At 13, Brady Cully has more experience riding to hounds than most foxhunters his age. His family breeds and raises hounds for the Rose Tree-Blue Mountain Hunt, for which his dad Sean is the master. Brady began hunting around six-years-old, and he hasn’t missed a single weekend of hunting nor a day of school ever since.
The kennels are at the Cullys’ farm, so the entire family, Brady, Sean, his mom Maryann, and his 10-year-old sister help out on the farm taking care of the hounds and the horses. They are a close family, bonded by their love of the animals and the many years of labor they have put into building their foxhunting club from the ground up.
“There are a lot of families out there that don’t have something like that that bonds them together,” said Maryann, who will hilltop with her daughter while the men ride up front. “It’s been a wonderful thing for Brady and my husband to do together.”
Sean says the experience extends beyond the good runs: “I have a buddy to hunt with. And when we’re done, he’s right there to remove the collars from the hounds and help wash the horses.”
From the moment Sean and Brady load up in the morning, it’s a team effort. Brady helps prepare the horses and collar and load the hounds. After a long day hunting, Brady helps make sure everyone is settled back in at home before heading out to play soccer.
This season, Sean sent Brady out with a radio and he now whips on his own, a far cry from the small boy who once preferred to ride with his dad than in the field. “He can really gallop!” Sean said. “He has the ability to ride at speed and not get hurt.”
Sean shared several stories about Brady’s years of hunting. He took to it right away as a child and even saw a fox up close on his very first hunt. At 12, he started riding bigger horses and showed he had what it took to gallop at the front of a fast field for many hours.
One winter at a joint meet, 100 riders went out, and as darkness began to set in, half the field had turned for home. At the very end of the hunt, the fox went into a hole, and Brady was one of five riders there to see it.
It takes a tough kid and a tough horse to last that long on a hunt. Brady hunts a 14.1-hand pony, and this year Brady took over a horse brought on by Sean and has been whipping off of him.
“I like being outside galloping along with the hounds,” Brady said. “I’ll go out and watch for fox and when the hounds start running I’ll stay with them. I’ll try to direct them if they need direction, otherwise I just let them do their thing.
“I’ve learned that it takes a lot of patience to form a good pack of hounds, become a good whip and have a good horse for everything. The two things that are a part of that are working down at the barn with dad a lot and being outside a lot with the hounds.”
In addition to hunting, Brady events, races and is an avid Pony Clubber going out for his C-1 rating this month. He’s a good student, too, and gets most of his homework done during study hall so he can get to the barn sooner in the evenings.
Of course, Brady’s parents are very proud of him. They both commented on his excellent work ethic during our interviews, and they contribute much of that to his foxhunting life.
“He knows how to work hard,” Maryann said. “Hunting and horses have really made him learn to focus and be responsible. This has been part of his life since he can remember. He doesn’t know anything else and he loves it.”