Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Tennessee Valley Hunt

tennesseevalley

Greeneville, Bristol, Knoxville and Maryville, Tennessee

Website: www.tvhfox.com


Todd Addis MFH VMDTodd "Doc" Addis, MFH, courtesy of Thornton Hill huntsman Beth Opitz. "This photo sums up the love he had for his hounds and the hounds' love for him," says his daughter.

Dr. Todd “Doc” Addis, one of the great champions of the American Penn-Marydel foxhound, died suddenly on July 24, 2019 at his home, Fox Hill, in Elverson Pennsylvania. He was eighty-five and with his family.

Doc was Master and huntsman of Warwick Village Hounds and a zealous advocate for the Penn-Marydel foxhound. He made it his crusade to convince foxhunters across North America of the advantageous traits, and superior abilities of his beloved Penn-Marydel compared to any other breed. He not only converted many successful Masters and huntsmen to his convictions, but was also personally responsible for helping, advising, and drafting good working bloodlines to those packs. In so doing, Doc was instrumental in extending Penn-Marydel bloodlines from their Pennsylvania/Maryland/Delaware roots to so many other hunts across North America.

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andy bozdan foot huntingAndy Bozdan hunting the Camargo foxhounds on foot over wet country.

The author, as we reported in our last issue, is the new huntsman at the Camargo Hunt (OH). During his career, Andy Bozdan has served as huntsman in England, Australia, and the U.S. Recently, he’s been whipping-in at the Blue Ridge Hunt (VA). Foxhunting Life asked Andy what it’s like to carry the horn again and be The Man in Front!

So, after a couple of seasons whipping-in to Graham Buston at Blue Ridge Hunt, I took up the horn again at the Carmargo Hunt in Kentucky and Ohio. I can remember one or two of my friends jokingly asking if I’d remember how to blow the horn, or get on the right side of the horse, etc. But it is, for sure, very different when you take on a pack and suddenly ... your it!

Everything becomes your responsibility, and very quickly you have to make decisions on the care of the hounds, how best to hunt the country, and plan ahead with a breeding program. To be honest I’ve been so busy since I arrived here that I have barely had time to stop and think!

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steve farrin.amwell valley.pa natl2013Huntsman Steve Farrin, parading Amwell Valley hounds at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show (2013).

It’s time for our annual report on the recent moves of huntsmen across North America. The huntsman is my hero. From the time we mount up and for the few hours that follow, it is he or she most directly responsible for the day’s sport. How the huntsman has bred, trained, deployed, and communicated with his troops—the hounds—has everything to do with the satisfaction of our day in the field.

The moves have been numerous this season, and, in a two cases, we have experienced whippers-in finally achieving their dream of a pack of their own to hunt. We’ll catch up with Alasdair Storer, Andrew Bozdan, Kathryn Butler, Stephen Farrin, Danny Kerr, Emily Melton, and Timothy Michel.

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bmh.tvh.group.pelhamCreek diggers at the freshly repaired Natalie's Crossing. L-R: Back row: Eric Doebbler, Epp Wilson, Lee Ann Carson, Winser Exum, Mike Coke, Terry Cooper, Kelly Holliman, Ed Maxwell. Front row : Anthony Coleman, Andy Blair. / Gretchen Pelham photo

What a day! I arrived at 11:30 last night—six and a-half hours instead of four hours. Siri always thinks I can drive from Tennessee to Judith and Epp Wilson’s in Georgia in just four hours, but I know better. There is a little place called downtown Atlanta that Siri ignores. I always add an hour for the twenty miles it takes to go through downtown. Well, last night Fate gave me a clear run at fifty miles an hour though downtown on a Friday night, hauling my trailer. Holy crap! On a Friday night! I actually saw pavement between cars!

But Fate screwed me on everything else: construction delays, insane fuel stops, so I arrived very late. But today made it all worthwhile. After sleeping in (heaven), Judith and I took their three-month old Crossbred puppies for a long walk this morning, a horseless trail ride. It was the two of us, the foxhound puppies, her Gracie and Marty house dogs, and my Holly. Who was in heaven. And worn out. She’s going to sleep for a week.

Then we went foxhunting this afternoon. Belle Meade and Tennessee Valley have always had great joint meets at Belle Meade. Somehow, our Penn-Marydels and their Crossbred hounds hunt amazingly together.

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IMG 2539kIn the Bull Run country east of the Blue Ridge Mountains with trial huntsman Epp Wilson (left), judges, and pack. /  Gretchen Pelham photo

It was a top-three sweep, not only for English fell bloodlines, but for one Cumbrian hunt in particular. When the recent Bull Run-Rappahannock Foxhound Performance Trials concluded in Virginia over the weekend of October 19–21, 2017, the three top-scoring hounds were either sired by or whelped out of fell hounds from the Ullswater Foxhounds (UK). And three different Ullswater hounds at that.

Another hound finishing in the top ten was also whelped out of an Ullswater hound. At the center of this story is professional huntsman John Harrison, currently in his first season hunting the foxhounds of the Deep Run Hunt.

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