Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Toronto and North York Hunt

toronto northyork

Creemore, Ontario


canadian_ch_2011Canadian Grand Champion Eglinton and Caledon Noel 2006 / Paul Wilson photoA lovely English bitch—a veteran of five hunting seasons—was judged Grand Champion at the Canadian Foxhound Show at the London Hunt and Country Club on June 11, 2011. To emerge as Best in Show with that accumulated mileage is quite an achievement. There had to be a story here, so I looked up her pedigree.

Eglinton and Caledon Noel 2006 is descended from all modern English on the sire’s side and fell hound bloodlines on the dam’s side. The answer to her achievement was there, but I didn’t put two-and-two together until I talked to huntsman Steve Clifton.

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fox_river_valley_nightcap_2009Grand Champion Fox River Valley Nightcap 2009 / Jim Meads photoBlessed with perfect weather, the fifth annual Southern Hound show (“Stars of the South!”) was held on April 9 in Monticello, Florida. Having been prevented from attending in 2010 by volcanic ash over Europe, Judge Martin Scott, ex MFH Vale of the White Horse and photographer Jim Meads were on hand this year to enjoy seeing quite a few truly quality hounds being presented. Mr. Scott was ably assisted by co-judge Mr. J.W.Y. Martin, MFH, Green Spring Valley Hounds. The apprentice judge was Mrs. George Thomas, MFH, Why Worry Hounds.

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Installment Six

2011_Aiken_Day_Ten_Joseph_Hardiman_and_fieldWhiskey Road huntsman Joseph Hardiman takes hounds, staff and field for a long day's hunting.Betsy and friends escape frozen Virginia for a week of hunting in warmer climes. We bring you Installment Six of her daily blog, exclusive to Foxhunting Life.

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Installment Five 

2011_Aiken_Day_Eight_David_Smith_Wolf_Von_BlixenWhiskey Road MFH David Smith (left) greets Toronto and North York MFH Wolf von Teichman.Betsy and friends escape frozen Virginia for a week of hunting in warmer climes. We bring you Installment Five of her daily blog, exclusive to Foxhunting Life.

Monday was an open day. Gene and Barbara Hough joined me, Tom, Jackie, and Don for a hack in the Hitchcock Woods. We grabbed lunch at Rio Pablo, an excellent Cuban place downtown. There was a benefit for the Hitchcock Woods Foundation that night at the Wilcox Hotel, one of the town's oldest and most grand buildings.

Tuesday dawned cold and frosty but with that promise of spring in the air. There was a pretty good breeze, though, and I was uncertain of scenting conditions as we headed east towards Bill Scott's Fairview fixture near Lexington.

The Scotts own thousands of acres of managed timberland—pine forests cut for pulpwood and lumber—providing excellent habitat for game of all sizes. Gene Hough told me about hunting at Fairview a few years ago when the hounds held a four hundred-pound boar at bay until the huntsman dispatched it (then famously burned it at a pig roast later!).

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Betsy and friends escape frozen Virginia for a week of hunting in warmer climes. We bring you her daily blog, exclusive to Foxhunting Life. 

First Installment

2011_Aiken_Day_2Don Palus, Dawn Cline, Maggie Johnston, and Jackie Burke stretch their horses' legs in the Hitchcock Woods in preparation for Hunt Week in Aiken, SC.

It poured rain last night. Woke up several times with rain pelting the tin roof of our cottage, but when I opened the door to see if we were going to float away I couldn't help notice it was weirdly warm. Like sixty degrees warm! Odd.

This morning dawned light and sunny and toasty warm. I stripped down to just my turtleneck layer for the horse trials next door.

At Full Gallop Farm, they hold training horse trials—intermediate level all the way down to beginner novice—attracting hundreds of competitors. Our Hunt Week crew is volunteering for duty to "earn" the right to school/ride/hack over their hundreds of acres of cross country jumps, show jumping fences, and dressage arenas.

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