Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Blue Ridge Hunt

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The Blue Ridge Hunt was organized in 1888, but this gently rolling grassland in the Valley of the Shenandoah echoed to the music of hounds, the huntsman’s horn, and the rhythm of galloping horses long before that time. A youthful George Washington regularly followed the hounds of his friend and employer Thomas, sixth Lord Fairfax nearly three hundred years ago over the very same hills and fields and along the same twists and turns of the Shenandoah River as do the Blue Ridge hounds today.

Website:  www.blueridgehunt.org

andy bozdan foot huntingAndy Bozdan hunting the Camargo foxhounds on foot over wet country.

The author, as we reported in our last issue, is the new huntsman at the Camargo Hunt (OH). During his career, Andy Bozdan has served as huntsman in England, Australia, and the U.S. Recently, he’s been whipping-in at the Blue Ridge Hunt (VA). Foxhunting Life asked Andy what it’s like to carry the horn again and be The Man in Front!

So, after a couple of seasons whipping-in to Graham Buston at Blue Ridge Hunt, I took up the horn again at the Carmargo Hunt in Kentucky and Ohio. I can remember one or two of my friends jokingly asking if I’d remember how to blow the horn, or get on the right side of the horse, etc. But it is, for sure, very different when you take on a pack and suddenly ... your it!

Everything becomes your responsibility, and very quickly you have to make decisions on the care of the hounds, how best to hunt the country, and plan ahead with a breeding program. To be honest I’ve been so busy since I arrived here that I have barely had time to stop and think!

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steve farrin.amwell valley.pa natl2013Huntsman Steve Farrin, parading Amwell Valley hounds at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show (2013).

It’s time for our annual report on the recent moves of huntsmen across North America. The huntsman is my hero. From the time we mount up and for the few hours that follow, it is he or she most directly responsible for the day’s sport. How the huntsman has bred, trained, deployed, and communicated with his troops—the hounds—has everything to do with the satisfaction of our day in the field.

The moves have been numerous this season, and, in a two cases, we have experienced whippers-in finally achieving their dream of a pack of their own to hunt. We’ll catch up with Alasdair Storer, Andrew Bozdan, Kathryn Butler, Stephen Farrin, Danny Kerr, Emily Melton, and Timothy Michel.

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canadian17.toronto north yorks blue ridge wentworthToronto and North York's Blue Ridge Wentworth 2015 (Mendip Farmers Wentworth 2011 ex Mendip Farmers Stylish 2011) is Grand Champion of Show -- again -- at Canadian Hound Show.  /   Denya Massey Clarke photo

The sixty-fifth annual Canadian Foxhound Show was hosted by the London Hunt (ON) on Saturday, June 8, 2019.

Giving the younger foxhounds a fighting chance for glory, Toronto and North York Hunt (ON) entered their Blue Ridge Wentworth 2015, a veteran of four seasons of hunting, only in the class for Stallion Hounds. That was enough for Wentworth, though. After winning that class, he vanquished all he met on his way to being judged Grand Champion of Show at Canada for the second time since 2017. This was his third Grand Championship since Bryn Mawr in 2016. Wentworth has an interesting history both in the field and on the flags.

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bryn mawr19.karenkGrand Champion of Show Blue Ridge Rambler 2018 with (l-r) Graham Buston, huntsman; L. Stockton Illoway, MB, President, Bryn Mawr Hound Show Association; Judge Dr. G. Marvin Beeman, MFH; and Sheri Buston, whipper-in / Karen Kandra photo

Dr. G. Marvin Beeman, MFH, judging the Grand Champion of Show class at Bryn Mawr, awarded the trophy and ribbon to Blue Ridge Rambler 2018. Dr. Beeman is the senior Master and former huntsman of the Arapahoe Hunt (CO) and a past president of the MFHA. The Bryn Mawr Hound Show was held in Malvern, PA, on Saturday, June 1, 2019.

Green Spring Valley Sapphire 2018, judged Grand Champion at Virginia the previous week, was Reserve Grand Champion.

Rambler (Green Spring Valley Fanshaw 2014 ex Heythrop Rattle 2011) is a modern English dog hound bred by Blue Ridge huntsman Graham Buston. Irish-born, Buston grew up in the County Limerick hunting country, whipped-in, then carried the horn for both the Co. Waterford and the Co. Limerick Foxhounds. He moved to the U.S. in 2013 with his Canadian-born wife, Sheri, who whips-in to him.

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canadian17.toronto north yorks blue ridge wentworthThe conformation of Toronto and North York's Blue Ridge Wentworth 2015, Grand Champion Foxhound at the 2017 Canadian Foxhound Show, is clearly seen in this well-posed photograph. / Denya Massey photo

Hound show champions should be photographed so their conformation is clearly visible to potential foxhound breeders, hound enthusiasts, and the historical record. The champions should be memorialized in a fashion such that others may see what the judges saw, as they carefully and critically studied each hound presented.

Historically, that has been the practice, and hound show organizers might want to remind show photographers of their primary mission at the hound show. Yes, we also want to see the smiling faces of the Masters, handlers, distinguished trophy presenters, and judges, along with candid shots of attendees enjoying the day. Those are also important and of interest to many viewers, but a classical portrait of the hound champions is Job-1. What follows are six-steps to achieve the image foxhound enthusiasts want to see.

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