Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Old Dominion Hounds

olddominion

Fauquier County, Virginia

Website: facebook page


graham buston.smallHuntsman Graham Buston brings the Blue Ridge hounds to the first draw, where a fox was quickly unkenneled for a field of juniors participating in one of 31 qualifying meets for the 2016 Junior North American Field Hunter Championships. /  Michelle Arnold photo

Every junior who qualifies by competing at any one of thirty-one Qualifying Meets offered across fourteen states and provinces will be eligible to compete in the Junior North American Field Hunter Championship Finals this year. The meets are in full swing.

The Blue Ridge Hunt hosted a qualifying meet on Saturday, September 24, 2016 at the McIntosh farm situated just above the Shenandoah River under western brow of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Anne McIntosh, MFH led the field of hopefuls, judges, and hunt members, the latter riding behind the junior competitors for a change.

Hunting was excellent, with foxes getting away right at the start and giving the judges plenty of opportunities to watch and judge the young riders and their mounts in action. And everyone viewed the quarry at least once!

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barry magner mburg photo cropBarry Magner is the new huntsman at Mr. Stewart's Cheshire Foxhounds. /  Middleburg Photo

As we approach the 2016/2017 season, Foxhunting Life reports on recent huntsmen moves around the hunting countries.

Round I
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.

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virfinia 2016.midland striker 15.gr ch.smallMidland Striker 2015 captures the William W. Brainard, Jr. Perpetual Cup on the lawn in front of the Morven Park mansion. Midland huntsman Ken George holds Striker's attention as three generations of Lamptons and Hardaways gather to accept the trophy from Virginia Foxhound Club President Joan Jones. Dr. John W.D. McDonald, MFH (lapel ribbon) judged this final class of the day.  /  Nancy Kleck photo

With six hundred foxhounds from thirty-seven hunts showing in five separate rings at the Virginia Foxhound Show at Morven Park on Sunday, May 29, 2016, the hour gets late before the four individual division champions—American, Crossbred, English, and Penn-Marydel foxhounds—finally get their chance to face off for the William W. Brainard Jr. Perpetual Cup designating the Grand Champion of Show.

The hour arrived, somewhere around six p.m., as four handsome champions came together before Dr. John W.D. McDonald, MFH, judge of this prestigious class. It had been a long, hot, and tiring day for everyone—spectators, judges, handlers, and hounds alike. But one foxhound looked like he was still ready and happy to run from one end of the field to the other, which he did when asked to show his movement. With long, powerful, yet graceful strides that looked like a slow-motion camera had been set up just for him, Midland Striker made his statement and would not be denied.

“He is one of the most beautiful movers anyone could expect to see,” said Judge McDonald in admiration. “And he has perfect conformation.”

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 odh16.open hurdleIn the Open Hurdle (l-r) is Prima Facie (Jeff Murphy up) and Kingofalldiamonds (Jacob Roberts up), the winner.  /  Douglas Lees photo

The turf was good, the day cloudy and cool, and, for a few moments of variety, a snow shower floated down upon the Old Dominion Point-to-Point Races at Ben Venue Farm, Virginia, on Saturday, April 9, 2016. The eight-race card included hurdle, timber, and flat races, most of them well-entered.

Noble Stables’ Kingofalldiamonds won the Open Hurdle race for the second consecutive year over the Old Dominion course. It was trainer Neil Morris’s second win of the day, and the horse’s second win in as many races this season. (Kingofalldiamonds won the Open Flat race at the Warrenton Hunt Point-to-Point last month.) Jacob Roberts was in the irons for both outings this season as well as for last year’s hurdle win—this day substantially repeating his winning strategy from the earlier flat race. Roberts allowed Daybreak Stables’ Manacor to set the pace and, with three fences remaining, took over the race and won by four-and-a-half lengths going away.

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joe whited.Michelle OHanlon ArnoldJoe Whited (right) and the author in the Old Dominion field  /   Michelle OHanlon Arnold photo

A foxhunter and conservationist with an impressive background in foreign affairs is seeking the Republican nomination for Virginia's Fifth Congressional District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Joe Whited, thirty-six, has mounted a campaign for the Republican nomination, one of four vying for the seat being vacated by Representative Robert Hurt (R). Whited wears the colors of the Old Dominion Hounds (VA) and helps run the club's annual point-to-point. His first race, however, will be purely political—the Republican primary in April.

Virginia’s Fifth District is the Commonwealth’s largest. The pie-shaped wedge includes much of Virginia hunt country, including territory of Piedmont, Orange County, Warrenton, Casanova, Old Dominion, Rappahannock, Thornton Hill-Fort Valley, Bull Run, Keswick, Farmington, Deep Run, Oak Ridge, Stonewall, Bedford, and Red Oak in Virginia, just north of Sedgefield and Red Mountain in North Carolina.

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