It’s that time of the off-season to check up on huntsmen who are moving or retiring and those hunts acquiring or seeking huntsmen. Here’s what we know.
Live Oak Hounds (FL)
British-born Guy Allman has returned to the States from England to hunt the well-bred pack of Modern English and Crossbred foxhounds at Live Oak in north Florida. Allman has been in hunt service for thirty-seven seasons, all but three years of that time in England.
Hillsboro Hounds (TN) pulled off a stunt that no hunt had yet achieved in the long history of the Virginia Foxhound Show. Two Hillsboro hounds finished the day as Grand Champion of Show and Reserve Grand Champion of Show for the second time. Live Oak Hounds (FL) did it once.
After having had to cancel the show for the last two consecutive years due to Covid, the Virginia Foxhound Show was held at Morven Park in Leesburg, Virginia on Sunday, May 29, 2022. It was a grand reunion for the many hunting people from across the country who participated, and the weather was fittingly gorgeous all weekend.
Hounds from thirty-four hunts competed at Virginia, but we’re not completely whole yet. We miss our foxhunting friends in Canada and hope that next year will see us together again.
The first foxhound show in North America in three years, and Hillsboro Wagtail ’20 has good reason to wag her tail...er...stern!
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!
The history of the Mells Fox Hounds (TN) goes back to a universally known nursery rhyme—“Little Jack Horner.”
Really. Stay with me. This innocent-sounding rhyming couplet is believed to be based upon a sixteenth-century real estate swindle at the highest levels of church and government in jolly old England.*
When “Little Jack Horner sat in a corner eating his Christmas pie, he stuck in his thumb and pulled out a plum.” Jack’s plum was metaphor for a far dearer prize.
At breakfast this Thursday morning, Joan reminded me that Memorial Day was just a few days away. Boy, it sure didn’t feel like it.
Normally, we’d have been recently back from our hunt’s kennels having watched the practice hound show, afterwards assessing our hounds’ prospects for ribbons and trophies at the Virginia Foxhound Show. Which should have been on the calendar for this weekend. We would have been looking forward to seeing old hunting friends from across North America, and I would have been assuring Joan that I had remembered to send in our reservations for the reception at the Museum of Hounds and Hunting and the dinner under the tent at Morven Park (whether I had, in fact, remembered or not). In short, I would have been looking forward to an important and unique weekend of camaraderie and foxhound study.