Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Golden's Bridge Hounds


North Salem, New York


stu grod2.julie stuart segerJulie Stuart Seger photoStuart Grod—popular field member of the Fairfield County Hounds (CT)—has retired after forty-three consecutive seasons hunting in the first flight. A retirement party was held in Stu’s honor at the hunt’s clubhouse on November 22, 2014, where well-known food and travel author Michael Stern read a poem he composed for the occasion.

"Build a bridge with your hands on the mane;"
"Trot smooth as you head for the jump;"
"Go light when your hands hold the reins;"
"And don't crowd on the lead horse's rump:"

Just some of Stu's tips I've acquired
Since I started to ride with you folks.
I'll miss you up there, you strange country squire
With your bright eyes, your wisdom, and jokes.

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va14.callarJoan Jones presents the Grand Championship Trophy for Golden's Bridge Phoenix to huntsman Ciaran Murphy. / Liz Callar photoFor the second time* in history, a Penn-Marydel foxhound was judged Grand Champion of the Virginia Foxhound Show. The William W. Brainard, Jr. Perpetual Cup was presented to Golden’s Bridge Phoenix 2012 at Morven Park in Leesburg on Sunday, May 25, 2014. Golden’s Bridge huntsman Ciaran Murphy showed the Champion.

The following weekend, for the first time in foxhound history, the same Penn-Marydel repeated his stunning Virginia victory by being judged Grand Champion of Show at Bryn Mawr.

The Penn-Marydel as a breed is justifiably loved by its admirers for a number of reasons—nose, voice, biddability—none of which includes a reputation as the standard for foxhound beauty. Yet Golden’s Bridge Phoenix prevailed over the usual suspects so often in the Virginia lineup for the final class of the day: Live Oak Hounds (FL), Midland Foxhounds (GA), and Potomac Hunt (MD). At Bryn Mawr, Phoenix topped the other breed champions from the Blue Ridge Hunt (VA), Potomac Hunt, and GreenSpring Valley Hounds (MD).

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 bellemeade14.lasthunt.jpgThe author (right) with (l-r) Field Master Jean Derrick and Master and huntsman Epp Wilson at the final meet

Snow may have crippled Atlanta, but the few inches that fell in Thomson, Georgia during Belle Meade's second annual "Gone Away with the Wind" Hunt Week (January 26 to February 2, 2014) did little to dampen the great foxhunting and lavish southern hospitality. The first day we arrived was warm and sunny, a welcome respite from a frozen Maryland. I was returning for a second awesome adventure with Belle Meade Hunt and had encouraged two more of my fellow Marlborough Hunt members to come down. Jayne Koester and her amateur-radio enthusiast husband Fred enlivened their trip by talking to all the Ham radio operators near Interstate 95 as they drove south. Following them was Gwen Alred, a member of both Marlborough and Potomac Hunt clubs, who also decided getting out of a frigid Maryland was a good idea.

Monday at 3:00 pm, after warm greetings from our southern hosts and welcoming remarks from MFHs Epp Wilson, Charlie Lewis, and Gary Wilkes, we quickly trotted across the road from the kennels and moved across open cattle fields. I was riding first flight behind my good friend, Belle Meade Field Master Jean Derrick, and it felt wonderful to be cantering across soft ground in informal ratcatcher attire!

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bellemeade.2014.gianniniEpp Wilson, MFH and huntsman of the Belle Meade Hunt brings hounds to the first draw to kick off "Gone Away with the Wind" Hunt Week. Whippers-in Lucy Bell (left) and Natalie Gilmore flank the pack. / Lauren R. Giannini photo

“We have arranged to have ten coyotes on standby for your hunting pleasure today,” announced Joint-MFH Charlie Lewis as he welcomed guests to the opening meet of Belle Meade’s “Gone Away with the Wind” Hunt Week. It was Monday, January 27, 2014 in Thomson, Georgia. The footing was perfect and the sun was shining.

The following day it snowed, closing schools, paralyzing the Atlanta area, and prompting the governor to declare a state of emergency. The Belle Meade hosts were resilient, however, improvising substitute activities for members and guests for the very few events that had to be modified.

Hunt Week guests had come from the Blue Ridge Hunt (VA), Bull Run Hunt (VA), Golden’s Bridge Hounds (NY), Marlborough Hunt (MD), Millbrook Hunt (NY), Montreal Hunt (PQ), Moore County Hounds (NC), the Potomac Hunt (MD), Toronto and North York Hunt (ON), and the Whiskey Road Hounds (SC).

The Meet
The Belle Meade hounds typically meet at three o’clock in the afternoon. In the warmish environs of north Georgia, Senior Master and huntsman Epp Wilson likes to hunt as temperatures are dropping and scent is improving. Of course it often results in riders hacking back in the dark, and even jumping fences after sunset—an adventure in its own right for many followers!

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The Masters of the Golden’s Bridge Hounds (NY) have announced the appointment of Yolanda Knowlton as Joint-Master.

Knowlton is a longtime horsewoman who has evented, shown, and foxhunted. She has been a hard working member of Golden’s Bridge Hounds for many years, has run the hunt ball, the annual auction, and has served as Hunt Secretary.

“Yolanda lives right in the hunting country and knows all the landowners,” said Golden’s Bridge MFH (and MFHA President) Ed Kelly. “She has earned it and will be a great asset as Joint-Master.”

With her appointment, Knowlton joins Golden’s Bridge Joint-Masters Eugene O. Colley, Edward W. Kelly, Peter D. Kamenstein, S. Mackintosh Pulsifer, Kenneth Silverman, and Bruce D. Colley.

Posted October 5, 2011