Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Saxonburg Hunt

saxonburg

Butler County, Pennsylvania

Website: 


sean cully.mullins1Sean Cully (center) hunts his hounds at a joint meet in Geneseo, New York, hosted by Marion Thorne, MFH and huntsman of the Genesee Valley Hounds (at left). /   Noel Mullins photo

The first time I met Sean Cully he was Master and huntsman of the Blue Mountain Hounds (PA), and he was hunting an up-to-weight Irish Draught hunter. Blue Mountain, established by Cully in 1999 as a private foot pack, had been recently Registered by the MFHA.

On the occasion of our meeting, Cully was visiting Mr. Stewart’s Cheshire Foxhounds in Pennsylvania, celebrating their centennial year in 2013. Between then and now, this former Master and huntsman of a small foot pack has stabilized the foxhunting countries of two additional hunts in Pennsylvania under his Mastership and added winter fixtures near Aiken, South Carolina.

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rosetree bm staff and houndsSean Cully, MFH and huntsman (center), with hounds of the Rose Tree-Blue Mountain Hunt (PA). To the left is Brady Cully, whipper-in; to the right is Dr. Edward Franco, Joint-MFH and whipper-in.

When hunts merge, the resulting whole can often become greater than the sum of its parts. Take the case of a once-small hunt in Pennsylvania—the Blue Mountain Hunt. It was established by Sean Cully, MFH, in 1999 as a farmer’s foot pack. It became a mounted pack in 2009, was Registered with the MFHA in 2011, and became a Recognized pack in 2014.

Through unanticipated but judicious mergers, Cully’s little foot pack has stabilized a historic foxhunting country in Pennsylvania, rejuvenated the oldest subscription pack of foxhounds in the United States, and become a national influence and model for the sport.

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amatt and houndsNeil Amatt will hunt hounds at Loudoun Fairfax.Having been a member of many fields in many hunting countries, the huntsman has always been my hero. From the time we mount up and for the few hours that follow, it is the huntsman who is most directly responsible for our day’s sport.

One might well argue that the hounds have something to do with it, and this I grant. But the pack is the product of the huntsman, and, since the level of sport depends on how hounds perform in the field as a pack, it all comes back to the huntsman.

Here’s our annual report on the recent moves of huntsmen Neil Amatt, Martyn Blackmore, Tony Gammell, and Sam Clifton.

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As the new season gets underway, Foxhunting Life updates its March 31 report on the recent moves of huntsmen across North America.

ashley hubbard.will hunt fox hounds at green spring valleyHuntsman Ashley Hubbard leads the Green Spring Valley hounds on summer exercise. / Tammie Monaco photo

Round I
Ashley Hubbard is the new huntsman for the Green Spring Valley Hounds (MD). Hubbard has served as kennel huntsman for the Fox River Valley Hunt (IL) for nearly ten years, assisting Tony Leahy, MFH, and carrying the horn when necessary.

“Tony didn’t want to lose him,” explained Duck Martin, MFH at Green Spring Valley, “but he thought this would be a good opportunity for Ashley.”

Since the end of World War II, Green Spring Valley has had just four huntsmen: Leslie Grimes, Andrew Barclay, John Tabachka, and Sam Clifton. Both Grimes and Barclay have been enshrined in the Huntsmen’s Room at the Museum of Hounds and Hunting.

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jordan hicks.tryon.erik olsenHuntsman Jordan Hicks moves from the Tryon Hounds to the Piedmont Fox Hounds / Erik Olsen photoAs we approach the close of the 2014/2015 foxhunting season, here’s our report on thirteen hunts that have either hired or will require a new huntsman for next season. We have already featured personal close-ups of three of the migrating huntsmen—Guy Allman, Brian Kiely, and Graham Buston—and we plan to bring you more.

We invite readers to fill us in on any moves that we’ve missed. We also invite you to send us a personal profile on any of these huntsmen that we can publish as a feature article. Or, just send us the information, and we’ll write the story. Use the “Contact Us” link that appears at the bottom of every screen to communicate directly with me, and be sure to include your phone number.

What follows is foxhunting’s version of musical chairs.

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