Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Mark McManus: Huntsman and Mentor

mark mcmanusMark McManus is the new huntsman at the Chagrin Valley Hunt (OH).

When a huntsman retires after a long and successful career hunting hounds for a respected hunting establishment, that vacuum creates a ripple effect throughout the hunting community. So it was when Larry Pitts retired after thirty-five seasons hunting hounds at the Potomac Hunt (MD). Pitts’s vacancy was filled by huntsman Brian Kiely from the Myopia Hunt (MA); the void at Myopia was filled by huntsman Philip Headdon from the Chagrin Valley Hunt (OH); and the Chagrin Valley opening will be filled this season by huntsman Mark McManus from the Ottawa Valley Hunt (ON).

During his time at Ottawa Valley, McManus definitely left his mark (pun intended). OVH Master Anne McKibbin lets sixteen-year-old whipper-in Carmen Powell-Sadik tell us how.

Mark is an enjoyable person to be around, with many a good story to tell depicting various scenes of humor and horror taken from an exciting and sometimes perilous life of foxhunting in his native Ireland. He remembers times of his childhood riding with his baby brother “sat in me lap” as he (much to his father’s chagrin) jumped the hedges!

Codie Hayes and Her Hounds: A Love Story

codie hayes and needy.gianniniAt age 12, Codie Hayes showed Rose Tree Needy to the Grand Championship at the 2004 Virginia Foxhound Show, the first time ever for a Penn-Marydel. / Lauren Giannini photoFrom the moment Codie Jane Hayes became aware of the world around her, she took to hounds. She progressed from crawling to toddling among the pack of Penn-Marydel foxhounds bred and hunted by her grandfather Jody Murtagh, Jr., ex-MFH. She was a wunderkind, totally at home with hounds and crazy about them. From the way hounds take to her, she was born with a gift—that coveted invisible thread connecting her to hounds wherever she goes.  

In August 2014, Codie, twenty-two, became the professional huntsman for the Golden’s Bridge Hounds in North Salem, New York. This position at any hunt entails huge responsibilities, but after a glimpse into how she spent her childhood and teen years, there’s no doubt that she has been training to be huntsman since she came into the world.

In the Footsteps of a Huntsman

From London's streets to Virginia’s hunt country

bozdan and hounds.cropped.laura rileyHuntsman Andy Bozdan and the Loudoun Fairfax hounds / Laura Riley photo

The job: huntsman. The man: Andrew Bozdan—leader of fifty couple of Old English foxhounds. One hundred canines. How is this possible? In all my life as a dog owner, I’ve only had a handful who actually came when I called. How is it that we mortals have such difficulty in getting our dogs to sit and come and not potty in the house, while this man steers his entire pack in an apparently seamless manner.

The answer is, as always, nothing is ever as easy as it looks. Before the man appears in public, seated atop his skewbald gelding, wearing his scarlet coat, and blowing his copper horn to speak to the mass of hounds seething below, one heck of a lot of work happens and many miles are traveled.

Graham Buston Is New Huntsman at Blue Ridge

graham buston.bear creek.alicia freseGraham Buston and the Bear Creek Hounds in Georgia / Alicia Frese photo

When this season wraps up, Bear Creek Hounds huntsman Graham V. Buston will bid Georgia good-bye and head to Clarke County, Virginia as the new huntsman for the Blue Ridge Hunt. While he is excited about the position, the leave-taking comes with some regrets—the wonderful friends he and his wife, Sheri, have made; some excellent hunting territory in Georgia; and that he will not get to hunt the results of the breeding program he started.