Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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On Puppy Walking

Foxhound whelps—tiny creatures that in a few short years will be the very ones we rely on for our sport—are making their entrance into our world as we slide into the tailing end of the season. Hunt members and hunt supporters—"puppy walkers"—will be taking the lucky ones from the kennels to their own homes and farms to start the puppies' education in a free and pleasant environment.

167620_1829688224939_1322364428_32132748_2231988_n1_2Puppy walker Heather Kuenzi wants to do her best for her huntsman and her puppies. She writes:

"I was recently asked by our huntsman to bring two puppies (Penn-Marydel bloodlines) to our farm for the winter and walk them out! Any words of wisdom, or training tips for when I'm out walking the fields with them? I'm curious to know if hounds are simply born "biddable" or if there are things I can do to work on developing those traits. I'd like to continue to walk puppies for our hunt with future pups and am working hard on returning them as honest members of the pack! I also have a half-foxhound house dog who is also enjoying "helping" me with raising them!

The Origins of "Ratcatcher"

“Where did the term ‘ratcatcher’ come from?” asks Carol Riggs, whipper-in to the Red Mountain Foxhounds in North Carolina. “I know there are many, many ideas about this, but I would love to know the real history of the term ratcatcher.”

When it comes to etymology, Steven Price, the newest member of our Panel of Experts, is the first person I would think to consult. For Steven, words are beguiling toys to play on, to savor, to manipulate. He is the author or editor of thirty-five books, including the Lyon’s Press Horseman’s Dictionary. Here’s what he had to say:

What Is a July Hound?

woodC. Martin Wood III, MFH / Karen Myers photo“Recently I heard the term July hound,” writes Kelly Bryant. “What is a July hound? Is it a breed or a bloodline? How is July blood used in foxhounds today? What benefits do they bring to the hunt, and how does one recognize a July hound from other hounds?”

Marty Wood, MFH is a member of Foxhunting Life’s Panel of Experts. He is a consummate hound breeder, a student of bloodlines, and breeder of the last two Grand Champion Foxhounds of the Virginia Foxhound Show—2010 and 2011. Your editor has some familiarity with the literature on the July hound, so Wood and Fine collaborated on the answer to Kelly’s question.

Pink, Red, or Scarlet?

Martin_Scott_out_hunting_001Martin Scott, ex-MFH“Are the words scarlet and pink interchangeable?” asks Leslie Shepherd. “Is one more correct than the other? Is pink a word of the past? I always thought that scarlet referred to formal attire such as worn at a hunt ball or the Masters Ball, while pink described the color of the frock coat in the field. Could you clarify for us?”

I love this question because it endures as one of the great controversies of foxhunting’s arcane language. We asked Martin Scott, ex-MFH, Vale of the White Horse (UK), Hugh Robards, ex-MFH, Rolling Rock Hunt (PA), and C. Martin Wood, MFH, Live Oak Hounds (FL) for their opinions. All three gentlemen are not only internationally-respected practitioners of the art but students as well: Scott and Wood as master breeders and judges of foxhounds, Robards as a brilliant huntsman. All are intellectually curious and have access to extensive libraries.

Cool Shades; Hot Masters!

jerry_millerJerry Miller, MFH“Is it proper or permissible to wear plain, conservative sunglasses while foxhunting?” asks Vicki Reeves from South Creek Foxhounds (FL).

We put this query to two of our American experts, both of whom I consider to be conservative and traditional. In my view, their opinions cover the subject and its ramifications quite well. As always, the views of our readers, expressed in the Comments section, are invited. In the end, as with many such questions, the Master of your own hunt will have the final word for turnout in your field.

Who Carries the White Whip?

john_tabachkaHuntsman John Tabachka“Are MFHs supposed to carry white whips?” asks John Tabachka, huntsman for the Sewickely Hunt (PA).

While there are slight differences in the answers from our experts, the common thread seems to place the white whip properly in the hands of those who deal with hounds in the field, either as huntsman or whipper-in. That said, as always, the Master may do anything he or she likes!

One thing you can always count on from Foxhunting Life's Panel of Experts: they speak their minds!

Martingales in the Hunting Field

aeron_mack.karen_monroeAeron Mack / Middleburg PhotoAeron Mack is an honorary whipper-in. Recently she was bewildered by conflicting statements concerning martingales. She writes:

“According to Wadsworth [Riding to Hounds in America, 1962], running martingales are dangerous and not permitted, but I can't find anyone who can explain exactly why. I recently took a clinic with Aidan O'Connell who explained the dangers of a standing martingale, which I agree with. Personally I do not use a martingale of any sort, but would like to be able to better explain to people why they can be dangerous. It would seem to me that, in the event the horse stumbles or falls, a running martingale would better allow him to keep/regain his balance. I also like that if I slip my reins over a tricky jump, the running martingale is also released, where a standing cannot be. Any words of wisdom on this topic would be greatly appreciated!

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

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