The Wentworth Hunt opened its formal foxhunting season on Saturday, September 30, 2017 at Yorkfield Farm in Kensington, New Hampshire. The Blessing of the Hounds was led by Wentworth Hunt member and Pastor David Maguire. Bagpipe music was provided by Stacy Howe. The light drizzle and forty-seven degree temperatures deterred neither the twenty-six riders, horses, hounds, spectators, and supporters nor our “fox,” Michelle Myrdek, who laid the drag.
Huntsman Rachel Duffy hacked down and across the road and sent hounds into a fully mature cornfield, while the field skirted northeast around the perimeter. Our strike hound, De La Brooke Vernon ’13, found early then lost. Hounds worked quickly through the tall, wet corn, and we soon heard Vernon open again, honored by Moore County Zombie ’13 and soon others. Hounds burst out of the corn, hunted through a thin covert, and into a large hayfield where the field was treated to a spectacular view of the pack working in the tall grass. The hounds soon accounted for their “fox” near an old cemetery and were praised.
Tryon Hounds recently announced the hiring of Beth Blackwell as their new professional huntsman. Blackwell moves to North Carolina over these first few days of September to take over the management and hunting of Tryon’s pack of American foxhounds. She will also hunt a foot pack of Basset hounds.
Blackwell has been a professional staff member for both mounted and foot packs for the last eighteen years. Before hunting professionally, Blackwell was a professional hunter/jumper rider and trainer. She was most recently serving as professional huntsman for the Penn-Marydel pack at the De La Brooke Foxhounds (MD). That hunt now seeks a new huntsman, according to a source.
Blackwell replaces former huntsman Trey Bennett and takes over the Tryon pack for cubhunting on September 10th as that hunt begins its ninetieth season.
Posted September 5, 2016
As we approach the 2016/2017 season, Foxhunting Life reports on recent huntsmen moves around the hunting countries.
Ivan Dowling has retired from hunting Mr. Stewart’s Cheshire Foxhounds (PA). After ten seasons (and before that as first whipper-in), this comes as a major change at Cheshire because the Irish-born Dowling was a key figure in implementing a bold, highly unusual, and successful hound breeding program there. With Dowling’s departure, Cheshire loses a professional whipper-in as well—Stephanie Boyer—who will wed Dowling in September.
Barry Magner is the new Cheshire huntsman. Irish-born Magner’s professional career includes whipping-in at the United Foxhounds (IRE) and a stint whipping-in in England. In the U.S., Magner whipped-in to the Howard County-Iron Bridge Hounds (MD) for a season and became huntsman there in 2007 upon Allen Forney's retirement. He came to Virginia as huntsman for the Middelburg Hunt where he remained for five years until leaving two years ago for Australia. Back in the U.S., Magner joined the Cheshire as professional whipper-in last season and was named huntsman upon Dowling’s retirement.
Enjoy this foxhunting essay by ten-year-old Libby Nelson. It was awarded second place in the United States Pony Clubs Hildegard Neill Ritchie Foxhunting Writing Contest. Judges were Nancy Ambrosiano, former USPC Foxhunting Committee chair; Mary Pierson, lifelong Pony Club supporter; and yours truly from Foxhunting Life. Libby is a D-2 member of the De La Brooke Pony Club in the Maryland Region and aspires to be a junior whipper-in with the De La Brooke Foxhounds.
I was cantering through the beautiful autumn woods when someone yelled, “Fox!” My horse reared and in lightning speed I was on the ground and thought to myself, “Back to dream horse.” I had grown out of my pony a few months ago and I was looking for a calm, safe foxhunter. I was taking a gorgeous grey out hunting. He was supposed to be a “gem.” Apparently he has a fear of foxes. This guy wasn’t as much of a “gem” in the hunt field.
The next day I found a bold bay and took him hunting. I was all packed and ready to go. It was time to load him on the trailer when his owner called. She said she had forgotten to tell me that he doesn’t load without his friend, Clyde. After two hours of trying to get him to load, I had to accept the fact that I was going to miss the hunt.
Virginia Foxhound Show, Morven Park, May 24, 2015: Okay, says Hillsboro huntsman John Gray, if you don’t like Graphic, I’ll show you Siskin!
On May 9, 2015 at the Carolinas Hound Show, Hillsboro Graphic ’14 was judge Tony Leahy’s pick for Grand Champion of Show. Two weeks later, at the Virginia Foxhound Show, Leahy, judging in the Crossbred ring, chose un-entered Midland Striker over Graphic for the Crossbred Championship.
It proved but a minor setback for Hillsboro. In the final class of the day in the English ring, Judge Charles Frampton chose Hillsboro Siskin ‘14 as the Champion English Foxhound. So when the very last class of the day rolled around—Grand Champion of Show—English Champion Siskin faced off against Crossbred Champion Midland Striker, who had just beaten Siskin’s kennel mate, Carolinas Grand Champion Graphic, for the breed championship.
The other formidable opponents in the ring were un-entered American Champion, Orange County Kermit and Penn-Marydel Champion, De La Brooke Tullamoore ’11. But Hillsboro was not to be denied. Judge J.W.Y. “Duck” Martin crowned Hillsboro Siskin ’14 Grand Champion of Show. Crossbred Champion Midland Striker was Reserve, and Hillsboro leaves town with two Grand Champion foxhounds in the last two hound shows!.