Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Maryland Foxhound Club 40th Annual Puppy Show

mfc.americanChampion American Foxhound: Orange County Kermit with huntsman Reg Spreadborough / Karen Kandra Wenzel photoFor forty consecutive years, foxhunters from the Mid-Atlantic have gathered on the day following the Kentucky Derby to give their unentered hounds an opportunity to learn what this “hound show thing” is all about. As a prelude to the major shows—Virginia and Bryn Mawr—later in the spring, this show is a bit lower key, but still a serious undertaking. Restricted to unentered hounds except for classes for Produce of Dam and Get of Sire, the emphasis is on teaching young hounds and young handlers what they can expect in a few weeks.

The show is held on a rotating basis among the MFHA-sanctioned hunts in Maryland, and this year the Marlborough Hunt in Prince Georges County served as host. On the banks of the Patuxent River on their lovely grounds for both clubhouse and kennels, the Marlborough folks, under the leadership of Masters Katherine Cawood, Patty Sasscer, and Christine Claggett, provided two spacious rings—one for foxhounds where Thomas H. Jackson, MFH, Mr. Jackson’s Flat Creek Hounds and former huntsman of the Mission Valley Hunt Club (KS) would judge the 101 foxhounds entered, and one for foothounds where Forbes R. Reback, MB and Charlotte D. Buttrick, MB, both from the Farmington Beagles (VA), would judge bassets and beagles.

The Refugee Foxhounds

refugee foxhounds3.scott

With the seventieth anniversary of V-E Day, May 8, 1945, just days away, we’re reminded of two sportsmen—one in America and one in England—who together tried to preserve the best bloodlines of the modern English foxhound as that type was developing and gaining acceptance over the heavy and ponderous English foxhounds of the so-called “Shorthorn Era.”

Mason Houghland, MFH of the Hillsboro Hounds (TN) and Major W.W.B. Scott, MFH of the North Cotswold Foxhounds (UK) were good friends. As Hitler invaded Poland (September, 1939), and war threatened to engulf Europe for the second time in the century, English foxhound breeders prepared yet again for their government’s mandate of destruction. (In World War I, thousands of foxhounds had been destroyed by the English authorities as a measure to conserve food and grain supplies.) Houghland received the following cablegram from Scott:

“Can you take seventeen couple of hounds for the duration of the war? Lend to friends those you have no room for. Please reply.”

Southern Hound Show Kicks Off the Season

southern hound show15.fanfare10.warner rayLive Oak Fanfare '10 is Grand Champion of the Southern Hound Show. (L-R): Daphne Wood, MFH, Live Oak Hounds; Michael Ledyard, Esq., MFH Mr. Stewart’s Cheshire Foxhounds; C. Martin Wood III, MFH, Live Oak Hounds; Dale Barnett, huntsman

Captain Ian W. Farquhar, MFH of the Duke of Beaufort (UK), who judged at this show seven years ago, was joined in the ring by John J. Carle II, ex-MFH of the Keswick Hunt (VA).

Ian Farquhar, huntsman for thirty-eight seasons, judged his first show forty-two years ago and has bred nineteen Peterborough champions. Jake Carle, who hunted hounds for twenty-eight seasons, has judged for over forty years at all the major hound shows in the United States. Over the course of the weekend these two very senior judges enjoyed each other immensely and got along famously in the ring despite their English and Bywaters leanings respectively. Interestingly, thirty-four ribbons were won by Crossbreds, and twenty went to English hounds. Two Champions were Crossbred, and two were English.

Virginia Foxhound Club Celebrates Sixty Years

oatlands.ohiggins jones wallace sharp haightVirginia Foxhound Show, Oatlands, 1986: Huntsman Shelly O'Higgins receives trophy from Joan Jones (now President, Virginia Foxhound Club). Judges are (l-r) Captain R.E. Wallace, MFH, Exmoor Foxhounds (UK); Bun Sharp, MB, Nantucket-Treweryn Beagles; Sherman Haight, MFH, Mr. Haight's Litchfield County Hounds.

The venerable Virginia Foxhound Club—the team that brings you the Virginia Foxhound Show each year—is celebrating its sixtieth anniversary. It seems timely to look back, evaluate the importance of hound shows in the overall scheme of foxhunting, and convince those with a passion for the sport that their membership in the Virginia Foxhound Club, no matter where in North America they hunt the fox or the coyote, is an investment that will benefit all fox hunters and their hunts.

The Virginia Foxhound Show, the largest hound show in the world, brings foxhounds of all types and all strains to the flags for viewing, comparing, and judging. Whether a Master or huntsman is seeking certain bloodlines, or an outcross to introduce hybrid vigor to the gene pool within his kennels, he sees such hounds at Virginia. And he has the opportunity to socialize and chat, in a magnificent setting, about the merits and traits of the canine objects of his desire. With your support, the best matings may continue to be made in Heaven, but they’ll be arranged in Virginia!