Every year, fields, woods, copses, and little dells are turned into McMansions, strip malls, and highways. Occasionally, even some truly lovely or necessary structures are built. But the countryside is still gone in the process.
For hunters, this means that land available for shooting, riding, or chasing becomes increasingly rare and precious. Inevitably, there is competition for the wildlands that remain. This competition can be limiting for one group or another. But what if it were possible to share that land? Could different groups work it out to use the land, not perhaps simultaneously but at least during the same season? Wouldn’t that be better for everyone? Can it be done?
The Blue Mountain Pony Club in Maryland won the seventh annual Live Oak Hounds USPC Foxhunting Challenge Award for 2013. The Challenge Award is made possible through the generous support of Mr. and Mrs. C. Martin Wood III, Joint-Masters of the Live Oak Hounds in Monticello, Florida and Past Presidents of the MFHA.
The Award is designed to encourage Pony Club members who do not regularly hunt to try the sport and to reward members who hunt on a regular basis to act as mentors to the less-experienced Pony Club members. Ten thousand dollars in awards are distributed each year among the top six Pony Clubs who introduce the greatest number of active Pony Club members to the sport of foxhunting. The United States Pony Club was established by foxhunters, and the two organizations share a close bond.
The 2013 Challenge winners are:
Blue Mountain Pony Club in Maryland. Blue Mountain Pony Club members hunted with Blue Mountain Hunt (PA).
Cedar Knob Pony Club in Tennessee. Cedar Knob Pony Club members hunted with Mooreland Hunt, Longreen Foxhounds, Shawnee Hounds, and Full Cry Hounds.
Old Dominion Hounds Pony Club in Virginia. Old Dominion Pony Club members hunted with Old Dominion Hounds.
Elkridge-Harford Pony Club in Maryland. Elkridge-Harford Pony Club members hunted with Elkridge-Harford Hunt.
Lowcountry Pony Club in South Carolina. Lowcountry Pony Club members hunted with Lowcountry Hunt.
Live Oak Hounds Pony Club in Florida. Live Oak Hounds Pony Club members hunted with Live Oak Hounds.
Picture this: four hunts—Bridlespur Hunt (MO), Full Cry Hounds (AL), Grand Canyon Hounds (AZ),and Mill Creek Hunt (IL)—bringing their best three couple of hounds to the field; thirty-five enthusiastic mounted riders; and sweeping vistas of open hunting country loaded with coyotes. This made for an action-packed five days of foxhunting activities consisting of a three-day Foxhound Performance Trial, foot hunting with the bassets, and a joint meet of foxhounds. It all took place at the Flint Hills Invitational Performance Trial, held on March 7-9, 2012, generously hosted by the Moingona Hunt staff and members. The Flint Hills area of Kansas is an immense rolling prairie of tallgrass and recognized as one of America’s unique treasures.
Rockbridge Lawyer 2008 and his littermate Lead scored a one-two punch at the Carolinas Foxhound Performance Trials on March 26 and 27 in Hoffman, North Carolina. Competing against hounds from twelve other hunts, the Rockbridge pair finished first and second respectively after two days of hunting. We talked to Conner about his handsome and talented hound.
Trial organizer Fred Berry, MFH of the Sedgefield Hunt, has been actively involved in foxhound performance trials for years—first judging, then organizing. As a result of Berry’s considerable experience, he has introduced some interesting new wrinkles into the management of his trials to improve both the hunting and the experience for the field.
“Largo's story is a great testament to how hunts and huntsman can work together to help each other out and find the right fit for hounds,” says David Hyman, MFH and huntsman of the Full Cry Hounds (AL). “It's truly a unique fraternity.”