Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Here you will find reviews of, selections from, and commentaries concerning books, many of which don't even appear on Amazon's radar. But what goldmines for the literate foxhunter!

The Fox's Morning & Other Stories

 

the_foxs_morning
The Fox's Morning & Other Stories, W.H. DeCourcy Wright, edited by Ann L. McIntosh, illustrated by Peggy Kauffman, The Elkridge-Harford Hunt, Maryland, 2010, 106 pages, $33.00, available from Ann L. McIntosh, 3810 Beatty Road, Monkton, MD 21111

W.H. DeCourcy Wright suffered a fatal fall from his horse while foxhunting on February 3, 1951. The horse stepped in a groundhog hole, throwing his rider heavily and breaking his neck. For years after that, Wassie Ball, another larger-than-life personage from the distant mists of Elkridge Harford Hunt Club history, albeit from a slightly more recent era than Mr. Wright, would thrill local youngsters by showing them that exact groundhog hole and then poking around in the loose dirt and stones surrounding the hole to find tiny shards of glass, ostensibly from the deceased foxhunter’s spectacles.  

 

 

For my part, other than having a vague knowledge that DeCourcy Wright was one of the defining personages from the glory days of our hunt club before and after The War, and having an exact knowledge of which groundhog hole brought about his demise, I knew little about him.  

 

Little, that is, until his grand-daughter Ann McIntosh left in my mailbox the collection of his writings that comprise this book. It turns out that this is one of the freshest, brightest, most brilliant and original collection of "sporting" pieces I have ever read. By the way, "sporting" is intended to be descriptive, not limiting. This is wonderful writing, period. 

 

The Happiest Man in England

The happiest man in England rose an hour before the dawn;
The stars were in the purple and the dew was on the lawn;
He sang from bed to bathroom—he could only sing “John Peel”;
He donned his boots and breeches and he buckled on his steel.
He chose his brightest waistcoat and his stock with care he tied,
Though scarce a soul would see him in his early morning ride.

Heroes & Hounds

book.millerHeroes & Hounds, Bill Miller, Illustrated by Mary Burkhardt, 154 pages, $11.95 (paperback), $3.99 (Kindle), Available on Amazon.comA lost tri-colored foxhound. A spunky eleven-year-old girl with an independent streak. A strange man who subsists in the woods. And weaving among them, a fox that seems at times to have almost mystical powers.

Author Bill Miller, an honorary whipper-in for the Norfolk Hunt (MA) for more than twenty years, crafts a tale of loss and forgiveness in Heroes & Hounds. Carly, a fifth grader who dreams of riding to the hounds with the posh Riverdale Hunt Club, lives with her irascible grandfather on a Virginia farm while her parents serve overseas in the military. Carly’s best friends are her talented pony, Monroe; a cat named Buster; and a schoolmate, Freddie, who follows her lead into trouble.

When Hampton, a young Riverdale hound, is lost, Carly vows to find him, dreaming of being hailed as a hero and being asked to join the hunt. Instead she risks Freddie’s life and discovers Strange Willie, who knows all too well about being a hero.

The Keen Foxhunter's Miscellany

keen.holtThe Keen Foxhunter's Miscellany, Peter Holt, Quiller Publishing, 2010, 224 pages, illustrated, available on AmazonHere’s a book about foxhunting by a man who never hunted. Peter Holt's wife, however, is a Master of Foxhounds, so the poor fellow has probably heard more about hunting than he ever wanted to know.

The book is a quirky collection of literary quotes, short reports, historical oddities, profiles of hunting eccentrics—no story longer than two pages.

Notwithstanding Holt's lack of hunting experience, this is a very funny book. Admittedly, my sense of humor is sometimes weird, so here are a couple of samples. You decide.