Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Tommy Hitchcock, Jr: Sportsman, War Hero

tommy hitchcock.polo2May 8, 2015 will mark the seventieth anniversary of V-E Day, Victory in Europe, the end of the Nazi menace. It’s a propitious time to remember a foxhunting sportsman named Tommy Hitchcock, Jr.

Most Foxhunting Life readers are familiar with his name. Born in Aiken, South Carolina, Hitchcock was an all-around sportsman, a foxhunter, and perhaps the greatest American polo player of all time. A ten-goal player by age twenty-two, Hitchcock led the U.S. team to their first victory in the 1921 International Polo Cup. He followed that feat by leading four teams to U.S. National Open Championships. In 1939, after the death of his mother, Louise Eustis Hitchcock, MFH of the Aiken Hounds, Tommy and his sister Helen founded what is know today as the Hitchcock Woods Foundation in Aiken—a magnificent gift to subsequent generations of horsemen and women from all across North America.

Perhaps less known, however, is the singular role that Hitchcock played in the winning of World War II. If not for Hitchcock, the date June 6, 1944 would most likely not be known to history as D-Day. The invasion of the European mainland would have necessarily been postponed. And if it hadn’t, thousands more Allied soldiers would have been slaughtered on the beaches by the German Air Force.

The Making of a Book...Starting From the Ending

fitzrada and jane.paul brownJane Pohl and Fitzrada, painted by Paul BrownIn 2001 the Museum of Hounds and Hunting in Leesburg, Virginia, mounted an exhibit of the works of artist Paul Brown, famed for his elegant rendering of horsemen, horsewomen, and horses—racing, showing, and foxhunting. I was, at the time, a member of the Museum Advisory Board, and on the night of the exhibit I watched with curiosity and interest a slim, elderly, and proudly composed woman being carried in her wheelchair up the narrow back steps inside the Westmoreland Davis mansion to the second floor where the exhibit was hung.

I didn’t know whom she was, nor did I even meet her. Two months later she was dead, and I was equally unaware of even that occurrence. Her name, I was to learn some years later, was Jane Pohl, and, though she was terminally ill the night I saw her, she was determined to attend the exhibit, her last outing, because she had lent some of the Paul Brown art depicting her and her horse Fitzrada for the exhibit. I couldn’t know at the time that I was witnessing the ending of a story with which I was to become more than familiar.

Sporting Photographer Janet Hitchen

janet hitchen3.leesDouglas Lees photoPopular and widely-respected photographer Janet Hitchen (neé Goldberg) died at her home near Millwood, Virginia on Tuesday evening, March 24, 2015. She was seventy-one.

Brilliant at her art, she has, over the last few decades, recorded a magnificent visual historical record of people and events in the world of field sport in and around Virginia. I fervently hope that her collection of negatives and digital image files will be preserved in her name, in the custody of a capable and responsible archivist, for the benefit of sporting researchers and writers of the future.

Janet was my go-to photographer from the early 1990s on, whenever I needed an image for Covertside. When I published the first full-color foxhunting calendar for the American Foxhound Club in 1998, she was the first photographer I called. Two of her photos were included in that inaugural calendar, and her photos have graced the pages and covers of Covertside and our Foxhunting Life Calendars ever since.

Mrs. Thaddeus (Anne) Ryan, 89, Dies in New Zealand

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.”

Hunting Horn Ringtones on your iPhone!

JohnT Huntsman John TabachkaWe finally worked it out: how to download our horn call ringtones to an iPhone! So many people have asked, and here’s how. But first, a story.

I tried to phone Steve Price, a member of Foxhunting Life’s Panel of Experts, but he was out. I left a message asking him to return the call on my cell phone. When his call came, I happened to be in the stall with my retired hunter, Guitar. Upon hearing the ringtone, "Gone Away," old Guitar pricked his ears and took a couple of lively turns around the stall! I laughed and explained the scene to Steve.

“You should have given the phone to Guitar and told him, ‘It’s for you,’” said Steve.

FHL's ringtones are the brilliant horn work of John Tabachka, huntsman, Sewickley Hunt (PA), a two-time winner of the National Horn Blowing Contest at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show in Harrisburg. (Click to view FHL's popular video, Calls on the Horn, in which John explains the meaning and usage of the principal horn calls heard in the course of a day's hunting.)

What follows is the ringtone download procedure for iPhone users only, and uses M4R files required by the iPhone; most other cell phone users should use the mp3 files that we have made available for some time now. (Note: This "read more" link is open to all viewers.)