“I can’t take credit,” admits Midland huntsman Ken George, “because I didn’t breed him, but he’s one of a kind!”
A sober demon could be considered a contradiction in terms, but Ken describes Midland Striker 2015 as a foxhound possessing surprisingly contradictory traits. The handsome Crossbred dog hound was judged Grand Champion of Show at the tenth annual Southern Hound Show on April 9, 2016 at Live Oak Plantation in Monticello, Florida.
“The whole litter is fantastic,” continued Ken. “As an unentered hound last season, Striker was in on ten kills. He’s always right there.
Huntsmen sometimes worry about a first-year hound being too precocious. Often, by the second or third year, such hounds begin to think too much of themselves as individuals to fit in as good team members of the pack. Ken’s not worried about Striker in that way.
The Irish Hunter: An Exceptional Horse Across Any Country includes a portfolio of some five hundred photographic images taken at more than sixty hunts by photo/journalist Noel Mullins in his travels in Ireland and abroad over the last twenty years. More than two hundred of the images illustrate the exceptional jumping ability of this marvellous horse tackling a wide variety of natural cross country obstacles such as stone walls, ditches, hedges, streams, and double banks as well as man-made obstacles such as gates, concrete railings, metal barriers, wire, pallets, and even the bed post and church pew that one might occasionally come across hunting in the Irish countryside!
In hunting fields in North America, Mullins has photographed the Irish Hunter out with the Green Spring Valley, Genesee Valley, Orange County, Mr Stewart's Cheshire, Lowcountry, and Palm Beach Hounds.
In his Introduction the author looks at how horses originated in Ireland from wild horses 28,000 years ago to domesticated horses circa 2,400 BC, and some of the various breeds that graced the Irish countryside since, such as the Irish Hobby, the Garraun, Donegal, Cushendall, Rathlin, and the Kerry Bog Pony. Then there’s the Irish Draught Horse, the Connemara Pony and the Thoroughbred, whose offspring give rise to what we know today as the Irish Hunter, also known as the Irish Draught Cross and the Irish Sport Horse.
Captain Ian W. Farquhar, MFH of the Duke of Beaufort (UK), who judged at this show seven years ago, was joined in the ring by John J. Carle II, ex-MFH of the Keswick Hunt (VA).
Ian Farquhar, huntsman for thirty-eight seasons, judged his first show forty-two years ago and has bred nineteen Peterborough champions. Jake Carle, who hunted hounds for twenty-eight seasons, has judged for over forty years at all the major hound shows in the United States. Over the course of the weekend these two very senior judges enjoyed each other immensely and got along famously in the ring despite their English and Bywaters leanings respectively. Interestingly, thirty-four ribbons were won by Crossbreds, and twenty went to English hounds. Two Champions were Crossbred, and two were English.
Leica was a remarkable horse whose career took her from incorrigible youngster with a vicious buck to an impressive third-place finish at age twenty-four in the grueling MFHA Centennial Field Hunter Championship. She was still hunting and showing at age twenty-seven, when she had to be humanely euthanized as the result of a pasture injury.
With her bloodlines and dazzling good looks, Leica was primed to be an outstanding dressage horse. An imported bay with touches of white, she was registered Hanoverian (by Lindberg, out of St. Pr. Kari) who was also entered in the main stud book of the RPSI (Rheinland Pfalz Saar International) and Holsteiner registries.
But after abuse from trainers who pushed her too far too fast, Leica had other ideas, says owner Julie Whitlock McKee of Grantville, Georgia. McKee acquired the hard-headed mare at age four after the trainers gave up on her. The pair did not get off to an auspicious start, with Leica rearing the first time McKee threw a leg over her. Rearing and bucking would become a regular occurrence.