Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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FHL wants your hunt reports! Stories and photos. Submit yours here.

Opening Meet at Scarteen: A Centuries-Old Tradition

scarteen.huntsman.cropped.powerMoving off to Opening Meet in the village are Chris Ryan, MFH (at left) and huntsman Raymond O’Halloran, leading staff, hounds, and a select few. Joanna Turvey (center) wears the colors of the South Notts Foxhounds (UK).  / Catherine Power photo

Recorded Scarteen history only goes back to the early seventeen hundreds, so we don’t know exactly how long the opening meet has been held in Knocklong, Ireland. But through those centuries that have been recorded, the venue has remained an unbroken tradition.

Part and parcel of that tradition is to have hounds and followers (both foot and mounted) blessed for the coming season. This ecclesiastical duty falls to the local padre who came to the kennels with bell, book and candle to invoke Divine support. No doubt our young huntsman welcomed this as any huntsman would. However, a huntsman in his first season particularly needs a bit luck and a tail wind to see him through.

New Huntsman Debuts at the Galway Blazers

blazers.crop.mullinsAnthony Costello is the new huntsman at the Galway Blazers. /   Noel Mullins photo

The Galway Blazers (IR) is a knick name for the County Galway Hunt, the formal name certainly possessing less flair. (Flare?) One account suggests the Blazers acquired their soubriquet when, during a hunt ball in Birr, County Offaly (following a joint meet with the Ormond Foxhounds), the hotel burned down. Alternatively, the term, blazers, might refer to duelling or blazing as the practice was known. Some of the Blazers’ followers had a reputation for duelling!

When I was growing up hunting with the Blazers, Thursdays were the days to bring out young horses and ponies new to hunting. Often we came home on a different pony or horse than we started with as we had our fair share of falls! For that reason, I would not normally have thought of going to a Thursday meet this season, but I am really glad I did.

Wentworth Hunt Enjoys Good Hunting on Opening Day

wentworth.stacy howe.james mertzStacy Howe provides bagpipe music during Wentworth Hunt's Opening Meet ceremonies. / James Mertz, Suddenly Still Photography

The Wentworth Hunt opened its formal foxhunting season on Saturday, September 30, 2017 at Yorkfield Farm in Kensington, New Hampshire. The Blessing of the Hounds was led by Wentworth Hunt member and Pastor David Maguire. Bagpipe music was provided by Stacy Howe. The light drizzle and forty-seven degree temperatures deterred neither the twenty-six riders, horses, hounds, spectators, and supporters nor our “fox,” Michelle Myrdek, who laid the drag.

Huntsman Rachel Duffy hacked down and across the road and sent hounds into a fully mature cornfield, while the field skirted northeast around the perimeter. Our strike hound, De La Brooke Vernon ’13, found early then lost. Hounds worked quickly through the tall, wet corn, and we soon heard Vernon open again, honored by Moore County Zombie ’13 and soon others. Hounds burst out of the corn, hunted through a thin covert, and into a large hayfield where the field was treated to a spectacular view of the pack working in the tall grass. The hounds soon accounted for their “fox” near an old cemetery and were praised.

Mr. Stewart’s Cheshire Foxhounds Welcomes the Hark Forward Tour

cheshire.magner foxhounds.barb smithHuntsman Barry Magner collects hounds.  /  Barbara Smith photo

The fourth Friendship Meet on the Hark Forward Tour of scheduled hunts and performance trials was at Mr. Stewart’s Cheshire Foxhounds in Unionville, Pennsylvania. During the month of September we traveled a distance of three thousand miles and visited nine hunts.

The Cheshire is revered as one of the best foxhunting establishments in North America, renowned for big fences, protected countryside, and a distinguished history. When you hunt here, everyone asks, “Did you jump the line fences?” Yes, we jumped one of the line fences first! Everyone spreads out and picks a panel of three-rail fencing and off you go, foxhunting with Cheshire!