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Riding Shotgun; Armed with a Camera

kleck.neil.coyoteWhipper-in Neil Amatt races to get between hounds and coyote, turns to stop hounds.

Nancy Kleck is a sporting artist who follows the hunt with her camera to record action images of hounds, horses, riders, and foxes for later use in her paintings. She rides with former Blue Ridge huntsman Chris Howells, now a wheel whipper-in, and has discovered that her photos are of use not only to her in her art, and not only to the field members for their enjoyment, but sometimes even to the staff. Nancy writes:

I’ve been following the hunt nearly every meet since huntsman Guy Allman and first whipper-in Neil Ammatt came on board. I've gotten some fun photos as a hilltopper, and it's been a really interesting perspective, listening for the horn, trying to interpret it, and keeping an eye out for anything that moves with a brush!

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Huntsmen on the Move

andy and erinHuntsman Andy Bozdan and wife Erin are moving from Tennessee to Virginia.In a fast game of musical chairs, huntsmen around the country are moving at a rapid pace. Andy Bozdan, Ryan Johnsey, Daron Beeney, Matthew Cook, Gerald Keal, and Ross Salter are all in the game.

Two years ago London-born Andy Bozdan arrived here from Australia to hunt hounds for the Tennessee Valley Hunt (TN). Bozdan is now moving to the Loudoun West Hunt (VA) to take over their pack of Old English and Crossbred hounds for the 2013/2014 season.

“I have loved every minute of hunting the Tennessee Valley Penn-Marydels,” Bozdan said, “and moving to Tennessee from the UK allowed me the opportunity to meet Erin, whom I married in May last year.

“Hounds have really come together this season, making a real pack. All the new entry have entered well and hunted well all season with no exceptions. The pack is in good shape both physically and mentally, very happy with life, and I know they will miss their dad as I will miss them very much too. We are sad to be leaving Tennessee, but realize what a wonderful opportunity awaits us in Virginia this coming May.”

Bozdan’s opening at Tennessee Valley will be filled by Ryan Johnsey, current huntsman for the Loudoun Hunt (VA)—not to be confused with Bozdan’s Loudoun West! The Loudoun Hunt is currently seeking a huntsman.

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Hugh Robards Brings World-Class Experience to Middleburg Hunt

robards.hugh.alex.farnham1What does a huntsman do when he finds himself in the autumn of his prime? The same question faces every athlete who commits his or her life to a sport. Some carry on doggedly until they are unable to continue or until their career is terminated by outside forces. Others find a path to contribute their experience and knowhow to the benefit of a new team in a different way.

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Leading Steeplechase Trainer Turns Huntsman

evaa smithwick2.leesEva Smithwick and Hey Doctor / Douglas Lees photo

Eva Smithwick captured the Leading Trainer title on the Virginia Point-to-Point circuit this year. It was her and husband Speedy Smithwick’s first year back in Virginia after seventeen years in Kentucky training on the flat tracks. As if being a top trainer doesn’t keep her sufficiently busy, she’s agreed to hunt hounds for Snickersville this season.

The Snickersville foxhounds hunt over Sunny Bank Farm in Middleburg, home of the late Dot Smithwick. Eva, having returned to Sunny Bank with Speedy to continue his mother’s training business, just couldn’t say no to MFH Greg Ryan.

“Greg is a persistent fellow,” said Eva. “Every time the dinner conversation turned to the question of who would hunt hounds this year, Greg would stare at me.”

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