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Lord Oaksey Goes Hunting

lord oaksey  

My first ride on Carrickbeg was in the Leopardstown Chase [run on the final day of the Dublin Racing Festival]. With England frozen solid, he had not run for five weeks, and I had been leading the life of Riley―or rather of Soapy Sponge: ten wonderful days hunting in Ireland.

Of course, the fox and the hound play essential parts, and I wish I understood them better. I respect and envy those to whom every cry of a hound or a note of a horn brings an immediately recognizable image―the experts to whom one clever, successful cast means more than five minutes across the best of Leicestershire, Limerick, or Tipperary.

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Eddie Arcaro Goes Foxhunting

Hall of Fame jockey Eddie Arcaro

eddie arcaro.citation.ky derbyCitation, Hall of  Fame jockey Eddie Arcaro up, wins the Kentucky Derby, May 1, 1948

Eddie Arcaro (1916–1997) is regarded by many as the greatest jockey in the history of American Thoroughbred racing. He tallied more wins in classic stakes races than any other jockey and is still the only jock to have won the Triple Crown twice—Whirlaway (1941) and Citation (1948). He has the most wins of any jockey in the Belmont (six) and the Preakness (six) and is tied with Bill Hartack for Kentucky Derby wins (five). He won 4,779 of his 24,092 races and earned a record-setting $30 million in purses.

On November 23, 1954 Arcaro experienced his first foxhunt when he appeared at a meet of the Piedmont Fox Hounds in Philomont, Virginia, as reported by Liz Smith in Sports Illustrated’s December 27 issue of that year:

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Harry Worcester Smith...the Great Hound Match of 1905...a Discovery?

bailys picPhotograph discovered by Baily's in a biscuit tin, dated 1905 on the back, and appearing American.

The historic and well-documented Great Hound Match of 1905 was a face-off between A. Henry Higginson’s Middlesex Hunt (MA) with its English Foxhounds and Harry Worcester Smith of the Grafton Hunt (MA) and his American foxhounds. The Match was held in the then hunting country of the Piedmont Fox Hounds (VA), with each pack alternating hunting days.

Despite the substantial coverage by the press and public interest in the Match at the time―and ever since―something has been missing.

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A. Henry Higginson: A Master of the Old School

Tally Ruxton and Henry Higginson Joint MFHs Cattistock 1936 002Cattistock (UK) Joint-Masters in 1936: (l-r) Tally Ruxton and A. Henry Higginson

A family ignores the instructions of the Master and huntsman as he draws for a fox. Nieces of the family continue to forge ahead, despite the huntsman’s requests that they stop when he stops. The wife fails to get out of the huntsman’s way as he tries to get to hounds, so he barrels on through and knocks her off her pony. The wife and her niece continue to hunt kickers with red ribbons in the tails that have already injured field members and their horses.

The Master and huntsman, in this case, is A. Henry Higginson, an internationally-known American Master, huntsman, and breeder of English foxhounds. In 1930, he was engaged by the Cattistock Hunt Committee (UK) to serve as Master and huntsman in their hunting country in England. His breeding and training program have improved the pack and the sport, and his contributions are recognized and appreciated.

The family, in this case, is John Budden and his wife, Diana. The Buddens are landowners in the Cattistick hunting country. They maintain important coverts on their land and keep them safe for foxes by barring gunners. To make matters more difficult, Budden is a close personal friend of Higginson’s English Joint-Master, Tally Ruxton. Both Budden and Ruxton were military officers in The Great War.

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