Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Blue Ridge Fall Races Supporting Injured Jockeys Fund

jockeys(l-r) Jockeys Robbie Walsh, Willie McCarthy, and Jeff Murphy greet a couple of young racegoers in support of the Injured Jockeys Fund. / Kathy Rubin photo

At the Calcutta party the night before the Blue Ridge Fall Races this year, racegoers will bid on the jockeys instead of the horses. A number of jockeys—among them Robbie Walsh, Willie McCarthy, Jeff Murphy, Kieran Norris, and Zoe Valvo—will attend the affair to mingle with the crowd and help promote their very own cause, the American Steeplechase Injured Jockeys Fund.

The Calcutta will take place on Friday night, September 19, 2014, and the races will go off on Saturday, September 20. The Blue Ridge Fall Races traditionally support local charities, but this year a portion of the race revenues will be donated to the Injured Jockeys Fund, a relatively recent endeavor that is gaining momentum under enthusiastic leadership.

For every jump jockey who rides races it’s not a question of if; it’s a question of how often he or she will fall and whether or not there will be injuries. With thousand pound Thoroughbred racehorses all galloping to the same fences at thirty-five miles an hour, falls and injuries are part and parcel of the game. And some injuries turn out to be life-changers for the jockey.

Photographer Douglas Lees Awarded S. Bryce Wing Trophy

 douglees.hitchenJanet Hitchen photoTwo-time Eclipse Award-winning photographer Douglas Lees was this year’s recipient of the S. Bryce Wing Trophy, awarded by the Maryland Hunt Cup Association to honor individuals who have made exceptional contributions to Maryland timber racing. Lees is a regular contributor to Foxhunting Life, and we congratulate him for his latest achievement.

With one foot in racing and one foot in foxhunting, Lees is a double threat. Each spring, during the point-to-point season, Lees sends us his brilliant racing photographs to enliven our coverage of the hunt races, and we publish his foxhunting images regularly. In fact, the cover photo of huntsman Spencer Allen and the Piedmont foxhounds for our just-published 2015 Foxhunting Life calendar was taken by Lees.

A Miracle of Love and Hope...And a Horse Named Logan smithScout and LoganOur dear friend Scout (Vicki) Valentine can breathe thanks to a miracle. The miracle that skilled surgeons, with God’s help, can take the working, useful lungs from a person who has left this life and place them in a person whose work on this earth is not done. The further miracle that the timing of the donor’s passing coincided with the hour of Scout’s greatest need.

Scout received her new lungs in the very early hours of June 8, 2013. The journey to that day began nearly two years earlier when Scout developed a nasty cough. It was diagnosed as pneumonia and treated as such. It seemingly was on its way to resolution until several months later when it became apparent there were some lingering symptoms.

Over the next several months diagnostic tests were run and Scout fluctuated between feeling normal and feeling just a bit off. The “off” didn’t stop her from being active. She continued to run several days a week and take riding lessons which she had begun in 2010. She had made her debut in the hunt field in early 2011 at a Red Rock Hounds joint meet in Santa Ynez and had become quite hooked on riding.

The Hardaway-Morgan-Bell Connection

Captain Tom Morgan presents the South Tyrone Foxhounds Hon Whip Paul Kinane and huntsman Ryan Carvill for Beauty winner of the Isaac Bell TrophyCaptain Tom Morgan (seated) presents the Isaac Bell Perpetual Challenge Cup to South Tyrone Foxhounds Honorary Whipper-In Paul Kinane and huntsman Ryan Carvill for Beauty, winning un-entered female hound, at the National Irish Masters of Foxhounds Show. / Noel Mullins photo

The above photograph caught my eye because of the man in the wheelchair, Captain Tom Morgan. The photo is one of several sent by photo/journalist and author Noel Mullins, a regular contributor to Foxhunting Life, reporting on the National Irish Masters of Foxhound Show held on Sunday, July 6, 2014.

Captain Morgan, now in his mid-nineties, is one of the few people still alive who intimately knew and worked closely in his hound breeding program with the late Isaac “Ikey” Bell, father of the modern English foxhound. The only other living individual I know who knew and benefitted from his relationship with Ikey Bell is Ben Hardaway, also in his mid-nineties.

If it weren’t for Ikey Bell and Tom Morgan, Ben Hardaway would not have his Hardaway Crossbred as we know it today. And if it weren’t for Bell, we wouldn’t have the modern English foxhound as we know it today.