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.
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.
The sheer beauty of a level pack of foxhounds is indisputable. There is a uniformity of appearance and traits, and such a pack tends to run well together. But isn't there another option?
Why not a pack consisting of foxhounds of various types, welcoming the unique attributes of each hound type? Breeders know that no single type offers all the best attributes we want in a pack; hence the English-American Crossbred. But within those two categories there are still more individual types with more concentrated attributes that could allow each type to contribute at the appropriate stage of any hunt just when needed.