Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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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.

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+3 # Norman Ads 2010-08-30 08:10
So far what I glean from the great advice above is

1. Carry a hound list
2. Know the language and tone the Huntsman uses
3. Know your territory
4. Keep taking count of the hounds
5. Have a thick skin.....

Please tell me more!

+1 # Cheryl Microutsicos 2010-09-01 03:01
If you can't learn them by being at the kennels, you can pick out a couple during each hunt and learn them. Start with the hounds that are easy to recognize and find a marking that distinguishes them, preferably one on their back so you can see it while mounted. For example, we have a hound named Adeline who is mostly red on her back but with a white line, so I associate that with "AdeLINE".

This has worked for me and I know all the older hounds. When we bring out young entry I only have to learn a few at a time since I know all the older hounds. Good luck!
+2 # Gretchen Pelham 2010-09-01 05:59
Welcome to the world of whipping-in from a huntsman's perspective, Kathy! Yes, you will need a very thick skin. One well-known Virginia huntsman is said to have told his whippers-in that he would far rather see a dead whipper-in on the road than a dead hound!
+2 # Kelly Bryant 2010-09-07 17:57
Hi Kathy, I so sympathize with you. I'm trying to learn the names but they start moving around and become a sea of spots! I asked my huntsman how I can remember them all. She said to think about them as families. She pointed out to me 2 families - one family is mostly white with some red and rougher coats the other family is black and tan and racy-looking (please don't beat me up over this description these are my adjectives here :-). Ok, so those are easy to pick out I can do that! Then look for something to differentiate the hounds in that family - such as a small white spot on the chest or what not. That actually helped and it wasn't so overwhelming. She gave me to two most "unique" families to start with... most of the rest of our hound are black and tan spots on white...
+2 # Norman Ads 2010-09-08 11:52
Thanks very much! A great idea and it makes alot of sense! I was struggling with how to break it down into "smaller parts"!
+2 # Norman Ads 2010-09-21 07:29
Note to self....
Out hunting Saturday I volunteered to "whip in" and bring back a puppy who was out babbling- so off I rode into the woods (heart pounding) and lo and behold managed to get the puppy Fanfare to follow me back to the field. However - following Dennis's instructions I did not turn in my saddle and look down at the puppy and when he re-joined the pack - which one was he?

At the end of the day, I rode in the hound minivan to pick up a few hounds still out. Lucky for me- our long time road whip Jock Melville, (son of former Rombout masters and brother to ex-MFH Sheila) -rode in the van with the hounds - and with his help I discovered that THIS is a great way to learn the individual hounds! I was able to really "get to know" each individual hound up close and personal. After more than 30 years of hunting a whole new door has opened up to me!

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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

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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