The Origins of Tally Ho Puppy Walking Adventures release the hounds
Contents Master’s Message
An Abbreviated History of Foxhunting
Sally Merrill - A Hunt Original
Riding to Hounds - A Family Aﬀair
Helpful Hints for Your Hay Supply
ECH Orientation Guide
Headwaters Horse Country Report
A Visit to the Kennels
Mimosa Cup & Summer Games Report
Now that’s bomb proof!
Adventures in Puppy Walking
Dreams are Made of Baby Horses
Release the Hounds
A little experience goes a long way
MFHA Fairly Hunted Award
Index of Advertisers & Contributors
Editor Christopher Stewart Art Director Mrs. Karin McDonald
Photo courtesy Christine Gracey
Masters of Foxhounds (MFH) Dr. Ron House MFH Mr. Walter Jensen MFH Mr. Alastair Strachan MFH Huntsman Mr. Steven Clifton Staﬀ Mrs. Suzanne Dow ex MFH, Hon. Whipper-In Mr. Carl Feairs, Hon. Whipper-In Mr. Derek French, ex-MFH, Hon. Road Whipper-In Mr. John Quayle, Hon. Bicycle Whipper-In Board of Directors Dr. Ron House MFH Mr. Walter Jensen MFH Mr. Alastair Strachan MFH President- Ms. Prescilla Reeves Vice President- Mr. Joe Merber Treasurer- Mr. Bill Schoenhardt Honourary Secretary- Mrs. Carmen Cotter
For more information on the Eglinton and Caledon Hunt please contact: Mrs. carmen cotter, Honourary Secretary 905-880-8486 firstname.lastname@example.org Click for upcoming events, news & classifieds: http://eglintoncaledon.blogspot.com/ http://eglintoncaledonhunt.com/
Mr. Carl Feairs Mrs. Genie Hayward Mrs. Christine Gracey Miss Sarah Murphy
cover photo courtesy: Karin McDonald ECH hounds Given and Nimbus lead the way as the quarry is pressured from the cornfield.
Master’s Message The tradition of “Riding to Hounds” is strong in North America. In Montreal, the same club has kept hounds since 1825 and around the Toronto area the sport has been active since about 1843. Why do people like to do this so much? There are several reasons: • Horse people love to ride, especially in new areas. Riding to Hounds provides the opportunity to cross thousands of acres of privately held lands. • Ours is a non competitive sport and allows people to spend a day at their own pace, with a like minded group (that group may be the ‘Hilltoppers ‘ who generally only walk and trot; the ‘2nd Field’ who like to go faster but not jump; or the ‘1st Field’ who like to do all of the above and jump when they can) • Riding to Hounds is inexpensive when compared to other horse sports such as Eventing, Dressage or Show Jumping. A typical, annual riding membership works out to about $50 per scheduled day, a social membership considerably less. • The social scene is very active with lots of fun activities throughout the year including summer rides, the Mimosa Summer Games, a puppy show to judge new pups, a book club, annual barn dance ,winter social and of course the ever popular evening parties during our main fall season. Our membership is split almost evenly between social and riding members. So far during 2013, our club has raised money for Headwaters (Orangeville) hospital and for the Upper Credit Humane Society. In November, we will be parading hounds through the Town of Elora to help raise money for the Groves Memorial Hospital in Fergus. This is very much part of the volunteer spirit of our club and allows us to give back something to the community. In closing, I would like to extend our sincere thanks to the landowners who allow us to cross their properties and without whose consent, we could not do what we do. I also invite anyone who has any interest in our sport to get in touch and see if it is for you. We welcome new faces. Alastair H. Strachan, MFH, Eglinton and Caledon Hounds
Editor’s Message We have seen such tremendous support for our publication this year and for the Eglinton & Caledon Hunt Club. This issue includes advertising and editorial contributions from the United States, other hunt Clubs, professional writers and photographers as well as superb anecdotes from our own members. I think this collaboration proves what an incredible community surrounds us and continually supports our unwavering passion of working with and enjoying horses, hounds and each other’s company. I encourage you all to pass along a copy of this magazine to family, friends and local businesses. I hope every reader finds the content interesting and varied and perhaps inspires some to consider joining us to experience why, after so many years, we continue to enjoy the wonderful social & sporting life that embraces every aspect of "riding to hounds" and to meet the passionate people associated with the Eglinton and Caledon Hounds. This would never have become the beautiful magazine it is without the support of a long list of people (see page 46). Again, at the top of that list is art director, Karin McDonald. The amount of time and eﬀort Karin puts into the Stirrup Cup is above and beyond. Please thank her (and maybe commission a few pictures!) when you see her out at events taking photos. Thank you again to everyone involved. Christopher Stewart, Editor, Stirrup Cup 4
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An Abbreviated* History of
Foxhunting in North A
From its Colonial beginnings to organized foxhunting Hunting in tHE coloniES 1600S to 1775 If you were a second son to a family of landed gentry living in the English countryside during the seventeenth or eighteenth century, you would have found your prospects considerably dimmer than those of your elder brother. Precluded from inheriting your father’s estate, you might have been tempted by land grants oﬀered by the Colonial governors of Maryland or Virginia to emigrate, settle in the New World, and make your fortune there. If you had an adventurous soul, you might have packed up your family, children, furniture, and, of course, a few of your foxhounds, and embarked on the voyage. Along with those tangible items, you would have brought your rural culture and a hunting heritage to these Provinces. By carrying on your habitual pursuits, you would make Maryland and Virginia the cradle of North American foxhunting. If, on the other hand, you were a Puritan, you would have come to these shores for an entirely diﬀerent reason – to escape religious persecution. You would have disembarked, most likely, upon the shores of New England and settled there amongst your fellow Puritans. Most surely, you would have eschewed frivolity and idle pursuits. Your work ethic would fuel the growth of commerce, and in time your descendants would acquire great wealth. But it would take almost three centuries for them to shed their puritanical prejudices and embrace any sporting activity as an acceptable pursuit. When they did, finally, it would be they who would launch the modern era of organized foxhunting, subscription packs, and the Masters of Foxhounds Association. Hunting with hounds in North America has been going on since the earliest days of English colonization here. However, it developed diﬀerently from region to region, as a reflection of the immigrants themselves and their disparate backgrounds. And each culture made its own contribution to the 6
as we know it today.
sport we recognize today as modern mounted foxhunting. In 1650, Robert Brooke arrived from England with his wife, eight sons, two daughters, twenty-eight servants, and his hounds. This is the earliest recorded importation of any quantity of hounds to the Colonies. The Brooke hound bloodlines were carried on by his sons and their descendants and provided basic stock for American strains fielded today. The cultivation of tobacco in Virginia and Maryland ushered in an unprecedented era of prosperity in the 1700s, and the planters, who surely loved their horses, built great plantation houses, imported race horses, and rode to hounds in the formal fashion. They cleared land for cultivation and hunted wolves from horseback with hounds to rid their plantations of predators. As the wolves were driven out, it was only natural to continue their exhilarating sport by hunting the native gray fox. One day in 1730, according to several accounts, a group of tobacco planters on Maryland’s Eastern Shore were reminiscing about the ‘good old days’ chasing red foxes in their mother country. Sadly, hunting the less inspiring native gray foxes in Maryland did not match up, so the men resolved to improve their sport. The captain of a tobacco schooner was instructed to bring back from Liverpool eight brace of red foxes on his next trip. The foxes arrived in due course and were liberated along Maryland’s Eastern Shore with much fanfare, merriment, race meets, and a hunt ball! Some fifty years later, descendants of those imported red
George William Fairfax Fox Hunting with George Washington
By Norman Fine
foxes would initiate a revolution in hound breeding resulting in what we know today as the American Foxhound. One of the earliest private packs in the Colonies was that of Thomas, sixth lord Fairfax, who had inherited more than five million acres of land in Virginia. Before moving to Virginia permanently to take control of his inheritance, Fairfax sent hounds to his cousin, George William Fairfax, who was already settled at ‘Belvoir.’ Arriving in 1746, Lord Fairfax spent some time at Belvoir managing his farms and plantations and amusing himself by hunting. In 1748, Fairfax hired a sixteen year old family friend named George Washington to help survey his holdings. Under Fairfax’s tutelage, Washington, who eventually gained a reputation as one of the finest horsemen in Virginia, became an avid foxhunter. He wrote, “Lord Fairfax was an excellent horseman, and, as I was never tired of the saddle, we were much engaged in the hunting of wild foxes.” As Washington makes clear in his diaries, eventually establishing his own pack of hounds at Mount Vernon, he devoted all his spare time to foxhunting up until the eve of Independence. Washington wasn’t the only Founding Father to follow hounds. James Parton, a biographer of Thomas Jeﬀerson in the late nineteenth century, tells us that Jeﬀerson was “as eager after a fox as Washington himself.”
BEtwEEn tHE wArS 1781 to 1861 Hard though it may be to imagine, during the period between the Revolutionary and the Civil Wars, foxhunting flourished on the island of Manhattan, as well as in The Bronx and into Long Island, as the British oﬃcers stationed there could hardly be expected to have neglected their hunting. The winter of 1779/1780 Chesapeake Bay froze in the bitter temperatures, and red foxes made their first appearance in Virginia. It is believed that they crossed the ice from
“The First Gentlemen of Virginia” John Ward Dunsmore, 1856-1945
America Maryland’s Eastern Shore, descendants of the eight braces of English reds imported by the tobacco planters in the 1730s. The population and range of the red fox increased slowly and steadily. The English hounds that had been imported to the Colonies in earlier times were mostly of the type referred to as the old Southern Hound – slow, deliberate, trailing hounds. They were well suited to hunting the native gray foxes in the Colonies, but were too often at a loss trying to pressure and account for the red foxes. New outcrosses were needed, and most breeders looked to England for bloodlines to increase the speed and drive of their hounds. Fleet hounds from the Quorn, a village in Leicestershire, England, and from other fast running packs in the Shires were tried, but found wanting. Lower scenting hounds with bigger voices were needed in North America, and many sportsmen feared that the appearance of the red fox bespoke the end of foxhunting here. In 1814, Bolton Jackson, an Irish immigrant to Baltimore, brought two Irish foxhounds – Mountain and Muse, a dog and a bitch – to Maryland, which he presented to Charles Sterrett Ridgley of Oakland Manor near Ellicott City. The two Irish hounds killed foxes with ease, but they were happy to kill anything else that crossed their paths as well, including dogs. Sentenced to death, they were saved by Benjamin Ogle, Jr. of Belair, who pleaded that they be spared and given into his charge. This was a fortunate rescue, for these two hounds provided essential bloodlines for most of the American hound breeds we know today: Trigg, July, and Walker. The bloodlines of Mountain and Muse are widely dispersed across North America today (in England as well) by virtue of the great popularity of the Hardaway Crossbred, the essential and original ingredient of which is the July foxhound. Ben Hardaway, MFH of the Midland Fox Hounds in Georgia, devoted fifty years of study, experimentation, travel, trial and error in developing his ideal foxhound. Hardaway’s hunting philosophy which he attributes to his July
bloodlines: “short, sharp and decisive.” The earliest hunts still active today emerged during this period between the Revolutionary and the Civil Wars. The Montreal Hunt, founded as a subscription pack in 1826, is the oldest active hunt in North America. The Piedmont Fox Hounds of Virginia, was established as a private pack in 1840 and holds the distinction of being the oldest active hunt in the United States. During these years of the early 1800s, ladies were making their appearance alongside men in the hunting fields of North America. It was a controversial issue with many men. Some were honestly concerned about the safety of the ‘weaker’ sex; others were more concerned about losing the hunt in the ‘likely’ event that a damsel would come to distress and they, as gentlemen, would feel obliged to stop and render assistance; but most of the opposition to women in the hunting field no doubt had its roots in the fragile male ego. Fortunately, a suﬃcient population of male foxhunters were quite ready to accept “those ladies who venture on this elegant out-door exercise, made interesting not only by their ‘coat, hat, and feathers,’ but by their sparkling eyes, flushed cheeks, and temples shaded by falling ringlets....” (The College Journal of Cincinnati) Throughout these early 1800s, foxhunting spread to the Carolinas and west to Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi and Georgia. Foxhunting of some sort was carried on as early as 1831 near Chicago. And in the far Southwest in the area of the Louisiana. Night hunting flourished in the deep South among men of ordinary circumstances. This is not to say that men of elevated circumstances might not be found sitting by the fire as well. Many were. But
any farmer could own a couple of foxhounds and get together with friends at night for an informal fox race – “We are too apt to suppose that to enjoy rural sports involves much expense, whereas with a few choice hounds (say only nine) between himself and a neighbor or two, a man can have real enjoyment.” These night hunters, along with their countrymen that hunted informally during daylight astride a mule or a work horse, were true hound men. They treasured good hounds, and many of the very best American bloodlines derive from their careful breeding. By contrast, mounted foxhunting in the southern states prior to the Civil War was carried out in luxury and style by large plantation owners with leisure time. However, all that glamour went up in smoke with much of the southern countryside during the Civil War, and the subsequent struggle for recovery brought whatever foxhunting there was in the South back to the days of the trencher fed packs and the night hunters.
orgAnizED FoxHunting 1865 to 1905 The Civil War ended in 1865 with the southern economy crippled, its social fabric asunder, and its citizens poverty stricken. The planter aristocracy, formerly the standard setters for the ‘High Church’ of foxhunting, suﬀered especially. As late as 1883, the Sportsman’s Gazetteer and General Guide said, “Since the war, the greatly impaired fortunes of the former participants in this manly sport have combined to render foxhunting well nigh impossible, and until (Continued on page 8) 7
History of Foxhunting (Continued from page 7)
horseback riding attains...a more national character, there is but little hope of resuscitating this delightful sport.” This was a prescient observation, for two unrelated phenomena were occurring at that very time – one in the North and one in the South – that would herald a new age for foxhunting on this continent. In the North, as the nation expanded westward, as railroads were laid, and as the population grew, opportunities for the creation of wealth presented themselves to men of energy and vision who were willing to take risks. Their ventures flourished through succeeding generations, and by the middle of the nineteenth century an accumulation of wealth coupled with a relaxing of the Puritanical attitude toward the frivolity of recreation led to the beginnings of organized sport. By the turn of the twentieth century, yacht clubs, polo clubs, foxhunting clubs, the National Steeplechase and Hunt Association, and the first country club were all thriving. In the South, the period following the Civil War saw a number of Englishmen
emigrating to Virginia to fill the vacuum left by an entire generation of young Virginia men who did not return home from that bloody conflict. Many of the Englishmen who came were foxhunters in their native England and were no doubt anxious to organize the sport here along traditional lines. The final step in the successful resurrection of traditional foxhunting in the English manner was to bring the northerners with their wealth and organizational abilities together with the southerners with their hunting heritage, emerging hunt clubs, and magnificent hunting landscape.
NORTH MEETS SOUTH Northerners, Harry Worcester Smith and A. Henry Higginson were seeking the best hunting countries to which to bring their hounds for good sport. Smith, however, was entirely dissatisfied with the “unfruitful” manner in which English hounds “tried to follow the American red fox.” In 1896, Smith saw a pack of American Foxhounds
and was impressed with their ability to pursue the red fox successfully, even in bad scenting conditions...“I at once saw the opportunity of establishing hounds and hunting in what I felt was the best hunting country in the United States, and, if the sport which I anticipated could be shown, that it would not be long before lovers of the chase would come from the North and...learn to love the Old Dominion with its courtesies, kindnesses and carefree ways.” (Harry Worcester Smith’s unpublished autobiography, National Sporting Library, Middleburg, Virginia) How prophetic! Within a few years, Harry Worcester Smith had assembled his (Continued on page 10)
History of Foxhunting (Continued from page 9)
own pack of American hounds. In 1904, he became Master of the Piedmont Fox Hounds, near Upperville, Virginia. In a letter to Rider and Driver magazine that year, Smith extolled the virtues of the American over the English Foxhound. His letter provoked a swarm of replies by offended proponents of the English hound, but A. Henry Higginson’s published reply went a step further. Higginson oﬀered to match his English pack against Smith’s pack, for “love, money, or marbles.” So was born the Great English-American Hound Match of 1905, which was held in the Piedmont country. When it was over, after six days of hunting, no foxes were caught by either pack. Smith’s American pack was awarded the trophy by the judges, who determined that his hounds did “the best work.” Of greater significance, though, is the fact that the obscure Middleburg-Upperville area of Virginia was brought to the attention of sportsmen and women across the country. Newspapers in all the major cities carried daily reports of the
match, and sporting magazines sent correspondents to cover the event. Smith’s mastership of the Piedmont was not long-lived. The Harrimans and other wealthy hunting families from New York State’s Orange County had already discovered the incomparable hunting countries around Middleburg and The Plains, and they cared not a hoot that Smith had formally registered territory with the National Steeplechase and Hunt Association. Their Orange County hounds, under the mastership of John R. Townsend, made incursions into Piedmont’s country and drew coverts within its boundaries. Smith was outraged and protested to the Association, but the NS&HA was either unable or unwilling to become involved. Smith resigned his mastership, sold his pack to Townsend for the largest sum ever paid for a pack of foxhounds, and determined to create an Association that would be willing to take control of the sport of foxhunting and adjudicate disputes. Smith wrote: “I determined that no other sportsman in America should be obliged to
submit to the hostile, unfair and unsportsmanlike treatment... I at once went to work to found the Masters of Foxhounds Association which would take jurisdiction over the sport, exist for that purpose alone, and be controlled by the Masters themselves.”
tHE MoDErn ErA 1907-2013 In October 1906, Harry Worcester Smith mailed a notice to Masters polling them on their willingness to associate, requesting descriptions of their hunting countries, and calling the first meeting of the Masters of Foxhounds Association. On February 14, 1907, six Masters met at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel at Smith’s invitation and formed an Association generally along the lines of the English Masters of Foxhounds Association. Secretary-treasurer, Henry Vaughan traveled extensively for the MFHA and also for the NS&HA, of which he became vice chair. He epitomized the urbane gentlemansportsman and was perhaps the most widely (Continued on page 13)
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History of Foxhunting (Continued from page 10)
there in 1866. Still, it is interesting to note respected and warmly regarded ambassador that the field trial foxhunters were able to of the sport at the time. publish no less than four American FoxThe early years were characterized by the hound stud books over the thirty-three year fledgling Association’s eﬀorts to take over period prior to 1931, the date when Amerihunt-related functions from the National can hounds were finally included in the Steeplechase and Hunt Association. MFHA’s Stud Book and the year in which In 1918 A. Henry Higginson was able to Higginson stepped down as president of the finally convince the NS&HA to turn over Association. the recording of hunt territory boundaries Because the MFHA, at the time, was to the MFHA, but gaining control of the strongly influenced by the northern hunts hunt recognition process took a sixteen with their propensity for English hounds, it years. Higginson remained true to his admi- was left to the southern hunts to organize ration for the English Foxhound by refusing the eﬀort to legitimize their American Foxto register any American hound for mounted foxhunters. hounds in the first four Stud In 1912, Joseph B. Thomas Books. In fairness, it must be founded the American Foxhound acknowledged that the breedClub “to encourage the systeming records for American atic breeding and general use of hounds were incomplete and American Foxhounds in the inconsistent at the time. By United States.” comparison, English FoxIn 1911, Boston-born Joseph hound pedigrees were availB. Thomas began to assemble his able from the meticulously pack of foxhounds in Middlecompiled Kennel Stud Book burg, Virginia with the help of Henry Vaughn (England) first published his new huntsman, Charlie
Carver. From 1911 to 1919, Thomas supplied the hounds for both the Piedmont and the Middleburg packs. He became Master of the Piedmont Fox Hounds in 1915 and for the next four years fielded the finest pack of American foxhounds in the country. Joseph B. Thomas’s influence on the American foxhound was enormous. His foundation bloodlines, which he bought and bred, were mostly old Virginia and Bywaters strains. Today, the progeny of Thomas’s breeding still thrive in the finest packs of American and Crossbred hounds in the country. Henry Vaughan succeeded Higginson as president in 1931. Vaughan possessed a diplomatic demeanor, a way of getting on with people. It was Vaughan as secretarytreasurer through the MFHA’s first twentyfour years, then as president for the next seven years, who provided the continuity for these hard-won successes; negotiated with the NS&HA to finally bring control of the hunt recognition process under the MFHA; and left behind a respected and thriving Association. y
*This work constitutes parts of the first chapter in A Centennial View, published by the MFHA to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of the establishment of the Association and was posted May 16, 2013 on FoxhuntingLife.com & is published here by permission of Norman Fine.
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e Origins by Derek French Next time you view old Reynard or that sneaky coyote slipping away from the covert you may be tempted to call out “Tally Ho”. There are occasions in the hunt field when it is appropriate to yell this call out loud-and-clear but with our modern methods it is more likely that the huntsman will be informed by a whip with a quick call on the hunt radio that the quarry has broken cover. The quiet approach will be less disturbing to the hounds but it will not stir the adrenaline like the old-fashioned blood-curdling call of Tally Ho yelled out loud at the top of your voice! Such an old-school call in the hunt field causes the mounted field to take in that extra hole in their girth leathers, to cease any “coﬀee housing” with their companions and for the horses’ ears to prick forward in anticipation of exciting action to come. When you say or call out Tally Ho you are continuing a tradition of nearly a thousand years. Imagine yourself as a mounted knight in full armor at the Battle of Hastings on October 14th in the year 1066. You and your horse have been shipped over the English Channel from France in a rudimentary sailing barge flying the flag of the Duke of Normandy, later known as William the Conquerer. As you ride into battle against the army of the English King Harold II you will have left the white cliﬀs of Dover behind as you gallop into the fray across the rolling South Downs of Sussex. Amongst the clamor of battle you will have heard the call from your commander to “Taille Haut”. Knowing that this is a call in the Normandy dialect of the French language for you to “Size Up”, you will join your fellow knights in forming together as a group. You will descend upon the ranks of archers in the original version of “shock and awe” as you thunder toward the English lines. Does that sound just a little bit like your day in the field with your hunt as
you anticipate the galloping excitement to come? Perhaps your experience will be of a milder version. Perhaps your intentions will be a little less bloodthirsty but you will be sharing the same thrill as your Norman predecessors. The evolution of the term from Taille Haut to Tally Ho is generally accepted as the French phrase has become anglicized through the ages . From these early days the next recorded use of Tally Ho is in 1772 when it was said to be used in the hunt field in a similar manner. The tradition has been continued ever since. The first recorded use in America was in 1802 in a hunting publication; a term no doubt brought to the New World by British colonists.
There are other interesting uses of Tally Ho. As you might expect, there are several pubs in Britain with this name. A famous four-in-hand coach plied its trade between London and Birmingham for many years. There was even a British submarine so named during World War II. But perhaps the most interesting use of the expression has been by Royal Air Force pilots during the Battle of Britain in WWII. As they left contrails in the sky during dogfights with German planes, the pilots used the term to denote the sighting and engagement with the enemy. As these young men, barely out of their teens, flew their Spitfires into aerial combat with their Messerschmitt adver-
Battle of Hastings
saries, they borrowed the term from the hunt field in which many of them had so recently been participants. It is coincidental that most of the air battles were fought over the same white cliﬀs of Dover and the South Downs of Sussex where their Norman forebears engaged their enemy with the cry of Taille Haut. No doubt the same adrenaline rush was experienced by the warriors of both battles even though there had been a time lapse of nearly nine hundred years between the two events. So next time that fox or coyote breaks cover, use the term Tally Ho with the knowledge of its interesting, honorable and ancient origins. y
Sally Merrill ~
By Frank Merrill III.
ara Mae Brown, a very colourful and lifelong Member of the Eglinton Field, was born in Rutherford, New Jersey, an only child, to Dr. Lee & Margeret (Turner) Brown in 1931. The Turner side of the family goes all the way back to the Mayflower. Sara Mae grew up riding at a local horse farm, a child whose passion for riding meant she was “at the farm” more than she was at home. She began showing horses at an early age and progressed into a very accomplished rider, competing at major horseshows throughout the east, including the very prestigious Madison Square Gardens in New York City. Being the Daughter of an MD, she was expected to be successful through University and then attend Med-School. While she did graduate from Duke University with an Honours Degree in English, upon graduation, she made a beeline to Mammouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport, New Jersey where she knew she could get a job exercising racehorses and getting paid for it…at last, getting paid to ride! She quickly progressed through the typical racetrack foundation skills arriving at the assistant trainer plateau then earning the ultimate designation in the Racing profession….”Trainer”. She was one of the earliest licensed Women Trainers in several US States including Kentucky, Ohio, New Jersey and Florida. Still a great exercise rider, she worked diligently at trying to convince various State Racing Commissions and Legislatures that a woman could ride just as skillfully as a man and that the law should be “modernized” to allow women to ride racehorses in actual races…. be professional jockeys! But letter after letter, meeting after meeting, resulted in the same response…”Request Denied”. She never gave up assisting in the movement to grant women the right to race, and though she never got the opportunity to fulfill her dream of being a jockey, women finally gained the right to ride races in 1969. Her busy life took her in a diﬀerent direction... Sally, met successful throroughbred trainer Frank Merrill at Hialeah Park in Florida in the Mid 1950’s. He was one of North America’s leading trainers and had 70 good Thoroughbreds in training, while she ”had just a few nags!” Every successful trainer needs the best in morning exercise help and Sally was very good on a horse. It wasn’t long before a partnership was formed professionally and personally. Rumour has it that it was love at first sight and Sally & Frank were married in 1957. Frank was Canadian and following the winter season in Florida, always returned home to the Southern Ontario circuit. As the years went
A HUNT ORIGINAL! Sally as a young girl riding Target with her father, Doc.
by a farm was purchased there and soon Sally was spending her time on the family farm teaching their children to ride, and taking care of the Merrill infirmary full of horses with leg problems and other ailments….horses that needed real TLC. It wasn’t long before Sally was building jumps and teaching old racehorses to jump, even getting into the Steeplechase Game. So began Sally’s second entrance into show jumping… travelling the Southern Ontario Horseshow Circuit and bringing along her only daughter Kim, who was proving herself a born natural rider with great hands, as well as, her oldest son Frankie who was terrible and rode like a coachman drives! About this time, she was introduced to Foxhunting by a good friend - Judy Jones. It took just one day out in the hunt field and Sally was hooked. Riding to hounds would become her number one equine passion for the rest of her life. She hunted regularly with the Eglinton and later the Eglinton & Caledon hunt until she was no longer physically able. It is too bad she couldn’t have ridden horses right up until she passed away, as she would have certainly preferred to “meet her final destiny” on the back of her horse Reggie after jumping a dozen solid fences through a good long run in the Eglinton country-side. There were many facets to her cheerful character. She was tough as nails and could hang-out with anyone, anywhere and be comfortable –
from Lords and Ladies to grooms and hotwalkers, she loved everyone around her and had many great friends in the hunt field. She was gracious & classy and fiercely independent too. She used to love to describe the days’ hunting action when she got home. Back in the day, the hunt stayed out for four and five hours regularly and the field may have jumped 30 or 40 big fences, gates, ditches – you name it. She loved to gallop…I mean gallop for miles - reminiscent of her days at the track. Gus Schickedanz was her favourite Master. She’d ride right up Gus’s ass until he called for the Hounds to go home. Steve Clifton was her favourite all-time Huntsman, no question. She would be very proud of the Hunt as it exists today and continues to flourish with one of the best pack’s of English Foxhounds in North America, world class Huntsman, great Joint-Masters and fantastic country to ride in. Throughout her adult life, Sally felt so much pride in the acomplishments of her children & grand kids. Her daughter Kim, when in her early twenties, was one of the best all-round riders in North America. Watching Kim ride (even a Camel in the Saharah Desert) gave her great pleasure. Two of her grandchildren are becoming pretty good riders as well, with a way to go yet… but in some way Sally is riding with them, stride for stride. y
Riding to Hounds: by Brianne Thompson
A Family Affair When I was 7, I started riding to the hounds with ECH. I was part of the 3rd generation of MacKenzie’s that fox hunted. My grandfather William (Bill) MacKenzie started hunting in 1963. Dad started hunting through Joan Kedall’s Pony Club on Bubbles at the age of 14. I can remember the excitement when I was about 3 years old, watching my dad as he got ready for hunting. There was a lot of: “where’s my stock tie, has anybody seen my stock pin, etc.” I went to see my first hunt ride oﬀ when I was 2 weeks old – I don’t remember anything though. As the years rolled on I have memories of many hunts getting ready to go and being told to collect the “Stirrup” glasses that were thrown at me as riders charged down the laneway. I wanted to be riding with my dad so badly. Finally it was my turn to see what the fun was all about. My first hunt was on a pony club hunt out of the Sifton farm. I had to share Buster with Jason. He got to hunt the first half and I got the second. It
passed out on the ground with Jason standing beside him. Shelley Peterson jumped off her horse and yanked a wad of grass out of Buster’s mouth to save the day. Buster got back up and everyone remounted and away we went again. Buster continued to hunt until he was 34. As the years went by, Saturday’s became quality time for my dad and me. Birthdays were a pretty good way of getting out of school for Wednesday hunts. The love of horses and hunting is infectious. My husband Brandon now joins me. When we met again as adults, he was smart enough to know that the way to my heart was through my horse. So he started riding lessons immediately and started hunting a few months after that. There is a kindred spirit of everyone helping one another in hunting which doesn’t happen in many other sports. People will offer advice or a helpful hand when a horse decides that they would rather stay out for more hunting then get on the trailer. Hunters seem to always
“ There is a kindred spirit of everyone helping one another in hunting, which doesn’t happen in many other sports.”
Closing meet Nov/1996. From left to right: Jason on Buster, the author on Toby and her Dad on Mackie.
was fast and exciting. Dad always packed a sandwich, his favourite being Peanut Butter and Chez Whiz. To this date I still think it is a disgusting combination. I’ll never forget some of the more memorable events of past hunts. Like chasing my dad’s horse Mackie over 7 km down the road with Irene Corbett after one of Mackie’s great escapes. Or, when we were hunting out of Blythe Hill, Jason had been letting Buster have “a snack” before we took off on another gallop. Jason had been a bit ahead of us and when dad and I rounded the corner there was Buster
have that extra girth, set of reins and stirrup leathers when one arrives at a hunt and something was forgotten or broken in transit. The general attitude has always been one for all and all for one. Through my years of hunting I have watched horses and riders come and go. Some to the great hunt field in the sky and, some to other pasttimes. I look forward to continuing to hunt in the future with my husband and dad by my side, and hopefully adding a 4th generation to Fox Hunting with Eglinton Caledon Hunt. y
Helpful Hints for Hay supply getting short? Worried about having enough to last until the new crop comes in? For those who heard it from their regular supplier, it would have been a rude shock – “I have no hay left to sell to you”. There may have been some anxious moments. However, there are suppliers who are bringing in hay from other areas and while the price is high, it is still obtainable in small squares, rounds and large squares. If you are looking for hay, then check out the listings in your local agricultural papers and also contact the Ontario Hay Listings service (www.ontariohaylistings.com). why do i need the forage/fibre? Horses are designed as “trickle feeders”. The digestive tract is set up to process small, multiple forage meals frequently throughout the day. Fibre and water are very important parts of a healthy gut for a horse. Lack of water and forage is a high risk for colic; a potentially serious problem if unresolved. How do i extend the hay supply that i have? If you have hay but are not certain that it will last until the new crop of hay (or pasture grass) arrives, then the goal will be to extend your hay supply in a way that is healthy for your horses. Saving waste Unfortunately, there is a lot of hay that can be wasted when feeding horses. Typically, it can be over 5-10% when feeding oﬀ the ground. To help prevent that wastage, look at hay feeding systems. There are ground containers available that hold the bale in a box or frame with a grid that lies on top of the bale. This prevents the horse from pulling out large chunks of hay at a time and losing half of it on the ground. Hay nets are becoming more versatile recently with modifications to hold everything from partial to full small bales, or large round and large square bales. The netting can be ordered in 1”, 1.5”, or 2” sizes for the mesh/netting openings. The 1” size makes it very challenging for the horse to get the hay which eﬀectively slows down and extends the hay eating over many hours. Savings are visible and measurable when you stop seeing great chunks being pulled out at once which end up on the floor and stomped into the soiled bedding. If possible, use a trough outside under the hay net (or over a manger in the stall) to catch all the small bits, which the horse will happily clean up. If a trough is not possible under the net, then consider the use of rubber matting. Keep it cleaned oﬀ between feedings. Quick tipS: - Be cautious with “tombstone” round bale feeders as horses can get a foot inside creating the potential for a serious injury - Make sure any holes larger than 2” are mended or there is an increased risk of the horse getting caught up in the net if it is on the ground. - Introduce the netting gradually, as it will take some time for some horses to learn to eat from it. Another supply of forage that is not in the hay net for a time will be helpful. - Monitor the behaviour of the horses while eating. If there is one horse that is being pushed out, then provide 2-3 sites for hay intake or the less-dominate horse will not be getting enough hay.
Your Hay Supply - Monitor the hay nets and tether them. Empty hay nets become dangerous when left around and will trip and injure horses. Do not let them dangle low or on the ground. - Use “oﬀ-the-ground” V-shaped hay feeders lined with nets and with a tub or trough underneath to catch the small bits. Various types of nets with 1-2” openings (some have used hockey nets, soccer ball storage bags) can be used to line V-shaped hay feeders, attaching it securely to the feeder, to prevent the loss of hay outside. Rubber mats under hay nets on the fence can also be an option to help prevent wastage.
And one more point… It may be tempting to get your horses out onto the pasture at first sign of green grass, but be careful. If you allow the horses access to the land too soon, you may ruin your grass fields for the year and end up using more hay. So keep a “sacrifice area” when possible, that is fenced oﬀ from the larger and better field areas to give the grass a chance to get growing, and help maintain a good grass crop for the whole summer. And once the grass starts to grow, be careful how much time your horse spends on the pasture for the first few weeks. It is important to limit the time on that fresh, new grass to a few hours a day when you first let them on the grass. Your local feed store or pasture specialists can give you specific advice on caring for your horse pasture. For more educational information, please visit www.EquineGuelph.ca y
Visit your local supplier to see what options are available and talk to the staﬀ about the right product for your needs.
Supplemental or alternative forage sources If you have limited hay supply on hand, you can extend the supply by supplementing with alternative fibre sources. There are products that supply high fibre content in commercially available feeds that can help extend your hay. There are products made from long-stemmed hay where it is chopped and processed into small or large hay cubes. These can be measured out by weight (then soaked with water) and fed to your horse (small, frequent meals, i.e., 3-4 times per day, is better than one or two large feeds). This helps to ensure that there is fibre going through the gut for most of the day and this may help reduce the risk of colic. Combine “high fibre” products like hay chunks or cubes with long stemmed hay. A portion of the fibre needs can be met with the various high fibre or hay chunks to save on your hay supply. It is also possible to fully replace long-stemmed hay with specific high fibre products for short-term needs. Talk to your equine nutritionist about the right product for your horses and how to use this feed to extend or replace your hay supply till the new crop comes in.
Wishing the Eglinton & Caledon Hounds and Field an exhilarating season Remember what Sir Winston Churchill once said…..
“There is something about the outside of a horse, that is good for the inside of a man” GO FOR IT!
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Welcome to the excitement and exhilaration of "Riding to Hounds"! The music of the hounds in "full cry". The sound of the horn echoing off the woodland hills. The excitement of the chase. The thrill of galloping over the countryside, the view of vistas that takes your breath away. The camaraderie of friends pursuing the same passion. Riding to hounds is a wonderful recreation for the whole family that can be enjoyed for a lifetime. What could possibly be better! Learn everything you need to know about being a member of ECH in this special tear-out section...
FIRS T A LI T T LE H IS TO RY Foxhunting has existed in North America since colonial days and was enjoyed by hunters, farmers and landed gentry. The earliest record of foxhunting in Canada was in 1650. The earliest established hunt in Canada was the Montreal Hunt in 1826. The popularity of foxhunting continues to grow. Currently there are 168 organized hunts in North America. Our own local hunt is the Eglinton and Caledon Hunt. It is an offshoot of the Toronto Hunt which was formed in 1843. In 1930, The Eglinton Hunt, was formed and located at the corner of Avenue Road and Roselawn Avenue in Toronto and was recognized as a separate hunt under the Mastership of George Beardmore. When the expansion of Toronto necessitated finding new country, hounds were moved to their present location on Creditview Road in Caledon in 1963 and the name changed to Eglinton and Caledon Hunt. Today there are 110 members who participate not only in hunting but also with many related activities.
THE MASTERS The leaders of our hunt are known as ‘Masters of Foxhunting’, a position of overall responsibility that has been a tradition over the centuries. The role of the Master can be likened to that of a president of an organization and is one which carries with it considerable responsibility and prestige. The Masters will usually lead the riders in the field, and when they are performing this role they are known as ‘Field Masters’. However, on some occasions other members of the hunt may well perform this function. In this case they are also known as ‘Field Masters’ and they will also have responsibility for the safety and control of the riders.
HUNTSMAN Under the direction of the Masters, a professional Huntsman is responsible for the kennels and all aspects of managing the hounds, including breeding, training, exercise, and of course, hunting. The Huntsman contributes to fostering a positive relationship with all landowners who provide permission to hunt on their lands. W H I P P E R S -I N The Huntsman is assisted by Whippers-in who participate in the hunting. This includes turning back hounds if they are running onto land not permitted to hunt, or busy roadways, rounding up hounds, and exercising of the hounds under the direction of the Huntsman. THE HOUNDS Training starts before a hound is 1 year old. The young hound is sometimes coupled with an older hound until it learns to stay with the others. They are then introduced to horses. As hounds hunt over private farmland, they must ignore all farm animals and pursue only the chosen quarry. Hounds begin to hunt at 12 to 18 months of age. The goal is to establish a pack of hounds that will run uniformly, give great voice, show stamina, develop a keen nose, and be obedient to the huntsman.
W H AT T H E H O U N D S H U N T Coyote can range in a large territory. The coyote, when chased, will run in straight lines and may take the hounds out of their assigned hunting areas. The coyote scent is stronger than the fox, and coyote chasing is more common in our area. Foxes are territorial. It knows good and bad scenting days. It can lead the pack on a merry chase, evading it by cunning or jumping into the first available den or hole.
A FOXHUNTER’S CALENDAR An overview of the monthly events enjoyed by members of the Eglinton Caledon Hunt FEBRUARY - Winter Social APRIL - Hound Exercise followed by Spring Cubbing MAY - Mother's Day Tea Hunter Pace Spring Fling JUNE - Canadian Foxhound Show ECH Puppy Show Summer Hack & Yacks JULY - Poker Run Hospital Fund Raiser AUGUST - Early Fall Hunting begins ECH Summer Games SEPTEMBER - NOVEMBER
FORMAL HUNT SEASON BEGINS Field hunt every Wed. & Sat. Breakfasts every Saturday, either evening or following the Hunt Fall Hunter Pace Opening Breakfast Barn Dance and Silent Auction Hospital Fund Raiser Elora Hound Parade Closing Breakfast Awards Night Dinner Sip n’ Shop MONTHLY: BOOk CluB - An informal group who gather to discuss Hunt related books once a month on a Thursday evening.
Photos: Karin McDonald
THE FIELDS Followers of our hounds ride in one of two groups. Experienced riders on steady horses who are comfortable jumping obstacles at speed usually will ride with the ‘Main Field’. Those riders who prefer not to jump and prefer a more leisurely pace will usually ride with the ‘Hill Toppers’ field. The ‘Main field’ follows the hunt as closely as possible without interfering with either hounds or the Huntsman and Whippers-in. The pace can reach cross country galloping speed and fences are usually negotiated in order to keep up with the hounds. The Hill Toppers move at a distance endeavouring to see the hounds working, and anticipate where game may be flushed to observe a ‘viewing’. Hill Toppers are not required to jump fences and usually move at a slower pace than the Main field. Riders are not permitted to pass the Field Masters and must obey the directions of the Field Masters. If a rider decides to retire for the day, he or she must advise the Field Master and request permission to leave. It is important that a rider does not cross through an area which will be hunted that day, as this could interfere with scenting.
GENERAL ETIQUET TE
• To come out to hunt you must be escorted by an existing member of the hunt. • Arrangements will be made with a Master to bring a guest to a meet. There is a fee to be paid by a guest of the hunt (known as a "capping fee") as well as waiver forms to be signed at the meet prior to mounting up. Your host should provide you with full details and introduce you to the Honourary Secretary (who has the forms and collects the fees) and the Masters at the meet. • When riding, a guest should always follow the path set by the Field Master and obey any instructions given by the Field Master. It is considered proper etiquette to ride behind the experienced riders with "colours". • Care must be taken when riding on cultivated fields; you should always ride single
H U N T:
file and close to the outside perimeter of the field. Avoid riding close to houses and farm buildings whenever possible. Never gallop down a landowner’s driveway or past his house. Circle all livestock so as to not disturb them. • Riders who have a horse that is inclined to kick out must wear a red ribbon on the horse’s tail and ride at the back of the group. Horses that are young or considered "green" should wear a green ribbon on the tail. Hounds always have the right of way. • A word about tack and bitting. Hunting can be as exciting for the horse as the rider. Horses tend to become stronger when galloping in a group. We recommend you consider using either a running or standing martingale and look at using a bit which will provide stronger "brakes".
W H AT Y O U C A N E X P E C T AT A T Y P I C A L M E E T : We hunt in various terrains and weather conditions. Discuss with your host, what attire is appropriate for your day of hunting. Proper turnout is not only a hunting tradition but also a sign of respect. Plan to arrive in time to sign waivers and pay fees before mounting, and be mounted at least ten minutes prior to "moving oﬀ "time. In this ten minute period riders gather to hear announcements and are introduced to the landowners who are thanked for providing permission to hunt their land, and guests are introduced to the field. At this time you will also be oﬀered a "Stirrup Cup" (a drink of sherry or port) prior to the hunt commencing. Once the hunt moves oﬀ, be prepared to meet other members of the field and forge new acquaintances to enjoy your hunting experience. A hunt can last several hours; you would be wise to bring a snack and or a drink with you. At the conclusion of the hunt, either a ‘tailgate breakfast’ is enjoyed by all or you will be invited to attend an evening breakfast with your host to enjoy a hearty meal, liquid refreshments and swap tales of the days hunting escapades. y
Riding to hounds is a most enjoyable experience and we would love to have you join us... For more information please contact : Pricilla Reeve, ex MFH Tel: 519-837-3964 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.eglintoncaledonhunt.com 25
Join us for an Evening of Celebration with
Ontario’s Cent of Equine Exceence Thursday, October 3rd ~ 6:30pm - 8:30pm* OAS EVENT CENTRE (ORANGEVILLE FAIRGROUNDS) *doors open at 6pm We invite you to visit Headwaters Horse Country and discover some of the finest equestrian talent in the province of Ontario. On Thursday, October 3rd, the Headwaters Equine Leadership Group is hosting an evening of FREE entertainment that will feature forging demonstrations, dynamic performances showcasing the various Olympic disciplines of Show jumping, Dressage and Eventing along with a nod to the other disciplines, breeds and talents in Headwaters. Joining us for the evening will be internationally renowned equestrian professionals including Olympian Jay Hayes, Barb Millar, Stephanie Leyzac and Patrick Henley among others. The evening of equestrian entertainment will be enhanced by the opportunity to savour food and beverages from local Headwaters' restaurants for a nominal "sample" price. Rounding out the evening's festivities, Headwaters Equine Leadership Group is honoured to welcome Herb Williams, founder and long-time leader of the Super Dogs show to entertain us throughout the evening while we witness the equine talents of so many superb athletes. As the Headwaters region gets ready to welcome the equestrian events of the TO2015 Pan Am Games taking place at the Caledon Equestrian Park in Palgrave, we invite you to get a sneak peek at some of the exceptional talent that calls the Headwaters region home.
6th Annual Headwaters Horse Country Stable Tour Saturday, October 5th ~ 10am - 4pm Equine enthusiasts will have a chance to experience first-hand the basic and advanced aspects of equine sport when area facilities open their doors. Admission is FREE for the opportunity to enjoy some of the country's premiere equine enterprises such as breeding farms, coaching and training facilities, riding schools, boarding stables and ranches. The event will see facilities across the Town of Caledon, Dufferin County, Town of Erin and King Township open their doors to the public for a behind-the-scenes experience visiting horses of all breeds working across a range of disciplines and meet the people who love, train and care for them. The world will be arriving at our doorstep in 2015 as the Headwaters region prepares to host the equine events of the TO2015 Pan Am Games at the Caledon Equestrian Park. We invite you to discover Ontario’s centre of equine excellence in the Hills of Headwaters.
HEALTHY FEED. HAPPY HORSE.
A Visit to the Kennels I recently had the pleasure of visiting the ECH kennels and micro-chipping the hounds. I wanted to share my experience and appreciation for all that Huntsman Steve Clifton and Whipperin Melanie Smith do behind the scenes to support the sport we love so much. My husband John and daughter Danielle accompanied me. Everyone was ready for a micro-chipping adventure. The kennels were immaculate. Clean, bright and airy. There were several spacious runs, each with a play area and then clean shavings in their bedding area. There is a large outdoor fenced exercise field, and beyond that a large enclosure with two pet fallow deer who the hounds learn early on to ignore and never chase, as required when they are hunting. The first pen we visited housed two lurchers, Plute and Grizzle. We met and were greeted by several hounds who had lovely temperaments and were very wellmannered. Next we entered a large work
area with hounds on either side. On one side were some females who had been separated from the main group because they were in season. On the other side were the main group. I was amazed how well 40 hounds all together got along so well. And they obviously worshipped Steve. After they greeted us, all eyes were on him. Steve and Melanie had set up a table in the corner and had all the microchips ready, as well as a log book containing the names of each hound so we could assign them a bar code to match their chip once implanted. We quickly got to work and it was a very eďŹƒcient system. The hounds became very quiet, realizing something was about to happen. Melanie opened the gate and iden-
tified each hound as it wandered out and over to Steve to be held. Danielle opened each microchip wrap, and peeled oďŹ€ the bar-code and placed it beside the name of the hound. John took the extra bar-codes and wrote the hound's name on the back to be used at a later date if needed. I scanned the chip to make sure the number was correct, and while Steve held (and winced as each needle went in, clearly feeling for his hounds), we implanted and then scanned each after for confirmation. Then out to the outside pen they went, howling and barking
in excitement to discuss with each other what had just happened. The whole process took 1/2 hour. 44 hounds in total. A couple of the hounds had a few wounds from previous encounters, so we took a few minutes to flush them. Melanie, being a nurse, had a full locker of supplies, and together she and Steve are very well equipped and educated in managing the health care of the dogs. With refreshments in hand, kindly supplied by Melanie and Steve, we then took the hounds for a walk on the riding club
grounds. I know for a fact our dog, Tori, would have taken oďŹ€ running everywhere and ignored our calls as this would have been way to much fun to run free like this. But clearly Steve is Alpha, and the respect and admiration each hound has for him and his commands was amazing to witness. They all stayed together and romped and played around Steve, and Melanie kept an eye out for any who wandered a bit too far. But that rarely happened. They know their names and are extremely obedient. The training and time taken to have that respect and bond really showed. We could tell how much he adored each hound, knowing their own individual personality, as he entertained us with stories in the way that only Steve can. It was feeding time for the hounds, so we headed back to the kennels. The hounds eat tripe daily, which is stored in a cold meat room, and re-
quires two trips to the abattoir weekly. I left feeling privileged to have been a part of this process, and to have witnessed the training, care and genuine concern and dedication involved with the ECH hounds in order for us to enjoy such a fun sport with our horses. Thank you Steve and Melanie, from all of us, for all you do. y Sincerely, Suzanne Hornemann, DVM
Hunt Events The 13th annual running of the Mimosa Cupand Summer Games took place at the CRC on August 4th. In the days leading up to the event, the forecast was beautiful and and we had a trusty and hard-working group of dedicated members out to clean up the trails, mark the courses and ready the venue for what was shaping up to be another terrific installment of our annual event. We decided to add a few new events this year to try and put a new spin on the games and make it a day as much for the spectators as for the competitors. last year saw the addition of the Team Relay race, so building on that, we added Musical Stalls and the Handy Foxhunter Class (below). All three were met with considerable enthusiasm by the competitors that took the games quite
seriously while seemingly having a good time! Also new this year was a tailgate competition. While there were only 3 entries, all of them did a wonderful job and impressed judges Paul Hinder and lynn Dole in their own way. The Murphy`s entry was a charming spread of beautiful flowers and organic oﬀerings from their own garden. The Mclaughlin`s went all out with a Western theme that included a grill, beans and ribs and the Stewart`s went traditional with silver and took home the silver…trophy that is! Hopefully, this year`s entrants were able to inspire others to try their hand and win next year`s bragging rights! The mock hunt provided the pageantry that everyone loves and Frank Merrill supplied his ever informative and entertaining narrative before our huntsman moved oﬀ with the hounds. This year, a dozen hounds had colourful ribbons around their necks to identify them to the crowd – this wasn’t just a mock hunt but also a hound race! A
drag line was laid with the ‘finish line’ in front of the clubhouse and kipling was the winner, much to the delight of those who had laid friendly bets on him! lunchtime entertainment this year was in the form of Jack Russell Terrier races and the ‘Wonderdogs’. These impressive canines are always a crowd pleaser and made for a great way to take a breather before the afternoon’s games and races began. The Hunter Pace was as popular as ever and both the Mimosa Cup Singles and Pairs races (above) drew the usual enthusiastic and competitive crowds with some really fast finish times. The 2013 Mimosa Cup and Summer Games was a huge success. The committee thanks everybody who helped make it so – it couldn’t have happened without you! y
Now that’s bomb proof!! by Derek French, ex MFH I have just added another framed photo to the wall in my home oﬃce. Displayed on the wall is a photographic history of my friends; the various mounts that have served me well over a lifetime of fox hunting. Searching through old albums which haven’t been looked at in ages I have found a photo of the
pretty palomino pony which introduced me to this great sport some 65 years ago. And here is a photo of my father on his big chestnut horse called Sandboy. This photo dates back to the 1930’s when he was hunting with the West kent Hunt in the uk. I can remember when Sandboy was pastured out in the field we called “the meadow” for the duration of the second world war. Sandboy enjoyed his full-time freedom and
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The author on Tommy (left) and his Dad on Sandboy (right).
grew comfortably plump in his idleness. He was considered bomb proof in the hunt field but now he had to prove this in reality as our home was on the flight path of the German bombers on their way to london. With that innate ability that all animals have, he soon got used to the bangs and flashes of the nightly air raids as the bombers passed overhead. They weren’t out to get him but the real risk was the amount of schratnel which would fall out of the sky from the anti-aircraft guns that were stationed in the vicinity. One morning we went to check how he was after a particularly noisy night only to find a long slashing wound diagonally across the knee of his hind leg. A jagged piece of an exploded shell had caught him in its descent to earth. Fortunately no bones were broken but it was a proud wound as the flesh had opened up around the bone. We managed to get him to hobble back to his stable and cleaned the wound as best we could but it needed stitching up. This posed a problem as in the wartime conditions of 1942 the local veterinarian had been called up for wartime duties elsewhere. What to do? In the village we still had a local doctor. Our Dr. Hasler was close to seventy but still was a dab hand at delivering babies and was quite capable of handling life’s misfortunes of an ordinary nature. The more serious injuries resulting from enemy action were whisked oﬀ by ambulance to the local hospital. We called to see if he could help and he duly arrived puﬃng a little due to his portly nature and carrying the iconic doctor’s gladstone bag. Sedating a heavy 17 hand horse was somewhat oﬀ the dosage charts for a doctor accustomed to sedating 180 lb. humans so he just kept injecting in the appropriate mixture until finally the big fellow slumped down on a thick bed of straw on the floor of his stable. Quickly the stitches were sewn and the bleeding stopped. “Well”‘ said the good doctor “that’s a start but we need to immobilize the leg otherwise he will pop out the stitches. We will have to use a splint and put the leg in a plaster cast”. A quick dash was made across the village green and the doctor returned with all the plaster of Paris he could find in
his surgery. Half an hour later with two broken broom handles as splints the three of us, covered in white plaster, sat on the horse’s head to keep him down in case he came to before the plaster dried. Eventually Sandboy emerged from his sleep and struggled to his feet with just some minor cracks in his plaster. A quick repair job to the plaster and he stood there wondering what this weight was doing on his hind leg. Of course it was too much to expect the horse to accept this huge white growth and within a day or two he managed to kick most of the cast oﬀ his leg. However enough of the stitches held and the wound began to heal even though it left a large scar on his leg. Our good doctor returned to stitching up smaller patients, dispensing aspirin and delivering babies. Sandboy was soon able to return to his life of leisure in his favorite meadow. By the time the war ended three years later he had survived two falling bombs that left large craters in his ten acre pasture, an unexploded anti-aircraft shell which had to be dug up and detonated by the bomb disposal squad and near misses by the V1 flying bombs (known locally as doodlebugs) which regularly flew overhead sometimes crashing and exploding not far away. Even more startling was a rogue anti-aircraft barrage balloon that lost it’s hydrogen and descended like a limp elephant into his paddock. The anchor cable, which came down with it, snaked across his paddock and crossed some high voltage electric power cables. This sent sparks flying in every direction before blowing the electric power throughout the village. By 1945 you could say that he was definitely a bomb proof horse! Eventually the war was over but Sandboy’s hunting days were over too. However, he was able to be ridden despite a rather stiﬀ leg. I can remember some gentle rides on him around the countryside as a 12 year old boy. As you might expect, he was a very safe ride as nothing would startle him. Yes, he was indeed a bomb-proof ride whatever the situation. I will take this old photo of Sandboy with the fading edges and have it scanned and printed by our local photo shop. This old war horse deserves my greatest respect. I will honor him with pride of place in my picture gallery of old hunting friends. y
Adventures in Puppy Walking by Fay Jensen One day, Hutsman Steve Clifton came up to me and asked if I would be a puppy walker. I said that I didn’t think so. It sounded complicated... where would I put them? What kind of care is needed? Would they be safe? Steve thought that our farm would be ideal and slowly I came round to the idea. He gave me my first two puppies in 1998 and this summer he gave me my 44th, 45th, and 46th puppies. up until this point I had kept chickens at the farm. I didn’t buy chickens that year and I used the chicken house and run for the puppies. We already had a heat lamp in the house so we added a dog bed and blankets and lots of chewy toys. Our property is far from the road so we have always let the puppies out in the morning so that they can have the freedom of the yard for the day. Having puppies is like having a toddler around. You must be very vigilant about puppy proofing your yard and NEVER leave things lying around. The first puppies ate my wicker patio furniture.
the house. You never see them as you walk by. You only hear some gentle groaning noises that they make when they are napping, but it seems as if the bushes are actually trying to talk! One of the things that the puppy walker must do is to train them to walk on a leash. This is always a diﬃcult time for everyone involved. Snap a leash onto their collar and suddenly the well behaved puppies turn into bucking broncos! Then they collapse and refuse to get up. Fortunately, with the help of some doggie treats and loads of patience, they will willingly come with you after a couple of times. It is interesting watching the puppies grow. You would swear that every day they look bigger. Their personalities emerge. Some are quiet and obedient, some are always on the move and have an independent turn of mind, some are somewhere in between. They all love people and have an endless need for pats and kisses. All the puppies I have raised have brought both me and my family much joy over the years. I am so glad that Steve asked me to be a puppy walker all those years ago. y
“ Snap a leash onto their collar and suddenly well behaved puppies turn into bucking broncos! Then they collapse and refuse to get up.” I only have metal furniture now. Their major pastimes are chewing, wrestling and being loved. They often find me working in the garden and asked to be patted but they quickly lose concentration and start wrestling. I have never minded them wrestling in my garden flattening plants with their rolling, but I quickly built a fence around my vegetable garden as tomato plants do not spring back after being rolled over. They are very intrigued with my koi ponds and take turns pushing one another into the water and chewing the bulrushes. None of my raspberry bushes have raspberries from puppy height down. They are very delicate when they pick the red berries with their teeth. Puppies need to nap a lot. Every group of puppies that we have had, have always slept under the large weigelia bushes in front of
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here I stood, gazing spell-bound at the newly-born foal covered in amniotic fluid and barely able to stand, knowing nothing of the world except the scent of his mother, and that he must survive. My head was full of visions. This wee gangly foal, grown to full magnificence, galloping across fields, leaping impossible obstacles, executing the triple flawlessly, head placed just so in a perfect dressage test, front legs flicking forward with metronome precision. It was the middle of the night and I’d never get back to sleep. This wonder of a mare had just produced the next world champion. I named him Alouette, believing he needed a Canadian name to compete against the best the world could oﬀer. I know the old adage. If you want trouble, get a horse. If you want more trouble, get another. I also know they can break your heart. louie’s story begins with a mare named Sandpiper. She was a pretty chestnut Appendix Quarterhorse with a big heart, a smart brain, and good conformation. Sandpiper’s third foal was named Fox Ridge Allegra, sired by the great Polish warmblood,
Ali Baba, and born outdoors in a vicious storm. Dr. Allan Manning wheeled the dripping filly into the barn in a barrow that night because Sandpiper refused to come inside. Only to follow the new-born Allegra did she relent. Allegra grew strong and
Louis & Allegra
lovely and powerful, but after an injury to her hock that compromised her future career, I decided to breed her. She produced two foals from a handsome Selle Francaise jumper sire, Jamestown: lady Olivia of Fox Ridge and Fox Ridge Alouette.
DREAMS ARE MADE OF BABY HORSES by Shelley Peterson
Allegra’s colt, Alouette, nicknamed louie, was born on June 26th, 2006. When he was only five months old, tragedy struck his young life. It was a stormy night and the fog was so dense that it obscured all vision up on the Escarpment. Something caused the horses to panic. Allegra ran through a fence and broke her leg clear through the femur. She called and called, and with great determination hopped on three legs with her right front dangling, until she found her frightened son. Our farm manager, Chris Higgins, and his newly hired assistant, Sabrina MacDonald, managed to get them into the barn. When I arrived, I saw for myself that what Chris had told me on the phone was only too true. Our new vet Robin Ferguson, who I’d not yet met, had waited an entire hour for me to drive through the rain and thick fog from Toronto. Allegra, my proud, beautiful mare, was in horrible pain in spite of all the medication and makeshift splint. There was no decision to make. She stared at me fiercely. She poked me in my chest with her nose, grabbed little louie’s withers with her teeth, shook firmly, then glared back at me again. She did that twice. I got it. She needed me to know that I must look after him. That he was special. That I should never let her down. Not ever. I promised. I led louie away, and Dr. Robin injected Allegra with the fluid that would end her suﬀering. Allegra, who was born in one storm, died in another. While we were tend38
ing to Allegra, louie was leaping around and whinnying in the stall he had shared with his mother. He was desperate and confused. We feared he’d do himself harm, so when the deed was done and Allegra lay quiet on the arena floor, peaceful at last, I led louie back out so he could see for himself. He trotted right to her, happy again, then stopped at her prone body, tilting his head. He nickered. He sniﬀed at her nostrils, and took her right ear in his teeth and yanked. Then harder. He pawed at her body with his front feet, trying to waken her. He went to nurse at her udder, but we couldn’t let him do that in case the lethal cocktail had seeped into her milk ducts. He went back to her nostrils and sniﬀed again. Then his entire little body slumped. Reality sank in. His large ears flopped sideways and his head dropped. His eyelids sagged. I went to him and patted him, trying to give him a little comfort. He made no sound. I led him to his stall, and he walked beside me obediently - without resistance - his spirit sapped. I slept in the barn with louie that night. He didn’t need me to do that. It was for me. Fast forward five years.
Allegra’s bay boy, Alouette, had grown to seventeen hands and a powerhouse of a gelding. Much too much horse for me, which became very clear when he bucked up to the rafters in our arena one day, possibly peeved that the jumps were not challenging. I managed to stay on, but the sensation of such outrageous scope was overwhelming. I’d never sat on such an athletic animal. He needed a fearless young rider to sort him out, and at the suggestion of Arlene Taylor, I hired the services of a brilliant young rider named Shawn J. Ferguson. The second time Shawn rode him, he Louis and rider Shawn Ferguson
said, “I just imagined us at the Pan Am Games.” Here was the man for the job; a lover of horses, an accomplished and exceptionally sensitive rider, and a dreamer with serious goals. We made a plan. Shawn invested much time and expertise. He worked daily building louie’s muscle and endurance. Painstakingly, he perfected the moves required for a good dressage test. He schooled him over increasingly diﬃcult courses of jumps, and faced him with large, odd obstacles that must be leapt fearlessly on the expansive cross country courses. In only a year and a half, louie has gone up the levels and is now going Preliminary. He likes doing it. He’s proud of himself. He’s confident about his future. If things continue to look as good as they do now, knock on wood, he’ll soon advance to One Star. We have a team. Shawn Ferguson. Chris Higgins. Assistant, Rebecca Cole. Farrier, Paul kleinpaste. Vet, Dr. Robin Ferguson. And me. Time will tell if the dream will come true. He’s young yet. He’s learning with every mistake, and we are patient. The object is to get all three stages of eventing consistently right on the same day. And he’s teaching us, too. When he doesn’t fully understand something, he finds a way of letting Shawn know. Then, Shawn slows things down until louie’s sure of what’s required. And once louie understands, he never forgets. Interesting... I sometimes wonder if this relates to losing his mother in such a dramatic way, and having to figure it out himself. If he can’t do the extremely demanding job of being a top-level eventer, or if he doesn’t want to, I’ll find another job for him that suits his skills. I promised Allegra. y
Release the Hounds drain my second stirrup cup of sherry with feigned nonchalance and place it on the silver tray of a passing server. “Awright, you lot,” the huntsman nearby calls in a broad Hampshire accent as he marshals 30-odd foxhounds. Steve Clifton (centre) has worked with hounds all his life, and he looks at ease in his scarlet huntsman’s jacket, clutching a crop in one hand and reins in the other. His gelding stands alert to the hounds below—a mix of lean, muscled tricolours and tan-andwhites jostling like eager adolescents. “Diplomat!’ he shouts. The errant youngster looks up then bounds back from the bulrushes of an adjacent pond. It’s just before noon, and the riders assembling on this brisk, damp autumn Saturday chat and mill about the driveway that leads up to the host’s century home. Black velvet riding hats, crisp stocks, threebuttoned hunt jackets: the turnout is uniformly proper. I adjust the safety pin securing the top button of my converted dress suit blazer, although it’s absurd to worry about the makeshift regalia, given the rigours ahead. As a one-time competitive rider, I’m no stranger to the rough-and-tumble of crosscountry romps, but with two kids, a mortgage and 20 years out of the saddle, I’m also less cavalier about the prospect of landing on my butt. Still, I fuss over the button until it’s right. The assembled group has the look of British landed gentry, but as with football, the sport of fox hunting is a different game here. Among the lawyers and ex-politicians, today’s field includes a teacher, a mechanic, a bus driver and some farmers. Anyone, in fact, who can find a mount and the subscription fee can ride to hounds with the Eglinton and Caledon Hunt Club every Wednesday and Saturday from mid-September through December, or until the ground freezes (when it’s too difficult for the horses). This club traces its origins back to 1842, when a group of British officers garrisoned in Toronto shipped over some English foxhounds. As the city grew, the kennels were forced north (the “Eglinton” in their name is a vestige of the club’s 1920s home at Avenue Road and Eglinton). In 1963, they finally settled in the Caledon Hills, Northwest of Toronto’s sprawl. Since then, the hunt has become as much a part of the region’s autumn landscape as the leafwatching bus tours rolling through Belfoutain.
By Liz Beatty, as first published in Toronto Life Sounding his horn, Clifton moves off, his hounds grateful to be underway. The master, whose job it is to lead the field, follows close behind. A few senior members and guests ride up near the front, hoping for a good view of the hounds and the huntsman at work. Egging on my borrowed old quarter horse, Trojan, I’m content to pull up the rear. There’s no small amount of peril in this oldest and oddest of extreme sports: I’ve been warned to watch for low branches that can slash a rider’s face; hidden fence wire that entangles horses’ legs; and slippery footing and awkward jumps that may send riders thudding to the ground. Chunks of dirt fly like buckshot off the hooves of the horses ahead as a slow trot builds steadily to a canter and then a full-out gallop down the gravelled surface of Winston Churchill Boulevard. A sudden sharp right leads down into a ditch, then up over our first fence, a small heap of split rails No longer individual horses and riders, we flow like one huge, hoof-pounding organism over a slight rise, then downward to a steep coup with poor footing. Trojan avoids the mud by jumping far out from the base of the fence. I lose contact with my saddle for a second or so — not particularly good form. I hold on for another hard right, dodging maple boughs through a dense wood lot. Up ahead, the hounds have drawn a scent. Instinct takes over. No longer playful and distracted, they push forward, their noses down and their tails wagging. The driving pace continues for another kilometre, the horses’ hooves scraping over the rocky path until we enter a cedar grove. “Hold hard!” The master’s command for a full stop is bellowed from rider to rider back through the field. Old pros like Trojan jolt to a stop with barely a touch of the reins. Steam rises from the mob, now matted with mud and sweat. “Nicely done on that last fence,” whispers the one rider I’ve managed to pass, a man in his mid-60s. I assume he’s referring to me not having landed on my head. Adrenalin still pumping, we share a nip from his silver hunt flask and recap the run. Clearly, there’s only one imperative to cracking this crowd: be crazy enough to join in and game enough to keep up. After two hours of galloping along the headlands of unharvested fields and waiting quietly in grassy meadows, the chase finally stalls. Maybe the scent has dried up in the warm afternoon sun, or we’ve run out of permission from landowners to pass. There will be no doubling of the huntsman’s horn, no frenetic hounds yelping to signal a kill. Clifton’s assistants, known as whippers-in, charge forward to collect the pack and round up a few strays. For a so-called blood sport, there’s strangely little blood. No one here can remember the last time they caught a fox. As happens at most meets, we’ve chased a coyote, and he got away. He toyed with us, looping about for an hour until, bored, he bolted. The funny thing is, nobody cares, As we walk back to the horse trailers, I’m tired, but exhilarated, and I don’t even notice the huge blisters rubbed raw and bleeding on the insides of my knees; the pain will come later. I reach down to pat Trojan. On my jacket, the safety pin hangs open and the top button is long gone. y
Junior Corner A little experience goes a long way Every year as a fox hunter you try something new; whether it is hunting a new horse, changing fields, jumping new jumps or being a whip. I have been hunting for 5 years, and I can now say I have done all of those things. As a timid, inexperienced young rider I began my journey into the hunt by attending the 2008 Mimosa Games. While I was riding our old Percheron Appaloosa cross "Rob" in our western saddle, I knew I would be doing this again. As years passed I rode hunter paces, summer trail rides and the Mimosa Games, starting with old Robbie and upgrading to my Mom’s hunt horse Marty. At the ripe age of ten, I started doing hound exercises and some hunts. My riding had improved so much over two years! I was looking forward to every time my mom said "This is a good hunt for you," but I would ask: "Are there any ditches, steep hills, water crossings or anything scary? Will I have to gallop?" If she answered "No", I
would go on those few hunts. Before I knew it, I was fifteen and galloping across fields on our ex-racehorse "Rush"! I started oﬀ as a hilltopper but now I am a second fielder and sometimes even ride first field. I still look at some of those jumps and think "scary" but I also look at others and think "fun". I've been hunting in the field for nearly five years and have always seen the “whips” coming by and stopping hounds. A whipper-in or whip is someone who assists the huntsman during a hunt. They are responsible for helping the huntsman to keep the hounds organized and focused while out in the field. To control the hounds, the whipper-in carries a large hunt whip, which he or she cracks to get the hounds attention. I really wondered what it would be like to be a whip. Recently, the night before a hunt I looked at Rush in the field and saw he was lame. I knew it wasn't serious but he was going to be oﬀ for a couple of days. So who else to call but ECH Whip Suzanne Dow, to see about borrowing a horse. She said she would bring whatever spare horse was cleanest in the morning. I have to say I have never pulled into a hunt without knowing what horse I am riding. When I arrived the next morning, I saw Suzanne's master whip horse "Roy" was standing there for me. I knew I would be whipping! YES!! The hunt set oﬀ and it didn’t take long for me to realize... I loved whipping. While I was galloping along, chasing these crazy hounds I thought, “six years ago I was terrified of galloping, and now I am going full tilt down a gravel road with a new horse I have never rode in my life. Wow!” The improvement in my riding in five years hunting is amazing. I learned a lot about hunting while whipping like when a hound looks really cute and looks like it is going to listen to you never trust it because it will run the other way; and if Suzanne asks you to take out the camera when you are collecting hounds, most likely they are going to take oﬀ. Being a whip is a lot of fun but I think I will continue to hunt with the field. It was super exciting and a great experience! It’s so amazing that in five years I can go from walking a hunter pace course to galloping across fields, jumping and even whipping. I have been doing horse trials as well. I can’t wait to see how my riding improves in the next few years! lets see what else ECH has in store for me. Submitted by Morgan Gracey
Junior Corner Masters of Foxhounds Association of America Junior Award by Janet Feairs The MFHA recently introduced the “Fairly Hunted” award to honour juniors who have hunted five times in a season. So far the MFHA has 200 honorees for the 2012/2013 hunting season. Eglinton and Caledon Hunt is proud to welcome and encourage two new young hunters, namely seven year old Jaden Feairs (below left) and rising eight year old Nolan Givlin (right) who are riding to qualify for this honour with several Spring hunts completed & the Fall hunt season almost underway. Hunting has always been a family pastime and the Fairly Hunted Award is a terrific initiative to encourage and recognize our newest junior hunters. The friends, fellowship and pursuit of the country life are only a few of the benefits a young person experiences in participating in hunting and all the other activities ECH provides to its members. Finding an appropriate mount to hunt can at times be a challenge, the horse or pony must be safe for the rider and well-mannered. They must be able to cope with varied terrain and accept travelling at times in a large group of other horses and riders. Being safe on the roads
and learning to tolerate a pack of hounds in close proximity to them are only a few of the attributes required of a hunt horse. Needless to say the ideal hunt horse/pony is a treasure which, once found or made , is a joy and pride that cannot be underestimated. Jaden and Nolan are sharing the use of Jaden’s (12 hh) 14 year old Welsh pony, Elroy. Elroy, was Muﬀy (Stefanie) lundy’s front field pony when she started first riding to hounds with both ECH and TNY hunts several years ago. We applaud Muﬀy in first exposing Elroy to hunting and helping make him the sound, sensible, safe hunt pony he has shown himself to be. Please say hello to Jaden and Nolan when you next see them out in the field this fall and congratulate them on representing ECH as they work towards their goal of being recognized as “Fairly Hunted” by the MFHA! y For more information on this or other MFHA initiatives please visit www.mfha.org
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Eglinton and Caledon Hunt THANKS THE FOLLOWING CONTRIBU TORS :
Article Submissions: Liz Beatty, Courtney Cotter, Norman Fine, Derek French ex-MFH, Janet Feairs, Morgan Gracey, Kelley Givlin, Sue Hornemann, Fay Jensen, Brianne Thompson, Frank Merrill III, ex-MFH, Shelley Peterson, ex-MFH, Kieth Timmings, University of Guelph Photo Submissions: Karin McDonald, Frank Merrill III, ex-MFH, Brianne Thompson, Christine Gracey, Suzanne Dow, Suzanne Hornemann, Fay Jensen, Derek French ex-MFH, Shelley Peterson, ex-MFH, Janet Feairs, Kelley Givlin
Photo: Suzanne Dow
Advertising Sales: Carmen Cotter, Janet and Carl Feairs, Derek French, ex-MFH, Paul Hinder, Walter Jensen, MFH, Sarah Murphy, Alastair Strachan, MFH, Christopher Stewart
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News & notes from the Eglinton Caledon Hunt Club