Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Hounds Came First for Cheshire's Ivan Dowling

ivan dowlingHuntsman Ivan Dowling implemented a daring -- and successful -- hound breeding experiment for Mr. Stewart's Cheshire Foxhounds. / Jim Graham photo

"I’d spent several minutes trying to describe my job as huntsman to a friend" recalled Ivan Dowling, the forty-two-year-old recently retired huntsman for Mr. Stewart’s Cheshire Foxhounds (PA). “The friend looked at me and said, ‘Ivan, you mean you’re the guy on the place mat?’”

Dowling cringed a bit and smiled, “Yea, that’s me.”

Oral Surgeon To Carry the Horn at Fort Leavenworth

dr. steven thomas on RomulusDr. Steven Thomas, huntsman, Fort Leavenworth Hunt, on Romulus

His day job is demanding, and he’s never hunted hounds before, but Dr. Steven Thomas has been preparing for his new responsibility as huntsman of the Fort Leavenworth Hunt (KS) since childhood.

“Time management will be the biggest problem I’ll face,” Thomas acknowledged. “We’ll need a lot of volunteers,” he adds. But he has admiration for his fellow hunt members, the foxhounds in kennels, and the distinguished history of the Fort Leavenworth Hunt. He’s definitely looking forward to hunting hounds this season.

Thomas grew up riding Western, and, as a boy, coon hunted with his grandfather who ran his own hounds. He never rode without a pommel in front of him until he hooked up with the late Tommy Jackson, huntsman at the Mission Valley Hunt in Kansas.

Huntsmen On the Move: 2016

barry magner mburg photo cropBarry Magner is the new huntsman at Mr. Stewart's Cheshire Foxhounds. /  Middleburg Photo

As we approach the 2016/2017 season, Foxhunting Life reports on recent huntsmen moves around the hunting countries.

Round I
Ivan Dowling has retired from hunting Mr. Stewart’s Cheshire Foxhounds (PA). After ten seasons (and before that as first whipper-in), this comes as a major change at Cheshire because the Irish-born Dowling was a key figure in implementing a bold, highly unusual, and successful hound breeding program there. With Dowling’s departure, Cheshire loses a professional whipper-in as well—Stephanie Boyer—who will wed Dowling in September.

Barry Magner is the new Cheshire huntsman. Irish-born Magner’s professional career includes whipping-in at the United Foxhounds (IRE) and a stint whipping-in in England. In the U.S., Magner whipped-in to the Howard County-Iron Bridge Hounds (MD) for a season and became huntsman there in 2007 upon Allen Forney's retirement. He came to Virginia as huntsman for the Middelburg Hunt where he remained for five years until leaving two years ago for Australia. Back in the U.S., Magner joined the Cheshire as professional whipper-in last season and was named huntsman upon Dowling’s retirement.

Newsmakers at Virginia

marty woodkleckcropC. Martin Wood, III, MFH / Nancy Kleck photoFoxhounds weren’t the only newsmakers at the Virginia Foxhound Show. A few people were worth noting as well!

Huntsmen’s Room
Three individuals were introduced for induction into the Huntsmen’s Room of the Museum of Hounds and Hunting in ceremonies on Saturday evening. Before dinner under the tent, Jake Carle, ex-MFH, spoke eloquently, reverently, and at the right times humorously about the three men who have hunted hounds with distinction for many years: C. Martin Wood, III, MFH, Live Oak Hounds (FL), G. Marvin Beeman, MFH, Arapaho Hunt (CO), and the late Jim Atkins who hunted hounds for the Piedmont Fox Hounds, Old Dominion Hounds, and the Warrenton Hunt, all in Virginia.

marvin beeman  jim atkins2
G. Marvin Beeman, MFH                    Huntsman Jim Atkins