fhl logo

Subscribe RISK FREE for complete access to website PLUS
twice-monthly e-magazine.


  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 14
  • 15
  • 16
  • 17
  • 18
  • 19
  • 20
  • 21
  • 22
  • 23
  • 24
  • 25
  • 26
  • 27
  • 28
  • 29
  • 30
  • 31
  • 32
  • 33
  • 34

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

West Waterford Foxhounds at Ballyduff, Co Waterford

 wwaterford.moving off.powerMoving off from Ballyduff to the first draw are (l-r) Philip Desmond, MFH; whipper-in Alan Curley; huntsman Donal McAuliffe; and Field Master Connie Curley.  /   Catherine Power photo

Philip Desmond must be one of the best-known names in Irish hunting, be it in Cork or Waterford, and why wouldn’t it be? In addition to farming, he has hunted the Cloyne Harriers, the Dungarvan Foxhounds, and the famed Avondhu in North Cork. He is now Joint-Master of the West Waterford but no longer carries the horn. That task has been passed on to Donal McAuliffe, a young dairy farmer. It would be hard to find a more enthusiastic huntsman than he, this side of Leicestershire.

The invitation from Philip was concise. “Be on the bridge at Ballyduff by eleven on Saturday if you want to see some proper hunting.”

Read more ...

Ward Union Hosts Showjumping Royalty

wards.kacey lou jump.powerKacey-Lou Carberry, 12, jumps ditch and bank cleanly off the road on a competent coloured cob on loan from Master Stephen O'Connor's family.  /   Catherine Power photo

Tuesday, December 2, 2021, was a gala day in Co. Meath, Ireland. Not only were the usual crack Ward Union jockeys out, but also in the field was a group of world-class showjumpers.

Shane Breen, Joint-Master of the Scarteen Black and Tans and a member of the Irish National Showjumping team, had arranged for a group of showjumpers to experience the mystique and magic of hunting in Ireland, in general, and with the Ward Union, in particular. Team Ireland was just back from Portugal, where they had emerged victorious in the Nations Cup finals the week before.

Read more ...

The Ballymacad Foxhounds, Irish Hunts, and Irish Draught Breeds: At a Crossroads

Two meets in the unique Ballymacad hunting county come on the heels of a surprise event―the sudden unavailability of hunt insurance in Ireland. Without insurance, many hunt clubs will cease to function―indeed, many have already suspended hunting temporarily. And the native Irish breeds―the Iris Draught Horse and the Irish Sport Horse―may well become extinct. The economic and cultural losses to the Ballymacad countryside and to the wider Irish countryside would be devastating.  –Ed.

Ballymacad Foxhounds huntsman Kevin Donohoe riding a home produced pure Irish Draught Horse hunterHuntsman Kevin Donahoe with the Ballymacad foxhounds riding a pure Irish Draught Horse from Donahoe's Sport Horses.  /   Noel Mullins photo

The Irish hunting fraternity has been stunned ever since the leading UK hunt insurance provider withdrew from Ireland last year. As insurance renewal dates came up in mid-season, many hunts were forced to suspend hunting. Only a small number of hunts were able to continue.

Read more ...

Keswick Celebrates Its 125th


The Keswick Hunt Club is celebrating its 125th anniversary. Forces responsible for its longevity include the kindness of landowners, the hard work of professionals and volunteers, and the generosity of special angels.

On December 10, 1896, nineteen foxhunting enthusiasts gathered at Cloverfields, the Keswick area home of Frank Randolph, to organize a club for “Social Intercourse and Fox and Drag Hunting.” The spirited gathering, which lasted until two a.m., elected Cary Ruffin Randolph Master of Foxhounds, and John Armstrong Chanler President.

Chanler was an eccentric philanthropist who patrolled Keswick roads mounted and armed to enforce Virginia Code Section 2139 requiring automobile drivers to give horse traffic the right of way. Halting traffic for hounds and horses nowadays requires greater discretion.

Foxhunting has been a feature of Keswick life since colonial days. According to sporting historians and family tradition, Dr. Thomas Walker (1715-1794) kenneled four couple of English Foxhounds at his home Castle Hill. Drafts from local farmer packs constituted the first Keswick pack. Some early members contributed hound puppies instead of dues―gentlemen $12/year, ladies $2/year―then claimed raising the puppies cost so much that the club owed them. Hunt club treasurers must contend with all varieties of explanations.

Higginson and Chamberlain in their 1908 Hunts of the US and Canada declare the Keswick pack, then used for Saturday drag hunting and Thursday foxhunting, of inferior quality compared to the Keswick hunt horses, which included show champions belonging to Julian Morris, MFH. They suggest more attention be paid to the canine “arm of the service.”

Little or no wire spoiled the country during the club’s early years. Jumps were high split rail fences enclosing pastures. Automobile traffic was minimal. Keswick members did not realize how lucky they were. Wire encroachment necessitated construction of dedicated hunt jumps beginning in the late 1920s.

Despite periods of scarcity, inactivity, and political turbulence, Keswick has maintained good sport and good times. Hunting in the 1950s and 60s with Roberts Coles, MFH, was always lively and fun. Following Coles was the successful Mastership of Jake Carle, who served for thirty-six years from 1964-2000. Carle expanded Keswick’s territory into Orange, Louisa, and Madison Counties. He used mostly Bywaters bloodlines in Keswick’s American foxhound pack, which remain in the kennel today.

Keswick recently completed a massive renovation and reconstruction effort. The clubhouse, built in 1898, was in danger of collapsing under the next heavy snow. The building has been reengineered, brought up to present day code and needs, while retaining its distinctive historic character. The kennels have been modernized, made more comfortable for hounds, and more easily maintained. A new staff horse barn, with huntsman’s cottage above, replaced a structure whose walls were caving in.

Present Joint-Masters Will Coleman, Nancy Wiley, and Mary Kalergis have instituted frequent junior meets which have drawn many enthusiastic participants. New young faces in the hunting field and at the clubhouse offer a promising start to Keswick’s next 125 years.

Posted January 18, 2022

Click Here to Subscribe

Click on any ad to learn more!