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.
Staff, hounds, and riders hold the audience's attention. Dan Jones photo.
Set against the backdrop of the Museum's 1920's American Farm, the demonstration was delayed, in proper living history fashion, as the resident flock of turkeys and chickens sauntered ahead of the pack toward the barnyard. While this caused a bit of anxiety for staff, hounds gave little heed to the distraction. Once assembled, we explained to the crowd how hounds and huntsman work together, including Master and huntsman Dan Jones blowing different calls on the horn, and described the roles of masters, whippers-in, and the field. The spectators, most of whom knew little about mounted foxhunting, asked numerous questions about all aspects of our sport.
Following the presentation, hounds and staff did a “meet and mingle” with the public while the fields, led by Cindy Kiser, MFH, and Brenda Simmons, Hon. Sec., took a ride through the paddocks of the 1840’s Farm on the hill. The chestnut rail snake fences provided riders the opportunity to jump the type of fences one would have encountered in the Virginia countryside two centuries ago. The audience could observe the separate fields providing options for different horses and riders.
Cindy Kiser, MFH, leads riders over the snake fences at the Frontier Culture Museum. Dan Jones photo.
Junior participant, Waverly McDavid, provided Covertside with the following account of her experience: " I am 10 years old and have been foxhunting since I was 5 with Glenmore and Oak Ridge hunt clubs. I had just started riding again after breaking my ankle, and heard about Glenmore's demonstration at the Frontier Culture Museum. I was very excited to go.
"I was a little nervous about riding because I hadn’t ridden in a long time. It was a beautiful sunny day and my pony was perfect. After the hound demonstration, we did a mock hunt. I rode in the second flight group. I got to gallop a little which was cool because I hadn’t galloped on my pony in an open field in a long time.
Waverly McDavid and her pony (pictured at the Glenmore Hunter Pace). John Meyer photo.
"After the mock hunt, people asked me questions like 'How long have you been foxhunting?' 'When did I get my first horse/pony?' It was fun talking to the adults and kids and telling them about foxhunting and how exciting it is. Then we went on a trail ride around the different farms. There were pigs and an angry cow, but my pony didn’t freak out. Then there were geese on the road and one ran, squawking, behind my pony, but he still didn't spook. I have the best pony!
"Overall it was a really great experience and I think we should do it again."
The day ended on the hill behind the Museum's historic farms. In the 1930’s, a water tank stood at the top of this hill, which was a regular fixture for the Glenmore Hunt at that time. The Glenmore Farm, just south of the Frontier Culture Museum, is where the pack was then kenneled, and the home is still in the Todd family - several relatives of Jack Todd, one of the original Masters, were present for our demonstration. Afterwards, Col. Sproul held a book signing at the Museum Bookstore.
This event followed Caroline Hunt's (VA) demonstration at Mount Vernon, and Green Mountain Hounds (VT) plan to participate in a similar event at Fort Ticonderoga later this year.
For more information about Glenmore Hunt, please visit their website here.
For more information on the Frontier Culture Museum of Virginia, please visit their website here.