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!

Our First Foxhunt Over the Irish Banks

Here’s a second condensed installment from We Go Foxhunting Abroad: A First Venture with the Irish Banks and English Downs, Charles D. Lanier’s 1924 account of a father-daughter sporting trip to Ireland and England.

banks and ditches

We put on our hunting things Saturday morning and climbed into the flivver for our first hunt with the United.

B had taken care to remove from her coat the orange collar of our home hunt colors, and I wore the regulation “visiting” dress of American custom—dark Oxford grey coat, cream colored Bedford cord britches, plain black jack boots and hunting bowler. I have never become an authority on the niceties of hunting etiquette and was simply aware one could not go amiss in these unpretentious togs.

Our flivver soon began to overtake people bound for the meet, gentlemen and ladies jogging along on short-tailed beasts with enormous quarters and hocks, grooms leading horses with their riderless saddles carefully protected by slip covers from the showers, which appear in South Ireland without a moment’s notice or a discernable cloud; showers that pass away, generally, as quickly as they come, with no one paying the slightest attention.

A Fox in the Family

Take two gray fox cubs that need a home and one family of tender-hearted animal lovers. Put them together, and you’ve got a charming menagerie that includes horses, dogs, a grumpy cat, turtles, two little boys, frogs, mice and birds.

jane king2A Fox in the Family, Jane King, Xlibris LLC, illustrated, 96 pages, $22.49 (hardcover), $14.40 (softcover), available at Amazon and Barnes and NobleA Fox in the Family is Jane King’s reminiscences about life with a smart, funny, wild animal with loads of personality. Jane and her husband Jim were known for rescuing and rehabbing animals on their farm in Indiana. So when a neighbor salvaging an old barn discovered a family of foxes under the dilapidated structure, he knew whom to call.

The Kings went home with two cubs, promptly named Frisky and Friendly by their young sons. Unfortunately, Friendly did not make it, succumbing to a mysterious malady, but Frisky went on to become a member of the family, accepted by everyone except the cat. Frisky and his best friend, the terrier, Bandit, managed to get into all kinds of trouble, including breaking their legs at the same time in a dust-up with the horses. Their favorite playtime activity was a rousing game of snatch-the-tennis-ball, and they spent hours playing before collapsing together on the sofa to nap.Their other favorite sleeping place was under the covers with the boys.

Strike Hound

strike hound.kleckNancy Kleck photo The fox crossed here, a car follower
Points as the foxhound pack roils roadside,
Takes the scent up onto the asphalt,
Loses the line, circles back to churn again
While one tri-color, by herself, crosses over,
Scrambles up the stone wall, squeezes
Through the boards on top, runs nose-down
Serpentines until she finds, gives tongue
On the fox’s line. The pack comes to her,
Oh yes, hot fox, they bay, go screaming off as one.
That’s the bitch I want to be.

Wendell Hawken earned her MFA in Poetry at Warren Wilson College in Swannannoa, NC. Collections of her poems include, The Luck of Being, published by The Backwaters Press, Omaha, in 2008 and The Spinal Sequence by Finishing Line Press, Georgetown, Kentucky in 2013. Individual poems have appeared in literary magazines including Narrative, Shenandoah, Southern Poetry Review, and Poet Lore.

The Thrill of "Tally-Ho!"

The works of Irish sporting journalist Stanislaus Lynch were published in and around the middle of twentieth century. Earlier this month Foxhunting Life re-published a short story from his book, Echoes of the Hunting Horn. We heard from so many readers who enjoyed it, we decided to re-publish another.

One reader in the UK wrote, “I enjoyed it so much I bought the book from a second hand book shop, and it's lovely!” Another reader forwarded it to a friend in Ireland who actually remembers hunting with Lynch on a day he had a frightening fall. We’ve included her account at the end of this story.

image.olive whitmore"A wave of dappled fury" / Illustration by Olive Whitmore

There are some delightful occasions in outdoor life when immediate happenings are so engrossingly interesting that any misbehaviour of the elements is completely overlooked, and one forgets one is being slowly, but surely, soaked to the skin. A coat-collar may be turned up, the action being more mechanical than protective. The shelter of a high hedge may even be sought, but high hedges seldom exist on a bleak mountain-side, as the mountain wind rarely allows tall whitethorns to add syncopation to the weird monotony of its rhythm. One can only stay still, forget the down-pour, and watch hounds.