Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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

Grosvenor’s Hill

epp and gro allison howellEpp Wilson, MFH, Belle Meade Hunt and Grosvenor Merle-Smith, MFH, Tennessee Valley Hunt are two men who create sport wherever they go. / Allison Howell photo

In January of 2010, Tennessee Valley Hunt had a three-day joint meet with the Belle Meade Hunt down in Georgia. Belle Meade’s MFH and Huntsman, Epp Wilson, had last hunted with TVH’s MFH Grosvenor Merle-Smith when Gro was huntsman for the Bull Run Hunt in Virginia several years earlier. They had what Epp described as an “epic” hunt chasing fox. The two huntsmen had finally organized a recap of that memorable hunt, and the expectations of both men were very high for the weekend.  

Twelve of us Tennesseans trekked south to Georgia just west of Augusta. Included were Grosvenor, his wife Rosie Merle-Smith, MFH, and our TVH huntsman Beth Blackwell who brought about eleven couple of Penn-Marydels.

Old North Bridge Hounds in the Footprints of History II

onbh.old manse.liz goldsmith.cropThe Old North Bridge Hounds meet at The Old Manse, home of Ralph Waldo Emerson and his forebears, adjacent to the North Bridge, their namesake. / Elizabeth Goldsmith photo

In an earlier story, we read of the Old North Bridge Hounds (MA) meeting at historic Longfellow’s Wayside Inn in nearby Sudbury. This drag pack, established in 1969 and recognized by the MFHA in 1973, boasts connections back to Colonial days, and hounds hunt routinely across some of our nation’s most hallowed ground.

The hunt was organized in Concord, Massachusetts, the town that inhospitably hosted several companies of British regulars on the 19th of April, 1775. On that fateful day, the first British casualties of the War of Independence were shot and killed at the Old North Bridge spanning the Concord River. The redcoats were driven back to Cambridge by scores of Minute Men from surrounding towns who had assembled there, having been rousted by Paul Revere the night before.

Foxhunting in the “Garden of Ireland”

west wicklow.mcCauley.mullins.cropWest Wicklow Senior Master and huntsman Rupert Macauley takes hounds to covert.  /   Noel Mullins photo

Well-known hunting author Willie Poole once said, “There is no landscape in the world that can’t be enhanced by a pack of hounds.” County Wicklow, known colloquially as the Garden of Ireland, has a reputation for beauty quite on its own. Add the foxhounds to a landscape of blue skies, sheep grazing in green fields, extensive plantations, and snow-capped hills, and the image describes perfectly my day with hounds from Pat Kavanagh’s Hampton Lodge Equestrian Centre at Brittas.

Country Closed? Woodbrook Takes 'em to the Beach!

woodbrook.beach2aWoodbrook Hunt (WA) takes hounds for a new adventure -- a day at the beach.  /  Emily Rang photo

The temperature was seventeen degrees when we rose at 5:30 to begin our day with horses and hounds. The promise of the day’s adventure outweighed the desire to stay warm in bed. The pack could feel it even in the dark. They bugled excitedly as horses were fed, stalls cleaned, and ice chipped away in the buckets.

The pack always knows when they are going somewhere. Even when the routine is the same in the morning, their hive mind senses the excitement of something different. On this inky black, frozen winter morning typical of the Pacific Northwest, they felt an adventure coming on and sang out a beautiful song to the entire neighborhood: rise up, gather your hunting kit and your best horse, and join us for some fun! Not all appreciate the early, noisy invitation, but the jongleurs, undiscouraged, serenade the neighborhood anyway, hoping to be loaded and on their way as soon as possible.

The Woodbrook Hunt Club (WA) is fortunate to have our hunting country located literally out of our kennel door. The kennels are on a military installation, part of Joint Base Lewis Mcord (JBLM). We have a lot of access, but we must acquire a permit, or the area must be open to recreation. This weekend we had neither permits for the area, as it was Thanksgiving weekend, and the ground was so frozen and slick, it would be galling on our steeds. Our clever huntsman,  Jennifer Hansen, who never misses an opportunity  for hound action, planned a trip to the ocean with our pack where the weather could be cold, windy, and rainy, but surely not frozen. And we were permitted to ride to our hearts content.