Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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How to Blow the Hunting Horn

kohler hunting hornSurely, one of the thrills of the foxhunting field is the sound of the huntsman’s horn. When huntsman and hounds are out of sight, the horn keeps the knowledgeable foxhunter informed as to the progress of the hunt.

When the huntsman doubles it in covert, that’s a good time to check your girth. When you hear the Gone Away, you watch your Field Master and anticipate that moment when the saddle tosses you standing in your stirrups and dancing to that seductive three-beat rhythm. The knowledgeable foxhunter can distinguish when the huntsman is blowing Gone to Ground to celebrate a successful conclusion, or simply collecting hounds after a loss. But have you ever tried to blow the thing yourself? Not easy!

How to Blow the Hunting Horn

kohler hunting hornSurely, one of the thrills of the foxhunting field is the sound of the huntsman’s horn. When huntsman and hounds are out of sight, the horn keeps the knowledgeable foxhunter informed as to the progress of the hunt.

When the huntsman doubles it in covert, that’s a good time to check your girth. When you hear the Gone Away, you watch your Field Master and anticipate that moment when the saddle tosses you standing in your stirrups and dancing to that seductive three-beat rhythm. The knowledgeable foxhunter can distinguish when the huntsman is blowing Gone to Ground to celebrate a successful conclusion, or simply collecting hounds after a loss. But have you ever tried to blow the thing yourself? Not easy!

MFHA Appoints Andrew Barclay

andrew barclay.horiz portrMFHA Director of Hunting Andrew Barclay

In a September 2, 2020 letter to members of the Masters of Foxhounds Association (MFHA), president Tony Leahy made the following announcement.

“After an extensive search process, it is my pleasure to announce that Andrew Barclay has been appointed as the Director of Hunting.

“Andrew’s experience and knowledge of foxhunting combined with his work with the MFHA to further its mission has proven that he meets the needs of our members. Over the past 14 years he successfully led the Professional Development Program as well as supporting a variety of MFHA initiatives.

Looking For Something to Read?

Now? This instant? Free of charge and legal? Something by a world-class author?

edith somerville on tarbrush.wikicommonsEdith Somerville, MFH, West Carbery Foxhounds riding Tarbrush. She was the first female MFH in Ireland, an author and artist as well, and, with her cousin Violet Martin, wrote some of the most hilarious and literate books on Irish foxhunting ever published. / Wikimedia Commons photo

Something perhaps by Somerville and Ross, G.J. Whyte Melville, and other brilliant writers of foxhunting stories as well as classic works of English literature. Many are in the public domain and may be downloaded and freely reproduced.

In 1971, Michael Hart, a student at the University of Illinois, conceived the most wonderful notion. He had access to a computer that was part of the government sponsored research network that ultimately became the Internet. He set himself a goal to make the ten thousand most consulted books available to the public digitally by the end of the twentieth century. He plucked a copy of the Declaration of Independence from his backpack, and it became the first Project Gutenburg e-text. Hart named the project after the German printer Johannes Gutenburg, who revolutionized the printing press.

Today, there are about forty thousand texts in the Gutenburg collection. For most works you have the option to download the full text as an epub to be read online (even with images); you can download Kindle files with or without images; or simply download plain text.

Uncharted Waters

nodh.klmWhat are you missing out on by cancelled events, and how are your horses helping to keep you occupied now that we are engaged in the newly-minted but necessary practise of social distancing? If you have such a story, share it with Foxhunting Life.

Over the next couple of months I was scheduled for book talks and signings at five libraries and at one of the oldest country clubs in the U.S. Of course, that schedule has gone by the boards along with your own schedules.

I have been publishing Foxhunting Life from my home office from the start, and can certainly continue to do so. Since publication of my new book, Blind Bombing: How Microwave Radar Brought the Allies to D-Day and Victory in Europe, just last December, I have also been giving talks and signing books at museums, libraries, bookstores, and cultural centers. I spoke to a large, knowledgeable, and engaged audience in Georgia at the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force with a ninety-six year old B-17 WWII pilot sitting in the front row. That was a thrill!

In the UK, Foxhunters Can’t Win for Losing

foxhunter and rhe

Frightened by nearby foxhounds in Warwickshire, a young rhea—a large, flightless bird related to ostriches and emus—escaped its pen and wound up on a road carrying traffic. A video of the event taken by hunt saboteurs was turned over to a sympathetic news outlet which painted a picture of a frightened foxhunter getting his comeuppance by being chased up and down the road by this impressive bird. Bottom line? A story of a frightened and angry foxhunter.

Any viewer who knows anything about foxhunting or horses would interpret the video quite differently. Bottom line? A story of a foxhunter doing his best to herd and contain the rhea to the area, alert the traffic, and keep it off the road until help arrived. All, despite the machinations of his nervous horse.

Blind Bombing

Caution: Readers are advised that this article contains neither a horse, a hound, or a fox. Fair warning.

blind bombing coverBlind Bombing: How Microwave Radar Brought the Allies to D-Day and Victory in World War II, Norman Fine, Potomac Books, an imprint of the University of Nebraska Press, 2019, hardcover, illustrations, 264 pages, $29.95 (less 40% direct from the publisher with discount code).As with most readers of Foxhunting Life, I admit to having lived another life separate from the sporting subject which brings most of you to these pages. In that other life I was an electronics engineer; before that I had an uncle who, unbeknownst to the family, did something extraordinary during World War II; and in the course of my engineering work those many years ago, I discovered a little-known but critically important story about the war, the invention that proved most influential in getting the Allies to D-Day, and my uncle.

That story is about to be published. I want to share a 40%-discount code for any one inclined to purchase, and I hope I will see many of you on my book tour next winter.

During my engineering years I researched the story with this book project in mind, finally wrote the manuscript two winters ago, found a respected publisher of war history, and, lo! In this year in which the world marked the seventy-fifth anniversary of D-Day, Blind Bombing: How Microwave Radar Brought the Allies to D-Day and Victory in World War II is scheduled for release on December 1, 2019. (Click for a fuller description of the book and how to order from the publisher using the discount code.)