Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Whiskey Road Foxhounds

whiskeyroad

Aiken, South Carolina

Website: www.whiskeyroadfoxhounds.com


chad wilkes.performance trial in ncPerformance Trial huntsman Chad Wilkes in North Carolina   /   Lucy Kelsey photo

The Aiken Hounds (SC) needed a huntsman, and Chad Wilkes was available. Sounds simple enough, but it really wasn’t. The story is in the hows and whys of it: the perfect timing, the perfect match, and how it all meshes so perfectly.

In 1914 many of the most adventurous men and women of American sporting legend organized the Aiken Drag—wealthy northerners Louise Eustis Hitchcock, MFH and huntsman; her husband Thomas Hitchcock, known today as the father of steeplechase racing in America; son Tommy Hitchcock Jr., who ranks with his father as one of the greatest American polo players of all time; plus the Belmonts, Vanderbilts, and Whitneys.

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gus schickedanz.kronprinz.brendan matthiasGus hunting Kronprinz, a Trakehner /  Brendan Matthias photo

Gustav Schickedanz, ex-MFH, Eglinton and Caledon Hunt (ON), 2009 inductee into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame, emigré from war-ravaged Europe, died peacefully at his Schönberg Farm in Ontario on Monday, June 17, 2019. A horseman from his earliest days, Gus was a loveable, courtly, and fascinating man who had personally witnessed the best and the worst of life’s offerings during his ninety years on this planet.

Gus’s life trajectory included the pleasures of a childhood with horses on the three hundred acre family farm in East Prussia, the terror of his family’s flight from the Russians across Germany in World War II, the struggles of gaining entrance to Canada and a new life, achieving wealth through building a successful construction and development company from scratch, the breeding of stakes winners, and the satisfactions derived from devotion to family, horses, and foxhunting.

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carolinas19Grand Champion of Show, Bedford County Detroit 2017 with handler Laura Pitts.The 2019 Carolinas Hound Show was hosted by the Moore County Hounds on May 11th at Lyell’s Meadow in the Walthour Moss Foundation, a paradise for horsemen and naturalists in the sand hills of Southern Pines, NC. The Foundation was formed in 1974 by Pappy and Ginny Moss, MFHs of the Moore County Hounds (NC), as a charitable trust of 1,700 acres preserved in perpetuity. With additional gifts through the succeeding years from Ginny Moss and others, the Foundation now totals more than 4,000 acres and represents Moore County’s principal hunting country.

Hounds competed in three rings, Crossbred in Ring 1, Penn-Marydel in Ring 2, and English, American, and Foot packs in Ring 3. That one ring is dedicated entirely to Penn-Marydel hounds, and English and American foxhounds are combined in one ring with foot hounds, strikes this reporter as a noteworthy indication of the growing affinity for Penn-Marydel foxhounds amongst North American hunts well outside of the breed’s native region of Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware. Concomitantly, the consequence must be a reduction in the numbers of Pure English and American types now being hunted in these southern Atlantic states.

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ashley hubbardKgp photoTrial Huntsman Ashley Hubbard  /  Kgp PhotographyTwo days of hard hunting on November 6 and 7, 2018 behind a pack of fifty-four foxhounds—each of which qualified for this championship event by placing among the top ten of one or more of the performance trials over the past year—concluded the MFHA Hark Forward! Performance Trial Season. The season of performance trials, field hunter trials, and joint meets which began last year were conceived by MFHA president Tony Leahy and Master Epp Wilson, Belle Meade Hunt (GA), to reprise, during Leahy’s tenure as president, the spirit of the MFHA Centennial celebrations ten years earlier.

The Performance Trial Championship event was matured, expanded, organized, and staged to perfection by the Masters of the Midland Fox Hounds (GA) in their Fitzpatrick, Alabama hunting country. More than two hundred people representing more than forty hunts participated. Foxhounds from twenty-four hunts competed. Ashley Hubbard, professional huntsman at the Green Spring Valley Hounds (MD), served as trial huntsman for this all-star pack.

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carolinas18Deep Run Warrior 2015 stands proudly for his award photograph. Judge Mary Ewing, MFH, presents the trophy for Grand Champion of Show to huntsman John Harrison. Stud groom and second whipper-in Chelsea Ray Kellerhouse is at left.

Huntsman John Harrison loves Warrior’s entire litter. “It’s the best litter in the kennels,” he says, “and Warrior is the best-looking hound in the litter.”

Apparently the judges thought so, too. Deep Run Warrior 2015 was judged Grand Champion of Show at the Carolinas Hound Show hosted by the Moore County Hounds on Saturday, May 12, 2018 at the grounds of the Walthour Moss Foundation in Southern Pines, NC.

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