Foxhunting Life with Horse and Hound


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A Fox in the Family

Take two gray fox cubs that need a home and one family of tender-hearted animal lovers.Put them together, and you’ve got a charming menagerie that includes horses, dogs, a grumpy cat, turtles, two little boys, frogs, mice and birds.

jane king2A Fox in the Family, Jane King, Xlibris LLC, illustrated, 96 pages, $22.49 (hardcover), $14.40 (softcover), available at Amazon and Barnes and NobleA Fox in the Family is Jane King’s reminiscences about life with a smart, funny, wild animal with loads of personality. Jane and her husband Jim were known for rescuing and rehabbing animals on their farm in Indiana. So when a neighbor salvaging an old barn discovered a family of foxes under the dilapidated structure, he knew whom to call.

The Kings went home with two cubs, promptly named Frisky and Friendly by their young sons. Unfortunately, Friendly did not make it, succumbing to a mysterious malady, but Frisky went on to become a member of the family, accepted by everyone except the cat. Frisky and his best friend, the terrier, Bandit, managed to get into all kinds of trouble, including breaking their legs at the same time in a dust-up with the horses. Their favorite playtime activity was a rousing game of snatch-the-tennis-ball, and they spent hours playing before collapsing together on the sofa to nap.Their other favorite sleeping place was under the covers with the boys.


Professional Horseman Bob Smith Dead at 87

BobSmith2Betsy Burke Parker photoRobert L. Smith Sr. (Bob), an institution in New York State’s horse world, died on February 19, 2015 at his home farm, Netherwood Acres. Bob is responsible for introducing countless riders to the foxhunting fields of the Millbrook and Rombout Hunts over his long career. The love and respect so many sportsmen and women hold in their hearts for this man will endure long after his ashes are spread over his beloved farm this spring.

Bob’s career with horses began in 1928 at age ten, when he began taking tourists from the city for trail rides into the Catskill Mountains on horses from his father’s farm. He was a member of Millbrook and Rombout as early as the 1950s, and his riding students of all ages rode in horse shows, hunter paces, hunter trials, and were taken foxhunting.

Bob studied agriculture and veterinary science and played on the Polo Squad at Cornell University for two years before leaving to strike out on his own and pursue his dreams in the horse business. Early in his career, Bob was involved in the breeding program for the Remount Service, which provided horses for the U.S. Calvary during and after World War II. Bob also trained a horse named Holy Smoke to jump through a ring of fire for the Disney movie Run Appaloosa Run.

In 2009, prize-winning photo/journalist Betsy Parker wrote a personal profile of Bob Smith for Covertside, which we published in the Winter edition. That story is re-published here with Betsy’s kind permission:


The Thrill of "Tally-Ho!"

The works of Irish sporting journalist Stanislaus Lynch were published in and around the middle of twentieth century. Earlier this month Foxhunting Life re-published a short story from his book, Echoes of the Hunting Horn. We heard from so many readers who enjoyed it, we decided to re-publish another.

One reader in the UK wrote, “I enjoyed it so much I bought the book from a second hand book shop, and it's lovely!” Another reader forwarded it to a friend in Ireland who actually remembers hunting with Lynch on a day he had a frightening fall. We’ve included her account at the end of this story.

image.olive whitmore"A wave of dappled fury" / Illustration by Olive Whitmore

There are some delightful occasions in outdoor life when immediate happenings are so engrossingly interesting that any misbehaviour of the elements is completely overlooked, and one forgets one is being slowly, but surely, soaked to the skin. A coat-collar may be turned up, the action being more mechanical than protective. The shelter of a high hedge may even be sought, but high hedges seldom exist on a bleak mountain-side, as the mountain wind rarely allows tall whitethorns to add syncopation to the weird monotony of its rhythm. One can only stay still, forget the down-pour, and watch hounds.


Graham Buston Is New Huntsman at Blue Ridge

graham buston.bear creek.alicia freseGraham Buston and the Bear Creek Hounds in Georgia / Alicia Frese photo

When this season wraps up, Bear Creek Hounds huntsman Graham V. Buston will bid Georgia good-bye and head to Clarke County, Virginia as the new huntsman for the Blue Ridge Hunt. While he is excited about the position, the leave-taking comes with some regrets—the wonderful friends he and his wife, Sheri, have made; some excellent hunting territory in Georgia; and that he will not get to hunt the results of the breeding program he started.

Hunt Reports

The East Galway Foxhounds at McDonagh's Pub

What follows is a report on a fine day’s hunting, a description of a brilliantly executed new kennel complex that any hunt contemplating new kennel construction will appreciate, and an opportunity to become Joint-Master of an Irish pack for any foxhunter yearning for more adventure!

East Galway Foxhounds joint master Joe Cavanagh and huntsman Liam McAlinden and hounds at the New Kennels(l-r) East Galway Foxhounds Joint-Master Joe Cavanagh and huntsman Liam McAlinden with hounds at the New Kennels / Noel Mullins photo

The history of the East Galway Foxhounds goes back to Giles Eyre of Eyrecourt who kept a pack of hounds from about 1790. The East Galway Foxhounds was founded in 1880.

In addition to those milestones, the year 2014 will go down as a proud year for the East Galway followers. A brand new state of the art kennel complex was developed and financed by Joint-Master Joe Cavanagh and handed over to the hunt recently. Cavanagh, a successful businessman and a former owner of Cavanagh Foundry in Birr, is passionate about hunting. A former Master of the Ormond Hunt for twenty seasons, he joined the mastership of the East Galways eight seasons ago. Joe bred the international eventer Comanchee who with his rider James Robinson was third at Burghley and fourth at Badminton, the latter which he competed in ten times, and the last time at nineteen years of age!

The project of building the new kennels has taken Cavanagh three years from purchasing the site, visiting kennels in the UK and Ireland for ideas of what mistakes to avoid, securing planning permission, and then building. Meticulous about detail, his top priorities were the welfare of hounds and horses and comfortable surroundings for the huntsman to do his work.

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