Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Hilltopping Gets Complicated

Question:
Some hilltopping Field Masters take their field to a few high vantage points in the day's hunting country and stay there. Other hilltopping Field Masters try to keep up with hounds as best they can using the gates and not jumping the fences.

What is the proper way to lead hilltoppers? Which of these fields is more likely to turn the fox? Foil the line? Get in the huntsman's way?

It's Because of the South

Question:
On a visit to Aiken, South Carolina in February, I had a day with the Whiskey Road Foxhounds. The pack consisted of mostly un-entered puppies. I’m sure the huntsman had his good reasons, but I found it unusual. Why would he do that?

Vixen or Dog Fox?

Rosedale Fox - Hi Hampton photo

June 24, 2010
Hi Hampton, one of FHL’s contributing photographers, snapped a series of excellent shots of a fox leaving its local supermarket. We have posted them in Photo Gallery—the Rosedale Fox, so named because of the Ontario golf course it calls home.

Further, our photographer has posed an interesting question: Are there clues in the appearance, color, or other visible characteristics of this fox that reveal its sex?

The Foxhound's Back: Curved or Straight?

"I have a question about foxhound conformation," writes Kelly Bryant who has hunted with the Mill Creek Hunt in Illinois. "I have noticed that in the hound show galleries, some winners have a level back and some have a curved back. How does the back relate to the performance of the hound, and what difference does a level or curved back make? Which is preferred?"

These are excellent questions, and, as we have noted before, there are no right and wrong answers—only opinions and cautions. A wheel back is desirable to many breeders and judges of modern foxhounds, but a roach back is—most will agree—a weakness.

Problem with the Elevator Bit

"My wonderful foxhunter doesn't pull, but once in a while I need a little more braking," writes a subscriber. "I have been using the elevator bit with great results until recently, when he started tossing his head quite frantically out hunting, and snatching at the bit. Back home, I felt inside his mouth and found that he was biting the inside of his mouth.

The Part-Time Whipper-In

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Nigel Peel, MFH
Karen L. Myers photo

The Question

"I have read Lt. Col. Foster’s book Whipper-In which states the basic premise that whips must know the names of each hound to truly be of assistance," writes Kathy Rubin. "What contribution can I make as an honorary whip when I cannot devote the time to know each hound? Where should I set my sights so I can be of help to my huntsman despite the fact that I cannot be with hounds on a daily basis? I believe many of the smaller hunts in the country face the same problem. Can you give me some guidance and recommend additional reading?"

Knowing that Messrs. Scott, Robards, and Peel—world authorities on the subjects of foxhounds and the hunting of hounds in the field—are geared to thinking at the most sophisticated levels of hound management, I had to wonder, as I posed Kathy’s question to them, if they could truly identify with her less than ideal aspirations. They did. But at the same time, they didn’t let her completely off the hook.

Questions from an Honorary Whipper-In

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Aeron Mack (Middleburg Photo)

It’s no secret that standards of correct attire and appointments have been allowed to slip in many hunting fields in recent years. To some, it’s of no consequence. To others, standards are something they value. Why? Perhaps they simply wish to demonstrate their respect for history and tradition, or for being guests on the landowners’ property. Perhaps they want to maintain respect for the memory of those sportsmen/mentors of yesterday who taught them about foxhunting and have left us this special way of life. For whatever reason, it’s fun to listen to those who care about correct attire and appointments, wish to maintain the standards, have questions, and want to understand the finer points.

Aeron Mack is one who cares. She is starting to help her local hunt as an honorary whipper-in, and she has several questions that we have put to our Panel of Experts both here and abroad. Mack asks:

Log In

Panel of Experts

Hugh Robards, ex-MFH

Huntsman, Author

Dr. Roger Scullin, MFH

Veterinarian, Foxhound Breeder

Jerry Miller, MFH

Huntsman, Foxhound Breeder

Paul Striberry

Foxhunter, Horseman, Trainer
www.consciousriding.com

Nigel Peel, MFH (UK)

Hunstman, Breeder, Judge

C. Martin Wood III, MFH

MFHA President 1990-1993
Huntsman, Breeder, Judge

Steve Price

Author/Editor of 25 books, including The Whole Horse Catalog and 1001 Best Things Ever Said About Horses

C. Martin Scott, ex-MFH (UK)

Foxhound Breeder, Judge, Writer

marion thorne

Bill Gamble Photo

Marion Thorne, MFH

Huntsman, Foxhound Breeder

 

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