Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Rogue Master/Huntsman Receives Suspended Jail Term In Britain

nodh.klmFHL Editor Norm Fine / Karen L. Myers photoPaul Oliver, ex-MFH and huntsman of the South Herfordshire Foxhounds has been convicted of animal cruelty offenses. He provided live fox cubs to his hounds to be killed in kennels. The once-respected hunt, established in England 150 years ago, is now disbanded.

The evidence was damning. Footage was shown in court taken by hidden cameras covertly put in place by anti-bloodsport activists.

Three Foxhunting Museums: Some Confusion

mountain and muse.originalsOriginal pencil sketches of Mountain and Muse by Samuel Ogle (c.1814)  /  Collection of the Museum of Hounds and Hunting NAThree museums—the Museum of Hounds and Hunting North America, the Masters of Foxhounds Association and Museum, and the National Sporting Library and Museum—all located in Loudoun County, Virginia, seem to be a cause for confusion amongst some North American foxhunters.

With a "Museum" sign on the new MFHA office building in Middleburg, Virginia, Museum of Hounds and Hunting members have asked if their museum is now a part of the MFHA. The short answer is, “No.” But there’s a longer answer.

How to Photograph Foxhounds

canadian17.toronto north yorks blue ridge wentworthThe conformation of Toronto and North York's Blue Ridge Wentworth 2015, Grand Champion Foxhound at the 2017 Canadian Foxhound Show, is clearly seen in this well-posed photograph. / Denya Massey photo

Hound show champions should be photographed so their conformation is clearly visible to potential foxhound breeders, hound enthusiasts, and the historical record. The champions should be memorialized in a fashion such that others may see what the judges saw, as they carefully and critically studied each hound presented.

Historically, that has been the practice, and hound show organizers might want to remind show photographers of their primary mission at the hound show. Yes, we also want to see the smiling faces of the Masters, handlers, distinguished trophy presenters, and judges, along with candid shots of attendees enjoying the day. Those are also important and of interest to many viewers, but a classical portrait of the hound champions is Job-1. What follows are six-steps to achieve the image foxhound enthusiasts want to see.

New Exhibits at Museum of Hounds and Hunting: One Master’s Retirement Project

meg gardner toy horse

I’m looking forward to the new exhibits at the Museum of Hounds and Hunting. They’ll open the day before the Virginia Foxhound Show at Morven Park, Saturday afternoon, May 25, 2019 at 4:00 pm. In addition to the permanent exhibits, including the hallowed Huntsmen’s Room, visitors will see twelve ancient wooden toy horses lovingly restored by Meg Gardner, ex-MFH and Field Master of the Middleburg Hunt (VA). Meg retired as Master in 1994.

She was a superb horsewoman and adventurous Field Master. I followed her over a five-foot stone wall once—yes, someone measured it—and we weren’t even running at the time. In cold blood. Just something she decided to do for a lark. No panel. No rider. Just a solid stone wall. But as for artistic restoration of wooden rocking horses? Who knew?

The Sun Shines After Trial By Fire

deep run and blue ridge hounds on exerciseC’mon, Gotta Walk a Few Hounds..  /   Sheri Buston photoIt’s a week and a half since huntsman John Harrison was suddenly faced with, then miraculously dealt with what could have been a horrendous outcome of that day’s electric storm. A bolt of lightning struck the power meter at the Deep Run Hunt kennels and the building burned to the ground.

We’ve all heard how, with flaming shards falling from above, John was unable to reach hounds to free them from their pens. Needing another way in, he took a tractor to the perimeter and used the bucket loader to smash a way through, saving virtually all the foxhounds. The nightmare that ‘could have been’ was mercifully averted by John’s quick thinking and bold action.

Top British Steeplechase Trainers Diss Foxhunting

nodh.klmPeter Scargill, writing for the Racing Post, reports that three Cheltenham Festival-winning trainers “launched a ferocious assault” on Nick Rust, CEO of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA). In their letter, they rebuked Rust for a list of faults, among them Rust’s recent comparison of racing to a sport like foxhunting—a blood sport—and pronounced Rust unqualified for his leadership role. What?

We publish this report not to judge the merits or policies of the BHA either pro or con, but to express our regret that horsemen of any discipline—especially a discipline like racing which is also a target of animal rights activists, and even more especially a discipline so closely related to foxhunting—would leap to disavow foxhunting in a pathetic attempt to distance themselves and curry favor with those swayed by virulent animal rights activism.

What the Captain Said at the Point-to-Point

siegfried sassoon2Siegfried SassoonLife for Siegfried Sassoon began as a blithe sail through a sea of privileged ease—foxhunting and playing cricket—until he found himself mired in the mud and rat-infested trenches of World War I. It was one of history’s deadliest wars, and Sassoon lost many dear friends before its conclusion. Indeed, virtually everyone in Britain lost one or more family members.

Ten years after surviving the war, Sassoon—twice decorated for bravery and finally wounded—wrote Memoirs of a Foxhunting Man, then Memoirs of an Infantry Officer, and, finally, Sherston’s War, to complete his well-known trilogy. I'm always moved while reading even the innocent moments of Fox-Hunting Man—the parts before the war—knowing that while writing the book he’d already been tempered and aged by his wartime experiences and personal losses. One can almost feel him reaching back to recapture the simplicity of a time that, for him and his generation, had passed forever.