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.
“At this time, Andrew will continue as the Professional Development Program Director. As Director of Hunting, his efforts will promote, preserve, and protect our sport by supporting our membership with hunt development, territory matters, education initiatives, and Studbook registrations.
“Please join us in welcoming Andrew Barclay in his new role as the Director of Hunting.”
When it comes to foxhunting, Andrew Barclay has done it all. He served as professional huntsman for the hard riding Green Spring Valley Hounds (MD) for twenty years, showing sport to a field of race riders, trainers, and avid sportsmen and women. His record as huntsman earned him the honor of induction into the Huntsman’s Room at the Museum of Hounds and Hunting.
As a youngster in Pennsylvania, Andrew competed in combined training events, then discovered foxhunting. He hunted with the venerable Rose Tree Foxhunting Club from age sixteen to eighteen, often serving as honorary whipper-in. Following that, he worked for an owner at the racetrack for two years. In 1974, Andrew accepted a position at Green Spring Valley as professional whipper-in.
For seven years he turned hounds to the storied professional huntsman, Leslie Grimes, who has been described as a perfectionist in all things and a stern taskmaster. Over that period, with Grimes as a mentor, Andrew absorbed the education of a lifetime. In fact, Grimes preceded Andrew into the distinguished company of the Huntsman’s Room.
As President Leahy mentions in his letter, Andrew already has had fourteen years’ experience working with the MFHA. And they with him. His efforts in the Professional Development Program have filled a big gap in helping to prepare aspiring huntsmen both intellectually and in practice for the day when they would carry the horn with confidence and responsibility. A rigorous apprenticeship system has been in place for centuries in England, but in America there was no uniform way of preparing such men and women, especially those geographically distant from other sources of qualified support. Such were left to their own devices or had been previously mentored often by a single individual whose approach to training and hunting hounds were often absorbed as gospel by the mentee, deservedly or not.
With Andrew’s hunting background, thoughtfulness, and gift for communicating (see his article in this issue on the subject of entering young hounds), the MFHA appears to have had an ideal candidate for Director of Hunting ready and standing in the wings.
Posted September 8, 2020