Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Karen Stives Succumbs After Long Illness

karen stivesKaren Stives and Ben Arthur, 1984 Olympics

Olympic medal-winner Karen Stives died peacefully at her home in Dover, Massachusetts on August 14, 2015 after a five-year battle with cancer. She was sixty-four. Karen was a member of the Norfolk Hunt Club but her great passion was competition, and there she made history.

Karen showed hunters and jumpers successfully through the 1970s and then became smitten with eventing and dressage. She was the first woman to win an Individual Medal in an Olympic Three-Day Event, winning the individual Silver Medal in the 1984 summer Olympics in Los Angeles on her gray Irish-bred Ben Arthur. In doing so, she anchored the U.S. team in capturing the Team Gold Medal in the Three-Day Event that year. In 1982 she had represented the U.S. in the World Championship Three-Day Event at Luhmuhlen aboard her Thoroughbred horse, The Saint. She was the USEA Rider of the Year in 1981, 1987, and 1988.

In her induction into the USEA Hall of Fame, Karen is described as a “New England rider who rose to the top of international competition through sheer diligence, hard work, and plenty of natural ability, and is called a ‘small package with a thousand-pound brain,’ by longtime friend and colleague, Jim Wolf.  At one time she contemplated trying out for both the U.S. eventing and dressage teams in the same year—an idea she discarded after riding in two separate selection trials in the same weekend!”

Ron Black: A Foxhunting Purist

black.ron.cumbrian.fox.hunter.historianAuthor/historian Ron Black, a fourth-generation foot hunter who strove to preserve the foxhunting history of his beloved Cumbria.I never met Ron Black in person, but I knew him so well. We’d been carrying on an email friendship for years. Ron died of cancer on September 5, 2017.

Over the years our correspondence covered all sorts of subjects—foxhunting, politics, world affairs. (He was for Hillary, all the way.) He scoffed at us mounted foxhunters for our preoccupation with horses and fancy clothing, and he would start most notes with, “How are things in the Colonies?” His sense of history was a huge part of who he was. And it was to preserve the history of foxhunting in his beloved Cumbria, after the despised Hunting Act became law, that possessed him to start a website and begin collecting that history.

That’s how John Harrison became friends with Ron Black. Harrison is currently hunting the Deep Run Hunt (VA) foxhounds, but twenty years ago Harrison was huntsman for one of the storied foot packs in the Lake District, the Ullswater Foxhounds. Ron was writing a book about the Ullswater. It was the hunt of Harrison’s boyhood, and he had returned to England from Toronto and North York (ON) to take up the horn there. It is a hard and dangerous place: climbing borrans (stone piles), crags (cliffs), and crossing the scree beds (fallen stone from the crags). It’s country that would ruin a horse the first time out. Harrison hunted the Ullswater hounds on foot there for eighteen seasons before returning to North America three years ago.

Foxhunter, Hall of Fame Horseman Bucky Reynolds Dies

bucky reynolds and kim nash.lees(Front) "Bucky" Reynolds and Kimbrough Nash, MFH, out with the Warrenton foxhounds / Douglas Lees photo

Famed horseman J. Arthur “Bucky” Reynolds died Monday, July 24, 2017, after a long illness. He was seventy-eight.

Bucky grew up in Tryon, North Carolina. His father J. Arthur Reynolds, Sr., a native of Orange, Virginia, was huntsman of the Tryon Hounds at the time. Both Bucky and his sister Betty Reynolds Oare grew up foxhunting and showing. Reynolds, Sr., a professional horseman, ran his own boarding and training facility. Bucky and his sister learned to ride under their father’s instruction, and both siblings helped break and train the sale horses as children. Each of the three—father, son, and daughter—have been inducted into the National Show Hunter Hall of Fame.

Rhoda Hopkins Root Lived Life at the Top of Her Games

rhoda hopkins2Rhoda Hopkins, one of the first female professional huntsmen* in North America, died peacefully on June 18, 2017. She was eighty-eight.

Rhoda hunted the Fairfield County Hounds (CT) for fifteen years, from 1979 to 1994. Her pack of Penn-Marydel foxhounds provided excellent sport in the field, and excelled at the hound shows, winning the Pack Class at Bryn Mawr for seven consecutive seasons. Hers were the first Penn-Marydels I ever hunted behind, and I remember galloping as fast to keep up as I have behind any other pack of foxhounds since.

Henry Hooker, MFH, Sportsman and Raconteur (1933-2017)

henry hookerFor all his important accomplishments, Henry Hooker could just crack you up with a story.

Henry Hooker, MFH since 1963 of the Hillsboro Hounds in Nashville, Tennessee, passed away at home on April 24, 2017, following a long illness. He was eighty-four.

Sadly, the world of field sport has lost a genial, enthusiastic, humorous, and visionary citizen. With his deliberate and clear Tennessee-inflected drawl, dry wit, and a sparkle in his eye, he was one of the most amusing raconteur’s ever to unfold a story. From the field or the podium—he was a highly-sought speaker—he could just crack you up.

In his memoir, Fox, Fin, and Feather: Tales from the Field (The Derrydale Press, 2002), he took his readers, on a raucous jaunt—foxhunting, fishing, and shooting—from the dark hills and hollows of the Tennessee night hunters to the exclusive quail-shooting plantations of South Georgia. He connected the “Brahmins of the chase” (English-inspired mounted foxhunters) to their American roots (southern night hunters and field trialers). The characters he ran across in the course of his sporting adventures furnished all the material he ever needed for his hilarious and touching anecdotes. For example...

Randy Rouse, MFH and Steeplechase Icon, Dies at 100

randy rouse.cinzano.leesRandy Rouse on his steeplechase champion Cinzano. The pair went to the starting line 11 times, and won every race. / Douglas Lees photo

Randolph D. “Randy” Rouse—Master of Foxhounds, retired champion race rider, Thoroughbred trainer, musician, and national steeplechase icon, died early Friday, April 7, 2017 at age one-hundred.

He was the oldest trainer in North American Thoroughbred history to saddle a winner, ever. He was ninety-nine last April when his Hishi Soar won the Daniel Van Clief Memorial at Foxfield Spring Races. This season, at age one hundred, just one week before his death, he sent Hishi Soar to the starting line again and won the Open Hurdle Race at the Orange County Point-to-Point in Virginia.

Marion Scullin: Doyenne of the Howard County–Iron Bridge Hounds

marion scullin and opal.KWW photoMarion Lee Crosson Scullin with one of her many favorite hounds, Howard County-Iron Bridge Opal.Marion Lee Crosson Scullin passed away peacefully at her Damascus, Maryland home after a brief struggle with brain cancer on March 5, 2017.

Born March 3, 1943 in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, to a family of huntsmen (father, grandfather, uncles, and cousins), Marion’s future could be said to have been predetermined. At the time she was born, Marion’s father, Albert “Pud” Crosson, was the huntsman for Rose Tree Foxhunting Club, moving to Huntingdon Valley Hounds, then Whitelands Hunt, and concluding his career with Pickering Hunt where, in 1976, he “died in the hunting field of a heart attack after his hounds completed a splendid run, marking their fox to ground.” Inducted into the Huntsman’s Room of the Museum of Hounds and Hunting, Marion’s father was known for breeding a hard-running pack of deep-throated Penn-Marydels.