Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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HornBlowing edited-1Colby Poe huffs and puffs on huntsman Ross Salter's hunting horn. Honorary whipper-in Denya Dee Leake tells the story.  / Michele Arnold photo

Ross Salter, first-season huntsman at Old Dominion Hounds (VA), and I came to the hunt three seasons ago. There were a few juniors in the field on a regular basis and always a good number on Junior Day. This year, however, the number of juniors on ordinary hunting days has increased dramatically, and Junior Day was a complete surprise to everyone.

We met at Copperfield Farm, between the village of Hume and the village of Orlean. The staff walked to the top of the hill with hounds and waited for the juniors to join us. They started coming up the hill, and they just kept coming and coming. We had juniors that were nearly adults, juniors that were just old enough to ride away from their parents, and some that were being led by their parents! In total we had fifty-two juniors surrounding the hounds.

Including the juniors we had a field of one hundred and nineteen riders. In all of Old Dominion’s history I do not believe that they have seen so many juniors in one place on perfectly behaved horses and ponies. The Masters, Gus Forbush, Dr. Scott Dove, and Douglas Wise-Stuart, each assigned certain kids to each staff member and to become Field Master. Each of us staff members had two kids with us at the beginning, and we slowly brought more kids up as the day went on.

So Why All the Juniors?

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+1 # Art Richardson 2013-12-19 08:53
Great just the way it should be done I hope all Hunts will read and move in this direction.

Art Richardson
+2 # C. Thompson Pardoe, 2013-12-19 09:37
What a marvelous story! My own hunting career began because of the junior hunt tradition at Goshen; not me directly, but the inclusion of my daughters. That quickly led to my involvement and forty years later I continue to be a hunt supporter.
# K R 2013-12-22 09:23
Fantastic picture ! :-)
# Angus Stephen 2013-12-22 22:32
Had chills down my spine reading about the Hunt Day and imagining the call of the hounds. In Australia, our 2014 season is such a long way off for the Sydney Hunt Club. The ability to attract and retain Juniors is a real cause for celebration. Congratulations !
# Cindy Wood 2013-12-23 08:38
Love it, my first memories of hunting were the junior days with Wicomico hunt and Ham Fox, and we are still hunting today
# Holly Kirk 2013-12-29 10:01
Old Dominion always shows us how it should be done!! I have fond memories riding alongside Gus Forbush.
Great to know they are keeping it going in such a strong way!
# gamecock 2013-12-30 17:58
What a great article and how wonderful to see those kids!! The writer of the article, Denya Dee Leake, was fortunate to be introduced to hunting in the same manner. As a 6 and 7 year old, her mother, Caroline Treviranus Leake, took her foxhunting. Denya Dee was on her 12 hand pony while Caroline was on foot leading them! That is the way they followed the hunt!. They would pop up everywhere!!

When, at 10 years of age, the time came for Denya Dee to switch to her super 14. 1 hunting pony, luck struck. Norman Fine took her under his hunting whip and kept her up with hounds, pointing out what they were doing and why. It wasn't long before she was often asked to help the staff!! And so, a "dyed in the wool" foxhunter was made!!

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