Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound
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FHL WEEK, November 16, 2017

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This Week in...

...Hounds

Moore County Hound Trials: Report From the Field by Lori Brunnen (pg. 2)
Our intrepid reporter has a new horse rescued from the abattoir, hunted once for the first time in Maryland, and pronounced ready to join the field at a hound trial.

Penn-Marydels: A Hound For All Reasons by Lisa Peterson (pg. 6)
Lisa remembers hunting with PMDs in Connecticut and New York, reviews their history, and notes the changes in this endearing breed of foxhound.

...Hunting Days of Yore

Bowerman the Hunter: A Story for Halloween (pg. 9)
A hunting legend explains why the witches abandoned Dartmoor, what physical evidence of their powers were left behind, and where in Britain they landed. Happy Halloween!

...Remembrance

Benjamin Hurt Hardaway, III, American Foxhunting Icon (pg. 11)
Remembering the most widely-known American foxhunter both here and abroad and the most influential American breeder of foxhounds of the twentieth century.

...Video of the Week

Hubertus Hunt: Foxhunting in Denmark (pg. 14)
An annual steeplechase near Copenhagen harking back to the Royal Danish Hunt of the 1680s.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moore County Hound Trials: Report From the Field

Hounds

 lori and karen“He’s hunted twice; let’s take him to the Field Trial.” Author Lori Brunnen in the foreground, riding Sunny. Saved from the abattoir, he took to the hunting field like a veteran. Karen Miller accompanies Lori.  /   Amy Gesell photo

Since last year I have been trying to hunt with George Harne’s private Maryland pack, the Last Chance Hounds. This season I finally managed one day out with them and had a great morning, despite having Frankie’s bridle slip off, falling flat rectifying it, and finally being dragged a ways on my stomach. At least I did not let go. It was kindly described at breakfast as being “seventy-five percent elegant.” This is a small, close-knit group, and I felt lucky to have been able to join them.

Shortly after this outing I learned that friend Karen Miller was accompanying them to the Moore County Hound Performance Trial, an MFHA Hark Forward event in North Carolina the second weekend in October. We agreed to drive down together. The six hounds entered were traveling with huntsman Lisa Reid and whipper-in Marie LaBaw. Master George Harne was driving down with his friend, Roy Good, leaving at 1:30 Friday morning because George said he would be “too excited to sleep” anyway. Lisa and Marie were leaving at 4:30 Friday morning. Despite the fact that the first trial event was not until 4:00 pm Friday, Karen and I simultaneously agreed we were leaving at “10 o’clock Thursday morning.” No getting up in the dark unless absolutely necessary. This is an annual trip for the group but the first Performance Trial for Karen and me. We were stoked.

 

 

 

 

lincoln sadlerMoore County huntsman Lincoln Sadler served as Trial Huntsman.  /   Lori Brunnen photoActual departure time was 11:30 am from the local Starbucks. This was the first time Karen was driving her gooseneck for any distance so we took it slow and easy. Traffic was relatively steady through the DC-Northern Virginia bottleneck. When we got close we started getting worried texts from George who was afraid we would arrive in the dark. Too late, that horse has already left the barn. We spoke to Moore County huntsman Lincoln Sadler, explaining that we were following the directions included in the registration information. Lincoln asked “What directions?” Gulp. Then he said those were written by his wife (Cameron Sadler, MFH) and that we should “ignore them.”

The sign to the Field Trial Grounds was indeed large and we swung left when it loomed in the headlights. Feeling sure the six-way intersection would be obvious, we realized when we reached it that it was simply the intersection of six sand roads which we confirmed by stopping to count. As instructed we bore left, not a hard left, but a soft sort of left. Creeping along the pitch black sand road we recognized the glow ahead as our destination. “There is no other structure on the sand roads until this clubhouse.” Despite the fact that I had reserved a stall, there was more than enough room for two horses in the paddock Karen had reserved. The grounds were empty except for us. After unloading, unhooking, and feeding horses, we retraced what seemed a much shorter trip to the hotel. It was 9:30pm by the time we got there. Peanut butter sandwiches with wine for dinner, a little TV, and we hit the hay.

The first trial event was numbering the hounds at 4:00 pm on Friday. Karen and I decided to visit the Cabin Branch Tack Shop in Southern Pines in the morning. Very nice shop where I bought a “magic” sponge. Last March Madness at Bull Run in Virginia, I left Horse Country with a pair of ten-dollar bell boots. Fine shopping establishments are wasted on me. Either I have everything I need or am too cheap to buy what I don’t. For lunch we hit Betsy’s Crepes. Ordered a “savory” crepe when I really wanted a Nutella and whipped cream “sweet” crepe extravaganza. I still regret it a little. Glad we had the chance because by Sunday the place was gutted for renovations. Southern Pines is charming. After lunch we headed for the trial grounds to feed our horses and watch hounds being numbered.

marie and krackenMarie LaBaw paints the number on her house hound, Kracken.  /   Lori Brunnen photo

While we were feeding, Lisa and Marie were the first to arrive with hounds. Marking options were stencils, paint brush, bleach or hair dye. Marie wielded the brush while Lisa steadied the hounds. Karen and I simply held hounds while they dried which was almost immediate. Since we did not need to attend the Judges meeting we returned to the hotel until cocktails and dinner were scheduled to roll out. Something different at this trial was that the huntsman of each entered pack would be doing the judging. An independent huntsman would hunt the combined packs, while the judges rode up forward with hounds. I am familiar with Field Trial judging from my years coursing my whippets, although they are judged on different abilities. Coursing hounds were judged on speed, agility, endurance, enthusiasm, and follow. The foxhounds would be judged on hunting, trailing, full cry, endurance and marking. Different categories to judge scent hounds versus sight hounds.

By the time we returned for cocktails things had livened up with the arrival of attendees from Aiken, Cedar Knob, Last Chance, Thornton Hill, Camden, Mecklenburg, Sedgefield, and Wiggins hunts. Arriving as well were George and Roy who had gotten an unavoidable late start waiting for Roy’s girlfriend. Moore County hospitality was enjoyed by a congenial group drawn together to celebrate hounds. The porch was a quiet place to sit. George seems to know everyone. He is even friends with the people at the BP station on the corner. Weather was cool and unseasonable with no sign of the oppressive weather of the week before. Moore County Huntsman Lincoln Sadler, Belle Meade MFH Epp Wilson and MFHA Executive Director David Twiggs explained the trial process and function. This is the second time I have met the gregarious David Twiggs, and I am convinced he will do great things for the sport. No doubt the final stern reminder that if your hound’s number could not be read, the hound could not be judged, sent a few scurrying to double check their marking jobs.

george and roy(l-r) George Harne, MFH, Last Chance Hounds, Lori Brunnen, Roy Good  /   Amy Gesell photo

Saturday’s ratcatcher hunt would start at 8:00 am on the nine-thousand-acre J. Robert Gordon Field Trial Grounds. When the alarm went off in the morning I told Karen that the digital reading on my bedside clock had not moved off 6:30 for twelve hours. Turns out I had been looking at the temperature setting on the air conditioner beneath the window. Arriving at the grounds both of us heard the unmistakable gurgling of a coffee percolator coming from our neighbors in the Wiggins Hunt trailer. Unfortunately it turned out to be their water tank.

My mount Sunny—slaughter bound in January before I bought him—has roaded hounds once and hunted once this season. Time to take him to a Field Trial. So far he was handling the trip and trial grounds commotion like a veteran.

The hounds from all the packs were combined and gathered around huntsman Lincoln Sadler as if they had always been together. Hacking down the sand road in front of the Clubhouse, Sunny was taking some minor offense to the kimberwick rein being attached to the lower slot. He was otherwise completely unfazed by the number of hounds and horses, the likes of which he had never seen before. With Sunny being neither fit nor experienced, I stuck to the tiny Hilltopper group. Leaving the road we stepped into deep sand, clumps of pine and coarse grass. As we paused, I spotted a backpacker. Then another. They were everywhere. These were the Special Forces from Fort Bragg on a training exercise.

special forces traineeKaren Miller interrogates her captive, a special forces trainee.  /   Lori Brunnen photoWalking slowly, pausing to check their bearings, then resuming their trek, they could not have been better designed to unhinge a horse. Their eighty-pound packs loomed over their heads making them appear even creepier. They filled the woods in every direction. One of our field members needed to be escorted back, and in the process Karen and I lost the hounds, unfortunately. We did spend a couple of pleasant hours looking for them unsuccessfully. Popped over a couple of logs and avoided the “green grass,” bogs that George said would swallow us without a trace. The area is quite beautiful. We returned to the clubhouse in time for breakfast and a short rehash of the day. Hounds did run a coyote, and Lincoln said, sadly, some hounds did not receive scores due to illegible numbers. Some of us retired to our hotels and some to recheck their hound’s markings. Again. Quick stop at the BP station for George’s pork rinds. Dinner that night was an all you can eat oyster roast at the lovely Moore County Kennels. Moore County hospitality simply cannot be beaten. Settling for bed we relaxed watching “When Animals Attack.”

Sunday morning we met George in the lobby at 6:00, interrupting him giving the breakfast lady advice on her man troubles. By 8:00 we were mounted and heading out into the fog and rows of pines behind the clubhouse. Kimberwick on the upper slot this time. Again, creeping along silently in the mist among the trees were the special forces. This time we were behind George and Roy who kept us close to the fields and seemed to know exactly where they, and everyone else, was. We passed one of the soldiers who broke his silence by saying quietly, “Ma’am, a big red fox just passed through here.” The first run George thought was a grey fox based on how it ran.

The test tubes of yellow fluid taped to a white pole in the middle of nowhere where not urine specimens but light sticks. You break them. Before Lincoln clarified this at breakfast we had concocted many twisted theories of our own. Some involving DNA. George did not really tell us we needed to leave a urine specimen, I made that up. Breakfast followed, and final placings were announced.

Our neighbors the Wiggins Hunt brought one hound and left with an armful of ribbons. The Last Chance Hounds finished with one top five hound overall for hunting, two top ten hounds overall for trailing, 4 of 6 hounds in the top 25 overall and a sixth place Hunt score. Great results even before considering that the six competing hounds equal three-quarters of the entire Last Chance pack!

Coming with an unfit novice horse, I knew ahead of time that I would not be burning up any country. And that was fine. Karen and I proved to be compatible travel companions with the apparent shared ability to go anywhere with a jar of peanut butter, a loaf of bread, and a cooler full of ice. It wasn’t until the last day that she even mentioned “my nest,” referring to the open suitcase out of which I live, which is never moved from where I first drop it. She said it did not bother her.

It was a wonderful weekend. Beautiful country, lovely weather, incredible hospitality, great company, and of course the hounds. In the end it is all about the hounds. I feel lucky to have been able to enjoy it with this small private pack. It is impossible not to notice the deep friendship between George and Roy. They are two of the most naturally funny people I have ever met. And they know everyone. And I am grateful that I have met them. The quiet mutual respect between Master and huntsman is easy to see. Lisa is dead serious about her hounds. Most obvious of all is the utter devotion to their hounds displayed by the three leaders. Unresolved is whether the breakfast lady dumped her lowdown, cheating man.

Posted November 7, 2017

Lori Brunnen is a regular contributor to FHL. She brightens our pages with her unique brand of humor, observing and sharing those odd, personal moments that resonate in all of our foxhunting lives.

Penn-Marydels: A Hound For All Reasons

Hounds

lisa peterson.crop.pmd.freudy(l-r) Sally Teelin, author Lisa Peterson, and huntsman John Ference with the Penn-Marydel foxhounds of the Fairfield County Hunt, circa 1978 / Freudy photo

November brings forth fall, foliage, and foxhunting. The first weekend of the month is the beginning of the formal season for many hunts with its blessing of hounds, hunt breakfasts, and equestrian fashion pageantry that splashes the color of autumnal leaves with scarlet, black, and brown flashes as horses, hounds, and exuberant riders gallop along.

Foxhunting Life published a lovely article by Epp Wilson last month about the Golden’s Bridge Hounds (NY), its pack of Penn-Marydel foxhounds, and its young huntsman Codie Hayes. I had the pleasure of hunting with Golden’s Bridge as a guest a few times in the last decade and thoroughly enjoyed watching the hounds work. I also recall as a teenager hunting with the Fairfield County Hounds in Newtown, Connecticut with their pack that included Penn-Marydels.

According to a Chronicle of the Horse magazine article in 2005, “The consensus among huntsmen with exclusively Penn-Marydel foxhound packs is that they’re unbeatable for their nose, voice, and ease of hunting.” Not only that, but because they are so agreeable to hunt, as one huntsman said, “They sort of hunt themselves and don’t require a lot of additional work.”

The physical appearance and conformation of the Penn-Marydel has seen changes over the years. Hunts forced to move due to development may find themselves in a new and different type of hunting country. Or coyotes have moved into the hunting country, displacing the foxes. Hounds have had to adapt to more or less rugged terrains and longer and more robust runs after coyotes than those of the wily fox who will start and stop, run in circles, and try to “outfox” a pack of hounds. And depending where you are foxhunting across the country, the pack may be comprised of larger or smaller hounds with longer or shorter legs to get where they need to go, either tightly bunched or perhaps well spread out as they hunt.

aiken trailer2Penn-Marydel foxhound, Aiken Trailer 2012 /

A Historic Hound
In the world of foxhunting, you have your English hounds and your American hounds, and then you can also have your Crossbred hounds (English-American foxhound crosses). But all hounds in America originated from the Southern hound brought from England in the 1650s to the new world. Even George Washington was an avid fox hunter and bred his own packs with detailed breeding and pedigree records.

Over the centuries, different types of American hounds evolved through the work of dedicated hound breeders. These breeders were trying to produce hounds more suitable to their own unique hunting countries, and also to better cope with the imported red fox in the nineteenth century which was faster than the native gray fox or the spreading deer population in the last century. They infused bloodlines of other hound types from other places such as France and Ireland, and refined the types through repeated generations of matings by selecting sires and dams that passed on the traits they sought. The pure Penn-Marydel, in fact, has hound bloodlines from both England and France.

At some point, a type of hound bred in Pennsylvania and on the Eastern Shores of Maryland and Delaware was singled out for its ease of handling in the kennel and its fine performance in the field. By the 1930s, sportsmen started to organize these hounds into a specific breed of American hound called the Penn-MaryDel, a combination of the three states’ names from which they hailed. In 1934, the Penn-Marydel Association was formed to preserve the bloodlines of this foxhound and to keep a stud book.

Today, the Masters of Foxhounds Association (MFHA) is the keeper of the stud book of all hounds registered with MFHA-recognized hunts across North America. The Foxhound Kennel Studbook has been published annually by the MFHA since 1973.* Penn-Marydels were included, but listed as American hounds, not as a distinct breed. In the world of foxhunting, hounds are often crossbred with other types of hounds, such as an English to an American, or Penn-Marydel to an English, and many times just for one generation in order to infuse a needed trait into the kennel bloodlines. For example, if a hunt has moved to a new hunting country that has more open fields and more coyote, they may want to breed toward hounds with longer legs and larger lung capacity to run for longer hours than what the old country demanded of them in dense woods.

In the early 2000s, Penn-Marydel breeders worked with the MFHA to determine what rules were needed to consider a purebred Penn-Marydel to be registered with the Association as a separate breed. At the time all Penn-Marydels were considered American hounds if bred to an American hound. If a Penn-Marydel was bred to a Crossbred or an English hound, the offspring were categorized as Crossbreds.

The original Penn-Marydel Stud Book goes back to 1933. To be a registered Penn-Marydel, a hound needs to trace back five generations of registered breeding in that studbook. In other words, to be considered a registered Penn-Marydel, the hound must have five clean generations of Penn-Marydel breeding without an outcross. Starting in 2009, the MFHA began to register Penn-Marydels as a separate breed under its own name rather than just list them as American Hounds.

va14.callarBlack and tan Penn-Marydel, Golden's Bridge Phoenix 2012 (out of Andrews Bridge Powder 2007), was Grand Champion Foxhound at the 2014 Virginia Foxhound Show. (l-r) Joan Jones, President, Virginia Foxhound Club, huntsman Ciaran Murphy, Golden's Bridge Foxhounds  /  Liz Callar photoPenn-Marydel hounds come in the traditional hound tri-colors of brown, black, and white, and some come with ‘ticking’ or little flecks of darker color sprinkled through the white hairs. But some foxhunters prefer a strain of just black and tan Penn-Marydels, most famously hunting with the Andrews Bridge Foxhounds (PA).

According to the Chronicle article in 2005, “The Andrews Bridge hounds are most recognizable for their distinctive color — black and tan. The color harks back to the pack’s origins. The Andrews Bridge Foxhounds were started by Sam Riddle, who was more known for owning the famed race horse Man o’ War. He began the pack at his Glen Riddle Farm in Ocean City, on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, at the end of the nineteenth century. When Riddle died in 1951, the pack went to his nephew, Walter Jeffords, Sr. He wanted to distinguish the pack from other packs, so he decided to breed and select on black-and-tans. [Robert] Crompton, MFH since 1968, kept the color.”

For another Foxhunting Life article about the Penn-Marydel, click on “What Is a Penn-Marydel?” by Jody Murtagh, ex-MFH. More articles on the breed may be found by using the Search Function (upper left).
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* The MFHA began publishing the Studbook in 1908, the year after the Association was established, but not annually; it was updated every few years or so until 1973 when John Glass became Clerk and Keeper of the Foxhound Kennel Stud Book, It has been published annually since.

Posted November 3, 2017

Click to visit Lisa Peterson’s Blog, Lisa Unleashed for more about history, horses, dogs, and hounds. Lisa is the owner of Barn Girl Media, a public relations and communications consultancy company in Newtown, Connecticut. She earned her junior colors with the Fairfield County Hounds (CT). She can be reached via e-mail.

Bowerman the Hunter: A Story for Halloween

Hunting Days of Yore

bowermans noseBowermans Nose, Dartmoor, UK

On Dartmoor, in days of yore—even before Sherlock Holmes’s Hounds of the Baskervilles roamed that fog-swept moor terrifying young readers—a tall, strong man with a sunny disposition lived and hunted his hounds. Kindly and personable, Bowerman the Hunter, was a popular man on the moors, according to legend. He was often seen drawing across Dartmoor with his pack of hounds, reputed for relentless pursuit of their quarry.

His day was a time of witchcraft, and Bowerman’s neighbors on Dartmoor believed that witches congregated in secluded, remote areas of the moors to perform their spells. The villagers shunned such places, but the affable Bowerman laughed off all talk of such superstition and hunted the country wherever he liked.

The witches, however, were unhappy with Bowerman’s airy dismissal of their powers. They were concerned it would weaken their hold over the populace, which they secured by fear. Secretly, the witches were also afraid of Bowerman’s physical size and strength and the reputation of his hounds.

One autumn evening, as Bowerman was heading home with his hounds, a large hare bolted from covert and sped away. Bowerman whooped his hounds to the line and galloped after them across the countryside. With hounds closing, the hare jigged and ran into a wooded valley. Hounds recovered the line quickly and tore down the valley in pursuit, Bowerman galloping close behind.

Hare, hounds, and huntsman suddenly burst into a small clearing where a coven of witches were mumbling incantations around a bubbling cauldron. Hare and hounds raced through the middle of the ceremony, and with a mighty leap of Bowerman’s horse, the huntsman flew over the startled witches and the bubbling cauldron and laughed at their mumbo jumbles.

This proved too much for the witches. They decided to teach Bowerman a lesson. The valley was a dead end, and they knew he had to return home the way he came. The witches concocted their plan. One amongst them had the power to turn herself into any animal. She would lead the hounds and Bowerman on a chase toward which the rest of the witches would lie in waiting.

They soon heard hounds returning. The witch turned herself into a huge hare, and the rest disappeared. Hounds picked up the scent and took off once again. This time it was a chase to end all chases. It went on for mile after mile, back and forth across the moors, through and around the bogs, up and down the peaks and ridges, until hounds and horse were exhausted. Racing up one of the ridges, the hare slowed enough to allow hounds and huntsman to catch up, then ducked behind a tor at the summit of the peak. The witches were waiting. They surrounded Bowerman and his hounds, shrieking incantations and casting spells of petrification at the exhausted, helpless huntsman. Bowerman and his hounds were transformed into granite, where they stands to this day—one tower of stone, with a litter of boulders at its feet.

It is said that on certain dark and foggy nights, Bowerman and his hounds can still be heard hunting across Dartmoor. Perhaps, even tonight.

Lest this story discourage anyone from foxhunting across this fabulous place, one popular ending to the legend asserts that such was the fury of Bowerman’s neighbors upon hearing what happened to their amiable and generous friend, that they overcame their fear of the witches, banded together, and drove them out forever. The witches of Dartmoor were last seen, mounted on their broomsticks, being carried by the wind across the Bristol Channel into Wales. Which might go to explain some other questions!

Posted October 31, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Hurt Hardaway, III, American Foxhunting Icon

Remembrance

ben hardaway cropBenjamin H. Hardaway, III, MFH died peacefully at his home on Thursday, October 19, 2017 at the age of ninety-eight. Funeral services were held Tuesday, October 24th. Interment at Linwood Cemetery was private. A memorial service was held at 2:00 pm, followed by a reception at Hardaway Hall in Midland, Georgia.

Ben was arguably the most widely-known American foxhunter throughout the foxhunting world and the most influential American breeder of foxhounds of the twentieth century. He had a passion for hunting all manner of wild game from his childhood days until his last. He hunted small game and birds with a gun, rabbits and coon with hounds, foxes with foxhounds and deer with lurchers.

He established the Midland Fox Hounds (GA) in 1950 and served as Master for sixty-seven years and huntsman for much of that period. He adored the July foxhound for its activity and aggressive hunting style, traits to which he could well relate. Ben’s favorite description of a successful foxhunt was “short, sharp, and decisive.”

July was the name of a foxhound directly descended from the famous, hard-driving Irish hounds, Mountain and Muse, imported to Maryland in 1814. Late in the nineteenth century, July was crossed with Birdsong hounds and other well-bred Georgia hounds, producing a strain of American foxhound known as July.

hardaway.benBen Hardaway with a July foxhound.Ben would have happily hunted his pure Julys forever, but when the white-tailed deer migrated to his hunting country he realized he needed a more biddable outcross to deer-proof his pack. Ben traveled the hunting world seeking the perfect cross that would hunt aggressively like the July, yet be steady on deer. Fortunately, Ben was able to support many hounds in kennels, and he experimented for years with all manner of crosses. Finally, with the help of Ikey Bell, father of the modern English foxhound, and Elsie Morgan, MFH of the West Waterford Foxhounds (IR), Ben found what he was looking for in the fell hound blood from the English-Scottish Border country. It took many more years of experimental matings to narrow down those bloodlines to pre-potent hounds that could breed to type. The result, the type now known and used in every hunting country in the world, is the Midland Crossbred.

With his now deer-proof pack, Ben began traveling to Virginia and elsewhere with his hounds. Deer had become a serious problem for many other foxhunting packs, and Ben soon earned the respect of other Masters and huntsmen, impressed with his Midland Crossbred pack of hard-hunting hounds that didn’t riot.

Two of Ben’s historic road trips in 1989 and 1991 received a lot of attention. Ben and his foxhounds came to Virginia for a friendly replay of the Great Hound Match of 1905 in which A. Henry Higginson pitted his English hounds against the American hounds of Harry Worcester Smith in the Piedmont Fox Hounds country. The Higginson-Smith match was a serious grudge.

In 1989, the Piedmont Fox Hounds were celebrating their 150th anniversary. Randy Waterman, MFH and huntsman at Piedmont, suggested that Ben bring his Midland hounds for a friendly competition in the manner of that earlier match. The meets were highly publicized, and sporting journalists from England and the U.S. came to cover the competition. Judges for the first meet were Dr. Joe Rogers, MFH and huntsman of the Loudoun Hunt (VA); Farnham Collins, MFH, Millbrook Hunt (NY); and Bobby Joe Pillion, first whipper-in at the Blue Ridge Hunt (VA).

Everyone had such a good time that Randy and Ben decided to do it again in 1991. Once again, Farnham and Bobbie Joe were able to judge, and this time Duck Martin, MFH, Green Spring Valley Hounds (MD) was the third judge. Bobbie Joe gave me a ticket for one of the hunting days, a pass rarer than World Series tickets behind the first base dugout. Ben’s hounds were hunting that day, giving me my first introduction to the Midland pack.

“I first met the Ambassador of Foxhunting, Ben Hardaway, MFH, of the Midland Fox Hounds in 1973,” wrote Oliver Brown, MFH of the Rappahannock Hunt in 2012. “It was Ben’s first trip to Virginia, and I was in awe of this traveling foxhunting circus. His members were so excited as were his hounds to show their adaptation to a different territory. Many more times did he come to hunt with us, and I also had the pleasure of being invited to hunt with him in his country.”

Oliver’s story is one example of so many similar stories that can be told by so many Masters and huntsmen. With his large breeding program, Ben always had puppies to draft. Today, the Midland Crossbred is found in hunt kennels all over the United States, as well as in England, Ireland, and Australia. As Epp Wilson, MFH, Belle Meade Hunt (GA), is fond of saying, “The sun never sets on the Midland Crossbred.

Ben Hardaway was a 2009 inductee into the Huntsmen’s Room at the Museum of Hounds and Hunting in Leesburg, Virginia. He was President of the Masters of Foxhounds Association of America from 1981 to 1984. He served as Director of the American Foxhound Club; Vice President of the Georgia Wildlife Federation; Race Committee Member, Atlanta Hunt Meeting & Steeplechase, Inc.; member of the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance; and Past President of the Georgia-Florida Field Trial Club. He was made an Honorary Member of the Masters of Foxhounds Association of England for his expertise in the breeding of foxhounds, and received the Julian Marshall Award from Mrs. Marshall and Terry Griffin in June 2003 from the Bryn Mawr Hound Show Association.

Ben wrote, and in 1997 published a limited edition book about his life. It’s a fascinating account of a boy obsessed with hunting, hounds, and dogs from his earliest childhood. He was a man who never lost that obsession, yet found the time to lead the engineering and construction company his grandfather founded. And he never forgot the people in his life who helped make him the man he became.

“Mattie Attica was my first and best friend,” Ben wrote, “my mentor, my teacher, and I respected her incredible instincts. Mattie was half-Negro and half native-American Indian. Her body was lean and muscled and she was as lithe as a cougar. She moved with all the grace and agility reminiscent of her ancient Native American ancestors, and like them she had remarkable hunting skills and uncanny wisdom in the woods.

“Mattie was hired as a nursemaid for me. I was notoriously hyperactive and always into one thing or another until [my mother] was driven to distraction. Mattie’s way of dealing with [me] was to take me into the woods and keep me there all day until I was worn out. It was during that time in the woods with Mattie that my instinct as a hunter was awakened.”

Mattie knew a lot about hunting and game, probably from growing up poor and hunting to put food on the table. She could pick up a stick with a knot on the end, sneak up on a rabbit in its bed, and throw the stick in a way that would kill it instantly. During those days in the woods, she started Ben on the road to becoming a huntsman.

Ben was born September 28, 1919 in Columbus, Georgia and grew up there and in Hardaway, Florida. He graduated from the Virginia Military Institute with a B.S. in Civil Engineering in 1940. Ben served during World War II in the Armored Cavalry as aide to General Manton S. Eddy, achieving the rank of Major. He was awarded the Bronze Star and the Silver Star.

Ben was active in business, sports, and the civic life of Columbus. He was Chairman of the Board of the Hardaway Company, which built major bridges, dams and roads across the country. He was a member of the St. Paul United Methodist Church and served on the Columbus, Georgia School Board. He was a member of the Board of Directors of Saint Francis Hospital. He was a long-time supporter of Brookstone School and donated a new track to Hardaway High School. He also served as a member of the Board of Directors of Royal Crown Cola. In 2010 he was inducted into the Chattahoochee Valley Sports Hall of Fame.

His family and friends will remember him as a fun-loving man with a sharp sense of humor and a vivid, hilarious way of telling a story. He took his responsibilities to his family, business, and community seriously while being a generous host and the life of many a party. Ben lived life boisterously, confidently, and recklessly and never lost his enthusiasm.

Survivors include his daughters Page Hardaway Flournoy, Mary Lu Hardaway Lampton, Susannah Meade Hardaway, and Ann Hardaway Taylor; his sister Sarah Hardaway Hughston, seven grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren.

The family is grateful to Beverly Miller, Curt Elver, Adell Hicks, Mark Reisinger, Marie Kogut, Curtis Johnson, Thressa Slaughter, Margie Coleman, Kay Gantt, Sandra Tuggle, Raymond Leonard and Rhonda Robinson for the excellent care they gave Mr. Hardaway.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the U.S. Sportsman's Alliance or St. Paul United Methodist Church.

Posted October 27, 2017

hardaway and kindersley.leesBenjamin H. Hardaway, MFH, Midland Foxhounds and Major Charles Kindersley, MFH, Eglinton and Caledon Hunt (ON) at the 1975 Virginia foxhound Show at Oatlands. / Douglas Lees photo

The Hubertus Hunt: Foxhunting in Denmark

Videos

hubertus huntClick to view.

The Hubertus Hunt steeplechase race in the Dyrehaven park near Copenhagen has been held annually since 1900. The roots of the race go back to the 1680s, however.

At that time, King Christian V designed a network of tracks in the park to afford him an overview of the progress of the Royal Danish Hunts, a popular past-time for the nobles. Dyerhaven served for centuries as the center for the hunts. Today, the quarry is symbolized by fox brushes attached to the tails of two of the horses in the race.

This year, 30,000 spectators watched the 160 riders race over the eleven-kilometer course negotiating thirty-two obstacles and finishing with an eight hundred-meter dash to the finish. Crown Princess Mary presented the trophy to the winner.

The riders’ attire is described as the traditional Danish costume of red and white. However, it looks suspiciously akin to the scarlet coats and white britches of eighteenth century England. If that truly represents the hunting attire which the Danish foxhunters of the 1600s were clad, we are forced to rethink our foxhunting history!

Posted November 9, 2017