California, Colorado, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa, South Carolina, and Virginia.
Built in 1827, Fort Leavenworth is the oldest active United States Army post west of Washington, D.C. The fort is also the oldest permanent settlement in Kansas. Historically, Fort Leavenworth has been known as the Army’s intellectual center. During the country's westward expansion, Fort Leavenworth was a forward destination for thousands of soldiers, surveyors, immigrants, American Indians, preachers and settlers who passed through. The fort was the eastern terminus of the Santa Fe and Oregon Trails, and the weekend events were aimed at exposing visitors to much of the post's history.
Last year was the boys’ year. This year the Crossbred female, Fort Leavenworth Vixen 2013, evened the score with her littermate Valor by winning the Grand Championship at the Central States Hound Show.
Vixen is a speckled, mostly white tricolor by Brazos Valley Baxter ‘08 out of Fort Leavenworth Piper ‘07. American and Crossbred bloodlines are predominantly from Fort Leavenworth Hunt (KS), Brazos Valley Hounds (TX), and the Piedmont Fox Hounds (VA). The most recent contribution of pure English blood to this lovely Crossbred was from the Arapahoe Hunt kennels (CO), three generations back.
Stephanie Wilcox Carter, MFH and huntsman of the Fort Leavenworth pack describes Vixen as conformationally correct, happy, and unflappable.