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 Epping Hunt

Here are selections from The Epping Hunt, Thomas Hood’s humorous 1829 epic poem about shopkeeper John Huggins, who goes hunting one day astride a horse that he shares with his neighbor, Fig.

epping fox hunt by cruikshankGeorge Cruikshank was the illustrator for Thomas Hood's epic poem.

A stolid man of business was John Huggins...
Six days a week beheld him stand,
His business next his heart,
At counter with his apron tied
About his counter-part.

With a sporting core...
For all the live-long day before,
And all the night in bed,
Like Beckford, he had nourish’d “Thoughts
On Hunting” in his head.

The Horse of Your Heart

William Henry Ogilvie was born in Scotland, but spent the decade of his twenties in Australia, a country that captivated him. He had a deep love of horses and traveled down under breaking horses and droving at the cattle stations. He explored the outback widely, camping as he went, and much of his poetry was written in and about Australia. Upon returning to England Ogilvie settled into a countryman’s life of riding, foxhunting, and writing.

william henry ogilvie.john kinmont moir.1937William Henry Ogilvie / John Kinmont Moir portrait, 1937When you've ridden a four-year-old half of the day
And, foam to the fetlock, they lead him away,
With a sigh of contentment you watch him depart
While you tighten the girths on the horse of your heart.

There is something between you that both understand
As it thrills an old message from bit-bar to hand.
As he changes his feet in that plunge of desire
To the thud of his hoofs all your courage takes fire.

The Purebred and The Mutt

With permission, here is the first chapter of The Great Hound Match of 1905 by Martha Wolfe (Lyons Press). The Library of Virginia has selected Martha’s work as a potential Best Book of 2016 in the Non-Fiction category. Readers may cast their votes by clicking here.

higginson and cotesworth with houndsA. Henry Higginson, MFH, Middlesex Hunt, in derby and spats with huntsman Robert Cotesworth and his imported English foxhounds of the period. / Courtesy, National Sporting Library and Museum

Storytellers claim that there is really only one story in the world: “A Stranger Comes to Town.” In this case, two strangers came to two towns in Virginia bringing with them their separate entourages—private train loads of friends and their horses, trunks of tack, boots, formal and informal clothing, food and wine, servants and of course their hound dogs. Neither Middleburg nor Upperville, Virginia, had seen the likes since J. E. B. Stuart established his headquarters at the Beverage House (now the Red Fox Inn) in Middleburg during the Gettysburg Campaign. Alexander Henry Higginson of South Lincoln and Harry Worcester Smith of Grafton, Massachusetts had determined that the Loudoun Valley in Virginia’s pastoral Piedmont was the best place to prove the relative worth of their chosen foxhounds.

Taking a Toss

Another short story from the author’s Echoes of the Hunting Horn. Every foxhunter with warm blood will relate to the jumble of self-accusations tumbling through the author’s mind after getting tossed.

echoes of the hunting horn.lynch.whitmoreHounds are running hard for the past twenty minutes. Not a semblance of a check. The pace is terrific over a magnificent line of country with big sensible banks. One fairly-wide river, the honest variety, no slime or sponge-like edges; not a trace of wire anywhere. Horse never put a foot wrong since the Gone-Away . . . blowing somewhat now, though; last big wall took some negotiating. It seems to have thinned the already select field to a mere dozen. Thank Heaven for the down-hill gallop after that last stiff hill; horse's wind feels easier now. Out on the left, riders are heading for a gate. It seems a long way off, and this wall does not seem such a terrifying rasper. Come on, old Challenger, the wall will save time. Steady now, not so fast. Slower still, slower I say, Hup! Over! God bless us, oblivion.