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Foxhunting Life with Horse and Hound

 

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People

Stu Grod Retires from the Field at Eighty-Four

stu grod2.julie stuart segerJulie Stuart Seger photoStuart Grod—popular field member of the Fairfield County Hounds (CT)—has retired after forty-three consecutive seasons hunting in the first flight. A retirement party was held in Stu’s honor at the hunt’s clubhouse on November 22, 2014, where well-known food and travel author Michael Stern read a poem he composed for the occasion.

"Build a bridge with your hands on the mane;"
"Trot smooth as you head for the jump;"
"Go light when your hands hold the reins;"
"And don't crowd on the lead horse's rump:"

Just some of Stu's tips I've acquired
Since I started to ride with you folks.
I'll miss you up there, you strange country squire
With your bright eyes, your wisdom, and jokes.

Hounds

A Storybook Ending for Live Oak Charter

charter and tylerCharter and Tyler / Cynthia Daily photo

The odyssey of Live Oak Charter—the frightened foxhound that escaped from the Virginia Foxhound Show last May, traveled from Leesburg to Middleburg (more than twenty miles as the crow flies), crossed two major four-lane highways, subsisted on whatever food he could find, lost part of his tongue and shattered his jaw—finally ended after six long months in Hollywood’s finest style.

Charter has been adopted by the vet tech that cared for him at Blue Ridge Veterinary Associates. He lives on a hundred-acre farm, sleeps on his new owner’s bed, and runs long distances with him every day. Charter’s survival literally “took a village,” and Live Oak MFHs Daphne and Marty Wood, who supported and monitored the efforts of so many dedicated people from afar, couldn’t be happier.

Our Hunting World

A Son Remembers Essex Fox Hounds' Tribute to His Father

bert hannahColumnist Russ Hannah, writing for NorthJersey.com, recalls the day the Essex Fox Hounds (NJ) paid tribute to Bert Hannah, his late father. Bert wasn’t a foxhunter, a landowner, or a captain of industry. He was, writes Russ, an “ordinary man who had once been a Minnesota lumberjack with a third-grade education, if that.”

Bert was a caretaker on a large estate near the Brady estate and Hamilton Farms. The latter represented five thousand acres, constituting the primary Essex hunting country. The former, Martha Brookes Hutcheson’s estate of 104 acres, where Bert Hannah served as caretaker, was closed to the hunt by the owner as the result of a fallen rider being seriously injured there years earlier.

Nevertheless, Bert Hannah was an animal person. He bred field trial beagles—one a 1963 National Champion, Longview Susie at left in news photo with two of her offspring. And he loved horses.

Bert was always friendly to the Essex riders, stopping to talk as they went by. Any injured or lost foxhound that passed Bert’s way was taken in by him, fed, and cared for before being returned to kennels.

Literature

See You at Second Horses

barclay rives.book See You at Second Horses, Barclay Rives, Aterlerix Press, New York, 2014, Paperback, illustrated, 184 pages, $13.50, available at retail outlets including Horse Country Saddlery, Warrenton, VirginiaThe foxes! Oh, the foxes! When Barclay Rives undertook a marathon of foxhunting in 1999, when he went out with nine English hunts in ten days, it seemed like there was a fox popping out of every covert.

Rives, an honorary whipper-in for the Keswick and Bull Run Hunts (VA), writes about his English sporting adventure in See You at Second Horses, a delightful read that puts us galloping behind some great packs in the glory days before the infamous Hunting Act of 2004 banned hunting with hounds in the traditional manner in England and Wales.

Rives is an avid hunter who once hunted one hundred days a season, sometimes going out with Keswick in the morning and Bull Run in the afternoon. Saying he was gung-ho is an understatement. He jumped at the chance to join his friends Grosvenor and Rosie Merle-Smith to hunt with packs dating back to the 1700s: the Quorn (twice), the Cottesmore, the Fernie, and others, including a foot pack—the High Peak Harriers—after rabbits.

Hunt Reports

My First Opening Meet

carla lake1One of the quiet moments in Carla Lake's first Opening Meet

My first Opening Meet has been about a year in the making, and I can hardly believe I’m here. By here, I mean standing on top of a log, cursing my horse, who, instead of standing quietly for me to remount, has decided to leap over the log while I try to stay calm and not burst into tears.

It’s been a trying weekend so far.

My borrowed horse, Seven Up, is completely sick of me after I spent a total of six hours Friday night and Saturday morning grooming the living bejezus out of him. Up to this point, I never had to braid for any kind of equestrian event, so on Friday night I arrive at the barn around 6:30, brush and bathe him, and separate his mane into little sections.

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