Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Wearing Spurs Safely

lower leg front viewFor safety, spur strap buckle is centered on the ankle with the free end of strap pointed to the outside.When you are wearing spurs, where does the buckle of your spur strap fall? As the result of the concerned suggestion of James Wofford, Olympic veteran and articulate three-day coach, Foxhunting Life has changed its recommendation for the proper way to wear spurs. (Hunting Attire, Tack, and Appointments under the Resources drop-down menu on our website).

Wofford writes: “I (and others, George Morris, for one) want the buckle exactly centered on the rider’s ankle, thus the least likely to catch the branch of the stirrup in the event of a fall. For your consideration, I enclose photos of what I refer to as THE Lower Leg Position, meaning, in my opinion, correct in absolutely every aspect.”

Foxhunts Exploit New Technology

tax map captureA typical county tax map overlayed on Google Maps. Street names and route numbers are shown and parcel numbers may also be displayed for owner identification.

Late in the Twentieth Century, advances in radio communications infiltrated the traditional sport of foxhunting, whether welcomed by all foxhunters or not. Today, hand-held radios and cell phones are as much a part of most hunt staffs’ kit as the horn and the whip.

More recently, online Tax maps and Google Maps, two Twenty-First Century high tech developments, are being used to assist Masters and staff in better organizing their hunting country. Epp Wilson, MFH and huntsman of the Belle Meade Hunt (GA) and his members take advantage of the technology to assist in landowner relations and improving the sport. First, let’s consider what the technology offers, then how Wilson uses it.

What’s In a Word That Begins With Rat?

nmfguitar.ratcatcherAs the informal autumn foxhunting season approaches, it’s time to examine our horses’ tack for neatness and safety—bridles, reins, billet straps, girth buckles, stirrup leathers—and, of course, our informal hunting attire called ratcatcher. Say what?

Some years ago, Carol Riggs, honorary whipper-in for the Red Mountain Foxhounds (NC), asked us, “Where did the term ‘ratcatcher’ come from?” For the answer we turned to our Panel of Experts.

Knuckling Under to Political Correctness in Britain

foxhunting costumeTesco, a multi-national British retailer of merchandise, has knuckled under to a small cadre of animal rights activists and removed a child’s party costume from their lineup of party wares. The item, feared to “encourage children to become animal abusers,” is a scarlet foxhunting tailcoat that sells for £10.41.

Do activists in Britain speak out against Frankenstein or Dracular costumes, as well? Or is it better to be a monster than a foxhunter? What about a military costumes? Will that "encourage children to become" warmongers? It's all so silly.

Thank You for Donating Your Land; Now Get Off It

nodh.klmKaren L. Myers photoAnti-hunting lobbyists in England are pressuring the National Trust to curtail even drag hunting on National Trust lands. The National Trust in turn has recommended that their members vote to do just that. I feel like I've walked through Alice’s looking glass into an alternate world. Where do these people think this land came from, anyway?

Historically, the National Trust was the beneficiary of English country houses which still make up the largest part of its holdings. Many estates even came with requests that foxhunting may continue there. Now, foxhunters and drag hunters are to be excluded from the very land that their forebears placed into the Trust generations ago. Are fairness and equity totally inoperable concepts in today’s Britain?

Fox Hunting or Foxhunting?

nodh.klmKaren L. Myers photoI have been asked by writers, publishers, and even by just curious individuals over the years, which written form is correct—fox hunting (two words) or foxhunting (one word)?

From what I have seen, the style of the term most commonly used by people who do not hunt is fox hunting (two words). Supporting this choice is a highly respected reference book for writers and publishers, the Chicago Manual of Style, that recommends two separate words. To be sure, there are also some highly respected experts on hunting who also use the two-word version. So, you can’t go wrong using fox hunting. Nevertheless, I use the one-word form, foxhunting, in all my articles, books, and published material. Here’s why.

Hark Forward! An Exciting Season Is Ahead

tony leahyMFHA President Tony Leahy, MFHIt was ten years ago, but MFHA President Tony Leahy yearns to recapture the fun and enthusiasm of the 2007 MFHA Centennial Season. We had Regional Joint Meets, Foxhound Performance Trials, and Field Hunter Trials all across North America, and Tony wants to do it again! Accordingly, the upcoming 2017/2018 season has been designated a season to Hark Forward!

All events are accompanied by dinners, parties, and the company of sporting cousins from all across the country. No one goes home hungry or thirsty! The MFHA is maintaining an up-to-date schedule of events on their website. Click for planning your own participation. Take note of the dates and geography. If you join the caravans for all or part of any of the event tours, you’ll find hunt clubs along the route that have scheduled Friendship Meets and more hospitality to break up your long drives.