The ninetieth annual New England Hound Show was hosted by the Norfolk Hunt (MA) at their Steeplechase Course in Medfield on Sunday, May 5, 2019. Seven district hunts exhibited foxhounds: Green Mountain Hounds (VT), Myopia Hunt (MA), Norfolk Hunt (MA), North Country Hounds VT), Old North Bridge Hounds (MA), Tanheath Hunt (CT), and Wentworth Hunt (NH).
Entries competed in three divisions—American, Penn-Marydel, and Crossbred—but North American foxhunting is currently going through a confusing period in which foxhounds registered as American may defy the thinking of some traditionalists.
Permit me, Muse, to sing the praises of Martha Doyle, a great lady in her own right and the noblest hunter I have ever seen or known. If I ever did see a better, I would not admit it, for that would be disloyalty to Martha’s memory and I am the High Priest of her cult. Many admire her, a certain few revered her greatness, but I adored her. She had my heart and perhaps, in a grudging, spinsterish, slightly contemptuous way, I had hers. You give your heart, I believe, to only one woman, one countryside, one horse, and one dog.
More than thirty children, ranging in age from fourteen months to sixteen years, enjoyed a day showing, learning, and making new friends at the Central Virginia Young Entry Junior Handlers Hound Show on June 10, 2018 in Charlottesville, Virginia. This unique event offered a full schedule just for youngsters, including four showmanship sections, a retired foxhound class, a modified pack class, and horn blowing and whip cracking contests.
The emphasis was on creating a fun, welcoming day for juniors from any background—even those with no previous foxhunting or hound showing experience. Keeping with this accommodating theme, organizers invited bassets and beagles to compete, as well as foxhounds.
Judges Graham and Sheri Buston, huntsman and whipper-in at the Blue Ridge Hunt, perfectly combined cheerful patience and helpful suggestions with keen professional eyes for pinning the best exhibitors in each event. Foxfield Racing Association kindly offered use of their lush green course just outside Charlottesville as the beautiful venue.
The New England Foxhound Show was hosted by the Norfolk Hunt in their Dover, Massachusetts country on May 6, 2018. Six hunts from four of the six New England States brought hounds: Green Mountain Hounds (VT), Myopia Hunt (MA), Norfolk Hunt (MA), Old North Bridge Hounds (MA), Tanheath Hunt (CT), and Wentworth Hunt (NH).
At the end of the day, a tricolor Crossbred dog hound, Norfolk Blarney 2016 (Myopia Bartlett 2008 ex Myopia Rachel 20112), was chosen Grand Champion of Show by Judge John Ike, ex-MFH, visiting from the Millbrook Hunt (NY).
I found Blarney’s breeding to be quite interesting, and I talked to Sue Billings, longtime Norfolk honorary whipper-in, about him as well.
The Norfolk Hunt (MA) can boast of well-known men of American history throughout its earliest rosters—Louis Brandeis, Justice of the U.S, Supreme Court and Leverett Saltonstall, a three-term Governor of Massachusetts and three-term U.S. Senator—but none of its members so dominated the reputation and future of the hunt as did Henry G. Vaughan. He appeared as a member’s guest in 1900 and three years later was elected MFH, a position he held to acclaim for the next thirty years. He was a complete New England gentleman and one of the founding fathers of organized mounted foxhunting in America.
His was hardly the case of a man arriving at a backwater village and uplifting the native savages. Vaughan arrived in Boston from a small town in Maine by way of Harvard University into the midst of the Boston Ames, Cabots, Forbes, Peabodys, Perkinses, and Saltonstalls to be not only embraced, but feted, revered, and almost deified.