Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Fox Hounds

Fell Hounds Shine at Bull Run-Rappahannock Hound Trial

IMG 2539kIn the Bull Run country east of the Blue Ridge Mountains with trial huntsman Epp Wilson (left), judges, and pack. /  Gretchen Pelham photo

It was a top-three sweep, not only for English fell bloodlines, but for one Cumbrian hunt in particular. When the recent Bull Run-Rappahannock Foxhound Performance Trials concluded in Virginia over the weekend of October 19–21, 2017, the three top-scoring hounds were either sired by or whelped out of fell hounds from the Ullswater Foxhounds (UK). And three different Ullswater hounds at that.

Another hound finishing in the top ten was also whelped out of an Ullswater hound. At the center of this story is professional huntsman John Harrison, currently in his first season hunting the foxhounds of the Deep Run Hunt.

Penn-Marydels: A Hound For All Reasons

lisa peterson.crop.pmd.freudy(l-r) Sally Teelin, author Lisa Peterson, and huntsman John Ference with the Penn-Marydel foxhounds of the Fairfield County Hunt, circa 1978 / Freudy photo

November brings forth fall, foliage, and foxhunting. The first weekend of the month is the beginning of the formal season for many hunts with its blessing of hounds, hunt breakfasts, and equestrian fashion pageantry that splashes the color of autumnal leaves with scarlet, black, and brown flashes as horses, hounds, and exuberant riders gallop along.

Foxhunting Life published a lovely article by Epp Wilson last month about the Golden’s Bridge Hounds (NY), its pack of Penn-Marydel foxhounds, and its young huntsman Codie Hayes. I had the pleasure of hunting with Golden’s Bridge as a guest a few times in the last decade and thoroughly enjoyed watching the hounds work. I also recall as a teenager hunting with the Fairfield County Hounds in Newtown, Connecticut with their pack that included Penn-Marydels.

According to a Chronicle of the Horse magazine article in 2005, “The consensus among huntsmen with exclusively Penn-Marydel foxhound packs is that they’re unbeatable for their nose, voice, and ease of hunting.” Not only that, but because they are so agreeable to hunt, as one huntsman said, “They sort of hunt themselves and don’t require a lot of additional work.”

Team Leahy Hosts Performance Trial; Kicks Off Hark Forward!

tony leahy, mfhMFHA President Tony Leahy and the Massbach Hounds kick off this season's Foxhound Performance Trial tour.MFHA President Tony Leahy and the Fox River Valley/Massbach Hounds hosted the kick-off Performance Trial on the Hark Forward Tour in their western Illinois hunting country on September 16 and 17, 2017.

By the time it was over, everyone took home a renewed appreciation for the hard work and knowhow it takes to make and maintain a good hunting pack of foxhounds. Certainly the fact that littermates brought up by different hunts and trained by different staffs, rose like cream to the top of the scoring is convincing proof that breeding matters! Next stop on the tour is Millbrook, New York.

Entering Puppies at Belle Meade

The Belle Meade Hunt Masters believe that the more field members understand what huntsman and hounds are up to, the more they will enjoy each foxhunting day. To that end, Epp Wilson sends the occasional email to the membership reviewing the day’s hound work. With virtually every foxhunt in North America entering puppies right about now, here’s a timely one for all.

epp and hounds fox hunting.gianniniEpp Wilson and hounds / Lauren Giannini photo

Those of you who came out yesterday morning know how well the hounds worked. You also know that we jumped a coyote by the Foxboro Mare Barn and ran him into a culvert on an old logging road in Wilson Woods. Not only was this good training for the puppies, it was even better than one might first think.

Earlier we had drawn mostly blank except for two incidents of puppies starting what we believe were deer lines. And we were able to get them to leave those lines by hollering at them. Why do we feel confident that they were deer lines? There were numerous clues: