Foxhunting Life with Horse and Hound



First WNV Case in Virginia in 2014


A horse in Virginia has tested positive for West Nile Virus. This is the first case of WNV in Virginia in 2014. The horse, an eight-year-old Paint Gelding stabled in Augusta County, had not been vaccinated.

WNV is a mosquito-borne disease, and the first cases are generally seen in August and September, according to Dr. Joe Garvin, head of Laboratory Services at the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The mosquito season in Virginia can run through November, and many veterinarians recommend vaccination at least yearly, but as often as semi-annually in mosquito-prone areas. The protocol calls for two doses of the WNV Vaccine administered three to six weeks apart. Vaccination against Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE)—another mosquito-borne disease—is also recommended.

WNV can be contracted by humans as well, though horse to human transmission is unlikely. The usual vector is through a mosquito that has bitten an infected bird. Prevention methods other than vaccination would be the elimination of standing water sites, use of insect repellents, and removing horses and people from mosquito-infested areas from dusk to dawn.

There are no drugs with which to treat horses or humans who have contracted WNV. The mortality rate in horses is about thirty percent. A veterinarian should be consulted if a horse exhibits neurological symptoms, such as a stumbling gait, facial paralysis, going down, or drooping.

Click here for more information on West Nile Virus in horses. Click here for more information on West Nile Virus in humans.

Posted September 30, 2014

Is Riding Good Exercise?


The New York Times affirms that riding can be moderate to even strenuous exercise, depending on how you ride. The report cites a study comparing the energy expended in various form of exercise. The energy expended is expressed in METs. A MET is the ratio of the work metabolic rate to the resting metabolic rate, or the amount of energy used as a multiple of just sitting still.

To set some parameters for comparison, a 1-MET activity would be the equivalent of sitting still. A basketball game or a football game ranks as an 8-MET activity. Activities such as recreational badminton or golf (walking the course and pulling your own clubs) generally requires 5.5 METs. Riding a horse varies according to the gait, but in general, it requires about the same as badminton or golf.

At a full gallop, 7.3 METs are required; a trot requires 5.8 METs; and walking the horse requires only 3.8 METs—about the same as bowling. Oh, and mucking a stall is a 4.3 MET activity!

Posted September 30, 2014

Vaughn Clatterbuck, Whipper-In to Twelve Virginia Huntsmen


vaughn clatterbuck.kleckVaughn Clatterbuck signals a view for the Blue Ridge hounds across his Bartley Farm // Nancy Kleck photo Vaughn Clatterbuck, who whipped-in to twelve Virginia huntsmen, died at home on his cattle farm in Millwood, Virginia at age seventy-six on September 24, 2014 after a lengthy illness. Among those huntsmen to whom Vaughn whipped-in are the late Bay Cockburn, MFH and huntsman of the Loudoun West Hunt, and the late huntsman Jim Atkins. Vaughn later served as Field Master for the Snickersville Hounds in Middleburg, always showing his field a good time, no matter the scenting conditions.

In 1968, after his father sold the family farm, Vaughn partnered with his cousin to start Bonded Carriers, Inc., which grew into the largest independent trucking company in West Virginia. The company was a real family operation involving a sibling, several cousins, his daughter and his son. Bonded employed well over a hundred employees and served customers up and down the East Coast.

In 2008, after forty years of operation, the company was sold on account of Vaughn’s ill health. He retired to his farm, where he raised Hereford and black baldy cattle. His Clarke County farm was a regular and popular fixture for the Blue Ridge Hunt, and Vaughn was usually seen waving from his ATV while watching hounds. He was mowing pasture fields the week before he died.

Vaughn was a strong horseman and a knowledgeable whipper-in. Because he loved his foxhunting so, he was always a joy to be with in the field. His wife Wendell Hawken Clatterbuck is a brilliant poet, whom this writer has had the honor to publish several times, both in Covertside and in Foxhunting Life.

A service of Thanksgiving for Vaughn’s life will be held on Saturday, September 27 at 3:00 pm at Christ Church, Millwood. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to Christ Church, PO Box 153, Millwood, VA 22646 for the Clatterbuck Scholarship Fund for underprivileged children, or to the Ability Fitness Center, c/o Jared Blaney, 11111 Sunrise valley Drive, Reston, VA 20190 for a special needs facility.

Posted September 25, 2014


Huntsman Walter Perry Dead in UK


Retired huntsman Walter Perry died in his nineties on September 17, 2014 in Crowcombe, Somerset, UK. Walter hunted the Devon and Somerset Staghounds from 1963 to 1971, the Dulverton East Foxhounds from 1971 to 1978, and accepted his final post in 1978 as kennel-huntsman and huntsman for the Quantock Staghounds. He retired from the Quantock in May, 1991. Funeral services will be held on Friday September 26, 2014 at 3:00 pm at Exford Church, Somerset.

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 cadged a living wherever he could. He would not allow anyone to get near enough to capture him, however.

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.


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