Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Keswick Hunt

keswick

Keswick, Virginia

Website: www.keswickhuntclub.com


 

new england14.audrey.ericschneiderGrand Champion Wentworth Audrey 2013, shown by huntsman Kami Wolk, MFH  /  Eric Schneider photo 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.

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Photographer Phil Audibert in Gordonsville, Virginia has been practicing his artistry with the still camera in the hunting field for some time. Recently he’s been experimenting with the video camera. Here’s the Keswick Hunt (VA) in action with views of the hunted fox, Keswick’s pack of American hounds in full cry, and staff and field galloping and jumping to stay with hounds.

Irish-born Tony Gamell is the huntsman, and the background music, appropriately, is an Irish reel called The Star of Munster. Click to see more videos and photo galleries on Phil’s website.       

Posted May 19, 2014

robardsHugh Robards cubhunting with the Rolling Rock HuntTalk about experience. Hugh Robards has spent fifty-three years in hunt service. He whipped-in to some of the legendary huntsmen in England—Brian Gupwell at the Eridge (later to become huntsman for the Duke of Beaufort), Percy Durno and Captain Ronnie Wallace at the Heythrop, and Charlie Wilkin at the Wynnstay.

Upon Captain Wallace’s recommendation to Lord Daresbury, MFH of the County Limerick Foxhounds, Hugh moved to Ireland to take up his first post as huntsman. There he remained for twenty-seven seasons showing world-class sport to the Irish—none keener—and visiting sportsmen and women from around the globe.

After parting from the Limerick, he came to the U.S. to help rebuild the Rolling Rock Hunt (PA), remaining there as Master and huntsman until 2007. From Rolling Rock he moved to the Saxonburg Hunt (PA) where he served as huntsman until coming to the Middleburg Hunt last year as first whipper-in to huntsman Barry Magner. (Barry is moving to Australia this season, and we hope to catch our readers up with him in another article.)

“Hugh continually reinvents himself because of his love for his work,” said Juli Robards, his wife. “Transcending change is one of his great qualities, and I’m unabashedly one of his biggest fans!”

Those who have hunted behind him are big fans as well. Tony Leahy, who grew up in Ireland, is first vice-president of the MFHA and serves as Master and huntsman of the Fox River Valley Hunt (IL). “Hugh is without question one of the best huntsmen I’ve seen,” said Tony. “I remember hunting behind him at Limerick, and I’ve seen him do amazing things!”

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frv convoyFox River Valley Convoy, unentered Crossbred dog hound shown by Tony Leahy, MFH, is Grand Champion of Show at the Southwest Hound Show. / Sammy Buczkowski photo

Fox River Valley Convoy, an unentered Crossbred dog hound, was judged Grand Champion of Show at the Southwest Hound Show. Brazos Valley Mystic 2010—Grand Champion of Show for the last three years running—made a hard run at an unprecedented fourth consecutive title, but finished as Reserve Champion to Convoy.

The Southwest Hound Show was held on April 19, 2014 at Greenwood Farm in Weatherford, Texas. All hounds are shown in the same ring, and were judged this year by Tony Gammell, professional huntsman for the Keswick Hunt (VA).

“It’s a lovely, small show; you can walk around and see everyone, said Tony Leahy, Master and huntsman of the Fox River Valley Hunt (IL), who looks forward to entering Grand Champion Convoy in the fall. “It was my first visit to Texas, and the people couldn’t have been nicer, more accommodating, or more welcoming.”

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live oak dandyLive Oak Dandy was Grand Champion of Show at the Southern Hound Show this year. / Cathy Taber photo

The hound show season, now underway, provides an excellent opportunity to improve one’s eye for foxhound conformation by judging from ringside just for fun. The exercise not only makes the day more interesting, but educational as well. Especially when you can collar a friendly judge after the class and ask him why he didn’t like the hound you adored, or why he picked a hound you thought was common. (Obviously, you must frame your question such that the judge understands that you are seeking an education and not leveling criticism!)

It can be intimidating to watch a procession of foxhounds enter and leave the ring and wonder how in the world the judge can sort them all out. For example, how does he compare a hound he is looking at to one he saw ten minutes ago? Ten years ago, I asked some top judges how they judged a class, and here's what I learned.

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