Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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

Whipping-In Is a Rush

ddl fox huntingWhipping-in on Fearnought, the author's favorite.Cold and wet from rain on my thirty-six-inch pony Toy Mouse, with my fearless two-legged leader...mom Caroline...at the other end of the lead-line: that’s how I became addicted to a sport known as foxhunting. When we got in from hunting, my wool hunt coat weighed more than I did.

Since then, every autumn, from age four until now (not going to disclose that, but I’ve finished college!), there is a sense of anticipation and adrenaline that rushes through my veins. Foxhunters know how the goose bumps rise on your skin the moment those hunting hounds open up on a fresh scent of a fox or coyote, and away they go! This adrenaline rush only multiples, if you can believe it, when a person is allowed to have the honor of being a whipper-in.

A Foxhunt to Remember at Genesee Valley

Genesee Valley Hunt fox hunting meet at The HomesteadThe Genesee Valley foxhounds meet on Opening Day of the formal season at The Homestead, home of W. Austin Wadsworth, MFH. Marion Thorne, MFH and huntsman (center) stands with hounds. / Barbara Smith photo

Genesee Valley, a stop along the MFHA's Hark Forward Friendship Tour, was awesome! Six foxes put to ground in three-and-a-half hours! Epp Wilson, MFH, Belle Meade Hunt (GA), called it the best red fox hunt he had ever experienced.

Epp is Chairman of the Hark Forward Foxhound Performance Trials this season and is leading the tour across the North American foxhunting countries. Friendship Meets along the way have been scheduled. Join Epp and his fellow travelers for one or more (or any) of the exciting trials and/or hunt meets.

The Genesee Vally Hunt is renowned as one of the premier foxhunting clubs in North America. We were privileged to join Marion Thorne, MFH and huntsman, for their exciting Opening Day Meet on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017. Marion’s pack more than lived up to its reputation!

In the Huntsman's Pocket at Golden's Bridge

fox hunting at goldens bridge with codie and houndsHuntsman Codie Hayes and hounds in the Golden's Bridge country. / Barbara Smith photo

After two brutally hot days of foxhound performance trials at Millbrook, the weather finally broke. The next stop on our Hark Forward Friendship Tour was a day’s foxhunting with the Golden’s Bridge Hounds (NY), about twenty miles southeast of Millbrook as the crow flies. Thankfully, the temperature had dropped by fifteen degrees. Hounds met at 7:30 am, scenting had definitely improved, and so had the game activity.

Trying something new, I took my digital recorder to record the important snippets of the action and my impressions of the day. This is the same recorder we use to score the hounds in the hound trials. Since it’s hard to remember everything that happens during a foxhunt, I wanted to make the all the action and impressions of the day come alive. Here goes:

Eglington and Caledon: First Stop on the Friendship Tour

ec.strachan wilson.bardAlastair Strachan, MFH, hunting hounds this day, invites Epp Wilson to accompany him.  /  Barbara Smith photo

Who do you call twelve hours in advance for overnight accommodations for ten horses and five people when original plans fall through? In this case we were blessed to land on the doorstep of Christine Gracey, MFH of the Eglinton and Caledon Hounds (ON). Completely nonplused at the last-minute plans, Christy and Master Alastair Strachan made arrangements for our caravan of horses and people. We pulled into Sleepy Fox Farm, the lovely hunter barn of Al Borrett and daughter Jennifer at midnight, after a fifteen-hour drive from Illinois.