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Foxhunting Life with Horse and Hound

 

 

Elusive Live Oak Foxhound Is Finally Captured

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charterCharter, secured at last / Nancy Kleck photoCharter, the elusive foxhound that has been on the lam for nearly four months, has finally been secured. A happy ending to a series of News items we ran after Charter and Perfect—male and female unentered hounds belonging to the Live Oak Hounds (FL)—became frightened and escaped from the Virginia Foxhound Show at Morven Park just before the Memorial Day weekend.

Perfect, who never left the Morven Park grounds, was caught a couple of weeks later in a box dog trap and returned to Live Oak, but Charter has been on an odyssey that took him from Leesburg south across two major east-west Virginia highways, Routes 7 and 50. He traveled on his own as far as Middleburg---perhaps twenty miles as the crow flies—where he settled in near Zulla Road and caged a living wherever he could. He would not allow anyone to get near enough to capture him, however.

EIA in Aiken; First Case in More than a Decade

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A mule in Aiken, South Carolina has tested positive for Equine Infectious Anemia. This is the first case of EIA in Aiken since the 1990s. In fact, South Carolina is the only Southeastern state in which no positive cases of EIA were recorded in the last ten years.

The mule, which has been euthanized and is said to no longer pose a threat to other equines, lived in the Fox Chase subdivision which borders the Hitchcock Woods. Since the disease is carried and transferred via mosquitos and horseflies, and since the Hitchcock Woods are a center of equine activity in Aiken, concerns are raised about the potential spread of the disease.

Like the HIV virus in humans, the EIA virus weakens the immune system of equines and leads to other diseases. Click for more details in the WRDW-TV news report by Travis Ragsdale.

Posted September 5, 2014

Lecture, Book Signing on Grisone's Sixteenth Century Riding Manual

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Elizabeth M. Tobey will present a lecture and book signing at the Middleburg Public Library on September 18 at 7:30 p.m. Tobey will discuss her (and Dr. Federica Deigan’s)  translation of Federico Grisone’s The Rules of Riding (Gli ordini di cavalcare).

Tobey began the translation project seven years ago while a John H. Daniels Fellow at the National Sporting Library and Museum in Middleburg. The translation is based upon the First Edition of Grisone’s text published in 1550 and is the first English translation of this exceedingly rare text since 1560, when Thomas Blundeville translated it for Sir Robert Dudley, Queen Elizabeth I’s Master of the Horse.

“Grisone’s treatise and the riding masters trained at his riding academy in Naples, Italy, spread the practice of the art of manège riding to courts throughout Europe,” explains Tobey. “Twenty-three Italian editions of the text were published between 1550 and 1620 and the treatise was translated into French, English, German, Spanish, and Portuguese.

“Many of the concepts Grisone discusses in his treatise—such as developing contact between horse and rider and collection in the horse—are still major tenets of modern dressage riding. The haute école or High School movements of classical dressage are still practiced today by such traditional academies as the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, Austria and the Cadre Noir in Saumur, France.”

Tobey’s lecture will discuss Grisone's influence on the history of horsemanship and the role of horsemanship in Renaissance Europe. Videos of classical dressage at the Spanish Riding School and other classical schools will be shown.

The Tobey and Deigan translation was published last May by the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at Arizona State University. A few copies will be available for sale at a publishers' discount of $60.00 for cash or check sales only.

Posted September 1, 2014

Male or Female Rider: Does It Matter to the Horse?

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Does the sensitivity of a woman rider improve the way a horse performs? Or does the strength of a male rider produce better performance? According to scientists at  Veterinärmedizinische Universität (Vetmeduni) in Vienna, the horse doesn’t care. Scientists there recently published a paper describing how they arrived at their conclusions.

Eight horses, eight male riders, and eight female riders were tested. Each horse was asked to jump a course of obstacles twice—once with a male rider aboard and once with a female. Stress levels in both horses and riders were monitored by checking cortisol in saliva and heart rates. As far as the horses were concerned, cortisol level and heart rate changes were the same whether the rider was male or female. Likewise, test results were basically the same for both male and female riders.

A second test was performed to study the forces transmitted to the horse’s back by male and female riders. With the use of a specially instrumented saddle pad, pressures at various points were recorded at the walk, trot, and canter with both male and female riders in the saddle. Although the females were generally lighter in weight than the males, and therefore produced less saddle pressure, the distribution patterns of the pressure under the saddle were the same for both males and females.

Click for more details in Science Daily.

 

Former Huntsman Billy "B.C." Douglas Dead at Eighty-three

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Billy “B.C.” Douglas, the first professional huntsman for the Two Rivers Hunt of Tampa , Florida (now known as the South Creek Foxhounds), died on July 28, 2014 at the age of eighty-three. B.C. was well-known as a night hunter and field trial judge throughout the states of Florida and Georgia. He was not only a good huntsman, but a successful breeder of foxhounds, and enjoyed every aspect of the outdoors. In 1989, B.C. handed the hunting horn to his son, Robert Douglas, who continues as professional huntsman for the South Creek Foxhounds today.

In 1965 Mr. Robert Thomas started the Two Rivers Hunt, Florida’s longest running fox hunt, with the purchase of several tough, experienced horses from Ben Hardaway, MFH of the Midland Fox Hounds (GA). The purchase included a sturdy, part draft horse, Garth, which B.C. rode. Mr. Thomas secured several hounds from the Deep Run hunt in Virginia and, in an inspired move, purchased a couple of Irish fox hounds and had them shipped air fright to Zephyrhills for their new lives in Southern Florida. Foxhunting then began at the Thomas’s beautiful Two Rivers Ranch under the watchful eye of B.C. Douglas. The name of the club was changed from Two Rivers Hunt to South Creek Foxhounds in 1995.     

B.C. is survived by his wife of fifty-nine years, Peggy, his sons Robert and Randy, two grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

Posted August 6, 2014

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