Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Fox Hounds

Mountain and Muse: A Bicentennial

mountain

museThe Port of Baltimore earned a place in American history two hundred years ago this month during the War of 1812. The British, after burning and sacking Washington, D.C. in August of 1814, turned their attention to Baltimore with an assault by naval and ground troops in September. Francis Scott Key, a witness to the naval bombardment of Fort McHenry, jotted down the words to what became our national anthem, “The Star Spangled Banner.”

The Port of Baltimore earned its place in American foxhunting history that very same month—September, 1814. After the British fleet withdrew to make its final assault of the War of 1812 on New Orleans, a merchant ship entered the Port of Baltimore and disembarked two foxhounds from Ireland, Mountain and Muse.

Unusual for their appearance, speed, aggression, hunting style, and pre-potency, Mountain and Muse turned out to be progenitors of our principal American foxhound strains: July, Birdsong, Trigg, Bywaters, and Walker. The Midland Crossbred, developed by Ben Hardaway, MFH, found today in kennels all over North America as well as England, and having its roots in the July strain, also goes back to Mountain and Muse.

New England Hunts Hound Trails

ne trails oldMasters, staff, and hounds at the 1926 New England Hound Trails in front of the Bowditch mansion. John Bowditch was MFH of the Millwood Hunt in Framingham, MA.

Yes, we've got the spelling right. Trails, not Trials. It's a race to prove which hunt can field the fastest and most accurate hounds following a drag scent, and it's been a fixture of the New England foxhunting scene since 1923.

Each hunt may enter up to 2 couple of hounds. Competing hounds may be cheered on and handled by their staff at the starting line, but at no other point in the race. Patrol judges are stationed at strategic places to penalize hounds that skirt or cheat (i.e., take shortcuts off the true line to get closer to the front runner).

A Storybook Ending for Live Oak Charter

charter and tylerCharter and Tyler / Cynthia Daily photo

The odyssey of Live Oak Charter—the frightened foxhound that escaped from the Virginia Foxhound Show last May, traveled from Leesburg to Middleburg (more than twenty miles as the crow flies), crossed two major four-lane highways, subsisted on whatever food he could find, lost part of his tongue and shattered his jaw—finally ended after six long months in Hollywood’s finest style.

Charter has been adopted by the vet tech that cared for him at Blue Ridge Veterinary Associates. He lives on a hundred-acre farm, sleeps on his new owner’s bed, and runs long distances with him every day. Charter’s survival literally “took a village,” and Live Oak MFHs Daphne and Marty Wood, who supported and monitored the efforts of so many dedicated people from afar, couldn’t be happier.

Extend Your Weekend Sport with a Foot Pack

ashland bassets1The Ashland Bassets  /  Susan Monticelli photoWhen not following foxhounds on horseback, many foxhunters and their like-minded friends can be found following their local basset or beagle pack on foot—a perfect way to continue enjoying sport and a country lifestyle. Any foxhunter who thrills to the cry of foxhounds and hasn’t yet heard a pack of bassets in full cry must try a day’s hunting behind these wonderful hounds!

Even after dismounting from the saddle on a Saturday, many still yearn to hunt on before returning to an office on Monday. There are others who have hung up their tack for various reasons, and some who have never hunted astride yet love being outdoors on fall and winter afternoons. For all these sportsmen and women, the Ashland Bassets—hunting the territories of the Casanova, Old Dominion, Orange County, and Warrenton foxhound packs in Virginia—have provided a welcome window through which to extend one's weekend enjoyment of the countryside and venery.

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