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.
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.
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.
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.
The Central States hound Show was held on May 4, 2019 in Stilwell, Kansas, hosted by the Leavenworth Hunt. Hounds from six hunts were shown: Brazos Valley Hounds (TX), Bridlespur Hunt (MO), Fort Leavenworth Hunt (KS), Harvard Fox Hounds (OK), Mission Valley Hunt (KS), and North Hills Hunt (NE). Hounds were judged by Graham Buston, huntsman, Blue Ridge Hunt (VA).
Brazos Valley was the high scoring hunt for the day and was gunning for its third consecutive Grand Championship at Central States, but it was not to be. Grand Champion of Show was Harvard Goneaway 2018, drafted unentered by Hillsboro Hounds (TN) to Harvard and entered last season. Goneaway’s male line is highly prepotent, as we will see, and Goneaway’s story serves as a fine example of how the system is supposed to work: top breeding kennels generously drafting well-bred hounds to bolster other packs around the country.
Photos by Joanne Maisano
Blue Ridge’s warm spring race day on Saturday, April 21, 2019 was a welcome change for those who hark back to those cold, blustery days on the Woodley hillside in early March when the races were formerly held.
In the first race of the day, Maiden Hurdle, trainer Michael Pearson saddled two strong horses, Keoni and Scrappy Warrior. With seasoned amateur jockey Woods Winants on Keoni and Mike Woodson on Scrappy Warrior, the Pearson team shared the pacesetting until the last fence when Scrappy Warrior stumbled and lost its rider. Racing to the stretch, Shannon Hill Farm’s All Out of Aces with 2018 leading jockey Barry Foley aboard grabbed the lead. Keoni battled back but All Out of Aces was first at the wire, then disqualified for cutting a pole and being off course. Keoni was declared the winner. Big E, ridden by Kieran Norris and trained by Julie Gomena placed second.