Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Essex Fox Hounds Master’s Chase: A Good Community Event

essex masters day1Pony stick racing over hurdles  /  Priscilla K. Miller photo

The Master’s Chase is a fun-filled annual event that hunts can put on as a fund raiser for a worthy cause and reach out to their community of non-riders as well. Billed as “family fun for horse and non-horse people alike,” Essex Fox Hounds Master’s Chase will feature amateur racing for field hunters and ponies, adults and children, tailgating, and a group of local vendors at Natirar Park, 2 Main Street, in Peapack, New Jersey on Saturday, October 5, starting at noon. The day is sandwiched between a weekend of events with a Friday night party and a Sunday hunt.

It all traces back to the Farmer’s Day Races of the early twentieth century in which hunt clubs invited farmers in their hunting countries to a picnic and day at the races. For those hunts that do not hold annual point-to-points or sanctioned steeplechase races, it’s a fine way to keep racing alive and give everyone a taste of the excitement. The Essex Fox Hounds donate all proceeds to the non-profit Countryside Alliance of Somerset Hills for the preservation of farmlands.

Expert Witness Testimony Discredited By a Kiss; UK Huntsman Found Not Guilty

Professor Stephen Harris is an opponent of hunting and was serving as an expert witness in the prosecution of a huntsman on trial in the UK for illegally hunting the fox with dogs. Harris's testimony was thrown out, however, after he was seen being kissed by another witness. That witness was known to be a veteran anti-hunting campaigner, and the cozy relationship between the two eloquently refuted Harris’s supposed role as an independent witness.

Professor Harris argued that he was kissed before he could stop the kisser. But Wills’ defense counsel, Stephen Welford, argued that the kissee could no longer be regarded as an independent witness in the case, given his demonstrably close relationship with the woman, another prosecution witness.

District Judge Tim Daber agreed, saying, “The allegation of bias specific to this particular case is something that in my view the court cannot ignore. A reasonable observer would consider him to be partisan. However unbiased he may be, this court must exclude Professor Harris’s evidence.”

Longtime huntsman Mick Wills of the Grafton Foxhounds (UK) was found not guilty.

Professor Harris’ friends too often appear to interfere with his testimony. Several years earlier, another prosecution brought privately by the League Against Cruel Sport (LACS) against six members of the Lamerton Hunt (UK) collapsed when the court learned that Professor Harris was a friend of Paul Tilsley, head of investigations for the LACS.

Click for the complete story by Patrick Sawer, senior news reporter for The Telegraph. We don’t know if the article was filed under Court Beat or the Gossip Column, but the link will take you there.

Posted July 11, 2019

Andrews Bridge Litigation Resolved

The Masters of the Andrews Bridge Foxhounds—George Strawbridge Jr., Steve Harris, Betsy Harris, Cathy Huston, and Bill Kimmel—made public the following statement:

We are pleased to report that all litigation between the Cromptons, the Harrises, and the Andrews Bridge Foxhounds Inc. has been resolved. It was decided that in the best interest of our sport, the two Andrews Bridge hound packs should be reunited and again hunt as one unified pack in our territory.

Like everything else in life, the hunt has taken many detours in the past 102 years and we have not been the exception. A journey is not a single straight line, but rather a long up and down winding road.

Brenda Milne: A Celebration of Her Life

Brenda Milne―widow of the late Ian Milne, namesake of the MFHA’s prestigious Ian Milne Award to huntsmen―died on Wednesday, March 6, 2019. A celebration of her life will be held at the Warrenton Community Center on Saturday, April 13 from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm. (The Center is located near Wal-Mart across from the State Police Station.)

Brenda was a loyal supporter of hounds and foxhunting, and she earned the love and friendship of foxhunting people all across the country.

In concert with Ian, a Yorkshireman, Brenda was the most hospitable hostess to young huntsmen and whipper-in emigres to North America. She helped Ian in befriending them and bonding them with their peers, thus connecting them to the fraternity and support group of professional hunt staff across their new environment. Brenda and Ian did this every year by throwing a huge Saturday night party at their home the evening before the Virginia Foxhound Show. It was the place to be for every huntsman and aspirant attending the large hound show.

Beer and soft drinks will be provided at Brenda’s memorial by the organizers. Please bring a potluck dish to share.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Brenda’s memory may be made to the MFHA’s Hunt Staff Benefit Foundation ([email protected] or call 540-955-5680).

Posted April 2, 2019

Home Tours, Rural Spring Festivals Can Promote Foxhunting

ferrer.mt vernon.cropFor several years Bob Ferrer, MFH, and Caroline Hunt members gave foxhunting demonstrations at Mount Vernon—another excellent venue for outreach that attracts visitors from around the country and the world.

One stop on Virginia’s Fredericksburg-area Historic Garden Week Tour this spring was at Chase’s End, the home and farm of Bob and Elizabeth Ferrer, Joint-MFHs of the Caroline Hunt. It’s quite a commitment to invite the world into your home and property, but the week-long tour has been a popular tradition in Virginia since 1927 when the Club decided to raise funds to save trees planted by Thomas Jefferson on the lawns of Monticello.

Today, funds raised during Garden Week are still used to restore and maintain Virginia’s historic gardens and to provide graduate level research fellowships. On Tuesday, April 30, 2019—the day scheduled for the tour at Chase’s End—the Ferrers hosted nearly 800 guests and staged a unique scene rarely experienced on Garden Club stops. Mounted Caroline Hunt members and staff rode out with foxhounds at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. to demonstrate our sport to the uninitiated. What nicer way to introduce and promote foxhunting?