“Foxhunting is all about the moment between moments.” - Kristy Lathrop of Fort Leavenworth Hunt.
Here is a moment between moments, a young boy and a hound pause in the middle of the chaotic time when the hunt is gathering to begin the day’s sport. Content with their own company, two souls soak in the living history before them.
Henry Whittaker (age two and a half) and Respite (2020 entry) stayed in their own comfortable bubble until the huntsman blew his horn to call everyone to attention. Nadine Crouch said that young Henry listened to the Master’s speech, nodding his head the whole time in agreement.
The hunt was Chiddingfold, Leconfield and Cowdray Hunt, which is kenneled in Petworth Park in West Sussex.
Henry’s mom, Storme Whittaker, told me, “Henry has been immersed in hounds since he was born. As a family we are very involved, I fundraise for the hunt, and my husband is the hunt farrier and a director of the company. Most importantly we adore hounds and are out twice a week. We are so lucky to have the beautiful South Downs on our doorstep - it’s a wonderful way of life.”
This is a wonderful example of the future of any hunt being families that hunt together. On this note, I found the poem "Our Heritage" by William H. Oglivie which lovingly portrays the familial legacy:
By William Henry Ogilvie
This is our heritage; the far-flung grass,
The golden stubble and the dark-red moor;
Men pass and perish as the swift years pass,
But wide and wind-swept still the fields endure.
This is our heritage; the love of sport,
A fair ambition and a friendly strife,
The rivalry of farm and camp and court,
The keen endeavour of a clean, hard life.
The hoofs of horses on the trampled lea,
The crash and rattle of the broken rail
Where the first flight ride reckless, knee to knee,
And bold men face the dangers of the vale.
The cry of hounds, the holloa and the horn ;
The lean red shadows where the foxes run;
To these and all their challenge we were born,
And these we leave behind us, sire to son.
This is the heritage that none can take,
The gift we hold, the gift we give again,
And this the spirit that no Time can break,
So long as England and her fields remain.
If you want to read more about Mr. Olgilvie, see this past article on FHL : Horses, Hounds, and Wishes: the Poems of William Ogilvie.
Originally Published on February 27, 2023.