Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Shakerag Hounds

shakerag

Eastern Jackson and western Madison counties, Georgia

Website: www.shakeraghounds.com


jnafhc17.finalistsFifty-six junior finalists line up for their commemorative photo at Foxboro, home of Belle Meade Master and host Epp Wilson. / Eric Bowles photo

Junior foxhunters, their horses, parents, and friends traveled from thirteen states to Thomson, Georgia, where the Belle Meade Hunt hosted the finals of the fifteenth annual Junior North American Field Hunter Championships on November 11-13, 2017.

Throughout the course of the informal season, hunts around the country held qualifying meets from which the young finalists were chosen by mounted judges. Of the 216 juniors who qualified to compete in the finals, fifty-six young riders from eighteen North American hunts—more than twenty-five percent of those qualified—traveled to Belle Mead to hunt, compete, see old friends, and make a pile of new friends. And did they have a wonderful time! It was truly a pleasure to see.

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tony leahyMFHA President Tony LeahyTony Leahy, MFH of the Fox River Valley Hunt (IL), was elected to a three-year term as President of the Masters of Foxhounds Association at the Annual Meeting held on Friday, January 27, 2017 in New York. Leslie Rhett Crosby, MFH, Mooreland Hunt (AL) was elected First Vice President and Penny Denegre, MFH, Middleburg Hunt (VA) was elected Second Vice President. Also, David Twiggs was officially confirmed as the MFHA’s new Executive Director.

Retiring Executive Director Dennis Foster will remain at the office for another two months to complete David’s training. Upon his official retirement, Dennis will continue to assist the MFHA in animal rights and other areas, on a consulting basis.

I had the distinct honor of addressing the Annual Meeting crowd, the largest crowd I have ever seen, to relate how special David and his family are, and to explain President Leahy’s vision for an upcoming season of celebration. It was literally standing room only.

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michael powerHuntsman Michael Power / Douglas Lees photoAlthough this poem was written in tribute to a huntsman in his prime, it is especially poignant because it seems to prophesy his tragic end.

Fay Bohlayer, a member of the Shakerag Hounds (GA), wrote the poem in 1981 for huntsman Michael Power on the occasion of his move from Shakerag to the Warrenton Hunt (VA). Ten years later, Bolayer’s poem was read at Power’s memorial service after he suffered a fatal accident in the hunting field. It could as well have been written for that sad occasion.

Power was a keen, hardworking, talented huntsman, and he showed exceptional sport at Warrenton. I watched one day as he had someone throw a coat over a barbed wire fence, which he then jumped to stay with hounds.

Once Bohlayer asked him which he thought was more fun: hunting or racing. Power replied, “Whichever I happen to be doing at the time.” She recalls one day behind Power when hounds were running, and to stay with them Power galloped without pause straight toward an iron gate, which he jumped. Bohlayer chose not to follow Power’s line, and after the run she came up and apologized for going around. “Not at all,” he piped in his Irish tenor. “It’s your sport, but it’s my living. I must go.”

Here’s Fay Bohlayer’s tribute to Michael Power:

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On the Road: A Huntsman’s Perspective

rappahannock at AikenVisitors from the Rappahannock Hunt at Memorial Gate in the Hitchcock Woods for a meet with the Aiken Hounds / Karen Raiford photo

This article—about foxhunters on the road and the joys of visiting—is being published in four installments: 1. A Huntsman’s Perspective, 2. One Master’s Perspective, 3. Another Master’s Perspective, and 4. A Member’s Perspective. Here is the first installment.

On January 20, 2012, members of the Rappahannock Hunt left the familiar hills and mountains of Virginia for the mostly flat, somewhat sandy hunting territory along the border between South Carolina and Georgia. Some of us have been making this pilgrimage for more than fifteen years now.

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fox_river_valley_nightcap_2009Grand Champion Fox River Valley Nightcap 2009 / Jim Meads photoBlessed with perfect weather, the fifth annual Southern Hound show (“Stars of the South!”) was held on April 9 in Monticello, Florida. Having been prevented from attending in 2010 by volcanic ash over Europe, Judge Martin Scott, ex MFH Vale of the White Horse and photographer Jim Meads were on hand this year to enjoy seeing quite a few truly quality hounds being presented. Mr. Scott was ably assisted by co-judge Mr. J.W.Y. Martin, MFH, Green Spring Valley Hounds. The apprentice judge was Mrs. George Thomas, MFH, Why Worry Hounds.

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