The earliest records of the Scarteen and the Ryan family goes back to 1640, coming after the flight of the Earls in 1607, another incident in the long history of Irish-British conflict. Around 1820, Daniel O’Connell (the Liberator) disbanded his pack of Kerry Beagles, and his hounds were sent to Scarteen to augment the Scarteen pack. The Ryans of Scarteen were closely related to the O’Connell’s of Caherdaniel. Chris Ryan, now in his thirty-fourth season as Master, is the eight generation of his family to have carried the horn at Scarteen.
The morning of February 11, 2020 at Emly, County Limerick, started with squalls of rain, sleet, and even some snow, but riders were undeterred and a large field gathered just outside the famed and historic village of Emly, where the pent-up excitement was palpable. It may have been the thought of jumping the Emly banks and their attendant trenches, any one of which could swallow up both horse and rider leaving little more than a ripple.
In a reversal of fortune for the sport of jump racing, the Rappahannock Point-to-Point Races are once again back on the race schedule after a twelve-year absence with a brand new racecourse. Good news for race enthusiasts!
The revived Rappahannock hunt races, last run in 2008, are scheduled for Saturday, March 7, 2020, over a brand new steeplechase course at Larry Levy's Hill Farm, Route 522 North, just outside Culpeper, Virginia. What follows is a ”welcome-back” for Rappahannock’s return—Virginia’s season opener—as well as a kickoff to the upcoming hunt race season for all race goers. If you’re a hunt race official at your hunt, you might even find some new ideas from Rappahannock’s creative fee plans.
Like many in the hunting world, I was saddened to learn of the passing of Al Schreck, MFH. Al was a great influence during my years as a huntsman, not only in America but also in Ireland.
Al had been a Joint-Master of the Los Altos Hounds since 1969 and had visited Ireland every year from the early 1960s to hunt with the County Limerick foxhounds and adjacent packs. I first met Al in 1970 when I went to Ireland to hunt the County Limerick foxhounds for Lord Daresbury, MFH. I immediately became friends with him and his lovely wife, Jo. Sadly, Jo predeceased him.
In our last issue we published a short biography of Scottish poet Will Ogilvie written by Erica Libhart, the Mars Technical Services Librarian at the National Sporting Library & Museum. Erica accompanied her article with three of Ogilvie’s poems. Richard Power, also a regular contributor from Ireland to Foxhunting Life, commented that of all Ogilvie’s poems, "The Veteran" is his 'favourite.' It happens to be one of my all time 'favorite' hunting poems as well.
Although I had hunted in England, my education was incomplete according to my friends Matthew Mackay-Smith and Cliff and Laura Hunt. I had never hunted with the English and Scottish Fell packs. To remedy that void in my experience they convinced me to join them on their annual pilgrimage to the Border Country. There I discovered another mode of hunting altogether, and I shall be forever grateful to them, for it was not to be missed.
As an ordinary member of the field, how does your dream hunt unfold? In mine, there’s no Field Master. I jog right up to the huntsman’s side where I can be in close touch with the pack. And if I get ahead of him when hounds are running, he smiles and says, “Go on!” It happens there is such a place, and you don’t have to dream (or die) to get there.
Three foxhounds from the Shawnee Hounds (IL) finished among the overall top ten scorers (out of twenty-four hounds that completed the trials) propelling Shawnee to first place among the six other competing hunts. Following Shawnee, in order of finish, were Hillsboro Hounds (TN) second and Tennessee Valley Hunt (TN) third. Other competing hunts were Belle Meade Hunt (GA), Midland Foxhounds (GA), Mission Valley Hunt Club (KS), and Bull Run Hunt (VA). The trials were hosted by Belle Meade in their Thomson, Georgia country on January 17-18, 2020.
Shawnee supporters were ecstatic as the results were announced. Not bad for first-season huntsman Kalie Wallace! Shawnee Master and former huntsman Dr. Mark Smith, who has been the brains behind the hunt’s breeding program, handed the horn over to Kalie at the start of this season.
“Don’t open the back door of the horse box,” shouted honorary whipper-in Paul Kinane as I met him on the M1 Motorway heading north to Belfast. “There is a hound of Lord Waterford’s in there, and if he gets out we will be chasing him all over North County Dublin and miss the South Tyrone Foxhounds meet at Brackaville.”
As it transpired it was not a meet to miss as they had the best hunt of the season so far. Paul was bringing the hound up to Ryan Carvill, huntsman of the South Tyrone. Lord Waterford’s hound never made a sound, knowing that he was in good company with two tacked up hunters sharing the accommodation.