Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Here you will find reviews of, selections from, and commentaries concerning books, many of which don't even appear on Amazon's radar. But what goldmines for the literate foxhunter!

The Meadow Brook Hunt Was More About People Than Hounds

Book Review by Martha A. Woodham

foxhunting with meadow brook.tablerFoxhunting with Meadow Brook, Judith Tabler, The Derrydale Press, 2016, 312 pages, available from Amazon.“Foxhunting with Meadow Brook on Long Island, New York, was always about more than the fox, the hounds, or the horses. Meadow Brook was about its people—some powerful, some idle, many wealthy—and their shared joy in galloping across beautiful country, only minutes outside New York City.”

This quote from the dust jacket blurb on Judith Tabler’s Foxhunting with Meadow Brook sums up her book well—except for one thing. Foxhunting with Meadow Brook Hunt Club in the early days was also about the jumping—the bigger the jumps, the better.  Many members—high-powered businessmen from New York—were highly competitive, and every meet was a contest that, sadly, did not always end well. Over the decades Meadow Brook lost at least four members to dangerous riding.

Cubhunting Starts

cubhunting starts lionel edwardsIllustration by Lionel Edwards

The trees and the hedges both touched with a glory,
   The bracken all turning to gold,
And grass in the mornings bejewelled and hoary,
   Are sights that are good to behold.

September is with us, and soon we’ll be hearing,
   As mists roll away from the dawn,
A note that is bandied from covert to clearing,
   The magical note of the horn.

And woods that have slumbered in peace and in quiet,
   The whole of the long summer through,
Will suddenly waken to clamour and riot,
   Now cubbing is starting anew.

Posted August 19, 2016

From Somewhere in England by Captain Edric G. Roberts, illustrated by Lionel Edwards

Foxhunting In the Streets of Mayfair, And Other International Issues

Book Review by Martha A. Woodham

fox.gardnerFox, Anthony Gardner, Ardleevan Press, 2016, 313 pages. Available through Amazon.Set in a dystopian future, Fox by Anthony Gardner is a bizarrely imaginative look at the topical but unrelated themes of high tech government intrusion, politicians running amok, pandemic disease, and I don’t know what else. Oh, yes, foxhunting, too, but I think it all means England had better lift the ban on foxhunting before things really get out of hand.

Gardner, an Irish author and journalist based in London, takes the reader on a cheeky romp through the English countryside as good guys and bad guys chase each other in search of…well, a lot of things.

A deadly disease, fox flu, is ravaging Europe and must be prevented from reaching Great Britain. Foxhunters like Frank Smith have been enlisted to kill all foxes, including those who have made English cities home. Frank, MFH and huntsman of the new Hyde Park Hunt, spends his early morning hours galloping after hounds down dark London streets in a new urban version of foxhunting.

Foxhunter/Lawyer/Archaeologist Channels Ogden Nash

norfolk hunt at noel morss estate.needhamA Norfolk Hunt meet at the Noel Morss estate, Needham, Massachusetts, circa mid-twentieth century

The roster of members who in 1898 organized the Norfolk Hunt (MA) near Boston, and rode as members through the early years of the twentieth century, boasts well-known family names synonymous with American commerce, finance, and government. One member, active through the middle of the twentieth century, perhaps lesser known but every bit as interesting, was Noel Morss. (His grandfather founded the Simplex Wire and Cable Company.)

Morss served as treasurer then president of the Norfolk Hunt from 1951 to 1964. He’d graduated from Harvard Law School, practiced law in Boston, and was also highly regarded as an amateur anthropologist and archaeologist. His discoveries made while leading Peabody Museum archaeological expeditions to Arizona and Utah and his scholarship that followed were of such caliber that he was appointed to a committee chairmanship at both Harvard and the Peabody.

Less recognized perhaps was his remarkable talent for writing humorous and whimsical verse. Here’s one that should resonate with anyone who’s ever taken riding lessons. Without attribution, one would readily assume it to be from the pen of Ogden Nash.