Two days of hard hunting on November 6 and 7, 2018 behind a pack of fifty-four foxhounds—each of which qualified for this championship event by placing among the top ten of one or more of the performance trials over the past year—concluded the MFHA Hark Forward! Performance Trial Season. The season of performance trials, field hunter trials, and joint meets which began last year were conceived by MFHA president Tony Leahy and Master Epp Wilson, Belle Meade Hunt (GA), to reprise, during Leahy’s tenure as president, the spirit of the MFHA Centennial celebrations ten years earlier.
The Performance Trial Championship event was matured, expanded, organized, and staged to perfection by the Masters of the Midland Fox Hounds (GA) in their Fitzpatrick, Alabama hunting country. More than two hundred people representing more than forty hunts participated. Foxhounds from twenty-four hunts competed. Ashley Hubbard, professional huntsman at the Green Spring Valley Hounds (MD), served as trial huntsman for this all-star pack.
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.
Midland Striker 2015 was judged Grand Champion Foxhound at the 2017 Bryn Mawr Hound Show on Saturday, June 3, 2017.
Bryn Mawr is the one that got away from Striker last year. In 2016, this graceful moving, handsome Crossbred dog hound had a big year in the ring. He was judged Grand Champion at the Virginia Foxhound Show and at the Southern Hound Show. But the hat trick at Bryn Mawr wasn’t to be his. Now, Striker can add the Bryn Mawr notch to his collar.
Honorary huntsman Jennifer Hansen credits the Woodbrook Masters who encouraged her to take hounds on a one-thousand-mile trip (each way!) from Washington State to Southern California to participate in the Western States Hound Show. It was the first time that Woodbrook had shown hounds in many years, and it was the first time Hansen ever showed hounds. And she took home the Grand Champion Foxhound of Show, Woodbrook Kent 2014.
“I was as nervous as I could be,” said Hansen, but “I was so proud of Kent who held his stern high all day. [Judge] Mr. Pitts said, ‘That hound just can’t stand bad!’”
David Twiggs was officially confirmed as the MFHA’s new Executive Director.Tony Leahy, MFH of the Fox River Valley Hunt (IL), was elected to a three-year term as President of the Masters of Foxhounds Association at the Annual Meeting held on Friday, January 27, 2017 in New York. Leslie Rhett Crosby, MFH, Mooreland Hunt (AL) was elected First Vice President and Penny Denegre, MFH, Middleburg Hunt (VA) was elected Second Vice President. Also,
Retiring Executive Director Dennis Foster will remain at the office for another two months to complete David’s training. Upon his official retirement, Dennis will continue to assist the MFHA in animal rights and other areas, on a consulting basis.
I had the distinct honor of addressing the Annual Meeting crowd, the largest crowd I have ever seen, to relate how special David and his family are, and to explain President Leahy’s vision for an upcoming season of celebration. It was literally standing room only.