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.

Tommy Lee Jones: 50 Years Hunting Hounds at Casanova

TLJ.50 years at CasanovaDouglas Lees photo 2019

Masters, staff, and members of the Casanova Hunt (VA) are proud and pleased to celebrate Tommy Lee Jones’s fiftieth season as huntsman. Tommy Lee has carried the horn for this venerable 110-year-old sporting establishment for nearly half of its existence—a remarkable feat made possible by a lengthy and talented career in the saddle from a young age.

Growing up, Tommy Lee was fortunate to have hunted with many fine Virginia huntsmen, among them Messrs Melvin and Albert Poe, Andrew Branham, and Duke Leech. While hunting with Casanova in 1967, Tommy Lee was appointed whipper-in to the Irish huntsman, Captain Ian Benson. When Captain Benson returned to Ireland in 1970, the horn was passed to Tommy Lee.

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.

Tommy Lee Jones: 50 Years Huntsman at Casanova

TLJ.50 years at PotomacHuntsman Tommy Lee Jones and hounds of the Casanova Hunt / Douglas Lees photo

This season Tommy Lee Jones begins his fiftieth year as huntsman for the Casanova Hunt (VA). The popular Virginia horseman has played a leading role at every level of hunting and showing and possesses the ability to educate others through his writing skills.

Tommy Lee was the first recipient of the MFHA’s Ian Milne Huntsman’s Award in 2012, and next year he will be inducted into the Huntsman’s Room at the Museum of Hounds and Hunting.