Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Bear Creek Hounds


Moreland, Georgia.


live oak dandy and peopleGrand Champion of Show Live Oak Dandy and (l-r) Sally Bickerstaff; Daphne Wood, MFH; Judges Linda Armbrust, Nigel Peel, and Franklin Whit Foster, MFHs; Marty Wood, MFH; and huntsman Dale Barnett / Cathy Taber photo

The eighth annual Southern Hound Show was held at Live Oak Plantation, Monticello, Florida on April 5, 2014.

It is interesting to note that of the fifty-four ribbons awarded, not including Two-Couple or Championship classes, thirty-seven ribbons went to Crossbreds and seventeen went to English hounds, which proves the value of breeding the best English hounds to the best American blood.

The day was cloudy and cool which made the spectators comfortable and allowed hounds to show at their best in the large grass ring. Kennels were set up nearby in a three-sided hay shed where hounds from Fox River Valley (IL), Green Creek (SC), Hillsboro (TN), Midland (GA), Mooreland (AL), and Bear Creek (GA) were kenneled. The Live Oak were shown out of their home kennel.

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imfha.2013.doghoundChampion dog hound Tipperary Chieftan '12 shown by huntsman Derrie Donegan  /  Noel Mullins photo

Stradbally Hall in County Laois, the Cosby Family seat since the 1500s, provided once again an impressive backdrop for the annual Irish Masters of Foxhounds Show. Held in Mediterranean style sunny weather, it made it all the more difficult for hunt staff who were wearing their heavy Melton wool jackets more suitable to the weather conditions of the hunting season.

Hunt Staff Changes
The show is the culmination of an extraordinary amount of preparatory work by hunt staff from thirty-two foot and mounted packs representing most counties around the country. Many of the packs have used each others stallion hounds, or drafted surplus hounds, but that said it is also a time for an annual catch-up on changes in hunt personnel.

Ado Moran former whipper-in to the Kildares has taken on hunting the Carlow Farmers Foxhounds, and Mikie Moran who whipped-in to the Killinicks has replaced him.

Graham Buston has left the County Limericks for sunnier climes in the USA, hunting Hal Barry’s Bear Creek Hounds in Georgia. Buston is succeeded by James Bradley of the North Herefordshire.

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katherine wedsKatherine Gunter and John Dunbar were married on June 9, 2012, at Tybee Island, Georgia.

Katherine has been huntsman for the Aiken Hounds (SC) for the past four seasons. Prior to Aiken, she was professional staff at the Whiskey Road Foxhounds (SC) and the Bear Creek Hounds (GA).

John laid the drag for Aiken Hounds for much of this past season, riding western! John's family owns and operates a large cotton farm east of Aiken, and both share a love of fishing and hunting. Katherine and John met through foxhunting friends, Danielle Sertick and Todd Martineau, who will also be married later this summer.

Katherine and John were married on the beach at Tybee with fifty family and friends in attendance. Katherine's bridesmaids were foxhunting friends Mary Taylor Miller (whipper-in for Middleburg Hunt), Ria Burton (whipper-in for Aiken), Christine Raley (wife of Moore County huntsman David Raley), Danielle Sertick (whipper-in for Aiken) and Alison Brown (rider and trainer).

The couple honeymooned in the Florida Keys where they went deep sea fishing for five days. Shortly thereafter they went on another fishing trip off the North Carolina coast with Tony Gammell, huntsman for the Keswick Hunt (VA), Jordan Hicks, huntsman for the Tryon Hounds (NC), and Adrian Smith, huntsman for the Metamora Hunt (MI). Pretty good summer for the newlyweds so far!

Posted July 22, 2012

Linda Knox McLean is MFH of the Aiken Hounds.

Our writer/foxhunter friend Martha Woodham from Georgia has sent us a touching memorial about the life and times of one of the best field hunters in North America. I realize that’s a bold claim, but Martha is telling us about a mare that, at the age of twenty-four, came to Morven Park as the oldest of the sixty top qualifiers from all over the country and placed third in the MFHA Centennial Field Hunter Championship. I watched all those horses go, and they were truly the cream of the crop.

But I have another stake in this story. I had the good fortune to ride that mare with the Bear Creek Hounds (GA) in her twenty-third year, and it was an experience to savor. My visit to Bear Creek constitutes Chapter 18 in my book, Foxhunting Adventures: Chasing the Story, and here’s an excerpt:

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Leica eventing at age 24. She placed third because she was too fast cross country.

Leica was a remarkable horse whose career took her from incorrigible youngster with a vicious buck to an impressive third-place finish at age twenty-four in the grueling MFHA Centennial Field Hunter Championship. She was still hunting and showing at age twenty-seven, when she had to be humanely euthanized as the result of a pasture injury.

With her bloodlines and dazzling good looks, Leica was primed to be an outstanding dressage horse. An imported bay with touches of white, she was registered Hanoverian (by Lindberg, out of St. Pr. Kari) who was also entered in the main stud book of the RPSI (Rheinland Pfalz Saar International) and Holsteiner registries.

But after abuse from trainers who pushed her too far too fast, Leica had other ideas, says owner Julie Whitlock McKee of Grantville, Georgia. McKee acquired the hard-headed mare at age four after the trainers gave up on her. The pair did not get off to an auspicious start, with Leica rearing the first time McKee threw a leg over her. Rearing and bucking would become a regular occurrence.

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