Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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

In Praise of the Penn-Marydel

pmd1.gretchen pelhamGretchen Pelham photo

While packing hounds to the first covert on an autumn hunting morning a couple of seasons ago, I quickly noticed the absence of spider webs laying in the morning dew that so often are the bane of scenting here in the excessively drained sandy soils of my hunting country. Sure enough that harbinger proved accurate when precocious ten-month-old Dooley opened on riot, indicating that scenting conditions were indeed optimal. Whippers-in were out on point, so I had to break out my shooting iron to get the attention of the easily swayed new entry that joined the persistent Dooley.

After counting all twenty-five-and-a-half couple and telling them how disappointed in them I was, I moved from Manly Crossing and recast them into Cow Head. That particular cast was mostly to settle them down and perhaps jump another deer, as that location offers the opportunity for quick correction.

Hunting In the Footsteps of Irish History

duhallow.liscarroll castleThirteenth century Liscarroll Castle in the Duhallow hunting country, near the site of the Battle of Liscarroll in 1642.

There are certain days that stand out in the sporting calendar, Gold Cup day in Cheltenham, Aga Khan day at the Royal Dublin Show, the Maryland Hunt Cup in the USA, Munster final in Thurles (especially if Cork and Tipperary are playing), but ranking at least equal to any of these must be a meet of the Duhallow in Liscarroll. The Duhallow kennels are nearby, and huntsman Ger Withers is a native of the parish so it could be described as their spiritual home. As if all this weren’t enough, longstanding hunt chairman Pat Fleming farms nearby, and the Flemings have been farming in Liscarroll since the Battle of Liscarroll around 1642.

Waterford Opening Meet at Historic Curraghmore

curraghmore co waterfordSt. Hubert's stag and the crucifix atop the medieval tower at CurraghmoreOpening meets are always special, but when it is at Curraghmore for the Waterford Foxhounds, and a lawn meet to boot, it goes beyond special. Indeed, the hunt was originally known as the Curraghmore Hounds. The estate is steeped in all things of the horse. Even as we drove in the long avenue (it must be more than a mile), race horses were being unboxed and tacked up on the gallops and schooling grounds which are widely used by trainers in that part of the country.

Curraghmore is the historic home of the Ninth Marquis of Waterford. His ancestors through his maternal line, the de la Poers (Power), came to Ireland from Wales with Strongbow and the Normans around 1170—about a century after the Norman invasion of England and about 320 years before Columbus ‘discovered’ the New World.

In Strange New Territory

lori brunnen.callarLiz Callar photoIt is hard to believe now, but at the start of the 2017 hunting season I was actually lamenting the difficulties of leaving a hunt I had been with for fifteen years and joining another. Even at the time, I realized it was a small issue in the scheme of things that can happen in life. Making new friends and riding across some breathtaking new country quickly proved to me that I had made the right decision.

That season started out well. I was hunting regularly, and in October, Karen and I traveled with the Last Chance Hounds to the Moore County Hounds Hark Forward Foxhound Performance Trials in North Carolina. By January, however, hunting was the last thing on my mind. And I never did get out after that.