Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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scarteen hunt dance.1949Scarteen Hunt Dance, 1949, where Anne Peter from New Zealand first met Thady Ryan, MFH. Anne is second from the right in front. Thady is second from the left behind.Anne Ryan (neé Peter), eighty-nine, widow of the late Thady Ryan, MFH, Scarteen (IRE), died in her home in Nelson, New Zealand on Wednesday, March 11, 2015. She will be remembered with affection by sportsmen around the world who had the good fortune to meet her while hunting with the Scarteen behind Master and huntsman Thady Ryan, and especially by those who had the greater good fortune to stay or dine at Scarteen over their hunting holidays.

Anne, a native of New Zealand, was visiting cousins in Ireland in 1949 when she met Thady. She caught his eye the first time he spied her hacking in from a meet with the Tipps. A few days later, she appeared at the Scarteen Hunt Dance in the company of a young man. Thady had not forgotten his first sight of Anne, and he wooed her with determination. There were obstacles, she having been brought up in the Anglican faith and he a devout Catholic. Further, the cousins with whom Anne was staying had promised to return her to her family in New Zealand “whole and single.”

During her visit, Anne soon became a favorite at Scarteen. One day, Thady approached his father and said, “Dad, I’m thinking of asking Anne to be my wife. How would you feel about it?”

“Lad,” replied his father, “if I was in the running, you would not stand a chance!” *

Anne returned to New Zealand, and the next few years passed slowly for the anxious couple. In 1953, Thady finally boarded a boat to New Zealand—a five-week trip through the Panama Canal. He met Anne’s family, and the pair were wed. Three months later Anne and Thady returned to Scarteen, where he continued for another thirty-four years as Master and huntsman of this pack of hounds owned by the Ryan family since the eighteenth century.

A large portion of Anne’s heart had remained in New Zealand, and when Thady decided to retire from the Mastership, he and Anne chose to live out their final years back in her homeland. They returned to New Zealand in 1987 and settled in South Canterbury, South Island, where Thady strove to improve the breed of New Zealand sport horses by breeding native stock to Irish stallions of the King of Diamonds line which he brought with him.

anne ryanSoon after Thady’s death in 2005, Anne moved to Nelson to be closer to her daughter Rachel and her son Mark, each of whom lived close by. She loved her new home with its view of the sea on the eastern shore of Tasman Bay. She maintained a lovely garden and was able to visit with her children and grandchildren.

In addition to Rachel and Mark, Anne leaves sons John and Hugh, both of whom live near Galway, and son Chris at Scarteen. Services will be held on Monday, March 16, 2015. A memorial service in Ireland will be held, the date to be announced.

The family in New Zealand may be contacted through Mark Ryan, 31 Van Diemen Street, Nelson 7010, New Zealand (Home: 64-3-545-9335 or cell: 64-27- 224-4754) or via email at mark.ryan@xtra.co.nz. The family in Ireland may be contacted through Chris Ryan, Scarteen, Knocklong, Co. Limerick, Ireland.

Posted March 15, 2015

* My Privileged Life by Thady Ryan, MFH, The Derrydale Press, 2002

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