Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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

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.

Going Home

black.ron.portraitCumbrian foot hunter Ron Black, a purist.“I am a native Lakelander,” writes Ron Black, “with roots going back to 1700, the fourth generation to follow hounds, with ancestors who stood on the cold tops at dawn, moved the heavy Lakeland stone to free trapped terriers, and also carried the horn on occasions. Hunting will not come back in the foreseeable future, perhaps not at all, but for three hundred years hunting and the church were the central thread to many communities. This is a part of the story.”

Ron Black has been a regular contributor to Foxhunting Life with his stories of hunting in the rugged fells of England’s Lake District. Foot hunting—the only pure way to hunt, Ron insists. And this, he also insists, is his farewell story.

I sat in the lee of the big boulder and watched the rainstorm disappear down the valley. Signs of its passing were everywhere. Small runnels of water ran down the fell side, water dripped off the crag behind me, and I was soaked. Oblivious to the rain, the huntsman remained out in the open, one foot up on a small boulder, his coat open to the waist.