Independence Hounds: Friendly as a Texas Smile

USPCbluelogoforwebThis weekend the gracious staff at Independence Foxhounds opened their facilities to the kids from Brazos Pony Club, Rio Grande Region, College Station, TX, to introduce them to foxhunting, and begin working on their Foxhunting Certification.  The kids arrived on Friday with their horses, and after getting everyone settled in their paddocks they jumped right in with a lecture and tour of the kennels.  It took a while for the hounds to settle and be quiet, and the Pony Clubbers learned about hounds and hunt etiquette, and got pointers on how to ride in a group. 

Candida Scott, MFH and huntsman then took the group out with 7 1/2 couple, (she picked the old quiet ones) one whipper in and several staff in 4-wheelers to let the kids practice riding behind hounds.  One of the older Pony Clubbers who had hunted before was appointed Field Master, and she carefully led her charges behind the pack, giving everyone a chance to get used to the chaos that goes with riding to hounds.  The non-riding moms followed in the Kubota, and from the sound of them had their own little party going.  All went well until a jackrabbit popped up and took the hounds on a merry chase straight towards the edge of the property. The staff was able to call off the hounds quickly and head off the pack in time.

A River Runs Through It

Third grade students at Gates Mills ElementaryThird grade students at Gates Mills Elementary SchoolMary Myers, the principal of the Gates Mills, Ohio, Elementary School suggested this building goal and worked with the staff at the school to develop ways for the students to reconnect with the community where they attend school. The Chagrin River runs prominently through the village, so this was particularly appropriate. Each grade level chose an aspect of the village to work with – Safety Forces, The River, The Chagrin Valley Hunt Club, the Library and the Nature Conservancy. The Art teacher, Heather Vokic, worked with a local artist, George Woidek from Young Audiences, to design a tile mural that all the children would have a hand in creating.

United States Pony Clubs Announces Foxhunting Writing Contest

USPCbluelogoforwebThe annual Hildegard Neill Ritchie Writing contest is open to all D- or C-rated Pony Club members. The winning submission will receive a $200 cash prize to be spent on Foxhunting dues, hunt capping fees, Pony Club camp or anything related to these activities. Second Place: $100; Third Place $50. The winning entries will be published in Pony Club News and in The Chronicle of the Horse. The contest award is from a memorial fund established by friends of Mrs. Ritchie, who was a long-time Pony Club supporter and volunteer. She founded the Colorado Springs Pony Club in 1958 and was its District Commissioner for 30 years. She was Regional Supervisor of the Colorado (now Rocky Mountain) region for 12 years and hosted regional Pony Club camps on her ranch for 20 plus years. She served several terms as a USPC Governor and received the USPC Founders Award in 1989.

South Creek Foxhounds’ Boxing Day Meet Showcases Pony Clubs

South Creek Foxhounds of Tampa FL. held its annual Boxing Day Pony Club Hunt on 12/26/2011. Four Pony Clubs— Alligator Creek, South Creek, Tuscawilla and Wekiva Basin— were in attendance. Of the sixteen junior riders, five took part leading the fields and working with staff. All in attendance enjoyed a traditional English Boxing Day fair of ham, turkey (substituted for goose) with bubbles & squeak. After the tea the children were treated to a bonfire and foxhunting stories. The event had sixty riders plus 20 in the Tally Ho wagons. The success was in seeing so many smiles.

Adventures in Hunting: Middleburg Hunt Teams Up with Foxcroft Students

Annabelle Boendermaker and Mrs. John Denegre, MFH, lead the Middleburg Hunt. Courtesy Middleburg Photo

It was my first formal fox hunt and my first attempt at tying my stock tie turned out  less than pony club perfect despite the guidance of Foxcroft’s own resident hunting expert.  However, I was ecstatic to be out with the Middleburg Hunt, having been awarded the opportunity to shadow Penny Denegre, Master of Foxhounds.

Bijou Springs Hunt Celebrates Juniors

October 23 was the first junior hunt of the 20011 season for the Bijou Springs Hunt.  The Lazy K 11 Ranch northeast of Kiowa, Colorado was experiencing beautiful Indian Summer weather with balmy temperatures and the cottonwood which border the Bijou Creek were gleaming gold.

The warm temperatures, however, were not conducive to great scenting as Huntsman Nancy Mitchell and 9 ½ couple of her most dependable hounds set out to show the young visitors what foxhunting is all about.  The hounds tried their hardest. Axel, a veteran hound, clung tenaciously to every whiff of scent and his voice encouraged the rest of the pack to follow his lead.  As the pack headed southwest toward the creek, one audacious coyote toyed with them. Finally, they reached the brush pasture and the coyote decided he’d had enough of the chase and slid out the west fence line which was the border of the country.  Due to the timely intervention of whippers-in Meri Hatterman and Judi Tobias, the pack was turned and they headed southeast to the big sandhills.

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