Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Fox Hounds

Peer Pressure

EmmyEmmy LouHounds are fascinating to watch, even after so many years at this game. Consider a recent Carrollton (MD) hound exercise, for example.

We were exercising the pack around the kennels and introduced our new entry, Emmy Lou, a blue tick Penn-Marydel that was recently drafted from a hunt in the Carolinas. I picked her up last week from Doc Addis who transported her for us from the Huntsman's Weekend down in Emporia, Virginia. She is a pretty, petite thing—timid—but seems to have loads of personality. We have all fallen in love with her, and she is getting used to her new home.

As we walked out, she ran about sniffing and exploring with the pack. Occasionally we had to tell her to "pack in," which she readily responded to. At one point as we were going up a rise, deer bounded out of the woods to our right. I turned to face our pack, and huntsman Dulany Noble told them to "steady up." She counted the deer: one, two, three, and up to eight, not more than fifty yards or less above us. Our pack watched intently but did not break. Suddenly Emmy Lou broke and went after them. My heart sank. Huntsman Dulany told everyone—canine and human alike—to steady up and she raised her new horn to her lips and blew a lovely melodic note. Emmy Lou stopped, turned, and came running back. We were so pleased, but here's the cool thing.

The Cheshire Crossbred: A Bold Gamble

cheshire1.hounds.jimgrahamThe new Cheshire Crossbreds combine the best traits of two disparate foxhound types  /  Jim Graham photo

When an established hunt with a reputation for showing the best of sport to the best of horsemen in the best of countries comes up with a novel idea for breeding a better foxhound, and sees it through to fruition and success, one has to pay attention.

The venerable—one hundred years this season—Mr. Stewart’s Cheshire Foxhounds in Unionville, Pennsylvania traditionally hunted the Old English foxhound under the hunt’s founder W. Plunket Stewart and the active Mastership of his step-daughter, the late Mrs. John (Nancy Penn Smith) Hannum. Masters and members know the breed very well.

Ireland’s County Galway Foxhounds (The Blazers), another venerable hunt renowned for showing world-class sport, also hunts the Old English foxhound. Cheshire huntsman Ivan Dowling grew up following the Blazers, and he too knows the Old English foxhound very well.

History and familiarity notwithstanding, seven years ago the Cheshire Masters and their Galway-born huntsman Dowling decided to continue a breeding experiment begun two years earlier by former huntsman John Tullock. They committed to the notion of crossing the English foxhound with the Penn-Marydel foxhound—two disparate types—in the hope of making a better foxhound for their country. This was a chancy endeavor, understandably fraught with controversy within the hunt.

Big Crossbred Turnout at Southern Hound Show

mooreland waryMooreland Wary '12, Grand Champion, Southern Hound Show / Wendy Butler photoThe seventh annual Southern Hound Show, held on April 6, 2013 at Live Oak Plantation Monticello, Florida, produced a perfect day for showing hounds—chilly in the morning and low seventies in the afternoon.

This year’s judges were Mr. Richard Tyacke, MFH and huntsman of Sir Watkin Williams-Wynn’s Wynnstay Hounds (UK), and Mrs. Tyacke who substituted for Dr. John W. D. McDonald, MFH, London Hunt (ON), who took ill the night before the show. Dr. Charlotte McDonald, MFH, London Hunt, was the apprentice judge.

Mr. Tyacke said that he was thrilled by the amount of quality he saw in every class. He was very impressed with the levelness shown, particularly in the Two Couple Classes where some hunts produced more than one entry.

As is the custom at the show, all hound types are judged together in one ring, as also happens at the Canadian Hound Show. Eight packs showed, which is one more than showed in the 35-couple-or-more in the Crossbred ring at Virginia in 2012.

Brazos Valley Mystic: LIke Father, Like Son

brazos valley mysticBrazos Valley Mystic 2010 / Liz Callar photoBrazos Valley Mystic 2010 was judged Grand Champion of the Southwest Hound Show for the third consecutive year, matching his sire’s outstanding performance there. The show was held on April 20, 2013 at Greenwood Farms in Weatherford, Texas.

Mystic’s success is no stroke of luck; he’s the product of a royal breeding engineered by Brazos Valley MFH Sandy Dixon. She put her own sire—Brazos Valley Catfish 2006—to a Potomac-bred bitch that she entered in 2006—Brazos Valley Meadow.

Catfish won three consecutive Grand Championships at the Southwest Hound Show in 2007, 2008, and 2009, and Meadow brought her own credentials from Maryland. She was bred by Potomac huntsman Larry Pitts and is by Potomac Jefferson, Grand Champion of both the Virginia Foxhound Show and the Bryn Mawr Hound Show in 2007. Jefferson was knockout handsome.

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