Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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The Colorful Life of the Yellow Earl

yellow earlThe Earl and Countess Lonsdale Arriving From Barleythorpe, With Party for the Hunt Chases, 1893. Cuthbert Bradley (English, 1861-1943). National Sporting Library & Museum. (His livery, carriages, automobiles, and other accouterments were canary yellow for all occasions.)

On a lovely spring day in 1885, two gentlemen sat on their horses near the statue of Achilles by Richard Westmacott in London’s Hyde Park. The gentlemen were well acquainted. Hugh Cecil Lowther, the Fifth Earl of Lonsdale (1857-1944) and Sir George Chetwynd, (1849-1917) were both sportsmen and moved in similar circles. Both men were waiting to meet someone—Lillie Langtry. The famous actress had accidentally agreed to ride with both Hugh and George on the same morning. And in the absence of a graceful way of escaping the predicament, Lillie had simply stayed home.

Both men soon discussed their situation and were dismayed to find they were waiting for the same person. And in short order, both men argued, then came to blows for Lillie’s affections, despite the fact that both men were married, and it was widely known that Lillie was the mistress of the Prince of Wales. When their horses bolted from under them, the gentlemen continued their fistfight in the dust. It didn’t go well for Lonsdale, as Sir George managed to headlock Lonsdale before both men were separated—bloody and swearing. London was full of the news of the fight, and to add insult to injury, Queen Victoria summoned Lonsdale to personally express her displeasure with his conduct.

Melvin Poe Speaks

The late Melvin Poe remains a legendary American huntsman, and undoubtedly will for all time. From his earliest days, Melvin absorbed the ways of the forest and the habits of every wild creature.

From a new book, Foxhunters Speak (The Derrydale Press, 2017), here is one of fifty interviews conducted by an accomplished author highly experienced in the art of the interview. Mary Kalergis has traveled the country to learn how foxhunters acquired their passion. For books inscribed by the author, purchase directly.

GTPics 27Mary Kalergis photo

I was born in 1920, five miles down the road from where I live now in Hume, Virginia. There were ten of us in the family—five girls and five boys. My dad worked for a dollar a day. He had hounds when I was a little boy, and as soon as I got big enough to hunt, that was all I wanted to do. I loved to hunt skunks and possum at night when I was a schoolboy. We had no coons in those days. No beavers either. Those skins would have been worth a lot more than skunk or possum.

Stella Smith: Eighty-Five Years Following Hounds

stella smith at ninety.mullinsStella Smith celebrates her ninetieth birthday hunting with the Tara Harriers (IRE). Her son, Henry Smith (shown right) is Master and huntsman. /  Noel Mulliins photo

What does one do to celebrate a ninetieth birthday? Well some people probably go on a cruise, while a few may go on a religious pilgrimage, then others are just happy to be upright. But not Stella Smith. To her, age is just another number. So she went for a day’s hunting with the Tara Harriers, hunted by her son Henry. This was not just impulse, as Stella rides out most mornings on her family farm at Corballis, Donabate, in North County Dublin, Ireland, on her coloured hunter out of a mare that happened to be in foal without them knowing. Hence the name, Surprise.

Michael Dempsey, longtime Master and former huntsman of the Galway Blazers, describes Stella as the most natural horsewomen ever to cross Galway stone walls, getting the most from any horse she rode. Stella (Briscoe) who her mother described as a lovely mistake, there being such an age gap between her brother George and her sister Constance, was born into a hunting and racing family.

A Huntsman's Life on the Ol' Plantation

martyn2.caroline

Martyn Blackmore was destined to work with foxhounds. Born in Somerset in the southwest of England, both his grandfather and his great-grandfather worked as harbourers* with the Devon and Somerset staghounds. These are true countrymen who help maintain a robust wild deer population by selecting the stag to be separated from the herd by the tufters** for the pack to hunt.

The harbourers don’t have to ride. Nor was Martyn eager to be a horseman. “They bite at one end, kick at the other, and they’re uncomfortable in the middle,” was his impression. Eventually, however, he met a girl who changed his mind...even about horses.