Middleburg Brings a Lovable Veteran; Blue Ridge Shows Depth
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).
From The Hound Intelligence Series, published by Hounds Magazine (UK), edited by Deirdre Hanna, illustrated by Rosemary Coates. Click to purchase the 333-page collection.
Brazos Valley Melody (Deep Run Butler ’91 ex Mission Valley Gamely ’92) was an English bi*ch―half fell hound and half Modern English―whelped by huntsman Tommy Jackson at the Mission Valley Hunt (KS). Butler, Melody’s sire, was all fell blood, top and bottom of his pedigree, from the Eskdale and Ennerdale kennels in Cumbria. This is a storied foot pack with rugged hunting territory in England’s Lake District on the English-Scottish border. Gamely, Melody’s dam, was Modern English with bloodlines back to the Hamilton and Ottawa Valley Hunts in Canada.
Tommy drafted Melody, heavy in whelp, to Sandy Dixon, MFH and huntsman of the Brazos Valley Hounds (TX). Melody had been bred to Mission Valley Nero ’95, an American dog hound with mostly Penn-Marydel blood. The handover occurred at the end of the 1995 Central States Hound Show, which both hunts were attending. For the journey home to Brazos Valley, Melody was put into a travel kennel with the rest of Sandy’s hounds that had been at the show.
Sandy Dixon continues the story of an extraordinary journey.
One day some years ago while recuperating from whatever had me grounded at the moment, I decided to follow my home pack, the Blue Ridge foxhounds, by vehicle. Fortunately, Chris Howells had an open seat, so I climbed into his blue pickup truck.
I knew that whatever would be seen of the action that day from any vehicle would be seen from Chris’s truck first. Every road follower wants to ride with Chris. If there’s no room, they do their best to follow him. Chris knows the country and how the foxes run.
Chris hunted the Blue Ridge foxhounds from 1973 to 2001 during the Mastership of Judy Greenhalgh. Since his retirement from the saddle, Chris has been following hounds on the roads for another almost twenty years. He serves as the principal road whip and remains a valued and knowledgeable member of the staff.
The following article was first published in the November 1983 edition of "Horseplay" magazine. –Ed.
The early morning light shows a solitary figure on his way to the kennels, a terrier at his heels and a can of Pepsi in his hand. Christopher P. Howells, huntsman for the Blue Ridge Hunt in Boyce, Virginia, is about to start another busy day. Hounds greet him with an enthusiastic din, but turn quiet as he speaks to them in his soft English accent and sees to the feeding.
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.
It’s a week and a half since huntsman John Harrison was suddenly faced with, then miraculously dealt with what could have been a horrendous outcome of that day’s electric storm. A bolt of lightning struck the power meter at the Deep Run Hunt kennels and the building burned to the ground.
We’ve all heard how, with flaming shards falling from above, John was unable to reach hounds to free them from their pens. Needing another way in, he took a tractor to the perimeter and used the bucket loader to smash a way through, saving virtually all the foxhounds. The nightmare that ‘could have been’ was mercifully averted by John’s quick thinking and bold action.