Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Fox Hounds

Performance Trial Championships a Huge Success at Midland

ashley hubbardKgp photoTrial Huntsman Ashley Hubbard  /  Kgp PhotographyTwo days of hard hunting on November 6 and 7, 2018 behind a pack of fifty-four foxhounds—each of which qualified for this championship event by placing among the top ten of one or more of the performance trials over the past year—concluded the MFHA Hark Forward! Performance Trial Season. The season of performance trials, field hunter trials, and joint meets which began last year were conceived by MFHA president Tony Leahy and Master Epp Wilson, Belle Meade Hunt (GA), to reprise, during Leahy’s tenure as president, the spirit of the MFHA Centennial celebrations ten years earlier.

The Performance Trial Championship event was matured, expanded, organized, and staged to perfection by the Masters of the Midland Fox Hounds (GA) in their Fitzpatrick, Alabama hunting country. More than two hundred people representing more than forty hunts participated. Foxhounds from twenty-four hunts competed. Ashley Hubbard, professional huntsman at the Green Spring Valley Hounds (MD), served as trial huntsman for this all-star pack.

Southern Hound Show 2019

LOHABLEHuntsman Spencer Allen shows Grand Champion Foxhound of Show, Live Oak Able 2016. Mr. and Mrs. Michael Ledyard present trophy to  Masters Daphne Wood and C. Martin Wood III.  /  Wendy Butler photo

Mr. C. Martin Wood III, MFH, Live Oak Hounds (FL) has been line breeding his pack as he was taught by his late mentors, Captain Ronnie Wallace, MFH, and before that, Ben Hardaway, MFH. He absorbed the wisdom of both superb breeders, and, of course, brought some of his own wisdom to the kennels as well.

We often hear the familiar and simplistic saw, ‘breed the best to the best, and hope for the best.’ That may work for some when first starting a pack, but there is another vital step that follows. Which of those ‘best’ are passing on their good traits, and which aren’t? The long-running male and female breeding lines in the successful packs are those lines started by superior hounds, the progeny of which continue to pass on their excellent genes generation after generation. Not all the ‘best’ hounds—or even racehorses—do.

Harvard Goneaway Is Grand Champion at Central States

central states 19.angela fainStanding with Grand Champion Harvard Goneaway 2018 are (l-r): J. Nick Badgerow, Steward and Show Chair; Judge Graham Buston, huntsman, Blue Ridge Hunt; and Harvard Fox Hounds member Angela Heinz. / Angela Fain photoThe Central States hound Show was held on May 4, 2019 in Stilwell, Kansas, hosted by the Leavenworth Hunt. Hounds from six hunts were shown: Brazos Valley Hounds (TX), Bridlespur Hunt (MO), Fort Leavenworth Hunt (KS), Harvard Fox Hounds (OK), Mission Valley Hunt (KS), and North Hills Hunt (NE). Hounds were judged by Graham Buston, huntsman, Blue Ridge Hunt (VA).

Brazos Valley was the high scoring hunt for the day and was gunning for its third consecutive Grand Championship at Central States, but it was not to be. Grand Champion of Show was Harvard Goneaway 2018, drafted unentered by Hillsboro Hounds (TN) to Harvard and entered last season. Goneaway’s male line is highly prepotent, as we will see, and Goneaway’s story serves as a fine example of how the system is supposed to work: top breeding kennels generously drafting well-bred hounds to bolster other packs around the country.

Bedford County Detroit Is Grand Champion at Carolinas

carolinas19Grand Champion of Show, Bedford County Detroit 2017 with handler Laura Pitts.The 2019 Carolinas Hound Show was hosted by the Moore County Hounds on May 11th at Lyell’s Meadow in the Walthour Moss Foundation, a paradise for horsemen and naturalists in the sand hills of Southern Pines, NC. The Foundation was formed in 1974 by Pappy and Ginny Moss, MFHs of the Moore County Hounds (NC), as a charitable trust of 1,700 acres preserved in perpetuity. With additional gifts through the succeeding years from Ginny Moss and others, the Foundation now totals more than 4,000 acres and represents Moore County’s principal hunting country.

Hounds competed in three rings, Crossbred in Ring 1, Penn-Marydel in Ring 2, and English, American, and Foot packs in Ring 3. That one ring is dedicated entirely to Penn-Marydel hounds, and English and American foxhounds are combined in one ring with foot hounds, strikes this reporter as a noteworthy indication of the growing affinity for Penn-Marydel foxhounds amongst North American hunts well outside of the breed’s native region of Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware. Concomitantly, the consequence must be a reduction in the numbers of Pure English and American types now being hunted in these southern Atlantic states.