with Horse and Hound

Gretchen Pelham’s Blog

Ad for hounds foundation with logo and tri color hound

New Website Platform

Thank you for your continued support of Foxhunting Life. As of today (Feb. 3, 2024) we have updated our website to a new platform. As part of this update, we are consolidating our membership options to make things simpler and provide more value to all.

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man galloping on horse with young rider galloping on horse behind

2023 Christmas Keswick Hunt Club Junior Day Hunt

So many things to say about this cracking rider, Shep Turner. He had the honor to hunt in the back pocket of Keswick’s professional huntsman, Paul Wilson. And boy did he keep up! Check out this video by Keswick member, Britta Cruz. Turn up the volume to hear the thunder of hooves!
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white horse braided mane in foreground foxhunters in background


Photo by Gretchen Pelham
Thank you all for your patience this summer while I recovered from surgery. My main motivation for surgery was to get back in the hunt field again, either in the saddle or as a road whip. As I was unable to sit down for almost a year, neither of those options was open to me to continue in the hunt field.
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Me and Norm Photo by Allison Howell

A Sea of Uncertainty

Me and Norm Photo by Allison HowellNorman Fine and myself at the Virgina Hound Show. Photo by Allison Howell.

It’s a question that most of us in the hunt field have to face – Are my riding days over? This is a question that has been forefront of my mind for the past three years. As I have gotten closer to another surgery to add yet another set of metal bars under my skin, I have been trying to come to grips with the idea of never riding again. And that conclusion has felt like an amputation.

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Grand Canyon Rainbow over Beer Can Fixture Photo by Mary Williamsjpg

Rainbow Over The Last Hunt for Grand Canyon Hounds

Grand Canyon Rainbow over Beer Can Fixture Photo by Mary WilliamsjpgRainbow over the Beer Can Fixture of Grand Canyon Hounds on the morning of their last hunt. Photo by Mary Williams.

The Grand Canyon Hounds of Flagstaff, Arizona had their last Closing Meet this March. Paul Delaney has been the Master of this hunt since its beginning in the early 2000s.  It has been one of the few "Western Hunts" and was the only recognized hunt in Arizona. Peter Wilson was the Professional Huntsman. Mary Williams, the Honorary Secretary, took this poignant photo of a rainbow seemingly ending at the water tower affectionately nicknamed "Beer Can".

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Eleanor Hartwell Professional Huntsman for Bridlespur Hunt watercolor in tribute to the late Jean Derrickjpg

The Southern Belle of North American Hunting, Mrs. Jean P. Derrick

xEleanor Hartwell Professional Huntsman for Bridlespur Hunt watercolor in tribute to the late Jean DerrickjpgEleanor Hartwell, Professional Huntsman for Bridlespur Hunt, tribute to the late Jean Derrick. Artwork done in pen and ink with Copic markers.

Jean Derrick, the long-time member of Belle Meade Hunt in Georgia and former Master of Foxhounds for two South Carolina foxhunts, Whisky Road and Edisto, passed away on January 11, 2023, from injuries sustained from a fall in the hunt field.

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TVH 092k

Top Twenty Foxhunting Hacks

 TVH 092kPhoto by Gretchen Pelham.

Everyone has their tricks and quirks to prepare for the day’s hunt. I have learned several tricks or hacks over the years that prevent problems or make things easier. Below are twenty tips that might also be helpful to you.

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Big Sky 5

Ware – Rattlers?

Big Sky 5Big Sky Hounds Montana Hunt Country, Photo by Gretchen Pelham

There are many commonly used phrases to warn fellow foxhunters of perils when riding outside of the arena. Such as “Ware wire!” and “Ware hole!”. Out West, there has been a worrisome increase in rattlesnake numbers during this Autumn Hunting season. The Big Sky Hounds just announced they must cancel their next hunt and will move some of their future fixtures due to increased rattlesnake activity. They had a horse and hound get bitten just this weekend. Also, a Big Sky Hounds member was recently bitten by the most venomous rattlesnake in the world, with a one-in-a-million adverse reaction. 

Some research on bites from rattlesnakes with the Center for Disease Control found estimates that between 7,000-8,000 people are bitten by venomous snakes in the United States each year, with about five or 0.07% of those people dying. Horse mortality rates from snake bites are approximately 9%, mainly with small foals or unhealthy, elderly horses. Most horses get bitten on the nose due to their curiosity. This presents the complication of nasal passage swelling to a point that prevents breathing. The mortality rate for canines bitten by snakes is about 5%. There is a preventive vaccine and an anti-venom for canines. However, both options are so expensive that they are not practical for a whole kennel of hounds. 

Fair Warning – the two stories below will have two photos of rattlesnakes.

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riding boots by door

My Dream Job

I have respected Norman Fine for so many years, and when he offered me Foxhunting Life, I jumped at the chance.  I started my foxhunting career late in life, about 20 years ago.  I discovered that I loved the thrill of the chase, the challenge of the ride, the history of the sport, and the communion with the outdoors.  Most especially, I love to travel to other hunts. And I love to write and photograph those trips.  I’ve been taking at least one cross country trip a year to foxhunt. 

riding boots by door

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