When the COVID pandemic and executive orders from the Governor of Virginia forced cancellation of Orange County Hounds’ primary annual fund raising event—the barn party held at Board President Jaqueline Mars’ legendary home—OCH Board leaders Jane Bishop and Emily Hannum put their heads together and scheduled instead a Vixen’s Meet. Given the strong showing October 15, 2020 at Stonehedge in The Plains, Virginia, the ladies like it.
Ladies from a dozen hunts turned out in support of Orange County: Belle Meade Hunt (GA), Mr. Stewart’s Cheshire Foxhounds (PA), Cloudline Hounds (TX), and De La Brooke Foxhounds (MD). From Virginia were ladies of the Blue Ridge Hunt, Casanova Hunt, Loudoun Fairfax Hunt, Middleburg Hunt, Piedmont Fox Hounds, Rappahannock Hunt, and Snickersville Hounds.
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.
More than six hundred foxhounds from thirty-seven hunts were exhibited at the Virginia Foxhound Show at Morven Park on Sunday, May 26, 2019, over the Labor Day Weekend. Hunts from thirteen states up and down the Eastern Seaboard and from as far away as Texas brought foxhounds to stand up against the finest examples of their breeds in North America. It is the largest foxhound show in the world.
In the always exciting final class of the show, four foxhound Champions—American, English, Crossbred, and Penn-Marydel—presented themselves to be judged for this year’s Grand Championship Class. It’s always a difficult class to judge because each entry has already been winnowed down throughout the day’s classes and has been chosen as the best specimen of its type by the judges in each ring. Each hound is deserving, and the attention and hopes of all spectators, though friendly, are ratcheted to a new level.
It was autumn of 1973, and the world was in turmoil. U.S. forces were pulling out of Vietnam, the Watergate scandal was rocking the nation, and a looming energy crisis was getting global traction.
The steeplechase circuit, too, was in a state of flux. The year before, the bottom had fallen out of the industry. New York basically kicked out the jumpers and went from eighty-three jump races at Belmont, Aqueduct, and Saratoga in 1970 to fifteen in 1973. And those were at Saratoga only.
Having been a member of many fields in many hunting countries, the huntsman has always been my hero. From the time we mount up and for the few hours that follow, it is the huntsman who is most directly responsible for our day’s sport.
One might well argue that the hounds have something to do with it, and this I grant. But the pack is the product of the huntsman, and, since the level of sport depends on how hounds perform in the field as a pack, it all comes back to the huntsman.
Here’s our annual report on the recent moves of huntsmen Neil Amatt, Martyn Blackmore, Tony Gammell, and Sam Clifton.