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Spring comes slowly to Vermont, but it's already been a busy season for Green Mountain Hounds. They hosted the New England Hound Show, judged by MFHA Executive Director Dennis Foster, earlier this month. And GMH Master emerita, Elaine Ittleman, with her husband, Frank, received the MFHA District Conservation Award for the New England District for her work with the acquisition, improvement, and preservation of the Lemon Fair and Quiet Valley properties in Shoreham, Vermont for foxhunting and open land protection.

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Grand Champion, Myopia Gammell '12. Photo by Nature of Light Photography.

Joint Master Terence Hook reports that his club's debut hosting the event "...went swimmingly. In fact, due to the heavy rain we almost did have to swim; we abandoned the outdoor ring and kennels and held the show in the capacious indoor arena at The Equestry. Bundled against the chill (May Day in northern Vermont is not really vernal) all went well, and the rain even subsided in time for the horn blowing contest, the pack class, and the Hound Trails, all of which are of necessity held outdoors."The Hound Trails are a uniquely New England competition, in which up to two couples from each pack are started on a three- to five-mile drag line together, and the winner is the pack whose hounds cross the finish first - but only if all hounds from that club cross within five minutes of each other.

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Judge Dennis Foster, ex-MFH, and Apprentice Judge Mary Ewing, MFH - Arapahoe Hunt (CO), evaluate a Myopia hound. Photo by Nature of Light Photography. 

Hook and his joint Master, Christa Kemp, added: "We were gratified to welcome attendees from all over New England, some of whom came up the night before the show and joined the judges and GMHers for dinner. We were flattered to get the judging expertise of Dennis Foster, who was also kind enough to offer a judging clinic the day before the show. He was ably assisted by Apprentice Judge Mary Ewing, who came all the way from snowy Colorado to chilly Vermont. We're looking forward to hosting it again next year."

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Norfolk huntsman, Heather Player, receives the Horn Blowing award from her joint Master Owen Hughes, who also donated the perpetual plaque. Photo by Nature of Light Photography.

Myopia Gammell '12 was the American and Grand Champion Hound; Norfolk Hunt won the Pack Class and huntsman Heather Player the Horn Blowing Contest; 1st Place - Retired Hound went to GMH Duke '06; Junior Handler winners included Bryson Knight, Emma Welch, and in a toughly-contested Age 6 & Under division, a tie between Jackson Fellows and Charles Lohnes.

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Junior handler, Age 6 & Under, competitor Jackson Fellows, with North Country Hounds Jingle '11. Photo by Nature of Light Photography.

 To view complete show results at the MFHA website, please click here.

Elaine Ittleman, former Master at GMH, was recognized with the District Conservation award for her efforts not only to protect her own property in hunt country, but to bring together a community of landowners with the common goal of preserving open space. As her nomination states, she "was able to open terrain adjacent to already conserved land and introduce the idea and benefits of conservation easements to landowners who hadnʼt yet considered an easement.... Elaine and her husband, Frank, decided to purchase and conserve their Lemon Fair Farm in Addison County. That purchase, combined with the already conserved neighboring farms would complete the protection of a 2,000 acre block. The hunt now has 9 fixtures, approximately 8,000 acres, and nearly half of those are conserved."


Terrence Hook, MFH, Elaine Ittleman, MFH emerita, and Christa Kemp, MFH. Photo courtesy Green Mountain Hounds.

Emphasizing the benefit of this work for both hunters and non-hunters, joint Masters Hook and Kemp noted, "Although our drag hunt does not rely on a healthy population of fox and coyote, we have found that our conservation initiatives have supported the health of both animals and plants, provided common ground for conversation with farmers and other landowners, and provided an important marketing and outreach topic for our club."

For more information on District Conservation Awards at the MFHA website, please click here.


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