Foxhunting Life with Horse and Hound


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Red Fox "Terrorizes" Australian Neighborhood

red fox.cathy summersCathy Summers photo

The Daily Telegraph, Sydney, Australia, August 24, 2015: “DON’T be fooled by its furry face—this daring fox has been blamed for killing seven pets in Kellyville and terrorising children in the neighbourhood.”

Whew! How low has “journalism” sunk these days? (Not news, just our opinion.)

Journalist Angela Ranke continues with a subhead: “Fox on the prowl in Kellyville, residents warned to lock up their pets.”

Yikes! Would Australia declare a national emergency if a coyote or bear were seen crossing the driveway? C’mon Aussies, we know you guys are tougher than that. (Not news, just our long-held impression.)

Norm Fine's Blog

You Ask; We Answer

NormanAs the new season begins, I want to remind readers about one of Foxhunting Life’s features—our Panel of Experts. Every foxhunter has the occasional question, whether it be what the huntsman, the whipper-in, or the hounds are doing; the meaning of an arcane hunting term; breeding or judging hounds; correct attire; a point of etiquette; training the field hunter; even about sporting art or literature.

I have found over the years that while there are no bad questions, sometimes there are bad answers! In the belief that our readers deserve only authoritative answers, we assembled a Panel of Experts whose breadth of knowledge and proven experience was unassailable.

Questions tackled by our Experts have included: why does a fox bark, what triggers the spring dance of huntsmen from one hunt to the next, are there different types of foxes in England, how to handle a hound that is shy of men, can foxhounds make good house pets, how to retrain a horse that exits the trailer like a cannonball, why is an afternoon after-hunt meal called a hunt breakfast, what is a July hound, what is the origin of ratcatcher, and many, many more. To see the answers to those questions and others, go to the Ask the Experts dropdown menu and click on Questions and Answers.



cubbing.aldinIllustration by Cecil Alden

I wouldn’t change places with any man,
Were he powerful, rich, or wise,
As I stand in the early morning chill
While we wait for the mist to rise.
There are silver threads on the bracken fronds,
And a peaty tang in the air
That goes to the head like a draught of wine,
As we stand by the cover there.

If the creak of leather and clink of bit
Makes me yearn—well I’m not ashamed,
For I’ve got no horse of my own to ride,
And I don’t suppose I’ll be blamed
If I look around with an envious heart
At the satiny coats nearby,
At the twitching ears and the nostrils wide,
And the eagerly watching eye

That seeks to pierce through the curtaining mist
Where it clings to the dripping trees,
Concealing the cubs as they wait, alert,
For a chance to run. Then a breeze
So faint, so soft, that the glittering drops
Which hang on the bramble and thorn,
Are scarcely disturbed, but the low-lying haze
Dissolves at the coming of dawn.

Photo of the Week


foxintree.cilibertoJody Ciliberto photo

Mounted staff were exercising the Red Oak Foxhounds, as photographer Jody Ciliberto followed in her car. She saw a sudden commotion—fingers pointing, hounds jumping, sterns waving. Jody jumped out of the car with her Canon 60D fitted with a 35mm to 200mm lens, managed to get within ten feet, and took her shots.

“I was happy for days,” Jody writes. “It’s not often I get a chance to photograph a fox that isn’t running away!”

Click for a full screen version!

Posted August 24, 2015


Ewbank Clothiers Gutted by Fire

ewbank fire

The fire that consumed Ewbank Clothiers in Berryville, Virginia on Thursday, August 13, 2015 couldn’t have come at a worse time for proprietor Karen Ewbank. Her custom tailoring shop was full of hunt coats and other foxhunting attire either being repaired or built in preparation for the upcoming hunting season.

"I woke up at three in the morning that night, counting red coats," she recalls.

In addition to the loss of clothing and fabrics, perhaps even more serious is the loss of her meticulously cut pattern drafts—now ashes—used to trace shapes onto fabrics. The patterns will have to be re-plotted on brown Kraft paper from client measurements and re-cut—a process that takes about five hours for each client’s hunt coat. As of the date of this article, Karen doesn’t yet know whether her client measurement charts survived. They’re in steel filing cabinets in the front of the shop, and she has hopes that they were spared.

“I’m kicking on,” Karen told me today, the first workday of a new week. “I’m moving everything to my house and will work from here until the shop is rebuilt. That could take months, even though the structure is still sound.”

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