Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Essex Offers Basic Course In Foxhunting

EssexSeminar01Foxhunting 101 starts with a skull session in the Essex kennels tackroom. / Tiffany Evitts photo

Some hunts seeking to attract new members are pro-actively educating prospects. The venerable (1912) Essex Fox Hounds (NJ) offered a presentation this summer at their kennels in Peapack called “Foxhunting 101.”

Huntsman Bart Poole and whipper-in Sam Andrews gave a presentation in the afternoon at the hunt stables in Peapack, after which questions were invited. After the presentation, participants mounted up, introduced their horses to hounds, and rode practice turns around the field. Fifteen participants then joined the Essex subscribers and local landowners for a roading exercise. The course which ended with refreshments was priced at $50.00 a person.

Junior Field Hunter Championships: More Than a Competition

JNAFHC2015.heatherjumpHeather Feconda, Loudoun-Fairfax Hunt (VA), was Champion, 13 & Over, on Yogi. /  Richard Clay photo

The Junior North American Field Hunter Championship competition that began modestly twelve years ago between a handful of geographically-close Virginia hunts continues to expand in scope. This year’s competition involved juniors from twenty-seven hunts located across six MFHA Districts.

The program is succeeding because it’s purpose rises above just competition. Founders Douglas Wise, MFH, Old Dominion Hounds and Iona Pillion from the Blue Ridge Hunt had a larger dream: bring children to new hunting countries and open their eyes to the fact that these playgrounds don’t just happen to be there for them by chance, but have been nurtured and conserved for the perpetuation of wildlife, open space, and for those who treasure the natural world.

“We want these kids to know what a conservation easement is,” said Marion Chungo, one of the organizers.

Foxhunting Is Part of the Curriculum at the Elms School

ca3The Elms students at the kennels of the Ledbury Foxhounds (UK)

Mrs. Austen, a teacher at The Elms School, Malvern, UK, wrote to the Countryside Alliance to report on last season’s student hunting activities.

“We had a total of fifty-two different children aged from six to thirteen out hunting last season,” Mrs. Austen wrote. “We hunted on sixteen days with the Ledbury in groups, and had three visiting days—the Heythrop, the Croome and West Warwickshire, and the South Herefordshire. We had the whole gang out at our own Ledbury meet at the school.

Advice From a Junior Whipper-In

carmen powell-sadikHere’s astute, peer-to-peer advice for juniors aspiring to become honorary hunt staff. I can’t help but wonder how many huntsmen out there would love to have Carmen on his/her staff!

We, juniors, are the future of foxhunting. It is our responsibility to be knowledgeable and to keep this fantastic sport alive and traditional.

Have you ever peered past the first Field Master at those tiny white specs in the distance—the hounds—and wondered what's going on up there, what that blast of the horn meant, where that scarlet-clad rider is galloping off to in such a hurry? Ever think about whipping-in?

What to Think About Before You Decide to Whip-In
Whipping-in can be the most exhilarating, amazing adventure ever, or it can be the most terrifying, stressful experience ever. It largely depends on how you handle the thrills and horrors that being a whip sends your way.

Whipping-in doesn't only take place on your horse in the hunt field. It takes place in the kennels, in the stables, at home with a mountain of books, and in the mud on your backside watching your mount vanish into the distance.

A Hunting Trio

kristin warrington.uspcFoxhunter/Pony Clubber Kristin WarringtonKristin is the winning author in the 2014 Hildegard Neill Ritchie Foxhunting Writing Contest sponsored annually by the United States Pony Club. The contest is open to all D- or C-rated Pony Club members, whether or not they have hunted. Kristin is a C-1 from the St. Augustine Pony Club, Delmarva Region, and here's her winning story.

The Fox
The grass is frosted over in the shady areas where the woods touch the long sloping fields. As I trot along, tense and listening, I notice the familiar trails through the trees and undergrowth are wearing recently made hoof prints and accessorized by a lone, twisted horseshoe that seems to have come off an unlucky rider’s mount. They have already been through this way several times, but that is part of my plan. I like to lead them in monotonous circles, repeatedly using the same paths, and drag it out until they are almost desperate enough to call off the hounds and begin a new search, then I take a sudden sprint through an open field allowing them to see me long enough to call out, “Tallyho!” and try desperately to gather up the hounds who are still off in the woods sniffing out my scent. I decide upon this familiar strategy and take a sharp turn up into a large field. I take a quick survey of the surroundings, and feel a sudden gust of courage take over me. Heart pounding with thrill, and my mind marveling at the sheer cleverness of my evasion from my predators, I dash madly between the crowd of horses’ legs.