Reynolds Cowles grew up in North Carolina on a farm where they had all sorts of horses and he learned to ride on whatever was available from gaited to draft horses and even a Walking Horse. He rode a bit in college at NC State before he went to Oklahoma State Vet School.
In 1967 Dr. Cowles moved to Charlottesville to join the practice of Dr. Dan Flynn. There he took up polo seriously and then began hunting with Felix Nuesch and Claiborne Bishop at the Barracks at The Farmington Hunt. By 1973-4 he joined the Farmington Hunt and has been there ever since. After marrying a show hunter in 1977 he managed to lure her into hunting with him and eventually his children and grandchildren have joined him.
“Fox hunting is truly one of the few three-generational sports there are,” says Reynolds. For the last ten years his wife, Evelyn, has hunted more than she has shown.
Several years ago, Dr. Cowles went to a joint meet of the Moreland Hunt and the Midland Hunt in Alabama. The hounds found a coyote right off and took after it with the field close behind. Unlike the undulating hills of Virginia with fields and woodlands, twists and turns, he found himself at a dead gallop across flat fields in a straight line. Five miles later he found hounds in the Tennessee River trying to get the coyote which was in a cave on the cliff-banks of the river. Exhilarating and very different from the usual hunt for his first coyote.
What has sustained Dr. Cowles’ love of foxhunting, however, has been more about understanding the symbiosis of hounds, fox, horses, countryside, and the people. This has been enhanced by his profession which has given him a deeper understanding of the animals that he is involved with.
Despite being in his very late 70’s Dr. Cowles is still going first flight, still jumping, still enjoying the hound work, and is a shining beacon of what is best about foxhunting: the sport, the camaraderie, the exhilarating feeling of a good gallop across the countryside, and the music of the hounds.