For the Casanova Hunt (VA), established in 1909 during the waning days of Theodore Roosevelt’s term as president, June 30, 2020 marks the end of the era. It’s a real heartbreaker. And a personal one.
It was an easy hack from the kennels at Weston to the Boarding House covert, so named half a century ago by Capt. Ian Benson, MFH and huntsman, because that covert harbored everything. It was often a quick cast and hounds were away.
Masters, staff, and members of the Casanova Hunt (VA) are proud and pleased to celebrate Tommy Lee Jones’s fiftieth season as huntsman. Tommy Lee has carried the horn for this venerable 110-year-old sporting establishment for nearly half of its existence—a remarkable feat made possible by a lengthy and talented career in the saddle from a young age.
Growing up, Tommy Lee was fortunate to have hunted with many fine Virginia huntsmen, among them Messrs Melvin and Albert Poe, Andrew Branham, and Duke Leech. While hunting with Casanova in 1967, Tommy Lee was appointed whipper-in to the Irish huntsman, Captain Ian Benson. When Captain Benson returned to Ireland in 1970, the horn was passed to Tommy Lee.
This season Tommy Lee Jones begins his fiftieth year as huntsman for the Casanova Hunt (VA). The popular Virginia horseman has played a leading role at every level of hunting and showing and possesses the ability to educate others through his writing skills.
Tommy Lee was the first recipient of the MFHA’s Ian Milne Huntsman’s Award in 2012, and next year he will be inducted into the Huntsman’s Room at the Museum of Hounds and Hunting.
More than six hundred foxhounds from thirty-seven hunts were exhibited at the Virginia Foxhound Show at Morven Park on Sunday, May 26, 2019, over the Labor Day Weekend. Hunts from thirteen states up and down the Eastern Seaboard and from as far away as Texas brought foxhounds to stand up against the finest examples of their breeds in North America. It is the largest foxhound show in the world.
In the always exciting final class of the show, four foxhound Champions—American, English, Crossbred, and Penn-Marydel—presented themselves to be judged for this year’s Grand Championship Class. It’s always a difficult class to judge because each entry has already been winnowed down throughout the day’s classes and has been chosen as the best specimen of its type by the judges in each ring. Each hound is deserving, and the attention and hopes of all spectators, though friendly, are ratcheted to a new level.
Photos by WLS Photography
On February 1, 2019, Representatives of The Virginia State Legislature approved a Resolution commending the Casanova Hunt in Fauquier County on its 110th anniversary. Casanova’s history and contributions to the land and the community were noted.
A second Resolution recognized Casanova’s professional huntsman of forty-nine years, Tommy Lee Jones, for his contributions to hunting and showing in his Fauquier County community as well. Tommy Lee is the show manager for both the Upperville Colt and Horse Show and the Warrenton Horse Show.