Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Outreach at Cheshire Brings More Children to the Field

cheshire_juniorsThe late Mrs. John Hannum, former Master of Mr. Stewart’s Cheshire Foxhounds (PA), was always thrilled to see a new child at the kennels on a summer morning. Nothing pleased her as much as giving a child—at the kennels for hound walking—his or her first opportunity to observe working hounds at close range.

Building on that early philosophy, the current Masters have introduced new incentives that have greatly increased the number of children in the field.

Adopt-a-Kid

norman.dede.karenmYou've come a long way, kid! / Karen L. Myers photoThe average age of active foxhunters continues to rise. Where are the youngsters? we ask. Pointing to all the “usual suspects”—risk aversion, social media addiction (living vicariously rather than actively), animal rights activism—is...well...pointless. Social change continues to be part of mankind’s evolutionary process. What can we do pro-actively? is more to the point.

The MFHA has periodically urged hunts to reach out to nearby Pony Clubs, and many of these efforts have been successful. The Live Oak Challenge sponsored by MFHs Marty and Daphne Wood has introduced numerous young riders to foxhunting by offering financial incentives to the winning Pony Clubs. The Guide to Establishing a Foxhunting Camp written by Joyce Fendley, MFH provides a cookbook approach to running a summer day camp for any hunt wishing to reach out to children. (The booklet is available from the MFHA.)

Hunts can do these things, but there is something we as ordinary members of the field can do. We can adopt-a-kid.

Hooking Kids With a Junior Hound Clinic

Juniors love to go hunting, but for them isn’t it mostly about the rider and his or her horse? How about the hounds? Couldn’t we set the foxhunting hook deeper by connecting interested juniors with hounds as well?

andy and erin bozdan cropHuntsman and whipper-in, Andy and Erin Bozdan, spend a day with the Loudoun Fairfax juniors acquainting them with hounds. /

The Loudoun Fairfax Hunt (VA) is thinking about just that. They are hosting a Junior Hound Clinic this summer—a one-day affair, easy to put on. I’ve long been involved with hound programs for juniors and this is one idea that I hope appeals to other hunts.

Qualifying Meets for Junior Field Hunter Championships Are In Full Swing

graham buston.smallHuntsman Graham Buston brings the Blue Ridge hounds to the first draw, where a fox was quickly unkenneled for a field of juniors participating in one of 31 qualifying meets for the 2016 Junior North American Field Hunter Championships. /  Michelle Arnold photo

Every junior who qualifies by competing at any one of thirty-one Qualifying Meets offered across fourteen states and provinces will be eligible to compete in the Junior North American Field Hunter Championship Finals this year. The meets are in full swing.

The Blue Ridge Hunt hosted a qualifying meet on Saturday, September 24, 2016 at the McIntosh farm situated just above the Shenandoah River under western brow of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Anne McIntosh, MFH led the field of hopefuls, judges, and hunt members, the latter riding behind the junior competitors for a change.

Hunting was excellent, with foxes getting away right at the start and giving the judges plenty of opportunities to watch and judge the young riders and their mounts in action. And everyone viewed the quarry at least once!