Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Casanova Hunt and Tommy Lee Jones Honored by Virginia House of Delegates

Photos by WLS Photography

tlj and commendationCasanova Master Joyce Fendley and huntsman Tommy Lee Jones were honored by the Virginia House of Delegates in Richmond. On February 1, 2019, Representatives of The Virginia State Legislature approved a Resolution commending the Casanova Hunt in Fauquier County on its 110th anniversary. Casanova’s history and contributions to the land and the community were noted.

A second Resolution recognized Casanova’s professional huntsman of forty-nine years, Tommy Lee Jones, for his contributions to hunting and showing in his Fauquier County community as well. Tommy Lee is the show manager for both the Upperville Colt and Horse Show and the Warrenton Horse Show.

The Origins of “Tally Ho”

tally ho.neil amatt.kleckThe "Tally Ho" / Nancy Kleck photo

The next time you view old Reynard or that sneaky coyote slipping away from covert, you may be tempted to call out “Tally Ho.” There are occasions in the hunting field when it is appropriate to yell this call out loudly-and-clearly, but with our modern methods it is more likely that the huntsman will be informed by a whipper-in with a quick call over the hunt radio that the quarry has broken cover.

The quiet approach will be less disturbing to the hounds but it will not stir the adrenaline like the old-fashioned blood-curdling call of Tally Ho, yelled out loud at the top of your voice! Such an old-school call in the hunting field causes the mounted field to take in that extra hole in their girth, to cease “coffee housing” with their companions, and for the horses’ ears to prick forward in anticipation of exciting action to come.

Historical Foxhunting Treasure Rescued From Extinction

higginson plate.nmf

The old silver tray was headed for melt-down, as are most engraved and unknown relics of lives long past and out of memory. Fortunately, however, it was recognized and rescued. For that, foxhunters with a respect for history have foxhunting historian Peter Devers, Millbrook ex-Master John Ike, and Live Oak Masters Marty and Daphne Wood to thank.

On a January evening in 1931, A. Henry Higginson—Master, huntsman, author, and contender in the Great English-American Hound Match of 1905—tendered his resignation as president of the Masters of Foxhounds Association. At dinner that night, members presented him with a tea service and engraved silver tray as a token of their regard and appreciation for his many years of service to the sport. In the last chapter of Higginson’s book, Try Back, published the following year, he wrote:

The Find: How to Watch and Listen

In this excerpt from “Foxhunting: How to Watch and Listen,” the author reveals what goes through the huntsman’s mind as hounds find their fox and push it into the open. In Robards' celebrated book, the entire chase is chronicled from beginning to end, first from the standpoint of the huntsman, then from the viewpoints of the whipper-in, the Field Master, the hounds, and the fox.

robards.mburg photo.cropHugh Robards and the hounds of the Middleburg Hunt  /  Middleburg Photo

Try to position yourself so you can hear what the huntsman is doing. You may hear a hound whimper. The huntsman has not only heard, but he has seen Wagtail trying to take a line to the edge of the covert where some thick briars cover the boundary ditch. The pack also heard the whimper and, knowing it is Wagtail, a hound on whose opinion they can rely, have come in close to her and the huntsman. Now you might see the huntsman quietly edge his hounds toward the ditch. As you strain to hear what is going on, everything in the covert falls silent.