Foxhunting Life with Horse and Hound



Norm Fine's Blog

You Ask; We Answer


NormanAs the new season begins, I want to remind readers about one of Foxhunting Life’s features—our Panel of Experts. Every foxhunter has the occasional question, whether it be what the huntsman, the whipper-in, or the hounds are doing; the meaning of an arcane hunting term; breeding or judging hounds; correct attire; a point of etiquette; training the field hunter; even about sporting art or literature.

I have found over the years that while there are no bad questions, sometimes there are bad answers! In the belief that our readers deserve only authoritative answers, we assembled a Panel of Experts whose breadth of knowledge and proven experience was unassailable.

Questions tackled by our Experts have included: why does a fox bark, what triggers the spring dance of huntsmen from one hunt to the next, are there different types of foxes in England, how to handle a hound that is shy of men, can foxhounds make good house pets, how to retrain a horse that exits the trailer like a cannonball, why is an afternoon after-hunt meal called a hunt breakfast, what is a July hound, what is the origin of ratcatcher, and many, many more. To see the answers to those questions and others, go to the Ask the Experts dropdown menu and click on Questions and Answers.

Fanciful Fibs and Other Sins


norman.karen.farnleyPhoto by Karen MyersAs Pogo once famously said, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.” I think of that bit of comic strip philosophy whenever I hear foxhunters attempt to con the public or distance themselves from the truth about our sport.

It’s my belief that we should be honest and truthful when discussing our sport. Anti-hunting proponents comprise a small, vocal majority with fixed ideologies, and we will not change their minds no matter what we say. We must, however, be perceived as credible and trustworthy to the vast majority of citizens who have no preconceived or strongly-held notions of hunting. If they think we’re trying to bamboozle them, we’ll lose them. People aren’t stupid.

The challenge is, then, to portray our sport in the most favorable light possible to the non-hunting public, without resorting to the sins of fanciful fibs, hanging other hunters out to dry, or syrup-speak. Some examples:

Foxhunting Life in Print?


normanmaraWe have an idea, but only you—Foxhunting Life readers—can tell us whether it’s a good one. Hence, we're asking you to take a very short survey of no more than three yes-or-no questions.

For the past few years, we have been emailing our twice-monthly e-magazine, FHL WEEK, in electronic form. We know many of you like it because more than 4,000 of you have registered to receive it. Some of you are paying subscribers, able to read the entire text of all the articles and gain access to all the resources of the website. Others are satisfied to receive the free e-magazine with only limited access to the articles. We’re hoping that our idea will appeal to all of you—paying and non-paying subscribers alike.

Many of you may still prefer to read a printed page—at your leisure, in a favorite chair or in bed. How could we satisfy that need, we wondered, without the expense of printing and mailing paper magazines?

What if we email a PDF of the magazine with the full text of all the articles, something subscribers could simply print out on their own color printer?  No “readmore” links to click. Print it, and carry it away. We’d even leave a good margin on the left, so pages could be punched and stored in binders.

If you’re already a paying subscriber, would the inclusion of a printable PDF file along with our e-zine be a welcome addition to your subscription? We need to know! Please help us by taking this very short survey for paying subscribers, requiring “yes” or “no” answers to just three questions.

If you’re a non-paying subscriber and content to receive the free e-zine but sometimes want to read the full text of all articles, would the inclusion of a printable PDF file add sufficient value to encourage you to become a paying subscriber? Please help us by taking this very short survey for non-paying subscribers, requiring “yes” or “no” answers to just two questions.

All of us love foxhunting, else we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Please help FHL to do a good job for you and for our sport by clicking on the appropriate link above and answering these few questions. It will take just seconds. Thank you.

Posted June 29, 2015

Choosing a Cover Photo


och hounds.hitchen.525Janet Hitchen's photo of the Orange County foxhounds at the old kennel

Each year I look forward to the task of choosing the cover photo for our Foxhunting Life Calendar. This year that task was taken in a more serious vein than usual. Having lost Janet Hitchen, one of the country’s foremost sporting photographers and a good friend, I arranged with her assistant Joanne Maisano to reproduce one of Janet’s iconic foxhunting photographs for our cover—one that represents her particular talent in composing a visually dramatic image, replete with contrasting textures, and which tells a story about our sport.

The four Orange County foxhounds in their old kennels—so clearly American—appear in a variety of postures, moods, and expressions from regal to relaxed. Their silky coats contrast with the rough floor boards, the distressed door, and the white-washed walls, worn and soiled from years of toenails and mud. And, as expected in Janet’s photographs, the composition, balance, focus, and color are flawless.

With this photo gracing our cover, we dedicate our Foxhunting Life 2016 Calendar to Janet Hitchen. And as with all our covers, the image appears both on the cover and inside the calendar, enlarged to fill the entire page to the edges. Also, as before, photos of the hound show grand champions that you’ve been reading about in FHL throughout the hound show season are still to be found inside the back cover.

We’ve been publishing our appointments calendar since 1998, and our annual collection of foxhunting images continues to represent the finest examples of the sporting photographer’s art.

Foxhunting Life 2016 Calendars will be ready to ship on September 1. They’ll help you keep track of your busy schedule while they brighten your tack room and kitchen. And they make great gifts for your party hosts and for landowners in your hunting country.

Be sure to login before ordering to receive your automatic subscriber's discount.

Click to place your order.

Posted July 10, 2015

The Blue Birdseye Stock Tie: A Smashing Style from the Past


70Karen Ewbank is ready for cubhunting in her blue birdseye stock tie.

I want to tell you about a little-known yet colorful article of foxhunting attire from the past that deserves to be resurrected. When I first saw it under the huntsman's scarlet coat I asked myself, “What in the world is that man wearing about his neck?”

Here was an experienced foxhunter who had been a professional huntsman and whipper-in for world-class packs in England, Ireland, and America, yet he appeared to be oblivious to “proper” foxhunting attire. I’m referring to Hugh Robards, huntsman of the Middleburg Hunt. Robards is also an author, a student of the noble art, and possesses an extensive library. I thought he should have known better, but I didn’t want to embarrass him, so I didn’t ask.

It turns out that I was the ignorant one, but, I suspect, I’m not alone in this particular matter. Robards, I was to learn, was wearing a striking article of traditional foxhunting attire—a blue birdseye stock tie—under his scarlet coat. During his twenty-seven-year stint as huntsman for Lord Daresbury at the County Limerick (IRE), both he and Daresbury wore their blue birdseye stock ties through the autumn hunting season.

How many foxhunters of today have ever heard of such a thing, I wonder? The better question, though, is wouldn’t it be great fun to bring back this handsome stock tie into our own hunting fields?

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