Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Captain Ronnie Wallace, MFH: A Huntsman Like No Other

ronnie wallace.michael lyneCaptain Ronnie Wallace with hounds while Master of the Heythrop / Oil portrait by Michael Lyne

Captain Ronnie Wallace, MFH was the undisputed dean of British foxhunting and a frequent and popular visitor to the U.S. He was a genius in the art of venery and in his uncanny breeding sense. He was arguably the English breeder most influential in the development of today’s modern English foxhound.

It’s been thirteen years since Captain Wallace died in an automobile accident at age eighty-two, yet whenever hunting conversation turns to amazing feats of hound work performed by a superb huntsman, I’m reminded of an astonishing story that illustrates Wallace’s supremacy.

A. Henry Higginson: More than just a Familiar Name

henry higginson paintingAlexander Henry Higginson, MFHAn Old Sportsman’s Memories, the autobiography written by A. Henry Higginson and J. Stanley Reeve tells the story of a proper Bostonian, Harvard class of 1898, who turned his back on a life of commerce, finance, and philanthropy—the route traditionally followed by New England men such as he. Smitten by the sport of foxhunting to the exclusion of all else, and with the support of his indulgent father, A. Henry Higginson followed his dream: a life of foxhunting.

His father, Major Henry Lee Higginson, more than fulfilled the family’s responsibilities to his community by his own philanthropy. The elder Higginson had dreamt of being a musician in his younger years, but Puritan Boston expected other things from her sons, and so he became a businessman as was expected. In time, he founded the Boston Symphony Orchestra, however, and was its earliest administrator.

He organized the corporation that built Symphony Hall, the first auditorium designed in accordance with scientifically derived acoustical principles. It is, as a result, widely regarded as one of the top concert halls in the world. Interestingly, with all the architectural flourishes of the period that architects McKim, Mead & White could bring to their creation in the year 1900, the structure displays only one composer’s name upon a large shield mounted on a frieze centered above the stage—Beethoven. There are other smaller shields upon the frieze framing the stage, but they are still blank! Boston is a careful and thoughtful old city.

American Rider, 70, Wins Mongol Derby

bob longAmerican western horseman Bob Long wins eleventh running of the Mongol Derby. / Sarah Farnsworth photo

There are crazy things to do. And then there’s the Mongol Derby.

Foxhunters have been known to compete in the Mongol Derby, as if the post-and-rail line fences in Mr. Stewart’s Cheshire country, the wire in New Zealand, the banks and ditches of Ireland, or the hedges of the English Shires aren’t enough of a challenge. The Mongol Derby, according to the Guinness Book of Records, is the world’s longest and toughest horse race. This year forty-five men and women from eleven countries gathered to race one thousand kilometers (621 miles) across Mongolia on semi-wild horses.

Finishing strongly, seventy-year-old Robert Long, originally from Cheyenne, Wyoming but now living in Boise, Idaho, was the undisputed winner of this year’s race. Long reached the finish at 11:03 am Mongolian time on August 14, 2019, seven days after the starting gun. Competitors will continue to cross the finish line for another three days.

Rescue on Cat Luggs

What is dog to man? What is the worth of one terrier to a band of stoical countrymen who live in a harsh place in a depressed time? How hard and how long will such men strive to save a dog from perishing, out of pure respect? Our late Cumbrian friend Ron Black gave us a story to remember.

IMG 2492-resizeThe rescue, 1934

It’s a long pull from the New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel to the site of the borran. You first climb up Stickle Ghyll following the track as it ascends, beside the beck, at first gently, but just before Tarn Crag there is a steeper section. At Tarn Crag the track swings right-handed, and you can cross the beck and follow it up to the tarn on the left bank picking your way through the rocks.