Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Further Adventures of Jack and Pete

 fell hunting.backintheday.ron hill siteFoot hunting in the Cumbrian fells / photo courtesy of Ron Black

Further adventures of our old friends Jack and Pete in Cumbria, a majestic landscape populated by some who might see themselves as the only true purists of our sport. We hope mounted foxhunters won’t take too much offense at this story. A little will be well justified, though!

With the benefit of hindsight and a few drinks, there was a certain inevitability about the whole affair. It began innocuously enough, with Jack sitting in the pub telling us that a friend had invited him out for a day with hounds. “Wot pack?” said Pete, muscling in on the conversation.

Jack named a mounted pack some miles down the motorway. Pete took it all in and thought for a moment. “They ride,” he announced. “Not getting me on a hoss, smelly bloody things.”

Jack sighed. “We can follow in the Land Rover,” he said. “They will give us a guide.”

Politics and Sport: The Berlin Wall and Drag Hunting

The state of Brandenburg in Germany (formerly a part of Soviet-controlled East Germany from 1945 to 1990) is known for its well-preserved natural environment. Ambitious preservation policies began there in the 1990s, following reunification of East Germany and West Germany. Berlin, which was also divided into East and West Zones until the fall of the Berlin wall, lies as a separate city-state within the borders of Brandenburg. Just a short twenty-five years ago the scenes in this video could not have taken place.

This video of the Brandenburger Hunting Club was recorded by a rear-facing camera attached to my wife’s helmet. The Club was founded in 1991—shortly after the fall of the Berlin wall and German reunification—in Seeburg, close to the capital of Brandenburg in Potsdam. The fall of the wall actually enabled drag-hunting in the area, as the required space was simply not available in the isolated city of Berlin. Needless to say, in socialist East Germany, drag hunting and foxhunting were certainly not sports encouraged by the state.

How I Came to go Foxhunting

steve price at scarteen2Steve Price on his first foxhuntSome time ago in Norm Fine's Blog we asked the question, How to did you come to go foxhunting? Fine told his story and received some good Comments in response. Here’s Steve Price’s story. Use the Comments field to send us yours!

It happened nearly forty years ago. I was half of a two-person equestrian journalist junket to Ireland. Over lunch in his home at Scarteen, Master Thady Ryan invited us to join him the following day. My companion happily agreed, but I demurred. My jumping skills were limited to beginner courses---egg-rolls and twice-arounds---and I had seen the formidable banks and ditches separating the County Limerick fields.

“Aw, I’ll give you my best hunting horse,” Thady assured me, “you’ll be safe as houses.”

In for a penny… I shrugged, and went along.

A Son Remembers Essex Fox Hounds' Tribute to His Father

bert hannahColumnist Russ Hannah, writing for NorthJersey.com, recalls the day the Essex Fox Hounds (NJ) paid tribute to Bert Hannah, his late father. Bert wasn’t a foxhunter, a landowner, or a captain of industry. He was, writes Russ, an “ordinary man who had once been a Minnesota lumberjack with a third-grade education, if that.”

Bert was a caretaker on a large estate near the Brady estate and Hamilton Farms. The latter represented five thousand acres, constituting the primary Essex hunting country. The former, Martha Brookes Hutcheson’s estate of 104 acres, where Bert Hannah served as caretaker, was closed to the hunt by the owner as the result of a fallen rider being seriously injured there years earlier.

Nevertheless, Bert Hannah was an animal person. He bred field trial beagles—one a 1963 National Champion, Longview Susie at left in news photo with two of her offspring. And he loved horses.

Bert was always friendly to the Essex riders, stopping to talk as they went by. Any injured or lost foxhound that passed Bert’s way was taken in by him, fed, and cared for before being returned to kennels.