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Hillsboro Hounds

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Huntsmen on the Move in 2022

It’s that time of the off-season to check up on huntsmen who are moving or retiring and those hunts acquiring or seeking huntsmen. Here’s what we know.

guy.neil.betsy parkerGuy Allman at Blue Ridge with then whipper-in Neil Amatt and hounds  /  Betsy Burke Parker photo

Live Oak Hounds (FL)
British-born Guy Allman has returned to the States from England to hunt the well-bred pack of Modern English and Crossbred foxhounds at Live Oak in north Florida. Allman has been in hunt service for thirty-seven seasons, all but three years of that time in England.

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Hillsboro Hounds Sweep Grand Champion Class at Virginia

hillsboro ringo wagtail and peopleGrand Champion of Show Hillsboro Ringo and Reserve Grand Champion Hillsboro Wagtail with (l-r) huntsman John Gray; Hill McAlister, MFH; Emily McAlister; Michael Lindley, MFH; Nina Lindley; Eleanor Menefee Warriner, MFH; Orrin Ingram, MFH, Tom Warriner, and Caitlin Olson.  /   Linda Volrath photo 

Hillsboro Hounds (TN) pulled off a stunt that no hunt had yet achieved in the long history of the Virginia Foxhound Show. Two Hillsboro hounds finished the day as Grand Champion of Show and Reserve Grand Champion of Show for the second time. Live Oak Hounds (FL) did it once.

After having had to cancel the show for the last two consecutive years due to Covid, the Virginia Foxhound Show was held at Morven Park in Leesburg, Virginia on Sunday, May 29, 2022. It was a grand reunion for the many hunting people from across the country who participated, and the weather was fittingly gorgeous all weekend.

Hounds from thirty-four hunts competed at Virginia, but we’re not completely whole yet. We miss our foxhunting friends in Canada and hope that next year will see us together again.

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Southern Hound Show 2022

The first foxhound show in North America in three years, and Hillsboro Wagtail ’20 has good reason to wag her tail...er...stern!

shs22.wagtail.wendy butlerGrand Champion of Show is Hillsboro Wagtail 2020   /   Wendy Butler photo

The fourteenth annual Southern Hound Show was memorable for several reasons. Nigel Peel, Ex-MFH, North Cotswold Foxhounds (UK), was ill and unable to come and join Co-Judge Marion Thorne, MFH, Genesee Valley Hunt (NY) and Apprentice-Judge Steven Thomas, MFH, Fort Leavenworth Hunt (KS). Ann Hughston, MBH, Ripshin Bassets (GA), who has judged foxhounds at Carolina, Virginia, the Canadian Hound Show, and Bassets at Peterborough, was a capable stand-in.

The mood was particularly festive as this was the first hound show in three years to be held in North America thanks to the Corona Virus. Sadly, Midland Fox Hounds (GA) had kennel cough and was unable to bring hounds, but eight packs showed hounds: Belle Meade Hunt (GA), Fox River Valley Hunt (IL), Goodwin Hounds (NC), Hillsboro Hounds (TN), Iroquois Hunt (KY), Live Oak Hounds (FL), Mooreland Hunt (AL), and Palm Beach Hounds (FL). Hounds competed under blue skies, but with chilly temperatures in the forties and low fifties and relentless high wind that made the seated lunch for over 150 people look like a food fight, with fried chicken, plates, napkins, and utensils flying through the air, all as the tent was trying to collapse!

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Rebuilding the Mells Fox Hounds

mells.opening meet2020Mells Opening Meet 2020  /   Drone photography by Michael Gomez

The history of the Mells Fox Hounds (TN) goes back to a universally known nursery rhyme—“Little Jack Horner.”

Really. Stay with me. This innocent-sounding rhyming couplet is believed to be based upon a sixteenth-century real estate swindle at the highest levels of church and government in jolly old England.*

When “Little Jack Horner sat in a corner eating his Christmas pie, he stuck in his thumb and pulled out a plum.” Jack’s plum was metaphor for a far dearer prize.

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A Fabled American Foxhound and His Legacy

potomac jefferson.wenzelPotomac Jefferson 2005, the toast of North American Foxhounds, winning the Grand Championship at the 2007 Bryn Mawr Hound Show one week after capturing the same honor at Virginia. (L-R): George Hundt; Vicki Crawford, MFH, Potomac Hunt; Larry Pitts, huntsman, Potomac; Lance Taylor; Jake Carle, ex-MFH, Keswick, judge. /  Karen Kandra Wenzel photo

At breakfast this Thursday morning, Joan reminded me that Memorial Day was just a few days away. Boy, it sure didn’t feel like it.

Normally, we’d have been recently back from our hunt’s kennels having watched the practice hound show, afterwards assessing our hounds’ prospects for ribbons and trophies at the Virginia Foxhound Show. Which should have been on the calendar for this weekend. We would have been looking forward to seeing old hunting friends from across North America, and I would have been assuring Joan that I had remembered to send in our reservations for the reception at the Museum of Hounds and Hunting and the dinner under the tent at Morven Park (whether I had, in fact, remembered or not). In short, I would have been looking forward to an important and unique weekend of camaraderie and foxhound study.

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Shawnee Hounds Top the Hunts at Belle Meade Performance Trials

BMHpt2020.staffhounds.howellComing through the pecan grove at the Larry Knox summer house / Allison Howell photo

Three foxhounds from the Shawnee Hounds (IL) finished among the overall top ten scorers (out of twenty-four hounds that completed the trials) propelling Shawnee to first place among the six other competing hunts. Following Shawnee, in order of finish, were Hillsboro Hounds (TN) second and Tennessee Valley Hunt (TN) third. Other competing hunts were Belle Meade Hunt (GA), Midland Foxhounds (GA), Mission Valley Hunt Club (KS), and Bull Run Hunt (VA). The trials were hosted by Belle Meade in their Thomson, Georgia country on January 17-18, 2020.

Shawnee supporters were ecstatic as the results were announced. Not bad for first-season huntsman Kalie Wallace! Shawnee Master and former huntsman Dr. Mark Smith, who has been the brains behind the hunt’s breeding program, handed the horn over to Kalie at the start of this season.

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Friendships Through Foxhunting

keesee 1Huntsman Johnny and whipper-in Lelani Gray with the Hillsboro Hounds  /   Kevin Keesee photo

Two weeks, 3,700 miles, eight hunting days, six different hunts, too many friends to count, one hellova good time....

What do you do when you are stuck in the cold winter weather of Northern Illinois and have not been hunting for two months? A road trip! Lucky for me, and all of us, foxhunting is a small but welcoming world. While there are a variety of ways to hunt, we all welcome fellow fox hunters to join us, and, as Jorrocks said, "Tell me a man's a fox-hunter, and I loves him at once."

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Green Spring Valley Sapphire Is Radiant at Virginia

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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A Level Pack or a Team of Specialists?

The sheer beauty of a level pack of foxhounds is indisputable. There is a uniformity of appearance and traits, and such a pack tends to run well together. But isn't there another option?

Why not a pack consisting of foxhounds of various types, welcoming the unique attributes of each hound type? Breeders know that no single type offers all the best attributes we want in a pack; hence the English-American Crossbred. But within those two categories there are still more individual types with more concentrated attributes that could allow each type to contribute at the appropriate stage of any hunt just when needed.

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Huntsman Donald Philhower Is Recipient of the Ian Milne Award

philhower3Ian Milne Award winner Donald Philhower, huntsman, Millbrook Hunt (NY) with his pack of attentive and adoring hounds  /  Capturing Moments Photography

The MFHA’s Ian Milne Award is a serious tribute to accomplished huntsmen across North America. It is awarded periodically to a huntsman of sound character who has made outstanding contributions to the sport of foxhunting. Recipients of the Ian Milne Award have learned the hard lessons of the field and the kennels as well as in life, and they have learned to do it right.

This year, that honoree is Donald Philhower, huntsman for the Millbrook Hounds in New York State. Consider the namesake whom the award personifies.

Ian Milne was respected and liked by all. His hunt service began in England and continued until his last breath here in North America. He was a genuine friend and a generous mentor to aspiring and established huntsmen. He was a gentleman, honest as the day is long, and he lived for hounds and hunting.

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