Foxhunting Life with Horse and Hound



Elusive Live Oak Foxhound Is Finally Captured



charterCharter, secured at last / Nancy Kleck photoCharter, the elusive foxhound that has been on the lam for nearly four months, has finally been secured. A happy ending to a series of News items we ran after Charter and Perfect—male and female unentered hounds belonging to the Live Oak Hounds (FL)—became frightened and escaped from the Virginia Foxhound Show at Morven Park just before the Memorial Day weekend.

Perfect, who never left the Morven Park grounds, was caught a couple of weeks later in a box dog trap and returned to Live Oak, but Charter has been on an odyssey that took him from Leesburg south across two major east-west Virginia highways, Routes 7 and 50. He traveled on his own as far as Middleburg---perhaps twenty miles as the crow flies—where he settled in near Zulla Road and caged a living wherever he could. He would not allow anyone to get near enough to capture him, however.

charterandspencerPiedmont huntsman Spencer Allen and Live Oak Charter: a happy ending  /  Nancy Kleck photoPiedmont huntsman Spencer Allen, whipper-in Neil Amattt, Wayne Van Sant, Cynthia Daily, sporting artist Nancy Kleck, and others along the way have been instrumental in Charter’s recovery by putting out food for him and making many until now fruitless efforts to lure him into a trap. He was finally caught—safely and calmly—in a three-door hog trap on Wednesday, September 17.

Unfortunately, Charter somehow suffered a broken jaw while loose and lost a portion of his tongue, but was eating chopped, cooked meats and softened kibble put out for him regularly by the rescue team. Allen handled him while being released from the trap and held him during the drive to the clinic, where he remained calm and alert. Charter is under veterinary care, with jaw surgery scheduled. A full recovery and early return to his kennelmates in Florida is hoped for.

Posted September 18, 2014


EIA in Aiken; First Case in More than a Decade


A mule in Aiken, South Carolina has tested positive for Equine Infectious Anemia. This is the first case of EIA in Aiken since the 1990s. In fact, South Carolina is the only Southeastern state in which no positive cases of EIA were recorded in the last ten years.

The mule, which has been euthanized and is said to no longer pose a threat to other equines, lived in the Fox Chase subdivision which borders the Hitchcock Woods. Since the disease is carried and transferred via mosquitos and horseflies, and since the Hitchcock Woods are a center of equine activity in Aiken, concerns are raised about the potential spread of the disease.

Like the HIV virus in humans, the EIA virus weakens the immune system of equines and leads to other diseases. Click for more details in the WRDW-TV news report by Travis Ragsdale.

Posted September 5, 2014

Lecture, Book Signing on Grisone's Sixteenth Century Riding Manual


Elizabeth M. Tobey will present a lecture and book signing at the Middleburg Public Library on September 18 at 7:30 p.m. Tobey will discuss her (and Dr. Federica Deigan’s)  translation of Federico Grisone’s The Rules of Riding (Gli ordini di cavalcare).

Tobey began the translation project seven years ago while a John H. Daniels Fellow at the National Sporting Library and Museum in Middleburg. The translation is based upon the First Edition of Grisone’s text published in 1550 and is the first English translation of this exceedingly rare text since 1560, when Thomas Blundeville translated it for Sir Robert Dudley, Queen Elizabeth I’s Master of the Horse.

“Grisone’s treatise and the riding masters trained at his riding academy in Naples, Italy, spread the practice of the art of manège riding to courts throughout Europe,” explains Tobey. “Twenty-three Italian editions of the text were published between 1550 and 1620 and the treatise was translated into French, English, German, Spanish, and Portuguese.

“Many of the concepts Grisone discusses in his treatise—such as developing contact between horse and rider and collection in the horse—are still major tenets of modern dressage riding. The haute école or High School movements of classical dressage are still practiced today by such traditional academies as the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, Austria and the Cadre Noir in Saumur, France.”

Tobey’s lecture will discuss Grisone's influence on the history of horsemanship and the role of horsemanship in Renaissance Europe. Videos of classical dressage at the Spanish Riding School and other classical schools will be shown.

The Tobey and Deigan translation was published last May by the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at Arizona State University. A few copies will be available for sale at a publishers' discount of $60.00 for cash or check sales only.

Posted September 1, 2014

Male or Female Rider: Does It Matter to the Horse?



Does the sensitivity of a woman rider improve the way a horse performs? Or does the strength of a male rider produce better performance? According to scientists at  Veterinärmedizinische Universität (Vetmeduni) in Vienna, the horse doesn’t care. Scientists there recently published a paper describing how they arrived at their conclusions.

Eight horses, eight male riders, and eight female riders were tested. Each horse was asked to jump a course of obstacles twice—once with a male rider aboard and once with a female. Stress levels in both horses and riders were monitored by checking cortisol in saliva and heart rates. As far as the horses were concerned, cortisol level and heart rate changes were the same whether the rider was male or female. Likewise, test results were basically the same for both male and female riders.

A second test was performed to study the forces transmitted to the horse’s back by male and female riders. With the use of a specially instrumented saddle pad, pressures at various points were recorded at the walk, trot, and canter with both male and female riders in the saddle. Although the females were generally lighter in weight than the males, and therefore produced less saddle pressure, the distribution patterns of the pressure under the saddle were the same for both males and females.

Click for more details in Science Daily.


Former Huntsman Billy "B.C." Douglas Dead at Eighty-three


Billy “B.C.” Douglas, the first professional huntsman for the Two Rivers Hunt of Tampa , Florida (now known as the South Creek Foxhounds), died on July 28, 2014 at the age of eighty-three. B.C. was well-known as a night hunter and field trial judge throughout the states of Florida and Georgia. He was not only a good huntsman, but a successful breeder of foxhounds, and enjoyed every aspect of the outdoors. In 1989, B.C. handed the hunting horn to his son, Robert Douglas, who continues as professional huntsman for the South Creek Foxhounds today.

In 1965 Mr. Robert Thomas started the Two Rivers Hunt, Florida’s longest running fox hunt, with the purchase of several tough, experienced horses from Ben Hardaway, MFH of the Midland Fox Hounds (GA). The purchase included a sturdy, part draft horse, Garth, which B.C. rode. Mr. Thomas secured several hounds from the Deep Run hunt in Virginia and, in an inspired move, purchased a couple of Irish fox hounds and had them shipped air fright to Zephyrhills for their new lives in Southern Florida. Foxhunting then began at the Thomas’s beautiful Two Rivers Ranch under the watchful eye of B.C. Douglas. The name of the club was changed from Two Rivers Hunt to South Creek Foxhounds in 1995.     

B.C. is survived by his wife of fifty-nine years, Peggy, his sons Robert and Randy, two grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

Posted August 6, 2014

Judge to Victoria's Secret: Don't Ride on Mr. Pink's Coattails


The U.K. High Court of Justice has decided that Victoria's Secret UK's use of the word "Pink" in a line of lingerie infringes on a menswear retailer's trademark, "Pink." The London-based retailer of luxury men's shirts, Thomas Pink, Ltd, uses a mascot called the "Cheeky Fox," which identifies with the scarlet hunting coat sometimes called a “pink.”

The judge agreed with Thomas Pink, Ltd's complaint that VICTORIA’S SECRET PINK brand of college-girl clothing and lingerie led to confusion among consumers. Legal analysts don’t believe that the dispute is over.

More details are available in Steve Killing’s article in The Guardian’s Liberty Voice.

Posted August 6, 2014

Another Hunting Prosecution in England



Three members of the College Valley and North Northumberland Foxhounds were charged under the Hunting Act. Two Masters—former champion jockey Ian McKie and Timothy Smalley—along with kennel huntsman Andrew Proe are accused of hunting illegally on February 27, 2014.

Charges are based on evidence furnished by the League Against Cruel Sports (LACS) and investigations by police. The defendants pleaded not guilty at their July 17 court appearance and will stand trial on October 13.

A spokesman for the Countryside Alliance expressed confidence that the men would be exonerated, as was the only other defendant—Percy Foxhounds huntsman Robert McCarthy—to be charged under the act in that jurisdiction back in 2009.

Click for more details in Michael Brown’s article in The Journal.

Posted August 2, 2014


Maryland Celebrates its Equine Past with Tours



Maryland has a rich equine history that includes Thoroughbred breeding and racing, a part in the birth of the U.S. Cavalry, and foxhunting. To celebrate that history, the Horse Industry Board of the state’s Department of Agriculture in concert with the Maryland Historical Society have created a free history tour in eleven parts on the state’s Eastern Shore. It is hoped that in time and with experience, such tours can be expanded to Baltimore and other parts of the state.

The first Historic Horse Trails, just unveiled, are on Assateague Island where wild horses can be seen in their habitat as well as the century-old plantation stables where Man o’ War and War Admiral trained. Self-guided tours will soon be enhanced by interactive apps downloaded to the tourist’s smart phone.

Other attractions are the Ocean City Life Saving museum where lifeguards patrolled the shores on horseback for lost swimmers and shipwrecks, the Calvin B. Taylor House Museum, the Ocean Downs harness racing track, Rackliffe Plantation, Union Station, Wicomico Hunt Club, Pocomoke River State Park and Holly Ridge Farm.

A spokesperson has indicated “tremendous interest” from both tourists and potential tour sites. Click for more details in Colin Campbell’s article in the Baltimore Sun.

Posted July 20, 2014


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