Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Radnor Hunt

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The Old Dominion Hounds were formed in 1924 as a private pack by Sterling Larrabee. During the first season, Mr. and Mrs. Larrabee hunted every day the weather allowed—either alone or with a few farmers and friends—up until Christmas. In January of 1924, the couple went abroad and hunted in England.

For the first few years, Mr. Larrabee had to contend with a scarcity of foxes and relatively few unsatisfactory hounds, but he persevered. Matters improved until 1930, then the Depression hit. To keep the pack going, Larrabee changed the name of the pack from Mr. Larrabee’s Hounds to The Old Dominion Hounds and began to accept subscriptions. His many difficulties notwithstanding, Mr. Larrabee sacrificed much to keep the Old Dominion Hounds going.

Website: www.radnorhunt.org

radnor cookbook3dThe Fox's Kitchen: Cherished Recipes from Philadelphia’s Historic Radnor Hunt, Virginia Judson McNeil, The Derrydale Press, 2018, hardbound, color, 300 pages. Available from Radnor Hunt and Amazon, $46.00.Lively, sophisticated, sumptuous. Here’s a book of recipes and ideas for entertaining foxhunters in memorable fashion. The Fox’s Kitchen: Cherished Recipes from Philadelphia’s Historic Radnor Hunt is the first-ever cookbook made available to the public by the Radnor Hunt. With kennels in Malvern, Chester County, Pennsylvania, Radnor lies just twenty-five miles west of the venerable city of Philadelphia.

Published by the Derrydale Press, the three hundred-page, full color hardback features recipes from Radnor Hunt members and friends, color photos of mouth-watering dishes, and anecdotes of foxhunting history and etiquette. As the book explains, “It’s no secret that foxhunters love a good party, a good drink, and especially good food.

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Back in the late 1950s, Deirdre and her friend Sarah, both just nineteen, came to America from post-war Britain, where shortages still prevailed and ration books were in use. Sarah was to train horses and riders for Jamie Kreuz at Bryn Mawr Farms outside Philadelphia. Deirdre was to work for the Insurance Company of North America in Philadelphia and help Sarah on weekends. Their adventures discovering America, land of plenty, while struggling with a lively collection of foxhunting horses, timber horses, and show horses, were published in five parts on these pages and popularly received. (Use our Search function with the author’s name to find those stories.) What follows is a new installment revisiting “Pink Gin, The Beer Swilling Timber Horse.”

pink gin.coatesIllustration by Rosemary H. Coates

Sarah and I had not been long in the States when Pink Gin arrived at Bryn Mawr Farms. Billy, who mucked out for us, was, as usual, the first to find fault with him.

“He do get drunk, he do. Proper beer-swiller he be. And he eats eggs and molasses with all his feed. Lord, if only I could eat like that!”

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brynmawr18.trophyGrand Champion Foxhound Orange County Kermit 2015 poses with the Midland Foxhounds Trophy at the conclusion of the Bryn Mawr Hound Show. Huntsman Reg Spreadborough is the handler. Standing are (l-r) Show Chairman Lance Taylor, Radnor Hunt; Catherine "Bundles" Murdock, Hon. Sec., Orange County Hounds; and Judge C. Martin Wood III, MFH, Live Oak Hounds.  /   Liz Callar photo

Orange County Kermit 2015, after three consecutive appearances in the Grand Championship Class at the Bryn Mawr Hound Show over the last three years, proved that persistence pays off. The show was held Saturday, June 2, 2018 on the spacious grounds of the Radnor Hunt in Malvern, Pennsylvania, and Judge C. Martin Wood declared Kermit to be the “best example of an American Foxhound that he had ever seen.” And Mr. Wood has seen a few.

Last year, Kermit was beaten in the Grand Championship Class by Midland Striker, after winning the Grand Championship at Virginia just the week before. One year earlier, 2016, Striker had the same experience; he was passed over at Bryn Mawr after winning the Grand Championship at Virginia as well.

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jnafhc17.finalistsFifty-six junior finalists line up for their commemorative photo at Foxboro, home of Belle Meade Master and host Epp Wilson. / Eric Bowles photo

Junior foxhunters, their horses, parents, and friends traveled from thirteen states to Thomson, Georgia, where the Belle Meade Hunt hosted the finals of the fifteenth annual Junior North American Field Hunter Championships on November 11-13, 2017.

Throughout the course of the informal season, hunts around the country held qualifying meets from which the young finalists were chosen by mounted judges. Of the 216 juniors who qualified to compete in the finals, fifty-six young riders from eighteen North American hunts—more than twenty-five percent of those qualified—traveled to Belle Mead to hunt, compete, see old friends, and make a pile of new friends. And did they have a wonderful time! It was truly a pleasure to see.

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jnafhc claire goff.betsy parkerClaire Goff riding Miss Congeniality was judged 1st Field Champion, 13 and over, of the 2016 Junior North American Field Hunter Championships at the finals hosted by the Iroquois Hunt. With Claire are (l-r) Dr. Jack van Nagell, MFH, host, and President of the MFHA; Marion Chungo, organizer; Douglas Wise-Stuart, MFH, Old Dominion Hounds, and co-founder of the event; Cathy Murphy, daughter of the late Pat Murphy, longtime Iroquois huntsman ; and Cindy Goff, Claire's grandmother and former member of the Iroquois field. And the cute dog is Bert! /  Betsy Burke Parker photo 

Junior foxhunters and their parents traveled from thirteen states to Lexington, Kentucky, where the Iroquois Hunt hosted the finals of the 2016 Junior North American Field Hunter Championships. Thirty-three hunts participated over the course of the informal season by holding qualifying meets from which the finalists were chosen by mounted judges. In thirteen years, the program has grown steadily in participation and geographically from its modest start involving a few hunts in Virginia.

The program is succeeding because it’s purpose rises above just competition. Founders Douglas Wise, MFH, Old Dominion Hounds (VA) and Iona Pillion from the Blue Ridge Hunt (VA) had a larger dream: bring children to new hunting countries, broaden their hunting perspectives, and open their eyes to the fact that these hunting countries don’t just happen to be there for them by chance, but have been nurtured and conserved for the perpetuation of wildlife, open space, and for those who treasure the natural world.

“We want these kids to know what a conservation easement is,” said Marion Chungo, one of the organizers.

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