Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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falling off

No fear, suspended
in slow time.
Afterward,

recite your name,
say you’re fine.
Believe it.

Climb back on to prove it.
Ride along, wondering
how you got to Goose Creek –

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Literature

falling off 

No fear, suspended
in slow time.
Afterward,

recite your name,
say you’re fine.
Believe it.

Climb back on to prove it.
Ride along, wondering
how you got to Goose Creek –

if that’s the creek you’re crossing –
dressed in hunting clothes
on your good horse.

Obviously out hunting,
a member of the field –
know you should not ask

which pack – Piedmont?
Fairfax? --the yellow collars mean,
so you concentrate

on tracing back and get
to galloping piney woods,
the rail fence one stride out,

then remounting at the log
working to remember
until back at the trailers

you see it’s Lenah Farm
and Fairfax
you have been hunting with

and that’s when you remember
the peculiar squeak
of helmet around your skull.

Posted January 6, 2020

From a collection by the author being prepared for publication with the working title, Stride for Stride.

albertpoe.portrait.leesAlbert Poe was huntsman of the Middleburg Hunt (VA) for 15 years before retiring from an illustrious career breeding and hunting old Virgnia Bywaters type foxhounds. / Douglas Lees photo

Albert Poe died on Saturday night, May 18, 2019. He was arguably the finest American-born professional breeder of foxhounds of our time. Along with his brother, Melvin, the pair have to be considered the two most storied American-born professional huntsmen that any foxhunter living today could have followed across the country.

Melvin might have been considered the more gregarious personality, but Albert, in his quiet way, was extremely articulate. He could put into words the hunting wisdom which developed perhaps instinctively.

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brh18.maiden hurdle.maisanoSteeplechase horses swish through the man-made national fences routinely at most hurdle races around the country today. Brush fences were once expensive and time-consuming to set up, and racetracks were dropping steeplechase races from their cards.  /  Joanne Maisano photoIt was autumn of 1973, and the world was in turmoil. U.S. forces were pulling out of Vietnam, the Watergate scandal was rocking the nation, and a looming energy crisis was getting global traction.

The steeplechase circuit, too, was in a state of flux. The year before, the bottom had fallen out of the industry. New York basically kicked out the jumpers and went from eighty-three jump races at Belmont, Aqueduct, and Saratoga in 1970 to fifteen in 1973. And those were at Saratoga only.

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philhower3Ian Milne Award winner Donald Philhower, huntsman, Millbrook Hunt (NY) with his pack of attentive and adoring hounds  /  Capturing Moments Photography

The MFHA’s Ian Milne Award is a serious tribute to accomplished huntsmen across North America. It is awarded periodically to a huntsman of sound character who has made outstanding contributions to the sport of foxhunting. Recipients of the Ian Milne Award have learned the hard lessons of the field and the kennels as well as in life, and they have learned to do it right.

This year, that honoree is Donald Philhower, huntsman for the Millbrook Hounds in New York State. Consider the namesake whom the award personifies.

Ian Milne was respected and liked by all. His hunt service began in England and continued until his last breath here in North America. He was a genuine friend and a generous mentor to aspiring and established huntsmen. He was a gentleman, honest as the day is long, and he lived for hounds and hunting.

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