Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Meet Us at the Hound Show!

NormanYou’re invited to visit Foxhunting Life at our stand in the vendor area at the Virginia Foxhound Show on Sunday, May 29, for a free chance to win a beautiful set of four hand-painted china plates in a humorous hound puppy motif. These plates will go home with the winner of our drawing through the courtesy of Lizi Ruch—foxhunter, artist, and designer of the popular Artfully Equestrian line of hunt-themed tableware and gifts.

What to Do When a Horse Goes Missing

NormanMany of us know someone who has lost a horse to theft. And whenever it happens we can’t help imagining how we would feel if it happened to one of our own. It’s a sickening prospect, and it strongly suggests we take precautions not only to prevent such an experience but to increase the likelihood of a happy outcome should it occur.

In the event a horse disappears, here’s what every owner should have on hand: bill of sale or cancelled check; registration papers with brands, marks, and scar locations; a veterinary certificate with recent Coggins test and vaccinations; and four good photos (front, rear, and both sides) showing brands, marks, and scars. These photos should be updated periodically.

Why This Foxhunter Cares About Horseracing

norman_on_SlimKaren L. Myers photo

Over the past couple of months we have run a few News items about the Triple Crown season, kicked off just last Saturday by the Kentucky Derby. We wrote about Uncle Mo, who many in the Thoroughbred industry hoped would be a legitimate Triple Crown contender and breathe new life into the industry. We wrote about Rosie Napravnik who with nearly one thousand wins to her credit hoped to be the first woman to win the Kentucky Derby. True, this isn’t foxhunting, and the question arises whether or not I should be publishing these stories in Foxhunting Life. Why do I?

My answer is because that’s where our great horses come from. The Thoroughbred is the elite athlete of the equine world, and many of our field hunters are off-the-track Thoroughbreds, Thoroughbred crosses, or have Thoroughbred bloodlines in their foundation stock.

If when you take to the field you care at all about grace, generosity, and/or athleticism, you have to thank those bloodlines and those beautiful dreamers—the breeders, trainers, owners, and jocks—who commit their lives, their fortunes, and all their energies to the mostly unforgiving quest of producing a better racehorse. And except for one happy outcome last Saturday, weren’t the hopes of many of those beautiful dreamers cruelly dashed?

Lakeland Hunting Memories

NormanDo you know what “Forester’s Corn” is? (I’d be exceedingly impressed if you did!)

In the Lake District of northern England, during the eighteenth century, a custom by that name was practiced in which the bailiff kept dogs for the hunting and destroying of foxes and other vermin. The bailiff in the neighborhood of Patterdale received forty quarts of oats from every tenant for providing this service.

This little bit of hunting history was but one small gem gleaned from a story in a wonderful website we just discovered—Lakeland Hunting Memories—which I particularly commend to you. Whenever we find a worthy site we add it to our “Links We Like” directory (see left-hand column on the Home Page). This site, all about hunting in the Lake District of northern England, is beautifully written and sensitively presented by Ron Black in Cumbria, UK.

Regional Correspondents Are Bringing More News

NormanIn a recent blog I discussed our intention to expand coverage across the foxhunting world by establishing a network of regional correspondents. We want to publish more news about people and hunts—new Masters, changes in hunt staff, marriages, births, deaths, illnesses—indeed any news that others in our fraternity of foxhunters would want to know.

We want news not only about Masters and staff, but about foxhunters’ accomplishments and milestones as well. Did a foxhunter’s horse win the Kentucky Derby or the Grand National? Was a foxhunter named Horseman of the Year? Win a Pulitzer Prize? Write a best-selling book?

So far, six regional correspondents are in place: Ian Anderson, ex-MFH of the Ashford Valley Hounds (UK); Denya Massey Clarke (ON); Noel Mullins, County Dublin, Ireland; C. Thompson Pardoe, MFH of the Goshen Hunt (MD); Becky Thayer (SC); and Martha Woodham (GA). We’re thrilled to have each of these talented individuals feeding current news from their regions to readers around the foxhunting world through Foxhunting Life.

Rupert Isaacson: Foxhunter, Activist, Best-Selling Author

normanmaraIf you liked Rupert Isaacson’s recent New York Times Best-Seller, The Horse Boy: A Father’s Quest to Heal His Son, you will undoubtedly like his book, The Wild Host: The History and Meaning of the Hunt.

Co-published by The Derrydale Press, Wild Host is a beautifully illustrated history of hunting; a meditation on the meaning of hunting spiritually and culturally; and a very personal hunting account. Destined from the outset to be controversial, Isaacson justifies and celebrates hunting while acknowledging the realities of a modern world of heightened compassion and sensitivities. Wild Host is available here in the Bookstore.

Music, Food, Art, and Foxhunting

norman_on_SlimKaren Myers photoI can’t help but notice that this week’s topics constitute a comprehensive and balanced offering. Music, food, art, and foxhunting. What more could any sportsman want from life? Okay, okay, but let's just leave it this way!

Music:

Listen, then download another of Edwin Hall’s country foxhunting songs. Learn the chorus, and you won’t be able to resist singing along!

Food:

Check out the winners in this year’s hunt breakfast recipe contest. As our judge Juliet Mackay-Smith says, there are so many fine recipes in so many categories that selecting the winners presented her with very hard choices.

Art:

Linda Volrath describes art as a visual language in which the artist attempts to capture a fleeting image along with the mood of the moment and communicate it to the viewer in a permanent way. Foxhunting Life is proud to feature both her oil paintings and the philosophy behind her endeavors.