Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Piedmont Fox Hounds

piedmont

Loudoun County, Virginia

Website:


waterman piedmont hound.1991 match with Midland.leesRandy Waterman, MFH, (foreground) hunts the Piedmont pack in the 1991 Piedmont-Midlang Hound Match. Farnham Collins, MFH, Millbrook Hunt (NY), (behind) is a judge. Watchman would surely have been with the pack this day but is unidentified.  /  Douglas Lees photo

Watchman is a popular name for dog hounds around the foxhunting world. 'Watchman' appears in at least fifty different hunts in the North American Studbook, not to mention the studbooks of England and Ireland. Nevertheless, whenever you hear the name Watchman in a foxhunting conversation, you can bet they're talking about Piedmont Watchman 1989.

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After the close of last season, professional whipper-in Erin McKenney was tapped to take over the horn at the Millbrook Hunt (NY). What’s it like to be a first-year huntsman following in the boot prints of a retiring, respected, experienced huntsman and long-time hound breeder like Donald Philhower? Butterflies, sure, but what goes through the mind of a huntsman responsible for giving sport every hunting day? Erin gives us a taste.

erin mckenney nov.lindsay baldwinLindsay Baldwin photo

November 5, 2020, 9-1/2 couple
It was a warm, bluebird sort of day with a dry wind which didn’t bode too well for scenting conditions. I took a smaller pack since it is a tight fixture.

I went with idea of taking older, slower hounds, with some younger ones for an educational day. I’m not convinced when young hounds are flying on a coyote that they’re learning a ton, except to keep up. The seasoned hounds may not be so quick under this day’s conditions, and the younger ones should have a chance to really get their noses down and learn.

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anita baarns book“The Country Life of an Artist: How Christmas Cards Tell My Story,” Anita Baarns, Dog Branch Publishing LLC, 2020, 205 pages, 281 works of art, spot gloss varnished, hardcover in Full Sierra cloth, 11-1/4 x 8-3/4, $67.80 (tax included).

Christmas cards help tell the story of an artist’s life.
Review by Norman Fine

Talented animal artist Anita Baarns has produced an intriguing and intimate book about her art and how art relates to her very self. Richly made and oversized in a landscape format to better display the artwork, her book is filled with examples rendered in pencil, charcoal, ink, pastel, watercolor, oil, and...yes...even crayon. In it she shows and tells a story of discovering, appreciating, experimenting, and continually developing her own talents and techniques as an artist.

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File0055Orange County Hounds Field Master John Coles, MFH, leads a field of 60 visiting foxhunting ladies on the Vixen's Meet . /  Joanne Maisano photo

When the COVID pandemic and executive orders from the Governor of Virginia forced cancellation of Orange County Hounds’ primary annual fund raising event—the barn party held at Board President Jaqueline Mars’ legendary home—OCH Board leaders Jane Bishop and Emily Hannum put their heads together and scheduled instead a Vixen’s Meet. Given the strong showing October 15, 2020 at Stonehedge in The Plains, Virginia, the ladies like it.

Ladies from a dozen hunts turned out in support of Orange County: Belle Meade Hunt (GA), Mr. Stewart’s Cheshire Foxhounds (PA), Cloudline Hounds (TX), and De La Brooke Foxhounds (MD). From Virginia were ladies of the Blue Ridge Hunt, Casanova Hunt, Loudoun Fairfax Hunt, Middleburg Hunt, Piedmont Fox Hounds, Rappahannock Hunt, and Snickersville Hounds.

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                               “Elegance.” Maureen Conroy Britell out with the Piedmont Fox Hounds (VA). Acrylic paint on textured acrylic paper.

Irish artist Liam Clancy made a fast tour of the Virginia and Maryland hunting countries during the first week of March 2020—just before the world stopped in its tracks as the result of COVID. He got in some hunting, both mounted and on foot, and he gathered material for his work—painting commissions.

Liam works mostly in acrylic paint, which he likes for its versatility. “I can dash off something that looks like a watercolor, or build up a painting in layers as you would with oils,” he explains.

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dunraven.louis murphy serves.dunravenLouis Murphy carves Dunraven's famous roast beef at tableside. / Catherine Power photo

There can be few hotels that are so intrinsically linked to their owners or the world of the horse as the Dunraven Arms in Adare, Ireland. An institution, it has been a welcoming home to generations of North American foxhunters, and indeed, families across the sporting world. Once you enter that famed revolving door you are struck by the quiet elegance, and you won’t have taken too many steps before you will meet one of the Murphys, Louis or Brian and more latterly Brian’s son Hugh. Brian and Louis were born and brought up in Athenry, County Galway where their father PF (Paddy) was a veterinary surgeon and a keen hunting and racing man. He bred and produced many useful horses such as Orient War and Fred Octerri who went on to win the Sweeps Hurdle.

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