Foxhunting Life with Horse and Hound



Winning in Tax Court with Thoroughbreds


Peter J. Reilly, writing in Forbes, tells of a recent tax court case won by a taxpayer claiming horse business losses, despite the taxpayer’s failure to satisfy all the classic IRS tests.

The taxpayer was a successful businessman whose annual salary averaged around one million dollars from his concrete business. He suffered losses, however, from his other business—owning and racing Thoroughbreds—from which he obviously derived much pleasure. He passed some of the IRS tests, but was weak in others. However, he worked very closely with his trainer, and it was that relationship upon which the case turned.

The IRS questioned, with good reason, the intensity of the taxpayer’s profit motive. However, because the taxpayer worked so closely with his trainer, the court decided that the two were essentially embarked on a joint venture, and that the trainer certainly had a strong profit motive, in that training and racing Thoroughbreds was his primary business. The court concluded that the taxpayers motive was, therefore, the same.

Click to read the complete article.

Posted November 22, 2014

"Right to Hunt" on Mississippi Ballot


Voters in Mississippi will have the opportunity on November 4 to make hunting and fishing a constitutional right in that state.

Hunters and lawmakers there have become increasingly concerned as animal rights advocates across the country seek to further limit sportsmen’s choices. Seventeen states in the U.S. have already made hunting and fishing a constitutional right, subject to existing laws and regulations.

Although animal rights groups deny their intention to curtail hunting and fishing, their assurances are incredulous in the light of clear and unequivocal statements made to the contrary by the leadership and spokespersons of those organizations. Click to see quotations—both for and against—as expressed by various organizations on the subject.

Posted October 19, 2014

Three Convicted of Foxhunting in England


Persuaded by evidence furnished to the court by investigators from the League Against Cruel Sports (LACS), an English judge found three men from one of that country’s foremost hunts guilty of illegally hunting the fox. Joint-Master Timothy Windham Basil Smalley, MFH; huntsman Ian McKie; and kennel huntsman Andrew Proe of the College Valley North Northumberland Foxhounds were convicted in Berwick Magistrate’s Court.

LACS cameramen secretly filmed a meet on February 27 of this year. The videos showed foxes bolting from covert, and it appeared that hounds were in the chase. The defendants argued that hounds were following a drag scent and that hounds came across the fox and switched to the live hunt. McKie tried to explain to the court that it takes some time to stop a pack, but the judge was not persuaded. In other evidence put forth by the plaintiffs, the allegation was made that Smalley lifted his cap and pointed in the direction of the fox and that staff encouraged hounds with horn and voice.

The conviction was a disappointment to the pro-hunting community. Outside the court, huntsman McKie said that hounds were stopped successfully, and the fox was not killed. Another judge, he felt, could have come to a different conclusion. As yet, no decision on an appeal has been announced.

Foxhunting Life reported on August 2 that a spokesman for the Countryside Alliance expressed confidence that the men would be exonerated, as was the only other defendant—Percy huntsman Robert McCarthy—to be charged under the Hunting Act in that jurisdiction back in 2009.

Click to read the complete article in The Telegraph.

Posted October 15, 2014

NYC Horse Carriages a Campaign Issue in the State


Republican Congressman Michael Grimm—notwithstanding his endorsement by HSUS’s Humane Society Legislative Fund—doesn’t support Mayor de Blasio’s pledge to ban horse-drawn carriages in New York City.

“I don’t think we should ban the carriages. The only thing we should mandate is that the horses are treated well and treated humanely,” Grimm told the New York Observer.

Grimm, who is challenged in the election by Democratic candidate Dominic Recchia, Jr., opined that the issue is purely political and not a matter of animal welfare as liberal Democratic Mayor de Blasio and animal rights groups have insisted. The stables, put to other uses, would be financially beneficial to developers, Grimm suggested.

Mayor de Blasio did not return the Observer’s request for comment. Click for more details in Ross Barkan’s article.

Posted October 14, 2014

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.

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