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Christmas Gifts for Your Favorite Foxhunter

There’s no shortage of gifts you can give to foxhunters this holiday season. Whether they like books or art; need new kit or 2013Xmas idea booksomething warm to drink in the field; even if they’d prefer you make a donation to a good cause, here are some of our favorite ideas.

The Bookworm

If bad weather stops you hunting this winter, what better way to pass the time than in the company of some classic hunting literature? Top of the list must be Siegfried Sassoon’s wonderful ‘Memoirs of a Foxhunting Man’. Others include everything from Surtees and Somerville & Ross to Rita Mae Brown and old copies of Baily’s Sporting Magazine, not forgetting the excellent selection available from the MFHA at www.mfha.org.

IUHH Meets in Auckland, New Zealand

New Zealand was first represented at the International Union of Hunting with Hounds IUHH in 2007 and in August this year they hosted the annual meeting at Auckland Racing Club’s Ellerslie Racecourse on August 23, 2013, chaired by Andrew Morison, President of the New Zealand Hunting Association.

We visited a number of hunt kennels as well as the famous New Zealand Bloodstock Centre and the Veterinary Associates Equine Hospital. And of course two days were devoted to hunting. We enjoyed generous hospitality every day and also had a few seminars and discussions with various hunting groups. It is a remarkable fixation we share. All the informal gatherings were seen and used as an opportunity to compare hunting in our different countries. Prevalent in our conversations with hunt followers in the host country were questions about the threat of the animal rights agenda.

Enthusiastic Hunt Night at Pennsylvania National

Apple harrisburg 13alcookphoto.comRiders from 11 recognized hunts in the Mid-Atlantic region converged on Harrisburg on Monday for the annual Hunt Night Competition. The crowd cheered the terriers as they raced over miniature coops, and oogled the adorable shaggy hunting Bassets as they paraded with their staff from the Skycastle French Hounds of Downingtown, Pennsylvania.

Keswick and Mr. Stewart's Cheshire Hounds battled to the end for the overall Hunt Night Championship title, with Keswick narrowly emerging on top. Keswick's Jill Wilson won the Under-35 Over Fences over 32 other riders with her Thoroughbred mount Apple, a son of top sire AP Indy, on her way to claiming the Leading Lady Rider title.


Hound Judging 1 Spring 12Karen Monroe photoThe day is to be keen, I feel.
Don't keep me in this kennel seal.
My dream awakened by the real.
Let me to the hill!

He was here! I surely saw him! He was smiling as he stood!
My dream required me to go even deeper into the wood.
It was ME! I was the One! who tracked the pungent scent.
I strained to see him as I ran, tongueing, yet still bent.

Another hill? All right. I still have more than I have given.
To be so close, to grasp his hide, to shake his red coat riven!

What's in Your Hunt Flask?

derek frenchThe Eglinton and Caledon Hunt in Canada has thrown down the gauntlet. They claim to have the best recipe for good cheer in their hunt flasks. The challenge is on. Reputations are at stake. Covertside is pleased to be the referee in The Great Hunt Flask Recipe Sip-off.

All MFHA members are invited to contribute their recipes on behalf of their hunt. Simply send your formula to publisher@covertside.net. We will print the recipes for the best concoctions after we have recovered from sampling them all.

Hume's Poe Hunts Hounds, Espouses Theory on Aging

Mr Poe birthday1Betsy Burke Parker photoMelvin Poe was born in a rural corner of northwest Fauquier County, VA in late summer 1920. Following the footsteps of father Ollie, Melvin Poe grew up riding and hunting, following hounds around fields and forest of his virtually limitless neighborhood near the center of Hume. Some nine decades later, he's still at it, and Poe celebrated his 93rd birthday Sunday in a predictable way: going foxhunting.

Along with a dozen neighbors and family members, Poe hunted hounds from his Ozark Farm Aug. 25, drawing a favored wooded copse across from the post office and finding it “full of game,” Poe said as his seven-couple of hounds pronounced the presence of a late-to-bed night-fox. Rapidly warming conditions made scenting difficult, Poe said, as the morning hours passed.

Poe knows from experience the vagaries of trying conditions– he's worked in hunting for 66 years, first whip then huntsman at the Old Dominion Hounds and later, from 1964 to 1991, at the Orange County Hunt. In 2011, Poe was inducted along with younger brother Albert to the sport's Hall of Fame – the Huntsmen's Room at the Museum of Hounds and Hunting.

After riding all morning, friends gathered at Melvin and wife Peggy's farmhouse for cake and to discuss Poe's secrets to nearly a century of success.

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