Foxhunting Life with Horse and Hound


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Norm Fine's Blog

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:


Will Ersland's Style

Hunters MoonHunters Moon by Will Ersland, courtesy of Cindy Piper, MFH, Long Lake Hounds (MN) Someone once told Will Ersland, “The horses and people in your paintings have great action—even when they’re standing still!"

Ersland sees himself as a visual journalist. “My paintings record a moment in time,” he says. “They are cropped the way I see the action, and each brush stroke is laid down with confidence and purpose based on my academic background and decades of drawing and painting.”

Ersland’s use of short, flat, planar brush strokes to highlight rounded shapes strikes me as an effective and unique element of his style.

“My style is dictated by the medium—acrylic paints—which dry very fast,” he explained. “I don’t even try to blend them. Instead, I build up form by starting with the darkest values and layering on the lightest values, usually following the form of the object with my brush strokes.


The Second Whip

second whip.gilbert hollidayIllustration by Gilbert HollidayOver he goes, with a crash and a rattle,
   Hound couples clinking, ’gainst saddle and thigh;
Over he goes, and the light of the battle
   Gleams like a spark in his eager young eye.

Twigs of the hawthorn fly backward together,
   Meeting again with an ominous swish;
Over he goes, landing light as a feather,
   One with his horse and quick as you’d wish.

Kinds and condition of fences don’t matter,
   Straight as a ramrod he rides at them all;
Over he goes with a bang and a clatter,
   Knocking loose stones off the top of the wall.


Do More Foxhunting

One of ten resolutions by journalist/novelist James Delingpole to help his next fifty years pass more smoothly than his first:

jamesdelingpoleJames DelingpoleDo more fox hunting. I know I keep banging on about this but here’s the deal: if you were suddenly to find a hobby which combined the buzz of class A drugs, the adrenaline rush of a second world war dogfight, in outfits by Beau Brummel, on an incredible leaping beast on the same trip as you, while totally pissed, at the most convivial and glamorous party since the Duchess of Richmond’s ball, in country as magnificent as God has ever devised, why on earth would you not want to do it all the time?

Posted July 18, 2015 (from The Spectator)


Captain Ronnie Wallace, MFH: A Huntsman Like No Other

ronnie wallace.michael lyneCaptain Ronnie Wallace with hounds while Master of the Heythrop / Oil portrait by Michael Lyne

Captain Ronnie Wallace, MFH was the undisputed dean of British foxhunting and a frequent and popular visitor to the U.S. He was a genius in the art of venery and in his uncanny breeding sense. He was arguably the English breeder most influential in the development of today’s modern English foxhound.

It’s been thirteen years since Captain Wallace died in an automobile accident at age eighty-two, yet whenever hunting conversation turns to amazing feats of hound work performed by a superb huntsman, I’m reminded of an astonishing story that illustrates Wallace’s supremacy.

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