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Opening the Window

With regular reports from Ireland and England by photojournalist Noel Mullins, Foxhunting Life is pleased to bring you a wider window into the world of foxhunting.

Mullins, having retired as marketing chief for IBM in Ireland, has happily reverted to his true personna—foxhunter. FHL subscribers have already enjoyed his stunning photographs and well-crafted articles. There’s more to come.

Mullins also has two books currently in print and available through FHL’s Bookstore. In The Origins of Irish Horse Fairs & Horse Sales: 3,000 Years of Selling Irish Horses, the author explores the roots that have made Irish horses famous the world over. Irish horse fairs and horse sales have lured buyers from every nation in the expectation of finding horses with good temperament, tough bone, and athletic ability.

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Where Did You Hear That One?

I shall always be grateful to the Masters of Foxhounds Association for allowing me to develop Covertside and serve as

its editor for fifteen years. During that time I had the unparalleled opportunity to meet, observe, hunt with, talk to, and interview many of the greatest huntsmen, hound breeders, Masters of Foxhounds, and foxhunting statesmen of the last half-century. Not only in North America, but in England and Ireland as well.

When planning this website, one of the features I wanted to offer was access to authorities such as these. Every foxhunter has the occasional question, whether it be on an arcane hunting term, hunting hounds in the field, breeding hounds, correct attire, a point of etiquette, training the field hunter, sporting art or literature.

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The young lady was waiting in line—a long line, all the way outside the building—at the Virginia Foxhound Show when a soft-spoken, older man started a casual conversation. Where are you from? What hunt? Did you bring hounds to the show? How are they bred? What is your country like? He was interested in all she had to tell him about her hounds and her hunt. Then he strolled off.

"Do you know who you were talking to?" gushed a friend nearby.

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The Poker Ride: A Fun Fund Raiser

Our FHL calendar shows two poker rides in June—one at Shakerag (GA), just completed, and one at North Country (VT), later this month. What is a poker ride? I wondered. Sandra Carnet at Shakerag enlightened me.

Every participating rider picks up one playing card at each of five stops during a ride. After the ride, the winning hands earn cash prizes.

At Shakerag, sixty-four riders paid $40 (adults) or $25 (juniors) each and enjoyed a beautiful two-hour ride in Shakerag’s clubhouse territory in northeast Georgia. The top four winning hands earned cash prizes of from $25 to $100.

Lunch was served afterward at the clubhouse, where participants snapped up raffle tickets to vie for more than a dozen gifts donated by tack and feed stores. Shakerag members organize and conduct the ride annually as a fund raiser for needed hunt projects. The Poker Ride is a popular event, says Sandra, and always draws a crowd of junior and adult riders from both English and Western disciplines.

Imagine the suspense as riders collect their cards and build their hands—the groans or cheers as the next card is dealt at the Master’s Spinney or at Major Kindersley's Coop. Sounds like great fun to me!

Master's Prophesy Fulfilled


"The day he was born, I held him in the palm of my hand and looked at him. I had just seen the movie, Gladiator, and the name came to me. ‘Maximus....Maximus!’ I said. ‘One day you are going to be Grand Champion at the Virginia Foxhound Show.’"

So recounted the proud and jubilant Joint-Master of the Live Oak Hounds, C. Martin Wood III, two years later, minutes after Live Oak Maximus 2009 was judged Grand Champion at the Virginia Foxhound Show on Sunday, May 30, 2010 at Morven Park in Leesburg, Virginia.

J.W.Y. "Duck" Martin, MFH, who judged the Grand Champion class, chose the English hound over the Crossbred, American, and Penn-Marydel champions based on his extravagantly beautiful way of moving.

See our Gallery of Virginia Foxhound Show champions.

Hunting, then Eating

Marcia Brody, whipper-in for the New Market-Middletown Hunt (MD), has teamed up with photographer Liz Callar to provide a short report and slide show of the Third Annual Bull Run Huntsman’s Hunt held last March. See article below.

Check out the latest recipe posted by Andrew Clarke — Salsa di Parmigiano. It looks easy to make and delicious. I plan to make it for the next hunt trail ride at my farm. And as soon as my tomatoes start producing, I’ll make it to spread over them. As Andrew says, "The possibilities are endless."

How about sharing one of your own favorite hunt breakfast recipes with FHL? Submissions are easy to post.

Calls on the Horn: A New Video

horncallsFHL is proud to announce our first video production, Calls on the Horn with John Tabachka. In the seven-minute video, John blows eight calls and explains when and why the calls are used by your huntsman.

John Tabachka is huntsman at the Deep Run Hunt near Richmond, Virginia. He is a two-time winner of the National Horn Blowing Championship at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show in Harrisburg. Since John filmed the video, he’s been on a roll, winning the horn blowing contests at both the Virginia and the Bryn Mawr Hound Shows in May!

John's video, live on our site, is also available on DVD in the FHL Bookstore.

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