It’s time for our annual report on the recent moves of huntsmen across North America. The huntsman is my hero. From the time we mount up and for the few hours that follow, it is he or she most directly responsible for the day’s sport. How the huntsman has bred, trained, deployed, and communicated with his troops—the hounds—has everything to do with the satisfaction of our day in the field.
The moves have been numerous this season, and, in a two cases, we have experienced whippers-in finally achieving their dream of a pack of their own to hunt. We’ll catch up with Alasdair Storer, Andrew Bozdan, Kathryn Butler, Stephen Farrin, Danny Kerr, Emily Melton, and Timothy Michel.
Marion Lee Crosson Scullin passed away peacefully at her Damascus, Maryland home after a brief struggle with brain cancer on March 5, 2017.
Born March 3, 1943 in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, to a family of huntsmen (father, grandfather, uncles, and cousins), Marion’s future could be said to have been predetermined. At the time she was born, Marion’s father, Albert “Pud” Crosson, was the huntsman for Rose Tree Foxhunting Club, moving to Huntingdon Valley Hounds, then Whitelands Hunt, and concluding his career with Pickering Hunt where, in 1976, he “died in the hunting field of a heart attack after his hounds completed a splendid run, marking their fox to ground.” Inducted into the Huntsman’s Room of the Museum of Hounds and Hunting, Marion’s father was known for breeding a hard-running pack of deep-throated Penn-Marydels.
When the screw holding the paddock-booted foot straight on the leg of his prosthesis broke one day out hunting, his little daughter Wendy rode up alongside, pointed at the odd way his toe was turned toward the horse’s belly, and said, “Dad!” Bob, of course, corrected the situation by reversing the foot so it pointed more or less backwards. “Dad!” said the offended Wendy. “If you’re going to be like that, I’m not going to ride with you,” and turned her pony to join the juniors at the back.
Bob continued the day pretending not to notice anything unusual and at the breakfast following, parked his foot backwards on the brass foot rail at Jason Parker’s fancy bar. Harvey Goolsby, a new member but unable to hunt that day, appeared at the breakfast with his young sons, Kyle (four) and Crispin (seven). “How was the day?” Harvey asked Bob. “Well, the hunting was pretty good,” Bob replied, “but I think I twisted my ankle,” whereupon all eyes fixed on the skewed member. Kyle and Crispin’s eyes grew large as saucers, and one can only conjecture what thoughts were racing through their heads concerning their father and the hazardous sport of foxhunting.
As we approach the 2016/2017 season, Foxhunting Life reports on recent huntsmen moves around the hunting countries.
Ivan Dowling has retired from hunting Mr. Stewart’s Cheshire Foxhounds (PA). After ten seasons (and before that as first whipper-in), this comes as a major change at Cheshire because the Irish-born Dowling was a key figure in implementing a bold, highly unusual, and successful hound breeding program there. With Dowling’s departure, Cheshire loses a professional whipper-in as well—Stephanie Boyer—who will wed Dowling in September.
Barry Magner is the new Cheshire huntsman. Irish-born Magner’s professional career includes whipping-in at the United Foxhounds (IRE) and a stint whipping-in in England. In the U.S., Magner whipped-in to the Howard County-Iron Bridge Hounds (MD) for a season and became huntsman there in 2007 upon Allen Forney's retirement. He came to Virginia as huntsman for the Middelburg Hunt where he remained for five years until leaving two years ago for Australia. Back in the U.S., Magner joined the Cheshire as professional whipper-in last season and was named huntsman upon Dowling’s retirement.
Virginia Foxhound Show, Morven Park, May 24, 2015: Okay, says Hillsboro huntsman John Gray, if you don’t like Graphic, I’ll show you Siskin!
On May 9, 2015 at the Carolinas Hound Show, Hillsboro Graphic ’14 was judge Tony Leahy’s pick for Grand Champion of Show. Two weeks later, at the Virginia Foxhound Show, Leahy, judging in the Crossbred ring, chose un-entered Midland Striker over Graphic for the Crossbred Championship.
It proved but a minor setback for Hillsboro. In the final class of the day in the English ring, Judge Charles Frampton chose Hillsboro Siskin ‘14 as the Champion English Foxhound. So when the very last class of the day rolled around—Grand Champion of Show—English Champion Siskin faced off against Crossbred Champion Midland Striker, who had just beaten Siskin’s kennel mate, Carolinas Grand Champion Graphic, for the breed championship.
The other formidable opponents in the ring were un-entered American Champion, Orange County Kermit and Penn-Marydel Champion, De La Brooke Tullamoore ’11. But Hillsboro was not to be denied. Judge J.W.Y. “Duck” Martin crowned Hillsboro Siskin ’14 Grand Champion of Show. Crossbred Champion Midland Striker was Reserve, and Hillsboro leaves town with two Grand Champion foxhounds in the last two hound shows!.