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.

Huntsmen On the Move: II

As the new season gets underway, Foxhunting Life updates its March 31 report on the recent moves of huntsmen across North America.

ashley hubbard.will hunt fox hounds at green spring valleyHuntsman Ashley Hubbard leads the Green Spring Valley hounds on summer exercise. / Tammie Monaco photo

Round I
Ashley Hubbard is the new huntsman for the Green Spring Valley Hounds (MD). Hubbard has served as kennel huntsman for the Fox River Valley Hunt (IL) for nearly ten years, assisting Tony Leahy, MFH, and carrying the horn when necessary.

“Tony didn’t want to lose him,” explained Duck Martin, MFH at Green Spring Valley, “but he thought this would be a good opportunity for Ashley.”

Since the end of World War II, Green Spring Valley has had just four huntsmen: Leslie Grimes, Andrew Barclay, John Tabatchka, and Sam Clifton. Both Grimes and Barclay have been enshrined in the Huntsmen’s Room at the Museum of Hounds and Hunting.

William Faulkner and the Farmington Hunt

faulkner.vandevender.fox.hunt(l-r) William Faulkner and Farmington huntsman Grover Vandevender share a flask.  /  George Barkley photo

William Faulkner, two-time National Book Award, Nobel Prize, and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, came to Charlottesville, Virginia from Oxford, Mississippi in the last decade of his life. He arrived two years after his daughter Jill moved to Charlottesville with her husband Paul Summers, who graduated from law school at the University of Virginia and was working as city attorney. Soon, Faulkner, Jill, and Paul were hunting with the Farmington Hunt. Jill would become Master in 1968 and serve in that capacity for forty years.

Faulkner had a reputation among hunt members for being game and fearless to his fences, despite having taken up serious foxhunting only since his arrival. He’d ridden since childhood, foxhunted in Tennessee, and loved it. However, he experienced a couple of serious riding accidents, and died in 1962 at the age of sixty-four from complications arising from a fall.

How Charles Montgomery Shaped the Foxhound Performance Trial

huntsman charles montgomery at belle meade fox hound trialsTrial huntsman Charles Montgomery and competing hounds at the 2016 Belle Meade Hunt hound trials / Bella Vita Fotografie photo

The Brits must be getting used to this. Teach the Yanks something worthwhile, like foxhunting, and they go ahead and change it. They did it first with the foxhound. A braggart named Harry Worcester Smith came along at the beginning of the twentieth century with his long-eared, mouthy, hare-footed hounds, and claimed they were better than ours! He put together a Great Hound Match and tried to prove it. We spent two hundred years developing the perfect model of what a foxhound should look like, and then along came another American named Ikey Bell who started another revolution. And just twenty years ago—yesterday in the proper scheme of things—a couple of rebels named Ben Hardaway and Mason Lampton started painting numbers on foxhounds. Whatever for?