Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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The Red Rock Hounds and Their Country

rr.nancy.wild horsesWild horses in Nevada's high desert / Nancy Stevens-Brown photo

I want to tell you about Lynn Lloyd’s Red Rock Hounds and the country they hunt as a short introduction to our feature story, "How Old Hounds Pay Their Keep at Red Rock." In that story you’ll read how Lynn ingeniously transformed her elderly hounds from a burden to an asset! The old hounds pay their way by increasing membership and caps, and they throw off side benefits by helping to train young hounds and staff. And I have to believe that many hunts could do something similar to their own benefit.

The Red Rock foxhounds hunt the coyote over the high desert of Nevada, near Reno, where cowboys in dusty western hats, vests, and chaps lope after hounds in their Western saddles stirrup-to-stirrup with properly attired foxhunters posting to the trot in their English saddles.

How Old Hounds Pay Their Keep at Red Rock

rr.nancy.retired houndWhat to do with the old hounds? / Nancy Stevens-Brown photo

Most hunts are beset by similar problems: what to do with old hounds, how to attract more members, how to pay the bills, how to train staff, how to train young hounds. Lynn Lloyd, MFH and huntsman of the Red Rock Hounds (NV), found that the solution to one problem provided the key to solving several others.

What to Do with Old Hounds
The average hunting life of a hound is perhaps six or seven years. That means it is retired from the pack at age seven or eight. Beyond that age, most hounds start falling behind the pack, lacking the foot and endurance to maintain the pace over a full hunting day.

But with several years of life still remaining for the retired hounds, most hunts are hard-put to expend their limited financial resources to keep and maintain them. And here’s where Lynn Lloyd found a way to turn a burden into an asset.

Were Donor Millions Squandered in "Groundless" Lawsuit?

nodh.klmDonors to animal rights organizations like the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) need to think hard about how their charitable dollars can best be spent to improve the welfare of animals. Recent events suggest that local animal welfare shelters might put those dollars to better use for animals than does the HSUS and their cohorts. Driven by the fanatical certainty of their ideology, HSUS and others risked ethical misconduct and wound up losing millions of dollars in a frivolous and groundless lawsuit.

HSUS vs. Circus
A lawsuit brought in 2000 by HSUS and other animal rights organizations against Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus turned out to be so tainted that twenty-five million dollars have been paid by the plaintiffs to the circus owners in settlements. In 2012 the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) paid $9.3 million in a settlement for its part in the false claims made. As the lawsuit fell apart, other animal rights groups abandoned the action.

In May of this year, HSUS and others paid another $15.7 million in settlement fees as part of the same failed lawsuit, bluntly described by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan of the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia as “groundless and unreasonable from its inception.”

Watch Your Language, Bud!

NormanReaders of our e-magazine FHL WEEK have perhaps been puzzled by the stilted avoidance of common everyday words that might be considered offensive in a different context. In a recent book review, we camouflaged the word, “s-e-x,” by replacing the middle letter with a hyphen. In recent hound show reports, we used the word “female” instead of the b-word.

While it grieves me to avoid the use of natural language, I do it to reduce the chance of having our e-magazines labeled as spam by any one of the many spam filters that stand between Foxhunting Life and its readers. Thanks to the glut of junk email that bombards us daily, responsible mass-mailers must take unusual steps to ensure delivery of their email to all recipients.

Foxhunting Life uses iContact, a highly responsible mass mailer, to manage our distribution list and to mail FHL WEEK to the more than four thousand foxhunting enthusiasts who have registered to receive it. When we send our e-magazine to iContact  for distribution, if our text contains anything that their algorithms determine could be considered spam, they notify us, and we make the necessary changes. So, if we sound silly sometimes, that’s at least one of the reasons why.

Posted July 22, 2014

 

Autumn Morn: Ode to a Huntsman

michael powerHuntsman Michael Power / Douglas Lees photoAlthough this poem was written in tribute to a huntsman in his prime, it is especially poignant because it seems to prophesy his tragic end.

Fay Bohlayer, a member of the Shakerag Hounds (GA), wrote the poem in 1981 for huntsman Michael Power on the occasion of his move from Shakerag to the Warrenton Hunt (VA). Ten years later, Bolayer’s poem was read at Power’s memorial service after he suffered a fatal accident in the hunting field. It could as well have been written for that sad occasion.

Power was a keen, hardworking, talented huntsman, and he showed exceptional sport at Warrenton. I watched one day as he had someone throw a coat over a barbed wire fence, which he then jumped to stay with hounds.

Once Bohlayer asked him which he thought was more fun: hunting or racing. Power replied, “Whichever I happen to be doing at the time.” She recalls one day behind Power when hounds were running, and to stay with them Power galloped without pause straight toward an iron gate, which he jumped. Bohlayer chose not to follow Power’s line, and after the run she came up and apologized for going around. “Not at all,” he piped in his Irish tenor. “It’s your sport, but it’s my living. I must go.”

Here’s Fay Bohlayer’s tribute to Michael Power: