Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Fox Hounds

The Tom Smith Cast

tom smith cast2Hounds speak confidently in covert; the whipper-in on the far side lifts his cap to the sky; and hounds burst into the open in full cry.

Suddenly all of life is in motion. Your head fills with the sights and sounds of the chase—the cry of hounds, the huntsman’s horn, the thud of hooves, the wind in your ears. Bliss. Then it all goes quiet.

The pack fractures, hounds searching for the lost line. The huntsman gives them a chance to recover it on their own. He doesn’t want the line to go cold, nor does he wants hounds to lift their heads and look to him for help every time they are at fault. Hounds make their own swing. The huntsman weighs all the factors—wind, scenting conditions, time passing, landscape, how the foxes have run here in the past. He decides to make a cast.

Will Goodall and the Belvoir

Surely, one of the great foxhunting packs of Old English (or traditionally bred) foxhounds—as distinguished from the Modern English foxhound—is the Belvoir (pronounced “Beaver”) in the UK. The kennels are at Belvoir Castle and have always been the property of the Dukes of Rutland. The hunt dates from 1750, and, except for a twenty-seven year period in the 1800s, the Mastership has always been held by the reigning Duke of Rutland. The Belvoir kennels are still considered by many breeders to be their primary source of Old English bloodlines.

belvoir video

Will Goodall served as the Belvoir huntsman from 1842 to 1859. Goodall’s hunting methods greatly impressed Lord Henry Bentinck, one of the leading MFHs of the day. Captain Simon Clarke, MFH of the New Forest foxhounds (UK) tells us that Lord Henry hunted three horses a day, kept copious notes, compared the best of England’s huntsmen, and believed Will Goodall to be the premier huntsman in England.

When in 1864 Lord Henry sold his famous hound pack, he wrote a letter to the purchaser, Mr. Henry Chaplin, describing Will Goodall’s hunting methods. The information in the letter so impressed Mr. Chaplin that, some years after Lord Henry’s death, he had it published under the title, The Late Lord Henry Bentinck on Foxhounds: Goodall’s Practice.

"Goodall’s Practice,” says Captain Clarke, “is the best treatise on hunting hounds ever written.” The revered Master and hound breeder Isaac “Ikey” Bell, the single individual most responsible for the modern English foxhound, is said to have had Goodall’s Practice painted on the ceiling over his bathtub! If you watch while hunting this season, you may see and recognize some of these same practices being used by your own huntsman. Here’s an extract:

Andrews Bridge Kodiak Is Grand Champion Penn-Marydel

pmd show champion18Champion Penn-Marydel foxhound Andrews Bridge Kodiak 2014 with huntsman Adam Townsend (kneeling). Standing are (l-r) Chief Steward Steve Hill, former Andrews Bridge huntsman; Judge Donald Philhower, huntsman, Millbrook Hunt; and MFHs Betsy and Steve Harris, Andrews Bridge.

The 2018 Penn-Marydel Foxhound Show was held on Saturday, May 12, 2018, in Fair Hill, Maryland. In spite of a rather bleak weather forecast for the afternoon, the rain held off, and we finished up well ahead of the evening storms for this, our sixty-fourth foxhound show.

Well over one hundred hounds were entered from eight packs: Andrews Bridge Foxhounds (PA), Golden’s Bridge Hounds (NY), Kimberton Hunt (PA), Lewisville Hunt, Marlborough Hunt (MD), Mt. Carmel Foxhounds, Red Oak Foxhounds (VA), and Snickersville Hunt (VA).

OCH Kermit Is Grand Champion at Bryn Mawr

brynmawr18.trophyGrand Champion Foxhound Orange County Kermit 2015 poses with the Midland Foxhounds Trophy at the conclusion of the Bryn Mawr Hound Show. Huntsman Reg Spreadborough is the handler. Standing are (l-r) Show Chairman Lance Taylor, Radnor Hunt; Catherine "Bundles" Murdock, Hon. Sec., Orange County Hounds; and Judge C. Martin Wood III, MFH, Live Oak Hounds.  /   Liz Callar photo

Orange County Kermit 2015, after three consecutive appearances in the Grand Championship Class at the Bryn Mawr Hound Show over the last three years, proved that persistence pays off. The show was held Saturday, June 2, 2018 on the spacious grounds of the Radnor Hunt in Malvern, Pennsylvania, and Judge C. Martin Wood declared Kermit to be the “best example of an American Foxhound that he had ever seen.” And Mr. Wood has seen a few.

Last year, Kermit was beaten in the Grand Championship Class by Midland Striker, after winning the Grand Championship at Virginia just the week before. One year earlier, 2016, Striker had the same experience; he was passed over at Bryn Mawr after winning the Grand Championship at Virginia as well.