Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Keswick Hunt

keswick

Keswick, Virginia

Website: www.keswickhuntclub.com


hugh motley2Hugh Motley, MFH with the Keswick foxhounds / Courtesy of the Motley Family

Hugh Douglas Camp Motley, ex-MFH of the Keswick Hunt (VA) and a highly-regarded horseman who started his own bloodstock agency and sold Thoroughbred horses at many of America's premier racing sales, died in Wellington, Florida on January 9, 2016 of complications from pneumonia. He was sixty.

Hugh foxhunted all his life and served as Master of Foxhounds for the Keswick Hunt (VA) from 2000 to 2005. He also played polo for many years as a member of the Charlottesville Polo Club.

Jake Carle, longtime Master and huntsman at Keswick, remembers Hugh from the time he was hunting ponies. “He was game as hell," Jake recalls. "He would go anywhere on his pony."

“We bonded instantly because we both stuttered as kids, so I understood. Later, he whipped-in to me. When it was time to name a new Joint-Master, he was the only person I trusted to maintain the standards. And he did.

"He hired [huntsman] Tony Gammell, and they had a bond. He had the most wonderful sense of humor, and we all will miss him terribly. He’s one of only a few people I know who was liked by everyone who met him.

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JNAFHC2015.heatherjumpHeather Feconda, Loudoun-Fairfax Hunt (VA), was Champion, 13 & Over, on Yogi. /  Richard Clay photo

The Junior North American Field Hunter Championship competition that began modestly twelve years ago between a handful of geographically-close Virginia hunts continues to expand in scope. This year’s competition involved juniors from twenty-seven hunts located across six MFHA Districts.

The program is succeeding because it’s purpose rises above just competition. Founders Douglas Wise, MFH, Old Dominion Hounds and Iona Pillion from the Blue Ridge Hunt had a larger dream: bring children to new hunting countries and open their eyes to the fact that these playgrounds don’t just happen to be there for them by chance, but have been nurtured and conserved for the perpetuation of wildlife, open space, and for those who treasure the natural world.

“We want these kids to know what a conservation easement is,” said Marion Chungo, one of the organizers.

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nancy coverSandra Forbush photo

If you are wondering where in the Keswick countryside the cover picture was taken, you are observant. It was not taken in Keswick but at Massie’s Corner in Rappahannock County where I grew up. My father, Wade Massie, loved to hunt foxes. My Uncle Jim tells how Pop used to get on the school bus in the morning and get off a few stops later where there would be a horse waiting for him. He would hunt all day with Ennis Jenkins, Larry Jenkins’ father, and get back on the bus in the afternoon. His parents were none the wiser.

Later Jack Bruce helped Pop put together a pack of hounds which Clint Eastham, son of famous hound breeder C.C. Eastham, would hunt for him. (It is kind of fun to think about how I would hunt with hounds and people with a lot of the same bloodlines sixty years later).

Pop also hunted with Rappahannock and was a whipper-in there. Current Rappahannock Master Oliver Brown likes to tell a story about how Pop could make any horse quiet. One day a visitor from New Jersey had come down to hunt. The visitor's horse was rank, while Pop’s was going along well. Halfway through the day Pop offered to switch horses. By day's end Pop’s new mount was going along on the buckle, and the visitor’s horse was jigging all around.

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carolinas15.david traxlerGrand Champion Hillsboro Graphic '14 with professional whipper-in Leilani Hrisko. Judges (l-r) are MFHs Tony Leahy and Dr. Jack Van Nagell / David Traxler photoHillsboro Graphic '14 was judged Grand Champion of Show at the thirty-ninth annual Carolinas Hound Show held at the Springdale Race Course in Camden, South Carolina on May 8 and 9, 2015.

Whelped to royal bloodlines—American on the sire’s side and English on the dam’s side—it should have been no surprise to see Graphic garner top honors. Her sire is Hillsboro Jethro '08, son of the magnificent Potomac Jefferson '05, Grand Champion Foxhound at Virginia in the year of the MFHA Centennial celebration, 2007.

On the dam’s side, Graphic goes back in tail female to North Cotswold Grapefruit '95, a Peterborough Champion and dam of several influential foxhounds in North America including Iroquois Grundy '98, Master Jerry Miller’s all-time favorite foxhound, and Mid-Devon Grocer '00, sire of Virginia and Bryn Mawr champion hounds from Blue Ridge.

Foxhounds from fourteen hunts and five states trod the flags at Carolinas: Aiken, Camden, DeLa Brooke, Green Creek, Hillsboro, Keswick, Lowcountry, Moore County, Red Mountain, Sedgefield, Tennessee Valley, Tryon, Whiskey Road, and Why Worry.

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Here’s Phil Audibert's cleverly edited video montage of the Keswick Hunt’s 2014/2015 foxhunting season, set to the music of the Ryegrass Rollers. The fox, the hounds, huntsman Tony Gammell, Masters, staff, and the Keswick field members all play the starring roles in this fast-paced romp through the Virginia countryside.