Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Eleven Years of England's Hunting Act

nmf.callar.blogcropLiz Callar photoIt’s been eleven years since England’s Hunting Act of 2004 was enacted by the Labour government, and ten years since the Act was put into effect. So what happened this year?

After the May elections, Prime Minister David Cameron found himself leading a Conservative Party majority government for the first time. Pro-hunting Conservatives were ecstatic and  looked to Cameron to make good on his pledge to bring a free vote to the floor in Parliament. They sought first to abolish the Act, then later hoped to at least modify the Act. Cameron, however, was never sufficiently confident to bring either proposal to the floor. Too many members of his own party, not to mention the Liberal opposition, pledged to oppose him on the issue.

That was the bad news. There was news this month, however, with potential for positive development.

2006 Masters Seminar Featured Distinguished Panelists

tony leahyTony Leahy, MFH moderated a distinguished panel.

The New Masters Seminar, organized by the MFHA and held in Chantilly, Virginia on April 8, 2006 was designed to provide guidance for new Masters. In testimony to the strength of the panel, however, the Seminar attracted over forty Masters, many of whom could hardly be considered ‘new.’ While five of the Masters who attended had less than ten years hunting experience, seven had been hunting for more than forty years, and fully half of the group had more than twenty years hunting experience each.

The panel was composed of five former MFHA presidents: Benjamin H. Hardaway, III; J.W.Y. ‘Duck’ Martin, Jr.; Dr. John W.D. McDonald; C. Martin Wood, III; and James L. Young. This august group came to the party offering a total of 270 years of foxhunting experience!

Among the topics discussed were: Managing the Breeding Program; Managing Professional Staff; Private, Subscription, or Membership Packs; Land Conservation; Breeding Hounds for Coyote or Fox; Sportsmanship; and Tradition. The Panel Moderator was Tony Leahy, MFH.

Foxhunting Life Has a New Look!

nf.manny.maisanoJoanne Maisano photoTa...dah! A new look for Foxhunting Life and two new subscription plans!

We’ve migrated to an up-to-date version of our platform that offers improved security and better viewing on personal devices. Also, we are introducing new subscription options.

Remember when we polled readers on whether or not PDF files of our entire e-magazine would be of interest to some of you? We were encouraged by your answers, so included with this issue of FHL WEEK we have attached a printable PDF file containing all the articles in their entirety. It’s a sample of what you get with either of our two new subscription offerings: a Printable PDF Subscription or an upgrade to the Combination Electronic/PDF Subscription.

We now offer three annual subscription plans: (1) the same Electronic Subscription that we have been offering since we started, (2) a new Printable PDF Subscription in which subscribers receive via email a PDF file of the entire e-magazine, FHL WEEK, twice a month, which they can print out in its entirety (no readmore links!), and (3) a Combination Electronic/PDF Subscription. Here’s how the new subscription plans will work:

You Ask; We Answer

NormanAs the new season begins, I want to remind readers about one of Foxhunting Life’s features—our Panel of Experts. Every foxhunter has the occasional question, whether it be what the huntsman, the whipper-in, or the hounds are doing; the meaning of an arcane hunting term;  breeding or judging hounds; correct attire; a point of etiquette; training the field hunter; even sporting art or literature.

I have found over the years that while there are no bad questions, sometimes there are bad answers! In the belief that our readers deserve only authoritative answers, we assembled a Panel of Experts whose breadth of knowledge and proven experience was unassailable.

Questions tackled by our Experts have included: why does a fox bark, what triggers the spring dance of huntsmen from one hunt to the next, are there different types of foxes in England, how to handle a hound that is shy of men, can foxhounds make good house pets, how to retrain a horse that exits the trailer like a cannonball, why is an afternoon after-hunt meal called a hunt breakfast, what is a July hound, what is the origin of ratcatcher, and many, many more. To see the answers to those questions and others, go to the Ask the Experts dropdown menu and click on Questions and Answers.

Fanciful Fibs and Other Sins

norman.karen.farnleyPhoto by Karen MyerSome Foxhunting Life readers have already seen this opinion piece, published more than a year ago. While it attracted a number of comments for which I’m grateful, the message hasn’t, and of course never will reach everyone. So after having seen a new batch of newspaper articles  from around the country, containing cringe-worthy quotes by foxhunters attending Opening Meets this season, I’m obliged to re-publish my argument. If it reaches another pair of eyes or ears and changes the mind attached, it will be worthwhile!

As Pogo once famously said, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.” I think of that bit of comic strip philosophy whenever I hear foxhunters attempt to con the public or distance themselves from the truth about our sport.

Foxhunting Life in Print?

normanmaraWe have an idea, but only you—Foxhunting Life readers—can tell us whether it’s a good one. Hence, we're asking you to take a very short survey of no more than three yes-or-no questions.

For the past few years, we have been emailing our twice-monthly e-magazine, FHL WEEK, in electronic form. We know many of you like it because more than 4,000 of you have registered to receive it. Some of you are paying subscribers, able to read the entire text of all the articles and gain access to all the resources of the website. Others are satisfied to receive the free e-magazine with only limited access to the articles. We’re hoping that our idea will appeal to all of you—paying and non-paying subscribers alike.

Many of you may still prefer to read a printed page—at your leisure, in a favorite chair or in bed. How could we satisfy that need, we wondered, without the expense of printing and mailing paper magazines?

What if we email a PDF of the magazine with the full text of all the articles, something subscribers could simply print out on their own color printer?  No “readmore” links to click. Print it, and carry it away. We’d even leave a good margin on the left, so pages could be punched and stored in binders.

If you’re already a paying subscriber, would the inclusion of a printable PDF file along with our e-magazine be a welcome addition to your subscription? We need to know! Please help us by taking this very short survey for paying subscribers, requiring “yes” or “no” answers to just three questions.

If you’re a non-paying subscriber and content to receive the free e-magazine but sometimes want to read the full text of all articles, would the inclusion of a printable PDF file add sufficient value to encourage you to become a paying subscriber? Please help us by taking this very short survey for non-paying subscribers, requiring “yes” or “no” answers to just two questions.

All of us love foxhunting, else we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Please help FHL to do a good job for you and for our sport by clicking on the appropriate link above and answering these few questions. It will take just seconds. Thank you.

Posted June 29, 2015

Rupert Isaacson's Horse boy

Rupert Isaacson is a horseman. He was an avid foxhunter until other life matters intruded. He is a gifted writer as well. But Rupert’s principal gift to humanity is a mind set that is constitutionally unable to accept limits on what is possible. No challenge, no matter the odds, is hopeless to Isaacson. Time and again he has tilted at the windmills of conventional wisdom and accomplished astonishing results.

Rupert was born in England and roamed the world as a travel and environmental writer, specializing in Africa. It was there that he came upon a cause that captured him totally—the displacement and removal of the Bushmen of the Kalahari from their traditional hunting grounds by their own government. He became a vigorous activist for the Bushmen, gave speeches, wrote a book about their plight, and arranged for the Bushmen to appear before the United Nations to plead their case. They won.

At about that time, Rupert and his wife, then living in Texas, discovered that their infant son Rowan was autistic. Conventional treatment protocols—and they tried many—were unable to improve the boy’s most troubling behavioral problems, and Rupert immersed himself into finding alternate solutions. He discovered that horseback riding while holding his son in front of him in the saddle was therapeutic for the boy. But only temporarily.

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