Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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FHL wants your hunt reports! Stories and photos. Submit yours here.

A Cowboy in County Clare

cowboy hunt1Kail Mantle from Montana: just like riding a bronc  /  Val Westover photo

Last year, while hunting with the Red Rock Hounds (NV), I met Renee and Kail Mantle from Big Sky Hounds in Three Forks, Montana. Kail gave us a bucking horse lesson one day before hunting. This Montana cowboy, who hunts in chaps and cowboy hat, had sat calmly to his horse bucking crazily above the sagebrush and had seriously impressed me.

When a group of these Western foxhunters invited me to accompany them to Ireland this year, I jumped at the chance. These were fun people---more than a little crazy, and I wondered if anyone had warned the Irish!

I also wondered if my companions knew what they were getting into. I had hunted the big Irish walls and hedges in 2000, and I came home with newfound respect for anyone who hunts regularly in Ireland. It is challenging country, and their version of foxhunting is an excuse to run and jump really big fences.

Opening Meet at Woodbrook Is a Weekend Affair

by Tami Masters

woodbrook1(l-r) Field Master Patty Steimert, Eric Stiemert, and author Tami Masters / Andrew Towell photo

The Woodbrook Hunt Club in Washington State was established in 1925 and is the oldest hunt west of the Mississipi. The drag hunt was recognized by the MFHA in 1962 and has recently undergone a changing of the guard. Huntsman Jennifer Hansen has brought about much newfound energy and enthusiasm to the clubhouse and to the hunting field. We have a rather diverse pack of hounds that Andrew Barclay helped us to acquire from all around the country.

Opening Weekend was a spectacular affair, starting with our annual Hunter Trials and Hunter Pace on Saturday and ending on Sunday with a lively eight-mile drag hunt through the beautiful woods and prairie on military land just southeast of the kennels.

Boot Camp at Belle Meade

barbara leeBelle Meade First whipper-in Barbara Lee organizes the hunt's annual Foxhunting Seminar for all new members.  /  Bella Vita Fotographie photo

Individuals interested in joining the Belle Meade Hunt (GA) quickly learn what they need to know in the hunting field, and they also learn what is expected of them as members. The hunt holds an annual Foxhunting Seminar that all new members are required to attend, whether or not they have hunted elsewhere.

New members learn that they are expected to have fun and to be contributors. “Mandatory Volunteerism” is the principle, and every member must subscribe to it. From that institutional expectation, the unique Belle Meade culture has developed.

It all began with the hunt’s founder, the late Master James Wilson, an inspirational leader who believed in teamwork. According to the seminar handout explaining the principle of mandatory volunteerism, “Master James knew that it took every member chipping in to make Belle Meade the place we have all come to love. As a member you were expected to respond with a willing, ‘Yes, sir,’ to anything you were asked to do. Most of us would have jumped through hoops of fire if the man asked us to! One of the unique things about our hunt that drew all of you here was the tradition of working as a family for the good of the hunt.”

A Fast Day and Foxes Aplenty at Blue Ridge

graham buston.hounds.maisanoHuntsman Graham Buston, hounds, staff, and field of the Blue Ridge Hunt  /  Joanne Maisano photo

The November morning was unseasonably warm as I tacked up my beautiful Cleveland Bay/TB cross, Fearnought. It was a surprise that I had come home from school, but with my mother keeping him fit for me, I knew that he would be all ready for a day’s hunting. Conveniently, the Blue Ridge Hunt (VA) meet was only a fifteen-minute hack from my grandmother’s stable where I keep my horse. By the time we arrived I was already very warm in my formal coat and wondering, ‘Did I drive all the way home for nothing?’