Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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

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…

Duhallow Foxhounds at Monymusk Stud

duhallow.dickie.cathAuthor and friend / Catherine Power photoWith the season winding down, we decided to keep the best wine ’til last...or very nearly so. Monday saw us with the “Dashing” Duhallow at their meet at Monymusk Stud in Kanturk. The Duhallow is the oldest hunting establishment in Ireland with foxhounds, and has hunted the country continuously since 1745. The market town of Kanturk is looked on as the capital of the ancient barony of Duhallow, so it seemed a suitable venue on which to end their season.

Monymusk, now the property of Duhallow Senior Master Kate Jarvey, was bound to be a gala occasion, and so it proved. Kate holds the unique distinction of being Master of two of Ireland’s leading packs simultaneously—the Duhallow and neighbouring Scarteen. Her great-grandfather was Ely Lily of pharmaceutical fame, and she was brought up during Cape Cod summers near the Kennedy family. Kate is also a former chairman of the Irish Masters of Foxhounds Association. Sadly she was not riding as she is recovering from a broken hip, the result of an unfortunate schooling fall just after Christmas.

Belle Mead Foxhounds Establish New Hunt Record at Tally Ho Lake

belle meade.reflected gloryEpp Wilson leads foxhounds, staff, and field. / Reflected Glory photo

The radio crackled.“Tally-Ho coyote at the Catfish Pond headed west.”

It was the first day of our annual Joint Meet weekend with the Shakerag Hounds (GA), and we had just unkenneled 22-1/2 couple of hounds. Whipper-in John Bell had already left—standard operating procedure—to get into position for the draw and viewed the coyote away even before we put hounds in. Tally Ho Lake is in the southeast corner of our hunting territory, where only two herds of cattle remain in our entire country.

The East Galway at McDonagh’s Pub, Tynagh

East Galway Foxhounds huntsman Liam McAlinden moving off at the meet from McDonaghs Pub in TynaghHuntsman Liam McAlinden and foxhounds move off from McDonagh’s Pub in Tynaugh. / Noel Mullins photo

As the end of the season approaches, it has not come soon enough for some East Galway followers. The hunt could open a hospital casualty ward what with old foxhunting injuries resurrecting themselves—niggling joints, dodgy knees, frozen shoulders, and sore hips. Joint-Master Joe Cavanagh has just had knee surgery, and remarkably he was following by car a few days afterwards. One hunt follower I met was walking very bandy, like a jockey, and he admitted that he would definitely not be able to block a terrier in a corridor! But the East Galway followers are made of stern stuff and despite their temporary handicaps they all look fine when mounted on their hunters!

To further compound matters, some of the hunt horses also need rest. But East Galway has a reputation for producing top-class show jumping and eventing horses, and despite their value they are not being kept in cotton wool; they are being called into action to get followers to the end of the season. No doubt a bit of serious hunting will sharpen them up for the competition season.