Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Old Dominion Hounds

olddominion

Fauquier County, Virginia

Website: facebook page


steve farrin.amwell valley.pa natl2013Huntsman Steve Farrin, parading Amwell Valley hounds at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show (2013).

It’s time for our annual report on the recent moves of huntsmen across North America. The huntsman is my hero. From the time we mount up and for the few hours that follow, it is he or she most directly responsible for the day’s sport. How the huntsman has bred, trained, deployed, and communicated with his troops—the hounds—has everything to do with the satisfaction of our day in the field.

The moves have been numerous this season, and, in a two cases, we have experienced whippers-in finally achieving their dream of a pack of their own to hunt. We’ll catch up with Alasdair Storer, Andrew Bozdan, Kathryn Butler, Stephen Farrin, Danny Kerr, Emily Melton, and Timothy Michel.

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 People

steve farrin.amwell valley.pa natl2013Huntsman Steve Farrin, parading Amwell Valley hounds at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show (2013).

It’s time for our annual report on the recent moves of huntsmen across North America. The huntsman is my hero. From the time we mount up and for the few hours that follow, it is he or she most directly responsible for the day’s sport. How the huntsman has bred, trained, deployed, and communicated with his troops—the hounds—has everything to do with the satisfaction of our day in the field.

The moves have been numerous this season, and, in a two cases, we have experienced whippers-in finally achieving their dream of a pack of their own to hunt. We’ll catch up with Alasdair Storer, Andrew Bozdan, Kathryn Butler, Stephen Farrin, Danny Kerr, Emily Melton, and Timothy Michel.

Old Dominon Hounds (VA)
After twelve seasons carrying the horn at Amwell Valley Hounds (NJ), Stephen Farrin is moving to Old Dominion.

“I am a third generation huntsman,” wrote Steve, “who has hunted and consequently gleaned many years of valuable knowledge from my family, mentors, and fellow huntsmen to guide my experience.”

Indeed, Steve has had an exceedingly rare foundation for any huntsman. He grew up in the kennels of the Quorn (UK), in a hunting country considered the cream of High Leicestershire. For thirty seasons (1968 to 1998) Steve’s late father, Michael Farrin, was the acclaimed huntsman for the Quorn. This is the hunt that actually kicked off the era of modern mounted foxhunting late in the eighteenth century during the time of Hugo Meynell, MFH, namesake of the “Meynellian Science.” Meynell actually invented a brand new way of hunting the fox—at speed, over open country, jumping obstacles as they came. We’ve been doing it his way ever since.

An aspiring huntsman could have had no finer education than growing up in the Quorn kennels with foxhounds of the finest lineages, absorbing the breeding, training, raising, showing, and hunting of this renowned pack. Steve is also a 2009 graduate of the MFHA’s Professional Development Program.

Steve emigrated to the U.S. in 2006, whipped-in to the Myopia Hunt (MA), Rombout Hunt (NY), Green Spring Valley Hounds (MD) for six seasons, and spent the last twelve years as huntsman for the Amwell Valley.

Taking over the horn at Amwell Valley will be Kathryn Butler, who arrives in New Jersey from her previous post as professional huntsman for Limestone Creek Hunt (NY).

emily melton.karenkandraEmily Melton whipped-in at Howard County-Iron Bridge / Karen Kandra photo

New Market-Middletown Valley Hounds (MD)
Emily Melton moves to New Market-Middleton Valley as huntsman. Emily has whipped-in for nine seasons at the Howard County-Iron Bridge Hounds (MD) and is a another graduate of the MFH’s Professional Development Program. Emily feels good about her career advancement as she approaches her new post.

“I think I’m ready now,” she said. She paused for a moment, then looked at me squarely in the eye and said with absolute confidence, “Yes, I’m really ready for this step.”

Former New Market-Middletown Valley huntsman Alasdair Storer, who has also been hunting the Middletown Valley Beagles, will concentrate solely on the beagle pack as huntsman and Joint-Master. This is no surprise. Allie hunted a topnotch beagle pack in England before coming to the States, and has a special place in his heart for the breed.

Timothy Michel becomes another first-time huntsman as he takes over the horn for the Bull Run Hunt (VA). Tim has been mentored and trained by the Masters and huntsmen of two top American hunts—Midland Fox Hounds (GA) and Green Spring Valley Hounds (MD)—having whipped-in and served as kennel huntsman.

Sheila Jackson Brown, MFH, Green Spring Valley, while disappointed that Tim will be leaving, has no doubt that Tim is ready for this advancement in his career.

“I hunted 140 days at Midland and 115 days a season at Green Spring, so there is no question I love to hunt!” Tim told his new employers. His wife, Jody, has been managing the Green Spring Valley stables, and will be looking for a similar opportunity in the Bull Run country. Daughters Abby (sixteen) and Samantha (seven) are accomplished riders as well.

andy bozdan2Andy Bozdan calls in hounds.

Camargo Hunt (OH)
London-born Andy Bozdan is the new huntsman at Camargo. Andy has hunted all manner of hounds—from Old English foxhounds to Penn-Marydels, beagles, and bloodhounds. And he’s hunted hounds in all manner of hunting countries—England, Australia, and North America. And he arrives with his wife, Erin, who can whip-in to him!

Andy previously held the huntsman’s post at Tennessee Valley Hunt (TN), where he and whipper-in Erin Doyle were married. After that, he was the first huntsman for the newly-merged Loudoun-Fairfax Hunt (VA), before taking a sabbatical and whipping-in most recently to huntsman Graham Buston at the Blue Ridge Hunt (VA). Andy has made friends wherever he’s been.

Danny Kerr, Camargo’s huntsmen for the last twenty-nine seasons, has retired. Prior to moving to Camargo, he was professional huntsman at the Sedgefield Hunt (NC) for eight seasons. Now in his sixties, Danny has enjoyed a long career hunting hounds and looks forward to enjoying some entirely different aspects of life before picking up a hunting horn again. If, indeed, he decides to do that at all!

Danny’s son is about to enter his senior year of high school, is playing football, and has garnered sufficient attention such that Danny wants to be with him as the family looks toward their son’s future in college sport. And Danny’s good friend, Tot Goodwin, has just registered his newly established hunt with the MFHA this year, the Goodwin Hounds (NC), and Danny plans to spend some hunting time with Tot. For some huntsmen, retirement looks like an ending; for Danny Kerr, retirement looks more like a new beginning.

Posted June 30, 2019

va19.gsv sappire.karenkGrand Champion Green Spring Valley Sapphire with (l-r) huntsman Ashley Hubbard; Franklin Whit Foster, MFH; J.W.Y. Martin, MFH; Virginia Foxhound Club president Joan Jones, ex-MFH; and Sheila Jackson Brown, MFH. /   Karen Kandra photo

More than six hundred foxhounds from thirty-seven hunts were exhibited at the Virginia Foxhound Show at Morven Park on Sunday, May 26, 2019, over the Labor Day Weekend. Hunts from thirteen states up and down the Eastern Seaboard and from as far away as Texas brought foxhounds to stand up against the finest examples of their breeds in North America. It is the largest foxhound show in the world.

In the always exciting final class of the show, four foxhound Champions—American, English, Crossbred, and Penn-Marydel—presented themselves to be judged for this year’s Grand Championship Class. It’s always a difficult class to judge because each entry has already been winnowed down throughout the day’s classes and has been chosen as the best specimen of its type by the judges in each ring. Each hound is deserving, and the attention and hopes of all spectators, though friendly, are ratcheted to a new level.

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albertpoe.portrait.leesAlbert Poe was huntsman of the Middleburg Hunt (VA) for 15 years before retiring from an illustrious career breeding and hunting old Virgnia Bywaters type foxhounds. / Douglas Lees photo

Albert Poe died on Saturday night, May 18, 2019. He was arguably the finest American-born professional breeder of foxhounds of our time. Along with his brother, Melvin, the pair have to be considered the two most storied American-born professional huntsmen that any foxhunter living today could have followed across the country.

Melvin might have been considered the more gregarious personality, but Albert, in his quiet way, was extremely articulate. He could put into words the hunting wisdom which developed perhaps instinctively.

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Photos by Douglas Lees

odh19.maiden hurdleMaiden Hurdle race (l-r): #1, Apollo Landing (Bryan Cullinane up) finishes 1st; Leopard Cat (Paul Cawley up) places 2nd.

The trainer-rider team of Jimmy Day and Bryan Cullinane won four of the nine races carded at the Old Dominion Point-to-Point at Ben Venue Farm on Saturday, April 6, 2019. The Amateur/Novice Rider Hurdle (first race) was a walkover, and the rest of the fields were sparse, but Day and Cullinane won over hurdles, over timber, and on the flat.

In the Maiden Hurdle, Cullinane took Charlie Fenwick’s Apollo Landing right out to the front and pulled away from Leopard Cat for the easy win.

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