Foxhunting Life with Horse and Hound



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


Amwell Valley Hounds to Host Foxhunting Clinic


The Amwell Valley Hounds will host a foxhunting clinic at their kennels on 290 Rileyville Road, East Amwell, New Jersey 08525. For anyone interested in learning more about the sport, its practice, and its history, this will be a good opportunity ride with hounds in a structured setting and talk to Masters, staff, and members.

The ride starts at 8:00 am. Jumping is optional. After the ride, there will be discussions on hunting etiquette and correct attire, tack, and accouterments. The fee is $50.00 per adult rider, $30.00 for juniors and hunt members. Helmets are required, as is preregistration. Interested parties may call Wendy Furlong (908-730-9051) or download forms.

Posted July 8, 2014

England's RSPCA Heeds Donor Reaction; Restructures



Like Fagin, the RSPCA is reviewing the situation. With income from donations having cratered by seven million pounds last year, the RSPCA is cutting jobs and restructuring. Donor disaffection is surely due, at least in part, to enormous sums spent by the Society in prosecuting foxhunters under the Hunting Act for very little return.

The RSPCA was widely criticised in 2012 by the press and even by judges of the courts after it spent more than three hundred thousand pounds prosecuting the Heythrop hunt. In 2013 the charity was estimated to have spent at least a half million pounds of charitable funds on prosecutions against hunts, seventy-eight percent of which failed.

RSPCA Chairman Mike Tomlinson is quoted as saying “things cannot carry on as they are” after the charity suffered a "£6.1m net cash outflow" last year. It will now prioritise its front-line animal welfare work, he reportedly told a journalist.

The Countryside Alliance has reported that RSPCA CEO Gavin Grant resigned in February 2014, followed by his deputy, John Grounds, in April. Click for more details.

Posted July 7, 2014


ROI Low in Prosecuting England's Foxhunters



The return on investment expended in the prosecution of foxhunters in England is abysmally low, yet the “social mission to purify” countryfolk persists, according to Michael Henderson in The Telegraph.

The numbers are in. Of 110 people charged under the Hunting Act last year, fifty-six were found guilty. And most of those were poachers! According to the Countryside Alliance, only six of those fifty-six belonged to a registered hunt.

The cost of bringing these few foxhunters to “justice” was in the millions of pounds, much of it furnished by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) in snooping on foxhunters and funding prosecutions.The RSPCA spent more than three hundred thousand pounds prosecuting the Heythrop Hunt alone in 2012.
Originally “established with the noblest of aims but which has degenerated into an association of zealots,” the RSPCA has even provoked the ire and condemnation of judges of the court with their freewheeling use of donors’ funds.

Henderson reports that the RSPCA’s income from donations fell by seven million pounds last year. He writes, “There is valuable work for the RSPCA to do, but it doesn’t involve meddling in the lives of countrymen and women who pay their taxes on time and do their best by their neighbours.

“For farmers, and for an increasing number of city-dwellers as well, Johnny Fox is not quite the cuddly chap some of these people think he is. They have better ways to spend their money. It is time, begging Fagin’s pardon, for them to review the situation.”

Click for the complete article.

Posted July 6, 2014


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