Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Potomac Hunt Helps Chevy Chase Club Celebrate 125th Anniversary

An historical thread runs back in time from the Potomac Hunt (MD) to the Washington Riding and Hunt Club (est. 1913) to the Chevy Chase Club (est. 1892) to the Dumblane Club (est. 1885) to the Washington Hunt (est. 1828). Only the Potomac Hunt and the Chevy Chase Club survive. The latter is celebrating its 125th Anniversary, and the Potomac Hunt was there with horses and hounds on October 1, 2017 to mark the occasion. What follows is taken from the remarks of Knight Kiplinger, who explained the club’s foxhunting roots to its current members.

clarence moore.ccc.sizedClarence Moore was MFH of the Chevy Chase Club from 1899 to his death in the waters of the Atlantic in 1912. "A man of staggerying wealth," Moore was bringing foxhounds back from England when the Titanic struck an iceberg and sunk. He perished after remaining aboard to help women and children into lifeboats. / Image courtesy of the Chevy Chase ClubGood morning. I’m Knight Kiplinger, and it is my privilege to be a member of both the Chevy Chase Club and the Potomac Hunt, which are collaborating today in presenting this exhibition of foxhunting here on our Club grounds. The reason that our celebration with horses and hounds is so appropriate is because the Chevy Chase Club was first founded as a foxhunting club.

Not as a golf club, like Washington Golf in Arlington, which is two years younger than we are but was founded for golf. Not as a tennis club, although tennis came to Chevy Chase in 1895, just three years after our founding. Our club was founded by gentlemen members of the Metropolitan Club downtown, who rode horses for pleasure and for sport. For the first three or four years after the Club’s founding in 1892, its sole activity was riding to hounds across the vast expanses of rural northwest D.C. and Montgomery County, Maryland.

Bowerman the Hunter: A Story for Halloween

bowermans noseBowermans Nose, Dartmoor, UK

On Dartmoor, in days of yore—even before Sherlock Holmes’s Hounds of the Baskervilles roamed that fog-swept moor terrifying young readers—a tall, strong man with a sunny disposition lived and hunted his hounds. Kindly and personable, Bowerman the Hunter, was a popular man on the moors, according to legend. He was often seen drawing across Dartmoor with his pack of hounds, reputed for relentless pursuit of their quarry.

His day was a time of witchcraft, and Bowerman’s neighbors on Dartmoor believed that witches congregated in secluded, remote areas of the moors to perform their spells. The villagers shunned such places, but the affable Bowerman laughed off all talk of such superstition and hunted the country wherever he liked.

Henry Goodwin Vaughan, A Founding Father

henry vaughan.furrier
Henry Vaughan riding Norfolk, with the champion Welsh foxhound, Furrier. A gift from Wales, Furrier was bought at auction by Masters of other hunts to fund the new Hunt Servants Benefit Foundation (since renamed the Hunt Staff Benefit Foundation). Furrier was presented by the Masters to Henry Vaughan in appreciation of his long service to the hunts of America and as a co-founder and secretary of the MFHA. The painting is in the possession of the MFHA.

The Norfolk Hunt (MA) can boast of well-known men of American history throughout its earliest rosters—Louis Brandeis, Justice of the U.S, Supreme Court and Leverett Saltonstall, a three-term Governor of Massachusetts and three-term U.S. Senator—but none of its members so dominated the reputation and future of the hunt as did Henry G. Vaughan. He appeared as a member’s guest in 1900 and three years later was elected MFH, a position he held to acclaim for the next thirty years. He was a complete New England gentleman and one of the founding fathers of organized mounted foxhunting in America.

His was hardly the case of a man arriving at a backwater village and uplifting the native savages. Vaughan arrived in Boston from a small town in Maine by way of Harvard University into the midst of the Boston Ames, Cabots, Forbes, Peabodys, Perkinses, and Saltonstalls to be not only embraced, but feted, revered, and almost deified.

Stirrups and Stays: Riding Habits in the 18th Century

barnes1James Seymour (British, 1702 - 1752), A Lady and a Gentleman Riding Out, c. 1740, gouache on paper, 5 5/8 x 7 1/8 inches, Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection

In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the men of England were assaulted by a new and uncomfortable sight: women in masculine clothing! Even worse, these were upper class ladies, and they had donned cavalry-inspired costume to invade the male-dominated pastimes of riding and foxhunting. These daring women were often called ‘Amazons’ and were sometimes ridiculed for their riding habits. In 1666 Samuel Pepys lamented that, if not for their long skirts, these ladies wouldn’t be recognized as women at all! About fifty years later, Richard Steele satirically suggested that Amazons should “complete their triumph over us, by wearing breeches.”