Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Keswick Hunt

keswick

Keswick, Virginia

Website: www.keswickhuntclub.com


Gammell2.callarKeswick huntsman Tony Gammell  /  Liz Callar photoHuntsman Tony Gammell at the Keswick Hunt (VA) has developed a pack of American foxhounds that hunts the red fox and only the red fox. No gray fox, coyote, deer, or any other woodland creature.

Why wouldn’t he want to hunt gray fox? I wondered. Yes, they run short and tight with more jinks and double-backs, but they make hounds work for every inch of sport. It can be fun to watch. And even assuming he has good reason for not hunting gray fox, how does he teach hounds to ignore the line? I collared him at the recent MFHA Staff Seminar and asked, and I got more hound wisdom than I bargained for.

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brazos_valley_meadowBrazos Valley Meadow, shown by Sandy Dixon, MFH and huntsman, is Grand Champion. Standing (l-r): Dr. Robert Smith, ex-MFH, Ringmaster; Bobby Dixon; John (Jake) Carle, ex-MFH, Judge; Terry Olsen, MFHIt was Mom’s day out on Mother’s Day weekend for Brazos Valley Meadow 2006. She was judged Best Hound of Show at the Central States Hound Show on May 7, 2011. Among the other division champions over which she prevailed was her son, Brazos Valley Mystic 2010, who just a month earlier had been judged Grand Champion at the Southwest Hound Show.

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conner_and_lawyerHuntsman David Conner and Rockbridge Lawyer 2008.              Jan Sorrells photo

Rockbridge Lawyer 2008 and his littermate Lead scored a one-two punch at the Carolinas Foxhound Performance Trials on March 26 and 27 in Hoffman, North Carolina. Competing against hounds from twelve other hunts, the Rockbridge pair finished first and second respectively after two days of hunting. We talked to Conner about his handsome and talented hound.

Trial organizer Fred Berry, MFH of the Sedgefield Hunt, has been actively involved in foxhound performance trials for years—first judging, then organizing. As a result of Berry’s considerable experience, he has introduced some interesting new wrinkles into the management of his trials to improve both the hunting and the experience for the field.

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Gathering of First Flight juniors before their mock hunt moved off.
Gathering of First Flight juniors before their mock hunt moved off.
Lauren Giannini photo

For their first seven years, the Junior North American Field Hunter Championships took place in Virginia, mostly at Old Whitewood, part of Orange County's country in The Plains. However, after Alex Matz won the First Flight (12-and-Under) championship in 2009, the notion of staging the next finals in Mr. Stewart's Cheshire country came to fruition. Blue Ridge Hunt's David Pawlak partnered with the indubitable Paris to ace the individual test in the First Flight and claim their second consecutive 13-18 championship. Makayla Benjamin (Loudoun West) and Butterfly Painting went home with the reserve tri-color.

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Gathering of First Flight juniors before their mock hunt moved off.
Gathering of First Flight juniors before their mock hunt moved off.
Lauren Giannini photo

For their first seven years, the Junior North American Field Hunter Championships took place in Virginia, mostly at Old Whitewood, part of Orange County's country in The Plains. However, after Alex Matz won the First Flight (12-and-Under) championship in 2009, the notion of staging the next finals in Mr. Stewart's Cheshire country came to fruition. Blue Ridge Hunt's David Pawlak partnered with the indubitable Paris to ace the individual test in the First Flight and claim their second consecutive 13-18 championship. Makayla Benjamin (Loudoun West) and Butterfly Painting went home with the reserve tri-color.

Read More