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!

How to Tame a Fox (and Build a Dog)

how to tame a foxHow to Tame a Fox (And Build a Dog) by By Lee Alan Dugatkin and Lyudmila Trut, The University of Chicago Press, 2017, 216 pagesIt is accepted science that dogs evolved from wolves about fifteen thousand years ago. One can imagine, back in primitive times, certain needy wolves sidling up to man for food and shelter. Or orphaned cubs being saved by primitive families. In those relationships that proved successful, both wolf and man discovered advantages. Even disregarding love and companionship (those were harder times), the wolf was assured access to food and shelter in all seasons, and man discovered a hunting partner that contributed to his well-being and that of his family. The domesticated wolves, genetically disposed to the relationship, bred with others so disposed, and succeeding generations over the millennia evolved into purpose-bred dogs.

But just how did that evolution occur? It hasn’t been recorded. What if you could speed up the process and witness it? Two Soviet geneticists tried to do just that. They wanted to try to breed foxes as friendly to people as dogs, and this is their story—“part science, part Russian fairy tale, and part spy thriller,” says The New York Times Book Review.

Six Centuries of Foxhunting: An Annotated Bibliography

Book Review by Norman Fine

biscotti.six centuries fox hunting book reviewSix Centuries of Foxhunting: An Annotated Bibliography by M.L. Biscotti, Foreword by Norman Fine, Rowman & Littlefield, 2017, 499 pages, illustrated, $85.00 hardbound, $80.00 eBookWithin Six Centuries of Foxhunting, Matthew “Duke” Biscotti has collected the essential facts of every bit of literature on the subject of foxhunting that was published prior to the year 2000. A lot of years, a lot of sport, a lot of huntsmen, horses, hounds, and foxes for many lifetimes.

Biscotti’s volume is destined to be a bible for antiquarian booksellers, scholars, collectors, and writers of sporting literature. But the book’s appeal will be a great deal broader. Biscotti gives us so much related and fascinating information about the listed author, the subject, and the times that the volume invites browsing, as does a good encyclopedia.

The Epping Hunt

Here are selections from The Epping Hunt, Thomas Hood’s humorous 1829 epic poem about shopkeeper John Huggins, who goes hunting one day astride a horse that he shares with his neighbor, Fig.

epping fox hunt by cruikshankGeorge Cruikshank was the illustrator for Thomas Hood's epic poem.

A stolid man of business was John Huggins...
Six days a week beheld him stand,
His business next his heart,
At counter with his apron tied
About his counter-part.

With a sporting core...
For all the live-long day before,
And all the night in bed,
Like Beckford, he had nourish’d “Thoughts
On Hunting” in his head.

The Horse of Your Heart

William Henry Ogilvie was born in Scotland, but spent the decade of his twenties in Australia, a country that captivated him. He had a deep love of horses and traveled down under breaking horses and droving at the cattle stations. He explored the outback widely, camping as he went, and much of his poetry was written in and about Australia. Upon returning to England Ogilvie settled into a countryman’s life of riding, foxhunting, and writing.

william henry ogilvie.john kinmont moir.1937William Henry Ogilvie / John Kinmont Moir portrait, 1937When you've ridden a four-year-old half of the day
And, foam to the fetlock, they lead him away,
With a sigh of contentment you watch him depart
While you tighten the girths on the horse of your heart.

There is something between you that both understand
As it thrills an old message from bit-bar to hand.
As he changes his feet in that plunge of desire
To the thud of his hoofs all your courage takes fire.