Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Fox River Valley Hunt

foxrivervalley

Morgan, Georgia & Elizabeth, IL.

Website: www.mh-frvh.com


 

frv convoyFox River Valley Convoy, unentered Crossbred dog hound shown by Tony Leahy, MFH, is Grand Champion of Show at the Southwest Hound Show. / Sammy Buczkowski photo

Fox River Valley Convoy, an unentered Crossbred dog hound, was judged Grand Champion of Show at the Southwest Hound Show. Brazos Valley Mystic 2010—Grand Champion of Show for the last three years running—made a hard run at an unprecedented fourth consecutive title, but finished as Reserve Champion to Convoy.

The Southwest Hound Show was held on April 19, 2014 at Greenwood Farm in Weatherford, Texas. All hounds are shown in the same ring, and were judged this year by Tony Gammell, professional huntsman for the Keswick Hunt (VA).

“It’s a lovely, small show; you can walk around and see everyone, said Tony Leahy, Master and huntsman of the Fox River Valley Hunt (IL), who looks forward to entering Grand Champion Convoy in the fall. “It was my first visit to Texas, and the people couldn’t have been nicer, more accommodating, or more welcoming.”

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neil.amatt.kleckNeil Amatt, professional whipper-in, Piedmont Fox Hounds (VA): “Anticipation, punctuality, how you present yourself—all these things are drilled into you in the English system. You start in the kennels, and you have to really want it before you’re even allowed on a horse.” / Nancy Kleck photo

With the start of a new season just around the corner, we bring back this article, first published in 2013, not only for the benefit of all new and aspiring whippers-in, but also for those field members who wish to appreciate all that happens in the hunting field.

Last season, after forty-five years of hunting, I witnessed a simple act of sophisticated whipping-in that left me shaking my head in admiration. For a huntsman or an experienced whipper-in, it was perhaps no big deal.

My hunt fielded an all-new professional staff last season—huntsman and whipper-in—both of whom were learning the country on the fly. Hounds had checked in a thick covert, and we in the field could see them, heads down, trying to recover the line. The whipper-in came galloping by headed for the end of the covert.

“Over here,” called the Field Master, pointing to a concealed trail. “You can get in over here.”

The whipper-in came back, talked urgently to the Field Master, then turned his horse and continued in the direction he was originally going.

After the meet I asked him what that exchange was all about.

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canadian2012.woodmanCanadian Hound Show Grand Champion Cornwall Woodman 2010  /  Paul Wilson photoCornwall Woodman 2010 (Fox River Valley Keystone 2005 ex Mooreland Wedlock 2008) was judged Grand Champion at the Canadian Hound Show held this year at the kennels of the Hamilton Hunt (ON) on June 9, 2012.

Woodman is a Crossbred dog hound entered by Tony Leahy, MFH and huntsman of the Cornwall Hounds and the Fox River Valley Hunt, both in Illinois. Woodman was entered into the MFHA registry as a Cornwall hound, but the Cornwall and Fox River Valley packs are basically one in the same. Woodman is primarily the result of Fox River Valley breeding, but the tail female line—one of Leahy’s best—took a short detour through the Mooreland and the Whiskey Road kennels!

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liveoakhannibalGrand Champion Live Oak Hannibal 2009 (Live Oak Hasty '06--Their Asset '03)   /  Jim Meads photoThe sixth annual Southern Hound Show, held on April 28, 2012 at Live Oak Plantation, Monticello, Florida was once again blessed with perfect weather. Ten packs from as far away as Tennessee and Palm Beach competed under the watchful eyes of Richard Sumner, MFH of the Heythrop Hunt in England and Dennis Foster, Executive Director of the MFHA. Robert Ferrer, MFH of the Caroline Hunt was apprentice judge.

English, American, Crossbred, and Penn-Marydels all show in one ring against each other. As there are two Crossbred rings at the Virginia Foxhound Show (based on number of hounds in kennel), this is the only occasion that Fox River Valley, Live Oak, Midland, and Mooreland go head to head in every class.

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fox_river_valley_nightcap_2009Grand Champion Fox River Valley Nightcap 2009 / Jim Meads photoBlessed with perfect weather, the fifth annual Southern Hound show (“Stars of the South!”) was held on April 9 in Monticello, Florida. Having been prevented from attending in 2010 by volcanic ash over Europe, Judge Martin Scott, ex MFH Vale of the White Horse and photographer Jim Meads were on hand this year to enjoy seeing quite a few truly quality hounds being presented. Mr. Scott was ably assisted by co-judge Mr. J.W.Y. Martin, MFH, Green Spring Valley Hounds. The apprentice judge was Mrs. George Thomas, MFH, Why Worry Hounds.

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