Foxhunting Life with Horse and Hound



Kill Rate at PETA's Shelter in VA Is Eighty-One Percent


People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has reportedly threatened to close its animal shelter in Hampton Roads if the Virginia General Assembly passes Senate Bill 1381.

The bill, which asks shelters to make a sincere effort to find adoptive homes before euthanizing animals, passed the House 95-2. It returns to the Senate for final passage before going before the governor.

According to CBS, a state report shows that PETA euthanized eighty-one percent of the more than three thousand animals that it took into its Virginia shelter last year. PETA has been criticized for its high numbers of euthanasia.

Click for the full CBS report.

Posted February 24, 2015

Virginia Horses Confirmed Positive for EHM


A horse in Albemarle County, northwest of Charlottesville, Virginia, that displayed neurologic abnormality was confirmed positive for Equine Herpesvirus Myeloencephalopathy (EHM) on February 5, 2015. The boarding stable at which the affected horse is located, along with fourteen other horses, has been placed under quarantine. No horses may leave or enter the premises until the quarantine is lifted.

EHM is a neurological form of Equine Herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1), a highly infectious disease that generally affects the respiratory system.

Although the condition of the horse in Albemarle County has been improving, a horse in Loudoun County was tested positive for the neurolopathogenic strain of EHV-1  on February 12. That horse has been isolated at the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center, and is also recovering. The farm where the horse was stabled is also under quarantine. Thirty-three other horses at that farm have shown no signs of the disease.

Updates are published periodically by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Posted February 20, 2015

Cuban Exports: Rum, Cigars, and...Fancy Show Jumpers


The Associated Press reports that Cuba has added another luxury product to its traditional export list of fine rum and fancy cigars—Dutch Warmblood show jumpers. Colts and fillies are purchased as yearlings from the Netherlands, trained at government-sponsored equine enterprises, and auctioned off to buyers mostly from Latin-America.

Fidel Castro’s communist government banned horse racing, gambling, and professional sports when it gained power, but amateur equestrian sports continued. The sport of show jumping declined during Cuba’s economically-troubled times, but in 2005 the government saw a possible way to bring needed foreign currency into the country.

At a recent auction at the National Equestrian Club, thirty-one horses sold for a total of about $435,000 to buyers from Brazil, Canada, Guatemala, the Netherlands and Mexico. Cuba splits the proceeds with a Dutch equine company, and is now reinvesting much of its share into a new initiative to breed the horses in Cuba rather than importing. Besides increasing profit margin, it allows the country to select on breeding prospects which best handle the heat and humidity of the Americas.

Click to read the complete AP article by Anne-Marie Garcia.

Posted February 13, 2015

Sporting Dog Art Exhibit Coincides with Westminster


rosseau paintingOil painting by Percival Rosseau

The William Secord Gallery will present an exhibit—"Canine Masters, The Nineteenth Century"—featuring works by English artists such as Maud Earl (1864–1943), Thomas Earl (fl. 1836–1885, John Emms (1843–1912), and Arthur Wardle (1864–1949), as well as as American artists such as Percival Rosseau (1859-1937) and Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait (1819-1905).

Timed to coincide with the Westminster Kennel Club’s 139th annual dog show in New York City, the Gallery will be open from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm on February 15, 16, and 17.

Moore County, NC: Is the Eastern Coyote a new Subspecies?


Every foxhunter in the eastern U.S. is by now well acquainted with the coyote—the Eastern coyote, that is. The question, according to in Moore County, North Carolina, is this: is the Eastern coyote a new subspecies, or just the same old coyote formerly seen only in our western states?

Dr. Colter Chitwood has been studying the Eastern coyote, its DNA, diets, behavior, and movements on the Fort Bragg Military Reservation, an area covering 251 square miles in North Carolina.

Chitwood earned his bachelor’s degree in environmental studies at UNC, Chapel Hill, and his master’s and doctorate degrees in fisheries, wildlife, and conservation biology from N.C. State University. He grew up in North Georgia, hunting, fishing, and tramping through the woods.

Dr. Chitwood will deliver a presentation of his findings at a meeting of Save Our Sandhills (SOS) on Thursday, January 29, 2014, at 7:00 p.m. at the Southern Pines Civic Club, located at the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and Ashe Street. The public is invited, and refreshments will be served.

See the complete article in

Posted January 25, 2015

Foxhunting Remains an Issue as Elections Loom in UK


In the runup to the May 7 elections in Britain, foxhunting and the Hunting Act that outlawed traditional hunting there in 2005 are once again subjects for polarized wrangling in the British media.

While issues of greater import confront the nation as a whole, foxhunting remains a burning issue in rural areas. For many in those locales, their way of life was drastically altered by the nation’s voters, the majority (95%) of whom live in urban settings and were unaffected by the consequences of their vote. Although the ban was successfully pushed through by a vocal minority of animal rights activists and anti-toff sentiment, to the majority of urban dwellers, foxhunting is far down on their list of crucial issues and easy to quickly dismiss as frivolous.

Once again, as he did in the runup to the last election, Prime Minister David Cameron declared last week that the countryside would not be forgotten. Cameron never fulfilled his initial campaign promise during the current session of Parliament because he and his pro-hunting supporters knew they didn’t have the votes to prevail. And once again, foes of hunting, noting the renewed rhetoric of the pro-hunting faction, have pledged through their sympathetic media channels that repeal will never happen.

Click for more details in "WMN OPINION," published by Western Morning News.

Posted January, 12, 2015

University of Arizona Offers Race Track Industry Curriculum


The University of Arizona in Tuscon offers a course of study for aspiring race track industry executives and officials. The university’s Race Track Industry Program (RTIP) is the only Bachelor of Arts and Masters Degree program of its kind, specific to the pari-mutuel racing industry.

RTIP students have two options to follow toward their degree—the Business Path or the Equine Management Path. The first prepares students for employment in the areas of race track management, regulation, and pari-mutuel racing organizations. The second prepares students for employment in areas dealing with racing and breeding.

A recent graduate is foxhunter/race rider McLane Hendriks from Coatesville, Pennsylvania who rode in the Maryland Hunt Cup just last spring. Hendriks grew up foxhunting, competing in pony jumper shows, and pony racing. In 2007 he was awarded the Junior Steeplechase Rider of the Year title. Hendriks received his Bachelor of Science degree in December after completing his studies in the RTIP.

Hendriks and his fellow students received specialized instruction in racing operations, marketing, and racing law. Industry speakers are engaged to give the students real-world insights.

During the past summer, Hendriks worked as an intern for Georganne Hale, Director of Racing and Racing Secretary for the Maryland Jockey Club at Pimlico Racecourse. He gained hands-on experience taking entries and accompanying the paddock judge, placing judges, and race stewards.

Through the RTIP, Hendriks also was also able to network with industry professionals at the university’s Global Symposium on Racing and Gaming. Held annually for attendees representing horse racing and greyhound racing world-wide, the symposium presents speakers and panel sessions discussing industry subjects and current trends, including simulcasting, account wagering, track surfaces, casino gaming, health issues, operations, technology, and regulation. RTIP students are involved as committee members in registration, publications, exhibits, and audio/visual services in this, what the university claims to be the world’s largest racing industry conference. According to the RTIP website, few other educational programs provide this kind of access and networking with high-level members from the industry that will ultimately employ its students.

Posted January 10, 2015

How Domestication Has Changed the Horse's Genes


The course of civilization was profoundly altered by the domestication of the horse on the steppes of Eurasia some 5,500 years ago. Merchants, soldiers, explorers, and adventurers of all stripes—newly empowered by the horse to gallop rather than walk—expanded trade, warfare, migration of populations, and the transmission of ideas.

To understand the genetic changes wrought by the domestication process, researchers have long wanted to compare the genes of today’s horses to those of ancient wild horses. Since no descendants of the latter have survived, scientists until recently have studied the Przewalski's horse, the closest extant breed to those ancient horses.

Now, discovery of horses frozen in the Siberian permafrost dating from 16,000 up to 43,000 years ago has given scientists a direct window into the ancient horse and has offered new insights into the process of domestication. Ludovic Orlando of the Natural History Museum of Denmark and his team have examined DNA from twenty-nine of these ancient bones and compared it to DNA from five modern domesticated breeds.

They discovered that some genes present in today’s horses are totally absent from the ancient horses. They opine that these genes are mutations that resulted from the selection processes over the years. One such gene not found in the ancient horse is what they have called the short-distance speed gene present in every racehorse.

The very process of domestication—the selection by humans on attributes such as strength, speed, and biddability—has by its very nature led to inbreeding. Over the five millennia since domestication began, genetic mutations not present in the ancient horses have introduced problems in the modern horse unknown to its wild ancestors.

Some scientists not involved in this study believe that comparison of modern horse DNA to wild horse DNA from around the time that domestication started (about 5,500 years ago) would be a better baseline from which to understand the genetic changes caused by domestication.

Click to see Sharon Begley’s Reuters article in the Christian Science Monitor and the accompanying video.

Posted December 17, 2014

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