Foxhunting Life with Horse and Hound



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


Joan Hopewell, ex-MFH, Dead at Ninety-Four



joan hopewell.leesJoan Hopewell (left) and daughter Tanya hunting with the Old Domionion Hounds / Douglas Lees photo

Joan Hopewell, MFH of the Old Dominion Hounds (VA) from 1976 to 1979, died in Southern Pines, North Carolina on Thursday, June 26, 2014. She was born in England in 1919 and came to the United States in 1950. She was married to John C. Hopewell and lived in Virginia until moving to Southern Pines, North carolina in the late 1980s.

Mrs. Hopewell owned and trained race horses, including the successful Running Comment, winner of the New York Turf Writers Cup, in Saratoga in 1981.

After moving to Southern Pines, Mrs. Hopewell ran the Moore County Point-to-Point with Bubby Compton, and was an active part of the  equestrian life of this thriving horse community. She was a close friend of Ginny Moss, founder of the Walthour-Moss Foundation and MFH of the Moore County Hounds.

Mrs. Hopewell leaves behind two daughters: Diana Clarke, who lives in England, and Tanya Smith, a teacher in Southern Pines. She is grandmother to Kaylor, Derick, Rosy, and Noel.

A graveside service was held on Monday, June 30.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Walthour-Moss Foundation, P.O. Box 1744, Southern Pines, NC 28388.

Posted July 2, 2014

joan hopwell et al.lees(L-R) Joe Brooks (bowler from Mr. Hubbard’s Kent County Hounds); Joan Hopewell, MFH, Old Dominion Hounds; Emmet Simmons; Hattie (Mrs. James Sinclair); Harcourt Lees, MFH, Warrenton Hunt; John Hopewell, former MFH and husband of Joan Hopewell; Swannie Cunningham / Douglas Lees photo


Live Oak Charter Still at Large; Posse Closes In



The latest report on the one Live Oak foxhound still on the lam is that he has made an art of his early retirement. Daphne Wood, MFH reports that Charter is alive and well, though thin. It turns out that the kind kitchen employees at the Middleburg Tennis Club on Zulla Road have been putting out kitchen scraps for him. The good news is that this regular source of food has probably kept him safe from roaming and crossing roads, but it has also made it unnecessary for him to venture into the trap that has been baited to secure him.

With Piedmont huntsman Spencer Allen on vacation, first whipper-in Neil Amatt has been deputized to capture the escapee. The plan is to send Amatt to the kitchen with a Spanish-speaking member of his posse to request that the kitchen scraps be turned over to him for baiting the trap.

Daphne's fondest wish is to now “end this ordeal for all concerned”! She hopes to be soon able to send a concrete expression of her gratitude to Piedmont “to thank them for the endless efforts they continue to make to bring this to a happy ending.”

Posted June 25, 2014


Foxhunting Imperiled at Horizon Farms, Barrington, Illinois



Foxhunting over Horizon Farms, once owned by the late William McGinley, MFH during the 1990s of the Fox River Valley Hunt, faces an uncertain future. The property was purchased by the Cook County Forest Preserve District this year. At a meeting held to hear public opinion on uses for the almost 400-acre site, many Barrington residents voiced support for equestrian use but disapproval for foxhunting and mountain biking there.

Located in Barrington Hills, Horizon Farms is said to be under a conservation easement. Barrington Hills has long been associated with equine interests. It is home to Hill ‘N Dale Farms which belongs to Richard Duchossois, owner of the Arlington Park racetrack and boasts tack shops and school teams named Broncos and Colts.

Horizon Farms is the Forest Preserve District’s largest land acquisition since 1968, according to the Barrington Courier Review, a publication of the Chicago Sun-Times. The purchase is currently being litigated, but Forest Preserve District officials express confidence in a court ruling favorable to their purchase.

It's a sad irony that foxhunting, an activity that meant so much to McGinley who preserved the land in perpetuity, might be banished from it.

Click for more information in Bridget O’Shea’s article.

Posted June 20, 2014


Louisiana Embraces Fox Penning


A bill declaring fox pen hunting to be a folklife heritage of the state of Louisiana was signed into law by Governor Bobby Jindal on Monday, June 9. Officially incorporated into Louisiana’s culture, fox pen hunting will be preserved under the provisions of the bill.

The bill faced criticism, but one representative who supported the measure said that the sport goes back to Charlemagne and has been practiced in the state for years. The bill’s sponsor promoted it as a pro-hunting measure.

Click for more details in Picayune Times article.

Posted June 11, 2014

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