Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Potomac Hunt

potomac

Montgomery County, Maryland

Website: www.potomachunt.com


piedmontptp2021.ladies timberLady Rider Timber: Cocodimama (Chloe Hannum up) battles down the stretch to hold his slim lead over Bridge Builder (left) ridden by Erin Swope. Aggressive (center, rear) finishes third under Skylar McKenna.  /   Douglas Lees photo 

The Piedmont Point-to-Point Races at the Salem course in Upperville, Virginia, was the venue for Chloe Hannum and Teddy Davies to notched their first career wins racing horses over fences. The date was March 20, 2021.

Hannum won two races this day—Lady Rider Timber and Maiden Flat. Davies won the Amateur and Novice Rider Timber for his milestone.

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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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brhptp20.maide hurdle1Maiden Hurdle, Div 1: (l-r) Noble Weed (Sean McDermott up), 3rd; All Out Of Aces (Graham Watters up), 1st  /   Douglas Lees photo

Saturday, September 19, 2020 was a bluebird day indeed for horses, horsemen, and spectators to be racing, riding, and cheering at Blue Ridge Hunt’s postponed spring point-to-point. Except the latter—the spectators— were sadly absent.

The ground was hard, but the ancient thatch of grass on the Woodley racecourse provides a thick natural cushion for horses. Nine races were run: hurdles, flat, then timber. Of the nine races, trainer Neil Morris entries won three—Maiden Hurdle, Open Hurdle, and Novice Rider Flat.

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potomac jefferson.wenzelPotomac Jefferson 2005, the toast of North American Foxhounds, winning the Grand Championship at the 2007 Bryn Mawr Hound Show one week after capturing the same honor at Virginia. (L-R): George Hundt; Vicki Crawford, MFH, Potomac Hunt; Larry Pitts, huntsman, Potomac; Lance Taylor; Jake Carle, ex-MFH, Keswick, judge. /  Karen Kandra Wenzel photo

At breakfast this Thursday morning, Joan reminded me that Memorial Day was just a few days away. Boy, it sure didn’t feel like it.

Normally, we’d have been recently back from our hunt’s kennels having watched the practice hound show, afterwards assessing our hounds’ prospects for ribbons and trophies at the Virginia Foxhound Show. Which should have been on the calendar for this weekend. We would have been looking forward to seeing old hunting friends from across North America, and I would have been assuring Joan that I had remembered to send in our reservations for the reception at the Museum of Hounds and Hunting and the dinner under the tent at Morven Park (whether I had, in fact, remembered or not). In short, I would have been looking forward to an important and unique weekend of camaraderie and foxhound study.

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va19.gsv sappire.karenkGrand Champion Green Spring Valley Sapphire with (l-r) huntsman Ashley Hubbard; Franklin Whit Foster, MFH; J.W.Y. Martin, MFH; Virginia Foxhound Club president Joan Jones, ex-MFH; and Sheila Jackson Brown, MFH. /   Karen Kandra photo

More than six hundred foxhounds from thirty-seven hunts were exhibited at the Virginia Foxhound Show at Morven Park on Sunday, May 26, 2019, over the Labor Day Weekend. Hunts from thirteen states up and down the Eastern Seaboard and from as far away as Texas brought foxhounds to stand up against the finest examples of their breeds in North America. It is the largest foxhound show in the world.

In the always exciting final class of the show, four foxhound Champions—American, English, Crossbred, and Penn-Marydel—presented themselves to be judged for this year’s Grand Championship Class. It’s always a difficult class to judge because each entry has already been winnowed down throughout the day’s classes and has been chosen as the best specimen of its type by the judges in each ring. Each hound is deserving, and the attention and hopes of all spectators, though friendly, are ratcheted to a new level.

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