Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Captain Ronnie Wallace, MFH: A Huntsman Like No Other

ronnie wallace.michael lyneCaptain Ronnie Wallace with hounds while Master of the Heythrop / Oil portrait by Michael Lyne

Captain Ronnie Wallace, MFH was the undisputed dean of British foxhunting and a frequent and popular visitor to the U.S. He was a genius in the art of venery and in his uncanny breeding sense. He was arguably the English breeder most influential in the development of today’s modern English foxhound.

It’s been thirteen years since Captain Wallace died in an automobile accident at age eighty-two, yet whenever hunting conversation turns to amazing feats of hound work performed by a superb huntsman, I’m reminded of an astonishing story that illustrates Wallace’s supremacy.

KT Atkins Is New MFH at Warrenton

fox-hunter-kt-atkins-mfhDouglas Lees photo

In the announcement of Katharine T. (“KT”) Atkins’s election to the Mastership at the Warrenton Hunt (VA), Kim Nash, MFH wrote, “Her extraordinary wealth of foxhunting knowledge and equestrian skills bring remarkable depth to our team of Masters.”

KT whipped-in to her late husband, Jim Atkins, for nearly thirty years in Virginia, all through his service as professional huntsman to the Old Dominion Hounds, Piedmont Fox Hounds, Dr. Gable’s Foxhounds, and the Warrenton Hunt. Jim was inducted into the Huntsmen’s Room at the Museum of Hounds and Hunting last May, and, as his whipper-in through all those years, KT has seen some outstanding hound work. And she knows what it takes to produce it.

Huntsmen On the Move: II

As the new season gets underway, Foxhunting Life updates its March 31 report on the recent moves of huntsmen across North America.

ashley hubbard.will hunt fox hounds at green spring valleyHuntsman Ashley Hubbard leads the Green Spring Valley hounds on summer exercise. / Tammie Monaco photo

Round I
Ashley Hubbard is the new huntsman for the Green Spring Valley Hounds (MD). Hubbard has served as kennel huntsman for the Fox River Valley Hunt (IL) for nearly ten years, assisting Tony Leahy, MFH, and carrying the horn when necessary.

“Tony didn’t want to lose him,” explained Duck Martin, MFH at Green Spring Valley, “but he thought this would be a good opportunity for Ashley.”

Since the end of World War II, Green Spring Valley has had just four huntsmen: Leslie Grimes, Andrew Barclay, John Tabachka, and Sam Clifton. Both Grimes and Barclay have been enshrined in the Huntsmen’s Room at the Museum of Hounds and Hunting.

William Faulkner and the Farmington Hunt

faulkner.vandevender.fox.hunt(l-r) William Faulkner and Farmington huntsman Grover Vandevender share a flask.  /  George Barkley photo

William Faulkner, two-time National Book Award, Nobel Prize, and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, came to Charlottesville, Virginia from Oxford, Mississippi in the last decade of his life. He arrived two years after his daughter Jill moved to Charlottesville with her husband Paul Summers, who graduated from law school at the University of Virginia and was working as city attorney. Soon, Faulkner, Jill, and Paul were hunting with the Farmington Hunt. Jill would become Master in 1968 and serve in that capacity for forty years.

Faulkner had a reputation among hunt members for being game and fearless to his fences, despite having taken up serious foxhunting only since his arrival. He’d ridden since childhood, foxhunted in Tennessee, and loved it. However, he experienced a couple of serious riding accidents, and died in 1962 at the age of sixty-four from complications arising from a fall.