Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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

Scarteen Black and Tans at Emly

 scarteen20.huntsman and houndsHuntsman Raymond O'Halloran and the hard hunting Kerry Beagles of Scarteen  / Catherine Power photo

The earliest records of the Scarteen and the Ryan family goes back to 1640, coming after the flight of the Earls in 1607, another incident in the long history of Irish-British conflict. Around 1820, Daniel O’Connell (the Liberator) disbanded his pack of Kerry Beagles, and his hounds were sent to Scarteen to augment the Scarteen pack. The Ryans of Scarteen were closely related to the O’Connell’s of Caherdaniel. Chris Ryan, now in his thirty-fourth season as Master, is the eight generation of his family to have carried the horn at Scarteen.

The morning of February 11, 2020 at Emly, County Limerick, started with squalls of rain, sleet, and even some snow, but riders were undeterred and a large field gathered just outside the famed and historic village of Emly, where the pent-up excitement was palpable. It may have been the thought of jumping the Emly banks and their attendant trenches, any one of which could swallow up both horse and rider leaving little more than a ripple.

North Galway Foxhounds at Shrule, County Mayo

 David Masterson huntsman of the North Galway Foxhounds with the masters Tom McNamara Michael Lennon and Jackie Lee with whipper in Gabriel Slattery at Shrule Castle built in 1238 Huntsman David Masterson with Masters Tom McNamara, Michael Lennon, and Jackie Lee with whipper-in Gabriel Slattery at Shrule Castle directly across from TJ Gibbons Pub. Shrule Castle, a Norman keep, was built by the de Burgh family in 1238. / Noel Mullins photo

The hunting country of the North Galway Foxhounds was originally hunted by the Bermingham & North Galway Foxhounds, founded in 1946 by Sir Dermott and Lady Molly Cusack-Smith. Lady Molly had hunted the Galway Blazers during World War II. When the Bermingham and North Galway was disbanded in 1985, the North Galway Foxhounds was formed.

The meet was at TJ Gibbons Pub in Shrule, County Mayo, which has been in the family since 1925 and is now managed by Ronan Gibbons. The Quiet Man, starring John Wayne as Sean Thornton and Maureen O’Hara as Mary Kate, was filmed in nearby Cong and The Neale.

The Reluctant Foxhunter

Author-editor Steve Price was so smitten with Dickie Power’s Scarteen hunt report in our last issue, that he offers this slice of his own experience at Scarteen. Steve is in the process of writing his equestrian memoir, "The Outside of a Horse," and has allowed us to publish this advanced peek at his work-in-progress in which he recalls a day with the Scarteen while on a 1973 equestrian journalists’ junket to Ireland.

steve price at ScarteenSteve Price (right-center) and Carol Clark (left-center) hunting with the Scarteen in 1973

Carol Clark, then editor of the Practical Horseman, had done her homework. During our Friday-morning drive to the village of Knocklong on the Limerick-Tipperary county line, she told me about our host, Thady Ryan. The Ryans had owned the Scarteen pack, named after their ancestral manor house, since 1798. Thady ( Thaddeus) was the most recent in the chain of Ryan men to serve as Master and huntsman. In addition to breeding, training, and caring for his hounds, and breeding and hunting his horses, Thady was a Dublin Horse show official and chef d'équipe of the Irish Olympic three-day team at the Tokyo and Mexico Olympics.

Keeping Score in the Hunt Field

judith onparker the perfectJudith on Parker, the Perfect

With the close of the recent hunting season, I’m feeling the need for some deep reflection since I fell six times. That’s right—six times—this season! Read on, as I evaluate each fall and its root cause.

Fall # 1: I was behind Ken Trogden when he and his horse, Moseby, took a bad jump over the coop into Gentlemen’s Hill. Ken hit the ground on landing and broke his wrist. My horse, Parker, and I were landing after jumping the coop just as Ken hit the ground and his air vest deployed. Parker spun at the sight and sound. I almost stuck it but, in the end, had to bail. When I ask myself how this ride went, I can hear Barbara Lee, one of my riding instructors, in my head, “You were following too close!” Okay. Mea Culpa.
HORSE-0 RIDER-1