Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound
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FHL WEEK, November 7, 2019

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Tommy Lee Jones: 50 Years Huntsman at Casanova

People

TLJ.50 years at PotomacHuntsman Tommy Lee Jones and hounds of the Casanova Hunt / Douglas Lees photo

This season Tommy Lee Jones begins his fiftieth year as huntsman for the Casanova Hunt (VA). The popular Virginia horseman has played a leading role at every level of hunting and showing and possesses the ability to educate others through his writing skills.

Tommy Lee was the first recipient of the MFHA’s Ian Milne Huntsman’s Award in 2012, and next year he will be inducted into the Huntsman’s Room at the Museum of Hounds and Hunting.

He showed hunters and jumpers seriously in his day, and has long been the show manager for the Upperville Colt and Horse Show (est. 1853), the oldest continuing horse show in the U.S. He is president and serves on the advisory board for the 120-year-old Warrenton Horse Show, and has been a highly sought judge of horses and foxhounds across the country.

Tommy Lee grew up hunting with the Bull Run Hunt and has enjoyed a close and rewarding relationship with all the legendary Virginia huntsmen of his time, including Melvin and Albert Poe and Duke Leach. Horsemanship is in his genes; his father was a horse dealer, and you can bet that he was thrown up on every sort of horse imaginable—the kind and the ornery, the generous and the rogue. Most horse dealer’s kids become pretty fair horsemen if they don’t flee the scene first!

Hunting game all his life, his experiences weren’t always blue-ribbon perfect. As a youngster, Tommy Lee once shot a hole in his foot, through which he could watch the family’s TV screen while convalescing. His story, not mine.

Tommy Lee is also a gifted writer. He has written entertaining and informative articles for many of the well known horse journals, and he contributed a chapter in "A Centennial View," the MFHA’s hundredth anniversary book published in 2007. In describing his early days whipping-in at Casanova, when the hounds were left without their huntsman for the summer, he wrote: “None of us had any real kennel experience. I’d probably spent more time in a kennel than anyone, simply because a number of my family members worked for hunt clubs. Most of my experiences came from my cousin’s house, at the nearby Old Dominion kennels, where he and I would blow Melvin Poe’s old cow horn to see which one of us could make the hounds howl the most. Not exactly the most practical experience....”

Congratulations, Tommy Lee!

Posted November 4, 2019