Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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

Camden Hunt Hosts Joint-Meet With Sedgefield

susan provenzano and GulliverAuthor Susan Provenzano provides a hunt report rich with sport at Camden Hunt, South Carolina, recently hosting a joint meet with the Sedgefield Hunt from North Carolina. Susan whips-in on Gulliver, her accomplished Thoroughbred, the pair well able to lead the field as well.  /   Holly Swartz photo

As foxhunters, we all look forward to Hunt Ball Weekend. For many hunts, it’s a time when the season is winding down, and we try to truly savor the invigorating mornings remaining of another season spent with our horses, hounds, and friends.

Hunt Ball Weekend in Camden, South Carolina, is no different. This year, however, we spread the enjoyment more than a little by inviting Fred Berry, MFH and huntsman, Sedgefield Hunt (NC), his hounds, and the Sedgefield members to join us. We spread the fun with three days of things to do and places to go—two hunts, one for each pack, and a hunt ball.

The Scarteen at Lattin and Knockcarron

power.lattin 6John Halligan stretches for a big double at Lattin. / Catherine Power photo

Spoiled for choice with three top-class Scarteen meets back-to-back, it appeared only logical to cover all three. With Christmas comes a choice of great hunting, and with scent (that essential but illusive ingredient) improving daily, the omens were good. And so it proved.

The little village of Lattin is so called because it was a seat of learning in the middle ages. The story goes that a weary traveller asked the way to Emly Cathedral of three roadside workers. The first answered in Gaelic while the second disagreed in Lattin, but the definitive directions were given in Greek. Gone are the classics, and the little village on the Tipperary/Limerick border would hardly warrant a backward glance from motorists today, but on a Scarteen hunting day it becomes a mecca. Keen enthusiasts arrange days off, marriages are postponed, and births delayed so that they might be there because it is a special place. Horses had been rested or galloped with the point-to-pointers in preparation for the day.

Grallagh Harriers at Meadow Court Hotel, Galway

The Grallagh Harriers master and huntsman David Burke at the Meadow Court meetThe Grallagh Harriers Master and huntsman David Burke and field move off from the meet at the Meadow Court Hotel near Loughrea. / Noel Mullins photo

The Grallagh Harriers hunt much the same country as the Galway Blazers. The meet was at Meadow Court Hotel in Co. Galway, near my hometown of Loughrea. It brought back many happy memories so close as it is to St. Clerins, the former home of film director John Huston who wrote the screen play and/or directed such classic films as The Maltese Falcon, Treasure of the Sierra Madre, Asphalt Jungle, African Queen, and Moby Dick. The list goes on. He won the Oscar twice and directed his father Walter and his daughter Anjelica to Oscar-winning roles as well.

John Huston was MFH of the Galway Blazers in the 1960s. It was nothing unusual to see his house guests following the hunt by car―Hollywood film stars like Cary Grant, Spencer Tracy, Katherine Hepburn, Orson Wells, playwright Jean Paul Sartre, or Paul Newman who bought a Connemara Pony from Lady Anne Hemphill.

An American Foxhunter Meets the Irish Banks

fugateandgus2.johnflavinThe author on Gus: muddied but unbowed / John Flavin photoDid you ever hear the expression “cheating death?” This question was posed to me by Bob Goodman, my newfound friend and fellow foxhunter, as we both emerged from one of those double drain jumps common to the south of Ireland. The question carried added meaning coming from Bob, a former Air Force fighter pilot with 336 combat missions in Vietnam.

I arrived in Ireland on January 18, 2019 and made my way from the airport straight to Flavin’s stable near Tramore in County Waterford to practice jumping banks and ditches before the next morning’s hunt. On a good horse who knew his business, I found these obstacles to be easy enough, and I was assured that actual hunt conditions would be no more challenging than these practice jumps. Although confident, I had a sense that actual conditions might in fact be different…