Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Bull Run Hunt

bullrun

Culpeper, Rapidan, Virginia.

Website: www.bullrunhuntclub.com


-Bull Run is Champion Hunt; Goodwin’s Indigo is Champion Foxhound.

-Bull Run shows pack depth with four hounds scoring in the top twenty-five percent of the pack of previously qualified hounds.

-Goodwin’s Indigo is champion foxhound, amassing the highest individual score of all fifty-four hounds in the pack.

ptchamp22.leahy and houndsGuest huntsman Tony Leahy, MFH, and his pack of finalists. /  Mark Jump Photography

Fifty-four foxhounds from twenty-two hunts across the country converged at the J. Robert Gordon Field Trial Grounds in Hoffman, North Carolina, to compete in the Championship Performance Trial finals this year. How does a hound qualify for the finals? It finishes among the top-ten hounds in any one of the regional qualifying trials held around the country over the season. On March 25, 2022, these proven hounds convened to be numbered and to duke it out over the next two days of hunting as a high-octane pack.

Guest huntsman for this talented pack was Tony Leahy, MFH and huntsman of the Fox River Valley Hunt (IL) for the past twenty-six years and a former president of the MFHA of North America. The venue was worthy of the caliber of the competitors: nine thousand acres of flat, sandy footing, streams and natural growth, no obstacles or jumps to slow down the mounted judges, and sand roads and fire lanes to traverse. The grounds are stocked annually with three-thousand quail, but the foxes and coyotes remain undisturbed all year.

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Each hound in this pack is a top-ten qualifier from one of nine qualifying foxhound performance trials held across North America this season.

houndtrial21.winning hounds.maisanoTrial Huntsman Epp Wilson and his guide, huntsman Graham Buston, in the Blue Ridge country  /  Joanne Maisano photo

This Blog is to celebrate an exclusive pack of foxhounds that will hunt the fox at the J. Robert Gordon Field Trial Grounds in Hoffman, North Carolina, from March 25−27, 2022. The hound that earns the top score in this trial will be named the 2022 National Champion Performance Trial Foxhound.

Each hound in this unique pack earned its place by qualifying in one or more two-day performance trials held over this season from coast to coast. To qualify for this, the National Championship Performance Trial, each hound here compiled a score during its qualifying trial that placed it among the top-ten scoring hounds in that trial.

Why should that matter to hunt officers, Masters, huntsmen, hound breeders, and field members?

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An ode to the “gallant First Flight,” this is one Ogilvie poem that your editor has too often overlooked. No longer!

 jfherring1By John F. Herring

While there’s one on his feet with a tale to repeat
     And another is sampling a drink,
The eager First Flight have a girth to pull tight
     Or a chain to let out by a link;
While the boisterous laugh in that circle of chaff
     The opening music has drowned,
You will hear the First Flight as they whisper “That’s right!’
     To the note of a favorite hound.

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Middleburg Brings a Lovable Veteran; Blue Ridge Shows Depth

hound trials.brh.epp.maisanoTrial Huntsman Epp Wilson, MFH, Belle Meade, leading hounds, is ready to mount up and move off for the second day of the Bull Run/Blue Ridge Performance Trials. Directly behind is his guide through the country, Blue Ridge huntsman Graham Buston. Judge Grosvenor Merle-Smith, ex-MFH, is on foot. The faces visible behind Grosvenor are (l-r) Lindsay LeHew, her father, Jeff LeHew, MFH, Blue Ridge, Anne McIntosh, MFH, Blue Ridge, and whipper-in Ross Salter. / Joanne Maisano photo

The fourth Foxhound Performance Trial of the 2021/2022 season was hosted jointly by the Bull Run Hunt and the Blue Ridge Hunt in Virginia. Hounds hunted on Saturday, October 23, 2021, in the Bull Run hunting country of open farmland, fields, and woods, followed by dinner and first-day awards. On Sunday, October 24, hounds hunted in the Blue Ridge country by the western banks of the Shenandoah River through open flood plains, over scarcely negotiable cliffs above the river, through woods, and across open farmland.

Hounds from eight hunts competed: Blue Ridge Hunt, Bull Run Hunt, Deep Run Hunt (VA), Farmington Hunt (VA), Marlborough Hunt (MD), Middleburg Hunt (VA), Rappahannock Hunt (VA), and Thornton Hill Hounds (VA).

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performance trial. mission valleyMission Valley 2018 Performance Trials: Fort Leavenworth Tracker 2010 (#71) was overall High Point foxhound after two days of hunting.  /  Allison Howell photo

The schedule of Foxhound Performance Trials for the 2021/2022 foxhunting season has been released by Trial Chairman Fred Berry, MFH, Sedgefield Hounds (NC). Nine qualifying trials will be run across the country, and the tenth and final trial will crown a Grand Champion and the top ten performance hounds in North America.

"'Pretty is as pretty does' really applies to foxhounds," says Fred. The Brits invented mounted foxhunting and hound show, but they shouldn’t have stopped there.

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