Here’s Phil Audibert's cleverly edited video montage of the Keswick Hunt’s 2014/2015 foxhunting season, set to the music of the Ryegrass Rollers. The fox, the hounds, huntsman Tony Gammell, Masters, staff, and the Keswick field members all play the starring roles in this fast-paced romp through the Virginia countryside.
Captain Ian W. Farquhar, MFH of the Duke of Beaufort (UK), who judged at this show seven years ago, was joined in the ring by John J. Carle II, ex-MFH of the Keswick Hunt (VA).
Ian Farquhar, huntsman for thirty-eight seasons, judged his first show forty-two years ago and has bred nineteen Peterborough champions. Jake Carle, who hunted hounds for twenty-eight seasons, has judged for over forty years at all the major hound shows in the United States. Over the course of the weekend these two very senior judges enjoyed each other immensely and got along famously in the ring despite their English and Bywaters leanings respectively. Interestingly, thirty-four ribbons were won by Crossbreds, and twenty went to English hounds. Two Champions were Crossbred, and two were English.
The foxes! Oh, the foxes! When Barclay Rives undertook a marathon of foxhunting in 1999, when he went out with nine English hunts in ten days, it seemed like there was a fox popping out of every covert.
Rives, an honorary whipper-in for the Keswick and Bull Run Hunts (VA), writes about his English sporting adventure in See You at Second Horses, a delightful read that puts us galloping behind some great packs in the glory days before the infamous Hunting Act of 2004 banned hunting with hounds in the traditional manner in England and Wales.
Rives is an avid hunter who once hunted one hundred days a season, sometimes going out with Keswick in the morning and Bull Run in the afternoon. Saying he was gung-ho is an understatement. He jumped at the chance to join his friends Grosvenor and Rosie Merle-Smith to hunt with packs dating back to the 1700s: the Quorn (twice), the Cottesmore, the Fernie, and others, including a foot pack—the High Peak Harriers—after rabbits.
Here's a poetic kaleidoscope of Opening Meet images conjured up by Martha Drum the evening before, while braiding her horse and cleaning her tack.
Opening Meet! Hounds assemble
Veterans chitchat, newbies tremble
Chilly wind, sky clear blue
Scent on frost, turning dew
Youngest rider nods and yawns
Oldest recalls many such dawns
Gents and ladies grin and greet
Ponies yank to reach and eat
Scarlet coats, mounts in braids
Flasks, in case courage fades
Some in perfect kit adorned
Others serviceably well-worn
Green horse wheels and tries to buck
Old horse naps beside the truck
Wentworth Audrey 2013 was judged Grand Champion of Show at the New England Hound Show on Sunday, May 4, 2014. The show was held at Echo Ridge Farm in Lee, New Hampshire and was hosted for the first time by the Wentworth Hunt. Audrey is by a Penn-Marydel sire, Red Mountain Van Gogh 2008, out of an American dam, Keswick Nipper 2010.
Audrey's sire, Van Gogh, has his own history. After a couple of stops in the Carolinas, his intelligence earned him a new home in New England where he could hobnob with all the Ivy Leaguers. More on that later.
Huntsman Charles Montgomery from the Bull Run Hunt (VA) judged the foxhounds. Montgomery knows a good hound when he sees one. As huntsman for the Live Oak Hounds (FL) for many years, he consistently fielded a pack of hounds of which an astounding percentage were hound show Champions and Grand Champions.
Wentworth is a drag pack in southern New Hampshire that changed over from Crossbred hounds to American and Penn-Marydel when the current huntsman Kami Wolk, MFH, took up the horn. Kami explained that Audrey was one of two litter sisters that huntsman David Raley drafted to her from the Moore County Hounds (NC). David, in turn, had received the pair from Katherine Gunter, huntsman at the Aiken Hounds (SC) who bred the litter.