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Norm Fine’s Blog

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norm.kleck

Hunt Attire: No Single Truth

norm.kleckThe author in informal cubhunting attire / Nancy Kleck photoTraditional foxhunting attire is important to me, but I’m not a fanatic.

Why is it important? Respect...for three hundred years of sport, art, literature, and the men and women who had the passion, energy, and intellect to formulate and leave us one of the most exhilarating activities known to man. For these reasons it pains me to see the concepts of appropriate attire ignored in many hunting fields today.

There is good reason to dress modestly and uniformly. Foxhunting is about the hounds and the quarry; it’s not a stage for man or horse. Its dress code can be described as stratified uniformity—stratified between staff, Master, and field so we can quickly identify who’s who in the heat of battle, and uniformity so that we all maintain our modest place in the overall scheme of the sport.

Why, on the other hand, am I not fanatical about correct hunting attire? Because there is no single truth.

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Norm Fine & Mara

A Message to Subscribers & Friends

The publication of Foxhunting Life’s e-magazine FHL WEEK―both electronic and PDF versions―will be paused for this month of August while operations are transferred from Publishe/Editor Norm Fine to Gretchen Pelham, who will take over and carry on! Douglas Lees photo   Gretchen is a foxhunter, former MFH, columnist, and photographer  already known to many of you around the country. Norm reached retirement age decades ago with nary a murmur from him in recognotion of that obvious fact. The time has come to pass the baton. During this August changeover period, our website will remain open. All content will still be available to subscribers, including all previously-published articles (well over 1,000). These are found, as always, on the Home Page, listed by category, and accessed via the drop-down menu running across the Home Page under the slide show banner. Log in and point your cursor to the “Horse and Hound” menu tab. Click Full Article List or browse by category! There is also a search function that may be useful for you! Other subscriber benefits are available via the drop-down menus as well. From Norm: “Thanks for riding along with me all these years. And I might even have something left to say to you every so often, if Gretchen will let me.” From Gretchen: “I am honored to continue the Foxhunting Life magazine that Norman Fine created. I will do my best to continue the high standard of excellence that Norm has set.  I’m excited to get started!”  
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houndtrial21.winning hounds.maisano

A Storybook Pack

Each hound in this pack is a top-ten qualifier from one of nine qualifying foxhound performance trials held across North America this season.

houndtrial21.winning hounds.maisanoTrial Huntsman Epp Wilson and his guide, huntsman Graham Buston, in the Blue Ridge country  /  Joanne Maisano photo

This Blog is to celebrate an exclusive pack of foxhounds that will hunt the fox at the J. Robert Gordon Field Trial Grounds in Hoffman, North Carolina, from March 25−27, 2022. The hound that earns the top score in this trial will be named the 2022 National Champion Performance Trial Foxhound.

Each hound in this unique pack earned its place by qualifying in one or more two-day performance trials held over this season from coast to coast. To qualify for this, the National Championship Performance Trial, each hound here compiled a score during its qualifying trial that placed it among the top-ten scoring hounds in that trial.

Why should that matter to hunt officers, Masters, huntsmen, hound breeders, and field members?

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wheeler.deep run

Set the Hook: Nurture New Field Members

This blog is a companion piece to Epp Wilson’s article, Our Hounds Were on Fire.” Masters and huntsmen should educate their field members. Epp communicates to his members via periodic email blasts.

 wheeler.deep runOil painting, "Catch," by Larry Wheeler was inspired by a scene at the Deep Run Hunt (VA) with huntsman John Harrison and hounds.

There's a whole new generation of enthusiastic foxhunters in hunting fields across North America today. And I’m betting that most of them are in the hunt-to-ride category. At least at first. I know I was.

If they are inquisitive, however, they will soon discover there is even more to this sport than the excitement of riding a horse, keeping with hounds, jumping obstacles, and arriving at the finish with their equine partner safe and breathless. Not that that, in itself, isn’t enough! But really, the more they learn along the way, the better it gets.

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Welsh National Resource Land

Drag Hunting Banned on Welsh Natural Resources Land

Welsh National Resource LandOgof Ffynnon Ddu National Nature Reserve, a huge expanse of moorland in the Brecon Beacons National Park.

According to the BBC, Natural Resources Wales has decided not to renew its agreement with the British MFHA which had previously allowed drag hunting on its lands. The decision is said to be strongly influenced by the recent conviction of an influential foxhunter in England who instructed hunts how to use the appearance of draghunting as a cover for contravening the Hunting Act of 2004.

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nmf.crop.kleck

UK Foxhunter Convicted; National Trust Members Vote “No” to Trail Hunting

nmf.crop.kleckNancy Kleck photo

A total of 76,816 votes were cast by members of Britain’s National Trust in a referendum on whether or not to ban trail hunting (also known as drag or scent hunting) on National Trust lands. The vote was 38,184 to ban and 18,047 to allow, a bitter defeat for British foxhunters.

Although the vote is non-binding, the board of trustees is expected to consider the outcome after their imminent annual meeting. The League Against Cruel Sports (LACS) had been actively driving the vote to ban with demonstrations against trail hunting. LACS is obviously pleased with the outcome.

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austrlian fox

Fox Bounty Levied in South Australia

austrlian fox

More than 20,000 foxes are expected to be killed in South Australia as the result of new legislation creating a bounty on foxes. The intention is to reduce predation on livestock and poultry.

Deemed necessary, this unfortunate legislation reminds us yet again of the unintended consequences when humans blithely introduce non-indigenous animals, insects, and even plants into a balanced ecosystem.

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south tyrone foxhounds at minterburn.mullins

Anti-Hunting Activists Target Northern Ireland

south tyrone foxhounds at minterburn.mullinsSouth Tyrone foxhounds of Northern Ireland at Minterburn  /   Noel Mullins photo

The League Against Cruel Sports has Northern Ireland in its cross-hairs. As we mentioned in a recent News piece, England's Hunting Act of 2004 does not apply in Northern Ireland. Now, the LCAS wants to change that.

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James Wofford on Carawich1978.Gamecock

What Foxhunters Can Learn from Eventers

There’s something about horses that makes smart people stupid.”  -James Wofford

Our main story in this edition tells in part how foxhunting played a role in helping a teenager become one of the leading young endurance riders in the country. Conversely, we have seen how other equestrian disciplines can help foxhunters get more enjoyment out of hunting by becoming better riders. What follows is extracted from an article we published ten years ago in which Olympian and Coach James Wofford addressed “What Foxhunters Can Learn from Eventers.”

James Wofford on Carawich1978.GamecockJames Wofford on Carawich,1978 / Gamecock photo

For most of us field members, one of the greatest single factors influencing the joy we experience during a day’s hunting is closely associated with our riding ability. The more competently we are able to cross the country on our horse, the closer we come to a totally fulfilling experience.

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The Quorn by John Fernely.Yale Center for British Art

What Were They Thinking?

The Quorn by John Fernely.Yale Center for British ArtThe Quorn by John Ferneley, Yale Center for British Art 

Quorn huntsman John Finnegan and his whipper-in at the time, Rhys Matcham, have been accused of hunting wild mammals with dogs in contravention of England’s Hunting Act of 2004. The incident is alleged to have occurred on February 24, 2020.

Finnegan and Matcham denied the charges and entered not guilty pleas in March 2021. A district judge ordered both men to stand trial at Loughborough Magistrates’ Court on August 24, 2021. So far, the story matches that of so many other British hunts since the passage of the hated Hunting Act.

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