Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Whipper-In: What's In the Name?

booli selmayr.kirsten edlundBooli Selmayr, professional whipper-in, Millbrook Hunt (NY): “A good day whipping-in is not having to be told, but instead, allowing natural instinct to guide me: listening to the horn and hounds, reading the terrain, and quickly distinguishing whether fox or coyote.” / Kirsten Edlund-Tunkel photo

Professional or Honorary
The world of whipping-in is split into two camps—professional and honorary. The professional whipper-in often fills the position to gain experience and recognition on his or her road to becoming a huntsman. As the title suggests, it is a paid position. The honorary whipper-in is not paid, is generally recruited from the ranks of the hunt membership, and generally does not aspire to become a huntsman. He or she may be a riding member or one of the Masters.

Professional hunt staff in England go through a structured period of apprenticeship. Years there are spent just doing kennel work before even being allowed to walk hounds out on exercise and before even being allowed on a horse. If recommended, they will finally be taken on as second whipper-in to a hunt. After a few moves, they may be recommended to fill an opening for a first whipper-in somewhere else. Under the system, they purposely move every few years from one hunt to another, gaining experience and exposure to different huntsmen and different methods before finally being offered a huntsman’s post. Clearly a strong foundation is laid through such a rigorous system.

The Whipper-In Is the Huntsman's Right Hand

neil.amatt.kleckNeil Amatt, professional whipper-in, Piedmont Fox Hounds (VA): “Anticipation, punctuality, how you present yourself—all these things are drilled into you in the English system. You start in the kennels, and you have to really want it before you’re even allowed on a horse.” / Nancy Kleck photo

With the start of a new season just around the corner, we bring back this article, first published in 2013, not only for the benefit of all new and aspiring whippers-in, but also for those field members who wish to appreciate all that happens in the hunting field.

Last season, after forty-five years of hunting, I witnessed a simple act of sophisticated whipping-in that left me shaking my head in admiration. For a huntsman or an experienced whipper-in, it was perhaps no big deal.

My hunt fielded an all-new professional staff last season—huntsman and whipper-in—both of whom were learning the country on the fly. Hounds had checked in a thick covert, and we in the field could see them, heads down, trying to recover the line. The whipper-in came galloping by headed for the end of the covert.

“Over here,” called the Field Master, pointing to a concealed trail. “You can get in over here.”

The whipper-in came back, talked urgently to the Field Master, then turned his horse and continued in the direction he was originally going.

After the meet I asked him what that exchange was all about.

Museum of Hounds and Hunting Celebrates the Warrenton Hunt

reception LRG 2598Lauren Giannini photo

The Museum of Hounds & Hunting NA opened its season with a reception for 200 members and guests Saturday evening, May 26, 2013 at Morven Park in Leesburg, Virginia. The Virginia Foxhound Show took place on the grounds the following day.

Visitors viewed new exhibits featuring art and artifacts of the Warrenton Hunt (VA), established in 1887 and celebrating its 125th anniversary. Warrenton’s three current Masters—Kim Nash, Celeste Vella and Rick Laimbeer—graciously sponsored the Member’s Reception.

Hunt Breakfast Recipe Contest

image011
Matthew Klein photo
Cool weather and foxhunting make for big appetites, so FHL is holding a Hunt Breakfast Recipe Contest. If you point to the Social drop-down menu above and click on Hunt Breakfast Recipes, you will see that our recipes are organized into seven categories: Appetizers, Breads, Desserts & Sweets, Flask Concoctions, Main Dishes, Side Dishes & Accompaniments, and Soups & Salads.

Here are the contest rules: You are invited to submit a favorite recipe in any category. You may submit as many recipes as you like. Recipes will be judged by prominent chefs on aptness, gustatorial satisfaction, and ease of preparation. All recipes received through December 31, 2010 will qualify for the contest. The winner—one for each of the seven categories—will be announced, interviewed for additional useful tips on putting on hunt breakfasts, and will receive a gift of FHL's DVD, Calls on the Horn, featuring John Tabachka. Winners will be announced after the new year.

To enter, click on Submit One Now here or on the Hunt Breakfast recipe page and upload, type, or paste your favorite hunt breakfast recipes into the appropriate spaces. Images may be uploaded as well. You don't have to be a subscriber to enter. The idea is to provide the best resource possible for the satisfaction of tired, happy, and hungry foxhunters. Let’s see what you got!
November 2, 2010