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.

From the Foreign Office to the Hunting Field

shannon mackenzie2.doug leesShannon MacKenzie's professional life progressed from the confines of the office to the open spaces. /  Douglas Lees photoThe horse industry is historic, even old-fashioned; the foxhunting world is more so. But follow Shannon MacKenzie’s journey from her native Canada to Virginia’s storied hunting country, and find a surprisingly modern twist to the tale. Facebook played a part.

MacKenzie first found out via a Facebook chat last year about an open slot for a professional first whipper-in at the Old Dominion Hounds (VA). It was a job she felt her skill set would serve, but it was a position she’d never held.

Major Charles Kindersley and the Modern English Foxhound

Virtually very coop, bridge, landmark, or covert in the Belle Meade Hunt foxhunting country (GA) has a name, so that huntsman, mounted whippers-in, and road whips can accurately and concisely communicate where the action is by radio. What does this have to do with the late Major Kindersley, MFH of Ontario's Eglinton Caledon Hunt? Only that one of the coops very often in the middle of the hunting action is named “Major Kindersley’s Coop,” and virtually everyone who has hunted at Belle Meade is familiar with the name. Here's the Major's story.

major charles kindersley

In 1919, George Beardmore, MFH of the Toronto and North Hunt (ON), bought the old World War I aerodrome land on Avenue Road and Eglinton Avenue for the purpose of setting up a riding establishment, including a drag pack. Most of the Toronto and North York members lived in Toronto and travelled the twenty-five miles to the kennels in Aurora only on weekends. These new facilities gave members the opportunity to ride during the week, hunt with the drag pack, and still keep up with their day’s work at the office. Over the years that pack became known as the Eglinton Hunt. Between the wars, the Eglinton Hunt also acquired land on Leslie Street north of Toronto.

Two to One On the Petticoat: Foxhunter Is First Female Jockey

mrs. Thornton.smallAlicia Thornton by Mackenzie, after unknown artist stipple engraving, published 1805. NPG D8248 © National Portrait Gallery, LondonThousands of spectators thronged the race meet at Knavesmire in York on August 25, 1804. The crowd was much larger than usual and curious onlookers strained for a view of the upcoming race. The reason for all the commotion was simple: a woman was challenging a man in a horse race. It was a staggering event, derided as pure novelty by some and lauded as step toward equality by others. For many of the day's spectators, it meant drama and entertainment, and they turned out in droves to see it.