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New Huntsman, New MFH at Why Worry Hounds

thomas.george.charles sainsbury-plaiceGeorge Thomas, MFH of the Why Worry Hounds (SC) / Charles Sainsbury-Plaice photoWhen George and Jeanie Thomas organized their hunt twenty years ago near Aiken, South Carolina, they expressed their philosophy in naming it. Why Worry Hounds they called it, and now, after twenty years of managing hounds, horses, and country by themselves, they have made some organizational changes to re-establish that philosophy.

With George busier in his day job and Jeanie having conquered some pesky physical issues, the couple has taken steps to ease their burdens by bringing on board two well-known, immensely capable, and passionate foxhunters ready and wanting to shoulder a share of the responsibilities—Randy and Robin Waterman.

Randy, ex-MFH and former huntsman of the Piedmont Fox Hounds (VA), has been named huntsman of the Why Worry Hounds. Robin, who whipped-in to Randy at Piedmont, joins George and Jeanie as Joint-MFH at Why Worry and will whip-in to Randy.

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Irish Foxhunter Sets Side Saddle High Jump Records

Susan Oakes jumping six feet four  half inchesSusan Oakes establishes new side saddle record for jumping triple bar at six feet, four-and-a-half inches from ground level. / Noel Mullins photo

Susan Oakes—Joint-Master of the Grallagh Harriers and the organizer of last year’s international ladies’ side saddle hunt with the Meath Foxhounds—set two side saddle high jump world records at the Irish National Sports Center on October 24, 2013.

Oakes jumped six feet, eight inches over a puissance wall, breaking her own record of five feet which she established just this summer at the RDS Dublin Horse Show. Then she established a world record of six feet, four-and-a-half inches for jumping a triple bar from ground level.

A world record of six feet, six inches for the triple bar set in Australia in 1915 still stands unbroken, but that record was established by jumping off a ramp. Foxhunting Life reported on Oakes’s attempt to break that record last year and also reported on the international ladies’ side saddle hunt that Oakes organized at the Meath last year. Fifty ladies from nine countries including the U.S. participated in that elegant affair.

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Nancy Dillon Honored

nancy dillon.callarNancy Dillon has taught children to ride and hunt for nearly half a century. / Liz Callar photo

Nancy Dillon is a living, legendary treasure of the Piedmont Fox Hounds in Virginia. She is the longest subscribing member of the hunt, having started hunting at age eight in 1943. For nearly a half century she has taught and led more children into the hunting field than anyone can count. Her truck and trailer pulling into the meet have been likened to the car at the circus where the clowns just keep coming out.

On Friday, November 8, 2013, the hunt threw a party at Buchanan Hall in Upperville to screen a specially-produced documentary—Lessons in the Piedmont—in tribute to Nancy. Throughout this beautifully-produced and heart-warming film, children (some grown, others still growing), Masters, hunt members, and citizens of the community expressed their love for this woman and their heart-felt appreciation for what she has done to instill a love of the sport, respect for the land, and personal values to generations of children.

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Heather Player to Carry the Horn at Norfolk

heather player.mary marksHeather Player carried the horn and Norfolk huntsman John Elliott whipped-in to her at the All New England Hunt hosted by Myopia in 2010. / Mary Marks photo

Myopia Hunt whipper-in Heather Player will move inland from Boston’s North Shore to become huntsman for the nearby Norfolk Hunt next season. Founded in the late 1800s, both hunts are among North America’s most venerable hunting institutions, and both have been hunting the drag since that time.

Heather grew up hunting with Myopia under the tutelage of well-known North Shore trainers Patrick and Barbara Keough.

“When I was around seven years old I started riding with Patrick and Barbara at the Myopia Hunt Club Stables,” said Heather. “Patrick started me hunting at eleven, and from
then on that’s all I wanted to do. I would do the local horse shows but never enjoyed it as much as hunting. I earned my Junior Colors at fourteen. My first paying job was at the Myopia Hunt Club at sixteen, riding and hunting horses.

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