Outreach: Limestone Creek Hosts "Learn to Foxhunt" Clinic

Limestone Creek Hunt kicked off the 2016 season with a two-day Learn to Foxhunt Clinic series. The clinic's intent was to offer a supportive place to start for people who want to learn the basics of foxhunting. The clinic series was also promoted as a very good place to introduce horses to the sights, sounds and dynamics of foxhunting. Those who signed up came from all riding backgrounds and disciplines. Several experienced foxhunters attended to polish up their hunting skills, as well.


The only requirement asked of those attending was that the rider, adult or junior, could walk, trot and canter their horse with control. 

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The Morrisville, NY State College Equine Rehab Center provided an excellent setting for the introductory clinic. Mary Crandall photo.

The first clinic was Saturday, March 26. Fourteen participants arrived at the Morrisville, New York, State College Equine Rehab Center arena with their horses to begin their journey to becoming foxhunters. LCH huntsman, Lori Gronau, took charge of the day’s agenda, presenting an equal mix of mounted work and classroom sessions separated by a lunch break. Mounted work focused on how to work with your horse over, under, through and around obstacles. The group then moved on to learning the organization in the hunt field, how to follow your field master, why keeping up and safe spacing between horses is important and finally, how to perform
basic field maneuvers. Mounted work ended after an introduction to hounds, horn and staff passing the fields.

After lunch, the day continued with a discussion session covering horse tack and bits to consider for foxhunting. The day concluded with a session on cub and formal season clothing, featuring demonstrations on how to tie the stock tie and the “best” way to stuff long hair into a helmet with hairnet! All participants received a folder of printed materials supporting all topics presented during the day and encouragement to work on their mounted homework assignments in preparation for Clinic II, seven weeks later.

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Dan Carroll presents shoeing tips for foxhunters. Mary Crandall photo.

Participants from the first clinic reconvened for the Learn to Foxhunt Clinic II on Saturday, June 11, at Hawk Hollow Farm in Erieville, New York, located in the heart of LCH’s hunt territory. Heavy rain added to the challenging agenda focusing on mounted work. After an informative presentation by Blacksmith Dan Carroll on shoeing for foxhunting, the group split into a flat schooling group with huntsman Lori Gronau, while more advanced riders worked with Barb Lindberg, MFH, in a jumping session emphasizing techniques for safely jumping coops and natural obstacles in the hunt field.

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Getting ready for a rainy, but educational, ride out. Mary Crandall photo.

The groups later came together again with the huntsman leading a cross-country ride, teaching techniques and demonstrating how to ride up and down hills, trails and fields. The rain made for slick conditions, helping to make participants realize the need to improve their focus and skills for the next challenge of the day. Hounds were released and a mini foxhunt at learning speed, complete with horn, hounds, huntsman and staff passing the fields at speed was engaged.

The soggy day ended with a wrap-up session on hunting etiquette, during which many big, confident smiles were viewed on all who braved the day. A special nod of thanks must go to Mother Nature for helping clinic participants learn to RIDE STRONG no matter the weather.

Recap: 69th Annual Virginia Foxhound Show

Nearly 40 hunts presented hounds at the 69th edition of Virginia Foxhound Club's annual show on Sunday, May 29, at historic Morven Park in Leesburg, Virginia. Competitors enjoyed a clear, if humid, day in the rings beneath the canopy of mature trees, surrounded by lavish tailgating displays. Midland Striker '15 (Midland Rocket '11 x Staffordshire Moorland Stunning '11), already champion earlier this spring at the Southern Hound Show, received the William W. Brainard, Jr., Perpetual Cup for Grand Champion Foxhound.

Johnny Dawson-Ellis, Emerging Artist

Courtesy John Dawson-Ellis.

Johnny Dawson-Ellis has been a swimmer, a foxhunter, a cage fighter, a rugby player, an aerial acrobat, and an artist. He is also paralyzed from the waist down and should be, for all purposes, confined to a wheelchair. That is, if your definition of “confined” includes performing on a platform suspended a few hundred feet in the air overlooking Brazil at the opening of the Paralympic Games, walking at the Riverwalk at the London Marathon, or following a hunt around on his quad bike. This is a man not limited by circumstance.

"The French Horse from Géricault to Picasso:" Exhibit at National Sporting Library and Museum

Last weekend, the National Sporting Library & Museum in Middleburg, Virginia, opened the traveling exhibition, "The French Horse from Géricault to Picasso." On display through July 31, 2016, the collection includes paintings, sculptures, and works on paper. A number of pieces feature racing themes, appropriate for the point to point season now underway.

Glenmore Hunt Educates at Frontier Culture Museum

Glenmore Hunt (VA) members, riders, and hounds gave a demontration in March at the Frontier Culture Museum of Virginia in Staunton. This event was organized by Col. Hugh Sproul III, author of “Glenmore Hunt - The First Thirty Years (1930-1960)," in conjunction with the Frontier Culture Museum. An audience of over one hundred people gathered to learn about the history and traditions of foxhunting and the Glenmore pack.

Charles Owen Named Finalist in Brain Injury Prevention Initiative

The National Football League, Under Armour, General Electric, and the United States Department of Commerce's National Institutes of Standards and Technology launched an innovative competition in 2013, the Head Health Challenges, to promote research related to traumatic brain injury. One focus of this collaboration, Challenge III, supports design of advanced materials to improve the safety of athletes and others. Charles Owen and its president and CEO, Roy Burek, have been named finalists in this portion of the competition. Charles Owen is an MFHA corporate sponsor.

They will develop a novel material created by researchers from Cardiff University’s School of Engineering with Cambridge University's Engineering Department. Their $250,000 initial award will be used to fund a 12-month project that will employ state-of-the-art 3D printing and high-performance computing technology to evaluate this shock-absorbent material.
 
Charles Owen and Cardiff University announced: "The multi-layered, elastic material, called C3, can be precisely designed using mathematical modelling and tested using high-performance computers, to enable it to be ultimately tailored for specific impact scenarios. This allows the team to test various designs before building the material with a 3D printer, which is a much more efficient and cost-effective method compared to traditional techniques. During the 3D printing process, a polymer-based powder is fused into a specific shape by a laser, which solidifies the material to form a strong, flexible structure." These structures may then be designed so that impact energy is dissipated relatively easily, creating an ideal material to use in protective clothing and accessories.
 
Throughout the year, researchers from the School of Engineering will work closely with Charles Owen to finely tune the material and test its robustness against a number of different impact scenarios. The five finalists from Challenge III will have their efforts judged in a year’s time by a review panel, with the most promising technology receiving another $500,000 to develop the material further.
 
The Head Health Challenge includes three separate challenges as part of its program of funding: Challenge I – Methods for Diagnosis and Prognosis of Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries; Challenge II – Innovative Approaches for Preventing and Identifying Brain Injuries; and Challenge III – Advanced Materials for Impact Mitigation.
 
After the announcement that his company had been selected as a finalist, Burek commented, "I am so excited that the NFL has recognized our expertise and place in helping to reduce brain injury. It is through these special collaborations that we can develop the next generation of head protection. With concussion being such a world focus, I am proud that we can be a part of that story by developing solutions."
 
He continued, "My grandfather, Charles Owen, started making helmets to protect the British soldiers in 1911 before moving onto motorcycle helmets in 1925, and then equestrian helmets (particularly jockey helmets) in 1938. This long and illustrious record in manufacturing innovative products that increase head safety has kept the brand at the center of helmet development for over 100 years. It has only been in the past 15 years that our knowledge of how the brain is injured and how to best protect it has dramatically changed along with the design and manufacture of helmets. I am thrilled to be part of a project that pushes the development of totally new protective technologies and materials so that we can better prevent brain injuries in multiple areas.”
 
For more information on the Head Health Challenges, please click here.
 
To read the full press release from Charles Owen and Cardiff University, please click here.

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