Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Fox Hounds

Brazos Valley Playboy Is Grand Champion at Central States

central states18.playboy16.howard gwinGrand Champion Brazos Valley Playboy 2016 is shown by Sandy Dixon, MFH. Standing are (l-r) Johna Sewell, Brazos Valley; Nick Badgerow, Show Chairman; Judge John Tabachka. /   Howard Gwin photoBrazos Valley Playboy 2016, an American foxhound, was crowned Grand Champion of the Central States Hound Show in Stilwell Kansas, on May 12, 2018.

Playboy was bred much like European royalty—all in the family—but even more so. Breeders know that the results of inbreeding can be successful beyond one’s wildest dreams. Or a nightmare.

“People are going to wonder, ‘What was she thinking?’” Sandy Dixon, MFH of the Brazos Valley Hounds (TX), readily admitted last year when Playboy’s littermate, Precious, was judged Grand Champion of the Southwest Hound Show. Just as riders don’t plan for the occasional involuntary dismount, so Dixon didn’t plan on this involuntary mount.

Photography I: Shooting Foxhounds at the Hound Show

canadian17.toronto north yorks blue ridge wentworthThe conformation of Toronto and North York's Blue Ridge Wentworth 2015, Grand Champion Foxhound at the 2017 Canadian Foxhound Show, is clearly seen in this well-posed photograph. / Denya Massey photo

This may come as a surprise to new hound show photographers, but...

...your primary purpose at the hound show is to produce hound portraits that clearly display the conformation of those hounds recognized by the judges as superior examples of the breed.

Secondary purposes may be to include the smiling faces of the Masters, handlers, distinguished trophy presenters, and judges, along with candids of attendees enjoying the day and the action in the ring. Those are nice things to do. But they’re secondary. The hound show is about the hounds.

There are those experienced photographers who are expert at photographing four-legged animals, both hounds and horses. The basics are pretty similar. Editors of sporting magazines—those who cover dogs, hounds, horses—love those photographers. They make us proud by providing images for publication comparable to our unforgettable prose. So, here are some basic guidelines for shooting hound champion portraits at hound shows, even those that include all the smiling faces.

Norfolk Blarney is Grand Champion at New England

nehs18.norfolk blarney.eric schneiderGrand Champion Norfolk Blarney with (l-r) Dominic Cammarata, MFH, kennelman Alyse Phipps, and Tom Lewis, MFH / Eric Schneider photo

The New England Foxhound Show was hosted by the Norfolk Hunt in their Dover, Massachusetts country on May 6, 2018. Six hunts from four of the six New England States brought hounds: Green Mountain Hounds (VT), Myopia Hunt (MA), Norfolk Hunt (MA), Old North Bridge Hounds (MA), Tanheath Hunt (CT), and Wentworth Hunt (NH).

At the end of the day, a tricolor Crossbred dog hound, Norfolk Blarney 2016 (Myopia Bartlett 2008 ex Myopia Rachel 20112), was chosen Grand Champion of Show by Judge John Ike, ex-MFH, visiting from the Millbrook Hunt (NY).

I found Blarney’s breeding to be quite interesting, and I talked to Sue Billings, longtime Norfolk honorary whipper-in, about him as well.

Brazos Valley Two Step Is Grand Champion at Southwest

southwest18.grand champion.two stepGrand Champion Brazos Valley Two Step poses with Sandy Dixon, MFH and Judge Jordan Hicks.For the third consecutive year, a Brazos Valley foxhound was judged Grand Champion of the Southwest Hound Show hosted at Marvin Savage Farm in Weatherford, Texas, on Saturday, April 21, 2018.

This year, it was Brazos Valley Two Step 2016, an American dog hound, who collected top honors from judge Jordan Hicks, professional huntsman of the Piedmont Fox Hounds (VA).