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It's All About the Hounds


Our Annual Pilgrimage to the Carolinas Cup Performance Trials

Three years ago, I, along with hunt members and friends from Stonewall Hounds, made my first trek down to Southern Pines for the Carolinas Cup Performance Hound Trials in Hoffman, NC. It was a fabulous weekend, and some of the best, fastest hunting I had ever experienced. After a weekend like that, of course we planned to come back the next year, and the next, and so on and so on. What started as way to get away from snow in Virginia has become an annual pilgrimage that our hunt looks forward to all season.

The Facility

This past March, Fred Berry and his Sedgefield Hunt members hosted their fifth Carolinas Cup at the Sandhills Gamelands, in Hoffman, NC. The 9,000 acres of state-owned sandy trails, open longleaf pines and well-defined coverts that run along the creeks, called “heads”, make it an ideal place to run hounds and collect scores.

Because the territory is jump-free, many more people can enjoy riding in first flight and enjoy the fast, open galloping—which is not often possible in many areas where development has encroached on hunting territory.

Fox River Valley, Live Oak Sweep Southern Hound Show Honors

The fifth annual Southern Hound Show (“Stars of the South!”) was blessed with perfect weather. Having been prevented from attending in 2010 by the volcanic eruption, this year Judge Martin Scott, ex MFH, Vale of the White Horse, and photographer Jim Meads, were on hand to enjoy seeing quite a few truly quality hounds being presented. Mr. Scott was ably assisted by co-judge Mr. J.W.Y. Martin, MFH, Green Spring Valley Hounds. The apprentice judge was Mrs. George Thomas, MFH, Why Worry Hounds. Even though the apprentice judge is technically not judging, Mr. Scott and Mr. Martin asked Mrs. Thomas to please sit in the corner chair when her hounds were in the ring.


Live Oak Rancher ‘07 Reserve Champion Dog Hound, Reserve Champion English, Winner Stallion Hound

Other than the Canadian Hound Show, The Southern Hound Show is the only show where all hound types (English, American and Crossbred) compete against each other. Furthermore, as there are two Crossbred rings at Virginia, this is the only time these packs go head to head in every class.

The show does not allow past Grand Champions of the Southern Hound Show to show in any class that qualifies for a championship. Therefore, Midland Roxanne ‘07 was shown only in Brood Bitch with Produce and Live Oak Steamy ‘07 was shown only in the Two Couple of Bitches. Sadly, Mooreland Edna ‘07, Grand Champion of Show in 2008, was killed this season on the highway near the body of a dead coyote. Live Oak Maximus ‘09, 2010 Grand Champion of the Virginia Foxhound Show was not shown as Master Marty Wood is not a believer in continuing to campaign major winners.

Hunter Trials Brings Festivity to Hunt Season End

The 2nd Annual Maury River Hunter Trials was held April 2, 2011, at the Virginia Horse Center in Lexington, VA. Despite threatening weather, this lovely event attracted over 70 competitors, numerous tailgaters, sponsors, spectators, volunteers and judges to the rolling cross country fields of the Horse Center.

Maury River Hunter Trials

The event is run by the Virginia Horse Trials, headed by Brian and Penny Ross, in conjunction with the organizing committee of Donald Clark, Brooks Cushman, Henley Gabeau, Dr. M. Brent Hall, and Liz Kiss. Foxhunters themselves, the committee developed the hunter trials as a way to celebrate the end of the fox chasing season, to bring positive publicity to the sport, and to benefit the local hunt clubs.  The committee plans for the hunter trials to be an annual event, with the 3rd running scheduled for April 7, 2012.

This year’s event was judged by Joy Crompton, Farmington Hunt’s MFH. The show offered something for everyone: over-fences classes for future hunters (“puddle jumpers”), second flight (2’6”) and first flight (3’); hunter on the flat classes, and a hilltoppers class. There were open and qualified foxhunter divisions, for those who hunted at least six times in the past season. Area hunt clubs represented included Glenmore, Rockbridge, Farmington, Middlebrook, Bedford and Stonewall, all of which vied for the Clifford J. Hunt Memorial prize: the most points accumulated by a hunt club.

Technology Elevates the Foxhunting Performance Trial

Belle Meade Hunt Performance Trial: February 25 & 26, 2011

As riders emerged from the woods onto Quaker road, so much steam was rising from their horses it was as if a dense fog had suddenly fallen on the crisp Georgia morning. Just moments before, the hounds had crossed the same road at full cry heading southeast. Quaker Road is a sunken through-way built by original Quaker settlers in the 18th century and today serves as a main north-south artery that connects much of the vast Belle Meade hunt country to a spider web of trails that crisscross pine groves, hay fields, creeks (that sometimes seem more like rivers) and even a daunting ravine known as the “Grand Canyon” that would be more familiar to those living in the Appalachians than in East Central Georgia.

We galloped north on Quaker Road then east onto the shoulder of paved Wrightsboro Road and finally ran parallel to the line on the north flank. Through the woods, in the distance, we could see and hear the hounds working. The music was beautiful and the energy in the air was palpable. Then suddenly a call came over the radio to pull the hounds up. Once again deer had been spotted on the line and the Huntsman  (Charles Montgomery of Live Oak) and Performance Trial president (Nelson Gunnell of Middleburg, Virgina) made the call to stop the hounds, re-group and cast again. It was a frustrating moment that illustrated the challenge of managing a fair and competitive performance trial.

Join Virginia Trail Riders Competition

The 2011 Virginia Trail Riders Association Competition will be held this year at The Homestead Resort, Hot Springs, Virginia, April 11- 14th. Put it on your calendar! Take the time off from work to be a part of the tradition! Riders from all over the east coast have enjoyed this ride for more than 50 years. Your fit hunting horse will be ready for a change of venue. If you have never been you have to the area, it’s full of mountain trout streams, old growth forests, and farmland as far as the eye can see. While the 100 mile ride offers the best scenery, there is something for everyone. This year there are some new incentives. There are some new trails and minimal pavement. You have a choice of 4 categories in which to register to ride. There is a 3-day 100 mile and a 3-day 50 mile competition. Another option is a 2-day 30 mile competition and finally, a 2-day pleasure ride. The Homestead  Resort has graciously offered 3 different rates for lodging, all of which comes with a free donut and coffee. To learn more or receive an application, contact Agnes Clark at 434-296-9053.

Second Annual Maryland Foxhunters’ Dinner Club is Resounding Success


The Second Annual Maryland Foxhunters Dinner Club was held on Thursday, January 13, 2011 at the Howard County-Iron Bridge Hounds clubhouse near Damacus, Maryland. Some 80 foxhunters representing eleven Maryland foxhunting organizations met for food, drink, camaraderie, and a discussion on fox hunting in the lovely room with two roaring fire places on a cold evening. Members from Carrollton Hounds, Elkridge-Harford Hunt, Warrington Beagles, Flint Hill Hounds, Goshen Hunt, Green Spring Valley Hounds, Howard County-Iron Bridge Hounds, Marlborough Hunt, Mt. Carmel Hounds, New Market-Middletown Valley Hounds, and Potomac Hunt were all represented at the event.

Carrollton Hounds President Jason Dudderar, who organized this event and the first dinner last year, welcomed the guests and introduced the evening by stating that the purpose of this annual event would be to provide a social and educational opportunity that fosters relationships within the Maryland foxhunting community as well as to raise money for worthy causes such as the Master of Foxhounds Association (MFHA) and Maryland Association of Wildlife Conservation (MAWC).

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