Edward S. “Ned” Bonnie, ex-MFH of the Long Run Hounds (KY), died on Saturday, March 17, 2018, in Louisville, at age eighty-eight.
He was a Master at Long Run from 1988 to 2014 and served terms as a director of the Masters of Foxhounds Association. He was a complete horseman, conservationist, and a leading equine lawyer for top Thoroughbred breeding farms in Kentucky.
Junior foxhunters, their horses, parents, and friends traveled from thirteen states to Thomson, Georgia, where the Belle Meade Hunt hosted the finals of the fifteenth annual Junior North American Field Hunter Championships on November 11-13, 2017.
Throughout the course of the informal season, hunts around the country held qualifying meets from which the young finalists were chosen by mounted judges. Of the 216 juniors who qualified to compete in the finals, fifty-six young riders from eighteen North American hunts—more than twenty-five percent of those qualified—traveled to Belle Mead to hunt, compete, see old friends, and make a pile of new friends. And did they have a wonderful time! It was truly a pleasure to see.
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.
Shelby Bonnie has ridden to hounds most of his life, especially with the Piedmont Fox Hounds (VA), known worldwide for fast runs and plentiful jumping. The pace is swift and the fences are stout.
Bonnie divides his time between his home in San Francisco, California and his Oakley Farm in Upperville, Virginia, home of the Upperville Horse Show grounds and the Piedmont Point-to-Point Races. Bonnie spent quality time during his formative years at Oakley in the company of his grandmother, Theodora A. Randolph, legendary Piedmont Master. Even after Mrs. Randolph stopped riding, she continued to run the farm and the hunt until her passing in 1996 at the age of ninety.
The Junior North American Field Hunter Championship competition that began modestly twelve years ago between a handful of geographically-close Virginia hunts continues to expand in scope. This year’s competition involved juniors from twenty-seven hunts located across six MFHA Districts.
The program is succeeding because it’s purpose rises above just competition. Founders Douglas Wise, MFH, Old Dominion Hounds and Iona Pillion from the Blue Ridge Hunt had a larger dream: bring children to new hunting countries and open their eyes to the fact that these playgrounds don’t just happen to be there for them by chance, but have been nurtured and conserved for the perpetuation of wildlife, open space, and for those who treasure the natural world.
“We want these kids to know what a conservation easement is,” said Marion Chungo, one of the organizers.