Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Genesee Valley Hunt

geneseevalley

Geneseo, New York

Website: www.geneseevalleyhunt.org


The first foxhound show in North America in three years, and Hillsboro Wagtail ’20 has good reason to wag her tail...er...stern!

shs22.wagtail.wendy butlerGrand Champion of Show is Hillsboro Wagtail 2020   /   Wendy Butler photo

The fourteenth annual Southern Hound Show was memorable for several reasons. Nigel Peel, Ex-MFH, North Cotswold Foxhounds (UK), was ill and unable to come and join Co-Judge Marion Thorne, MFH, Genesee Valley Hunt (NY) and Apprentice-Judge Steven Thomas, MFH, Fort Leavenworth Hunt (KS). Ann Hughston, MBH, Ripshin Bassets (GA), who has judged foxhounds at Carolina, Virginia, the Canadian Hound Show, and Bassets at Peterborough, was a capable stand-in.

The mood was particularly festive as this was the first hound show in three years to be held in North America thanks to the Corona Virus. Sadly, Midland Fox Hounds (GA) had kennel cough and was unable to bring hounds, but eight packs showed hounds: Belle Meade Hunt (GA), Fox River Valley Hunt (IL), Goodwin Hounds (NC), Hillsboro Hounds (TN), Iroquois Hunt (KY), Live Oak Hounds (FL), Mooreland Hunt (AL), and Palm Beach Hounds (FL). Hounds competed under blue skies, but with chilly temperatures in the forties and low fifties and relentless high wind that made the seated lunch for over 150 people look like a food fight, with fried chicken, plates, napkins, and utensils flying through the air, all as the tent was trying to collapse!

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RoseTree-Blue Mountain prevails with all five entries finishing among the top-ten overall scoring hounds, including Bridle 2015, the winner.


Through an early morning mist, foxhounds are in full cry after the coyote. This excellent video was filmed on the second day of the Millboo Hunt Foxhound Performance Trials.  /   Video by Marion Latta de Vogel

The first of ten foxhound performance trials scheduled across North America this season is history. Millbrook Hunt (NY) hosted the 2021/2022 opener on September 8 and 9, 2021. Participants enjoyed superb weather, gorgeous country, exciting sport, and Millbrook’s unparalleled hospitality.

The first nine trials are qualifiers for the tenth and final Grand Championship Trials. That final showdown is scheduled for March 26 and 27, 2022, in Hoffman, North Carolina, where a national champion and the top ten foxhounds countrywide will be recognized.

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henry higginson paintingAlexander Henry Higginson, MFHAn Old Sportsman’s Memories, the autobiography written by A. Henry Higginson and J. Stanley Reeve tells the story of a proper Bostonian, Harvard class of 1898, who turned his back on a life of commerce, finance, and philanthropy—the route traditionally followed by New England men such as he. Smitten by the sport of foxhunting to the exclusion of all else, and with the support of his indulgent father, A. Henry Higginson followed his dream: a life of foxhunting.

His father, Major Henry Lee Higginson, more than fulfilled the family’s responsibilities to his community by his own philanthropy. The elder Higginson had dreamt of being a musician in his younger years, but Puritan Boston expected other things from her sons, and so he became a businessman as was expected. In time, he founded the Boston Symphony Orchestra, however, and was its earliest administrator.

He organized the corporation that built Symphony Hall, the first auditorium designed in accordance with scientifically derived acoustical principles. It is, as a result, widely regarded as one of the top concert halls in the world. Interestingly, with all the architectural flourishes of the period that architects McKim, Mead & White could bring to their creation in the year 1900, the structure displays only one composer’s name upon a large shield mounted on a frieze centered above the stage—Beethoven. There are other smaller shields upon the frieze framing the stage, but they are still blank! Boston is a careful and thoughtful old city.

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va19.gsv sappire.karenkGrand Champion Green Spring Valley Sapphire with (l-r) huntsman Ashley Hubbard; Franklin Whit Foster, MFH; J.W.Y. Martin, MFH; Virginia Foxhound Club president Joan Jones, ex-MFH; and Sheila Jackson Brown, MFH. /   Karen Kandra photo

More than six hundred foxhounds from thirty-seven hunts were exhibited at the Virginia Foxhound Show at Morven Park on Sunday, May 26, 2019, over the Labor Day Weekend. Hunts from thirteen states up and down the Eastern Seaboard and from as far away as Texas brought foxhounds to stand up against the finest examples of their breeds in North America. It is the largest foxhound show in the world.

In the always exciting final class of the show, four foxhound Champions—American, English, Crossbred, and Penn-Marydel—presented themselves to be judged for this year’s Grand Championship Class. It’s always a difficult class to judge because each entry has already been winnowed down throughout the day’s classes and has been chosen as the best specimen of its type by the judges in each ring. Each hound is deserving, and the attention and hopes of all spectators, though friendly, are ratcheted to a new level.

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eric myer.karen kandraEric Myer wears the colors of the Genesee Valley Hunt (NY) early in the season.  /   Karen Kandra Wenzel photo

Eric Myer, DVM, is currently in his sixty-sixth season of foxhunting. And not just with one hunt. No, no. If that were the case, the hunting season would be far too short to suit him.

At eighty-two, Eric begins his season in mid-July up north near Rochester, New York with the Genesee Valley Hunt. His wife Martha has roots in Geneseo, and the couple has a summer farm there. Then, in mid-October, when the Piedmont Fox Hounds are well into their cubhunting season down south in Virginia, Eric and Martha return to their Boyce farm in the Shenandoah Valley.

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