Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound
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FHL WEEK, January 9, 2020

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Tommy Lee Jones: 50 Years Hunting Hounds at Casanova


TLJ.50 years at CasanovaDouglas Lees photo 2019

Masters, staff, and members of the Casanova Hunt (VA) are proud and pleased to celebrate Tommy Lee Jones’s fiftieth season as huntsman. Tommy Lee has carried the horn for this venerable 110-year-old sporting establishment for nearly half of its existence—a remarkable feat made possible by a lengthy and talented career in the saddle from a young age.

Growing up, Tommy Lee was fortunate to have hunted with many fine Virginia huntsmen, among them Messrs Melvin and Albert Poe, Andrew Branham, and Duke Leech. While hunting with Casanova in 1967, Tommy Lee was appointed whipper-in to the Irish huntsman, Captain Ian Benson. When Captain Benson returned to Ireland in 1970, the horn was passed to Tommy Lee.

Tommy Lee Jones 1977Liz Callar photo 1971

With a fine eye for both horse and hound, Tommy Lee has strong opinions regarding both. He has bred hounds able to win on the flags, yet full of the drive, stamina, and speed necessary to find and pursue the fox. Their size and temperament make them especially suitable to the Casanova hunting country, parts of which are heavily wooded with thick area of briars. He possesses that admirable Virginia trait of allowing the pack to hunt the fox with minimal interference.

An active participant and competitor in the annual Virginia Foxhound Club Show, Tommy Lee and his whippers-in have shown the Casanova hounds with success over the years and brought home many trophies and ribbons to honor the hunt.

Tommy Lee enjoyed a successful competitive career in the hunter/jumper world, after which he became manager of the Upperville Colt and Horse Show in 1985. Under his management, the show—the oldest in America—was named Horse Show of the Year nine times since 1991. For more than thirty-five years, Tommy Lee has also served as manager of the Warrenton Horse Show. And for twenty years, he has served as president of the Senior Advisory Board of the Warrenton Pony Show, the oldest pony show in America—also named Horse Show of the Year in 2003.

Tommy Lee’s accolades include being named Virginia Horse Shows Association Horseman of the Year in 1998, and induction into that organization’s Hall of Fame in 2013. Casanova Hunt takes pride in Tommy Lee having been the first professional huntsman to be presented with the MFHA’s Ian Milne Award in 2013 for his exceptional contributions to the sport of foxhunting.

When Tommy Lee Jones and Diane Carr met on a high school blind date in Leesburg in 1964, no one could have expected the impact these two would have in Fauquier County and its equestrian community in the decades to follow. In 2018 the couple were named Cedar Run District’s Citizens of the Year. Among their efforts on behalf of their community, tens of thousands of dollars were raised to support the Fauquier County SPCA and the Fauquier Free Clinic.

The Commonwealth of Virginia’s General Assembly passed House Resolution No. 238 commending Tommy Lee Jones for his legacy of service and his extensive contributions to the Fauquier community on January 31, 2019.

tommy lee jones.early.robert mcClanahanRobert McClanahan photo

Yet more accolades for this man are on the horizon. Casanova Hunt again takes pride in announcing that Tommy Lee Jones will be inducted into the Huntsman’s Room of the Museum of Hounds and Hunting in May 2020. The Huntsman’s Room is dedicated to those huntsmen who, throughout their careers, have made significant contributions to the sport of foxhunting, are recognized for their successful hound breeding, and have shown superior sport to those who followed hounds. Tommy Lee’s induction will render Casanova unique among hunts in North America, with two honorees installed in the Huntsman’s Room whose combined tenure covers seventy-five years of the hunt’s 110-year history. (Oscar Beach hunted the Casanova hounds for twenty-five years.)

Tommy Lee Jones, a true Virginia huntsman, has provided the Casanova Hunt with fifty years of memorable sport. The agile and cohesive pack that he has bred and hunted is one of Virginia’s finest. We of the Casanova Hunt—officers, Masters, staff, subscribers, landowners, and friends—are ever grateful for the time and experience given by Tommy Lee Jones on our behalf. What a grand time we have had. Thank you.

Posted January 1, 2020

Joyce Fendley stepped down in 2019 after thirty-six years as Master of the Casanova Hunt.