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Surviving the Irish

On an indifferent morning in late August, I set off with my teenage son for the three-hour drive from my seaside home in West Cork to Limerick Show for the inaugural American Hunter Class at the Traditional Irish Horse Association’s Festival of Breeding.

I’m naturally optimistic. We left Cork an hour late (teenagers!), but I never worried. I knew we would get to the Show at the perfect time. And so we did; we sauntered up to the arena alongside the first horse in the class: a handsome five-year-old chestnut gelding ridden by Olympic eventer and serious foxhunter Michael Ryan.

Can Cross Country Jump Safety Features Translate to the Hunt Field?

Over the past decade, the eventing community experienced a number of catastrophic cross-country jump-related falls that threw the sport into a most unwanted spotlight worldwide, creating a movement to develop safer fence design and employ technology in a manner appropriate for the sport to continue to grow and prosper from Beginner Novice through the CCI**** levels.

Dr. Suzanne Weaver Smith is the Donald and Gertrude Lester Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Kentucky. For the last several years, she has been involved in analysis and testing of the frangible technology that is now used on some fences in the cross-country phase of eventing, and in developing and testing new approaches to address the problem of rotational falls. Rotational falls occur when a horse hangs its front legs over a jump, resulting in the horse and rider somersaulting over the fence. Rotational falls are the most serious falls in eventing, often resulting in serious injury or even death for the horse and rider.

The Red Oak Foxhounds are Off and Running

The Red Oak Foxhounds (ROF) came to fruition under the guidance of Harry and Theresa Miller in June 2013, when Reedy Creek Hounds folded. One of the MFHA’s new registered foxhound packs, the Red Oak kennels are located at Oakwood Farm in Brunswick, VA. Theresa has been hunting for over 25 years, first with Princess Anne Hunt, then Reedy Creek hounds. When Harry and Theresa met, Harry did not ride much, but that soon changed and he was riding behind the Master and later leading first flight.

I am the hound person, and serve as MFH and huntsman, while Harry is the people person. He leads the field. ROF has great staff who work hard even at turning the coyotes! Wanda Johnson, our truck whip, is an expert at getting in front of the coyotes and turning them. Foxhunting is all about carrying on a great tradition and having fun and ROF is certainly doing both. ROF’s recent registration with Masters of Foxhounds provides authenticity.

Dental Care Dilemma

In striving to keep the Longreen hounds healthy and hunting well in the field, I know that clean teeth are very important. Data has shown that dirty hound teeth can lead to poor scenting in the field much less health hazards for the hound.

Needless to say, we cannot afford to have each set of teeth professionally cleaned by the local veterinarian. In the wild, canines clean their teeth by pulling on raw meat with each other and gnawing on bones. 

Lady Masters Panel Draws a Crowd at the National Sporting Library and Museum

It was standing room only on Saturday, May 23, 2015 as the National Sporting Library and Museum in Middleburg, VA hosted The Dynamic Role of Lady Masters: A Foxhunting Roundtable. The lack of available seats was a testament to the interest in, and support of, women’s roles in North American foxhunting, as women vastly outnumber men in the modern hunt field. Yet, while the population of women Masters of Foxhounds has grown steadily over the last thirty years, the number of women Masters is decidedly not in proportion to the number of women foxhunters.

Co-chaired by Vivienne Warren of Orange County Hounds (VA) and Penny Denegre, MFH Middleburg Hunt (VA), the panel featured Masters Daphne Wood (Live Oak Hounds, FL), Joyce Fendley (Casanova Hunt, VA), Denegre, Marion Thorne (Genesee Valley Hunt, NY), and Lynn Lloyd (Red Rocks Hounds, NV) and was moderated by former MFHA President and current MFH of the London Hunt (Ontario), Dr. John McDonald.

Ragtime B&B Caters to Hunt Country Travelers

Pat Pierce never had any intentions to run a bed and breakfast or to raise a herd of sheep. Yet every day, she saddles up her horse and leads the sheep out to graze. She logs trees and cuts wood for the furnace to heat the house and the wood stove to cook. She also tends to her guests, who range from musicians and artists to foxhunters and their horses.

The Ragtime Bed, Barn and Breakfast sits on 160 acres in the heart of Camargo Hunt country in Northern Kentucky. Being far from the road, it is peaceful and quiet. Green rolling hills dotted with grazing sheep and horses make up the spectacular views through large glass windows.

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