Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Fox Hounds

A Fabled American Foxhound and His Legacy

potomac jefferson.wenzelPotomac Jefferson 2005, the toast of North American Foxhounds, winning the Grand Championship at the 2007 Bryn Mawr Hound Show one week after capturing the same honor at Virginia. (L-R): George Hundt; Vicki Crawford, MFH, Potomac Hunt; Larry Pitts, huntsman, Potomac; Lance Taylor; Jake Carle, ex-MFH, Keswick, judge. /  Karen Kandra Wenzel photo

At breakfast this Thursday morning, Joan reminded me that Memorial Day was just a few days away. Boy, it sure didn’t feel like it.

Normally, we’d have been recently back from our hunt’s kennels having watched the practice hound show, afterwards assessing our hounds’ prospects for ribbons and trophies at the Virginia Foxhound Show. Which should have been on the calendar for this weekend. We would have been looking forward to seeing old hunting friends from across North America, and I would have been assuring Joan that I had remembered to send in our reservations for the reception at the Museum of Hounds and Hunting and the dinner under the tent at Morven Park (whether I had, in fact, remembered or not). In short, I would have been looking forward to an important and unique weekend of camaraderie and foxhound study.

Motive and Monarch at Walk

Foxhound puppies sent out of the kennels to live at hunt members’ and supporters’ farms for socializing are said to be “at walk.” It's sort of like summer camp for the pups, and it happens every spring and summer. When destruction to yard, garden, and shrubs exceeds the limits of the puppy walkers’ tolerance, the hounds are returned to the kennels. By that time, the puppies will have grown and prospered, learned their names, been introduced to the lead, and more or less socialized. A break for the huntsman, an education for the puppies, and an annual delight for the puppy walkers.

The author and her family have walked puppies for the Blue Ridge Hunt (VA) every summer for nearly twenty years. This blog was first published in Foxhunting Life nearly ten years ago and this being the time of year when hound puppies are out at walk, we thought it would be fun to bring it back.

wolfe.monarch and ropeMonarch with rope"Incredibly destructive,” I muttered yesterday evening as my husband, Bill, and I were eating dinner on our screen porch, watching these two terrorists drag the cover to our outdoor grill across the patio. Because they are hound dogs, nothing is off limits. Their little noses find the smallest scent and their first reaction is to either chew it or dig for it. A crumb or a caterpillar, a two-day old footprint from a passing varmint, or a newly plopped horse turd sends them into olfactory ecstasy. I’ve tried to imagine being able to smell everything a hound dog can smell…what a new world that would be.

I look forward to the puppies every summer. They make me smile, and what better way to spend a day?

Walking Motive and Monarch

Foxhunting Life is pleased to bring you these wonderfully entertaining extracts from a new hound blog I know you will enjoy. Martha Wolfe and her family have walked puppies for the Blue Ridge Hunt (VA) every summer for the past ten years. Martha updates her blog regularly with Motive’s and Monarch’s latest adventures so that we, too, may enjoy watching them grow and learn.

wolfe.monarch and ropeMonarch with rope"Incredibly destructive,” I muttered yesterday evening as my husband, Bill, and I were eating dinner on our screen porch, watching these two terrorists drag the cover to our outdoor grill across the patio. Because they are hound dogs, nothing is off limits. Their little noses find the smallest scent and their first reaction is to either chew it or dig for it. A crumb or a caterpillar, a two-day old footprint from a passing varmint, or a newly plopped horse turd sends them into olfactory ecstasy.  I’ve tried to imagine being able to smell everything a hound dog can smell…what a new world that would be.

I look forward to the puppies every summer. They make me smile, and what better way to spend a day?

Virginia Foxhound Club Celebrates Sixty-Five Years

But no one came to the party.

oatlands.ohiggins jones wallace sharp haightVirginia Foxhound Show, Oatlands, 1986: Huntsman Shelly O'Higgins receives trophy from Joan Jones (now President, Virginia Foxhound Club). Judges are (l-r) Captain R.E. Wallace, MFH, Exmoor Foxhounds (UK); Bun Sharp, MB, Nantucket-Treweryn Beagles; Sherman Haight, MFH, Mr. Haight's Litchfield County Hounds.

There's an elephant in the room, sucking away so much attention from what we would normally be thinking about at this particular time of year. The Virginia Foxhound Club, for one.

The venerable Virginia Foxhound Club—the team that brings you the Virginia Foxhound Show each year...except this one—is celebrating its sixty-fifth anniversary. It seems timely to look back, evaluate the importance of hound shows in the overall scheme of foxhunting, and convince those with a passion for the sport that their membership in the Virginia Foxhound Club, no matter where in North America they hunt the fox or the coyote, is an investment that will benefit all fox hunters and their hunts.

The Virginia Foxhound Show, the largest hound show in the world, brings foxhounds of all types and all strains to the flags for viewing, comparing, and judging. Whether a Master or huntsman is seeking certain bloodlines, or an outcross to introduce hybrid vigor to the gene pool within his kennels, he sees such hounds at Virginia. And he will again have the opportunity to socialize and chat, in a magnificent setting, about the merits and traits of the canine objects of his desire. With your support, the best matings may continue to be made in Heaven, but they’ll be arranged in Virginia!