Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Jed Forest Members Found Guilty in Scotland

Two members of the Jed Forest Foxhounds have been found guilty of breaching Scotland’s Protection of Wild Mammals Act. The conviction was the first under the act since its passage in 2002.

Johnny Riley and his father John Clive Richardson, MFH were fined £400 and £250 respectively for deliberately hunting a fox with dogs near Jedburgh last year. Riley and Richardson had both entered not guilty pleas, and plan to appeal the decision.

The prosecution relied on video evidence taken from nearly a half mile away. The images purport to show a terrier man digging out a fox, after which Richardson and Riley pursued it on horseback in contravention of Scotland’s Protection of Wild Mammals Act of 2002. Defense lawyer David McKie told the court the men had worked within the terms of the legislation by using hounds to flush out a fox from cover to waiting guns.

Scotland’s League Against Cruel Sports Director Robbie Marshall said the guilty verdict confirms that Scottish hunts are breaking the law, and the League looks forward to helping to strengthen the law. The Countryside Alliance was disappointed by the conviction, and claimed the men had been subjected to "trial by television."

Click to read the entire article published by the BBC.

Posted July 21, 2017

Arapahoe Hunt Pony Club Wins Foxhunting Challenge

Live Oak Challenge photo credit Zina BalashZina Balash photo

The United States Pony Clubs, Inc. has recognized the Arapahoe Pony Club as winners of the eleventh annual Live Oak Hounds USPC Foxhunting Challenge. The Live Oak Challenge encourages Pony Club members who do not hunt regularly to try the sport. Through the support of Mr. and Mrs. C. Martin Wood III, Joint-Masters of the Live Oak Hounds (FL), the Pony Clubs that regularly bring the most less-experienced members out hunting receive distributions of the annual $10,000 Challenge award.

Seventy-one Pony Club members competed this year, accounting for more than 690 days in hunting fields across the country. Nine hunt clubs welcomed the participating Pony Club members into their fields: Arapahoe Hunt (CO), Bear Creek Hounds (GA), Bull Run Hunt (VA), Elkridge-Harford Hunt (MD), Old Dominion Hounds (VA), Rolling Rock Hunt (PA), Rose Tree-Blue Mountain Hunt (PA), Sewickley Hunt (PA), and Spring Valley Hounds (NJ).

The 2017 Challenge winners are:

The top seven 2017 Challenge winners are:
1st Place: The Arapahoe Hunt Pony Club (Rocky Mountain Region)
2nd Place: Old Dominion Hounds Pony Club (Virginia Region)
3rd Place: Elkridge-Harford Pony Club (Maryland Region)
4th Place: Woodbine Pony Club (South Region)
5th Place: Rolling Rock Hunt Pony Club (Tri-State Region)
6th Place: Spring Valley Hounds Pony Club (New Jersey Region)
7th Place: Blue Mountain Pony Club (Maryland Region)

Mr. and Mrs. Wood are both past presidents of the MFHA. Mr. Wood was inducted into the Huntsmen’s Room in ceremonies this year at the at the Museum of Hounds and Hunting in Leesburg, Virginia.

Posted June 30, 2017

Hobbyhorse Showjumping Craze Sweeps Scandinavia

I can’t believe I’m reporting on this, but I assure you it’s not fake news.

Riders, mostly girls between five and eighteen, but some boys as well, are riding, practicing, and competing in dressage and showjumping events on hobby horses. Riders can buy their mounts—stuffed heads on a stick—for about two hundred dollars; other riders breed...errr...that is, make their own hobbyhorses.

The sport is said to have attracted more than 10,000 athletes in Finland alone (about equal to the entire foxhunting population in the U.S.), where, after vying in regional events throughout the year, the nation’s finest riders compete in the annual Hobbyhorse Championships near Helsinki. Points are awarded for style and posture, as in traditional equestrian events.

Enthusiasts of the sport are also active in Sweden, France, and Germany. Riders train through the woods and parks, finding a sense of belonging and empowerment in the hobbyhorse community. Click for video.

Posted May 12, 2017

Breakthrough in Preserving Live Horse Sperm for AI

Researchers in Australia have developed a new scientific method they claim could boost the success of horse breeding via artificial insemination (AI) around the world. With their discovery, semen can be stored, shipped, and used at ambient temperature. Chilling or freezing, which can damage cells, would not be necessary.

Scientists at the University of Newcastle developed a nutrient-rich liquid which, when added to horse semen collected after ejaculation, keeps the sperm alive for longer periods at ambient temperature. With the new liquid, the sperm could remain viable for up to two weeks, as opposed to only about three days when chilled.

The research came about after a grant collaboration between stakeholders in the national and international equine industry, and included a number of universities. The concern is that horse breeding has fallen behind other animal industries.

The University of Newcastle is located in New South Wales Hunter Valley, the second largest Thoroughbred breeding area in the world. While the Thoroughbred stud book does not allow the use of artificial insemination, other horse breeders are expected to benefit from the breakthrough.

Cryo-preservation, according to a researcher, can damage cells and reduced their life span once thawed, thereby reducing fertility. Click for Robert Virtue's complete article in ABC Newcastle.

Posted April 22, 2017

Flying Fox a Threatened Species

flying fox

The flying fox, so called for its large eyes and pointed ears and snout, is not really a fox at all. The other common name for the mammal is fruit bat. It’s the largest of all bats in the world with a wingspan of nearly five feet. Its senses of smell and eyesight are well-developed, and it doesn’t rely on echo-location to catch flying insects for its diet. Its subsists on blossoms, nectar, pollen, and fruit and serves as an important pollination vector in the reproduction of many tropical fruits.

The flying fox is threatened with extinction in much of its habitat, especially on islands in the South Pacific where it is essentially trapped because of its limited flying range. Some islands, like Mauritius, have introduced mass culls at the insistence of farmers whose harvests are reduced by the bats’ consumption. Yet the bats provide the farmers with a critical pollinating service.

In the Marianas, flying fox meat is considered a delicacy, for which a large commercial trade developed. According to Science Magazine, “the dire situation of island flying foxes worldwide calls for effective, science-based conservation strategies to prevent further loss of biodiversity and function.”

Posted April 16, 2017