THE ART OF THE HUNT • SEDGEFIELD RECAP • FROM RANCH TO FOXHUNT
THE MAGAZINE OF MOUNTED FOXHUNTING
SUMMER 2016 • $5.00
s J o h n C o l e s 2 0 16 s
“A Virginia Horseman Specializing in Virginia Horse Properties” HiCkorY Tree
HiDDeN TrAiL fArm
The beautifully groomed 325 acres of this thoroughbred horse breeding & training farm rests at the edge of Middleburg. The gently rolling land includes a stately manor home, tenant homes, Confederate Hall, the barns and 6 furlong training track. The Georgian Style Training Barn is stunning and includes 28 stalls and a 1/8 mile indoor training track & paddocks. $10,450,000
Magnificent horse property in the midst of the serene countryside. From the picturesque Young Road two driveways access the 107 acres of Hidden Trail Farm. The first leads to one of the finest indoor arenas surrounded by exquisite ride out. The second is the graceful, park-like drive, which parallels a creek and then gently curves up to the elegant manor home. $6,500,000
Extraordinary 7 Bedroom estate on over 180 acres. New Gourmet State of the Art Kitchen & Baths. Gorgeous full wall of windows overlooking a 10 acre lake. Pool and poolhouse with fireplace, spa and new tennis courts. Ideal for horses with 10 stall stable, paddocks with run-in sheds. $3,950,000
c.1823, with a stunning tree lined entrance, offers one of the grand manor homes in the famed horse country of Upperville and Piedmont Hunt. Recently renovated, the home offers wonderful indoor and outdoor living areas. Porches, gardens, barns, paddocks, riding arena, pond, pool and magnificent mountain views. $3,700,000
This is a classic, elegant Virginia manor house with a custom designed kitchen open to the family room and attention to detail throughout. The 3 bedroom, 3 ½ Bath home also features a pool, guest house, 4 stall barn on 18 acres located in the Orange County Hunt Territory. Convenient access to I- 66, Rt. 50 and Dulles International Airport $2,999,000
The 98 acre estate c.1840, 2 bedroom pool/guest house adjacent to heated pool. 2 bedroom tenant home, 10 stall barn with 1 bedroom apt. and manager's office, additional 4 stall & 3 stall barn. Paddocks, pond, & magnificent gardens. 42 acres of this property are in managed Forestry Land Use. Excellent access to I-66. $2,900,000
Custom Built stone/stucco 3-story home on 100+ acres with 4 bedrooms plus large master in-law suite with separate parking and entrance. Slate roof,game room, custom theatre, workout room, study, office, dog room, custom kitchen, 4 stone fireplaces. Extensive horse facilities include 18 stall barn,2 stall barn, 14 paddocks, large ring and much more. $5,500,000
Magnificent 155 Acre Atoka Road Estate with gated entry opening into the private drive lined with mature trees. The charming historic manor home, c. 1827 backs to expansive views of fields and ponds. 4 tenant homes, 3 barns, indoor and outdoor riding arenas. Gently rolling pasture land with fenced paddocks and fields. $3,250,000
A picturesque and tranquil retreat nestled on 158+ acres in pristine Rappahannock County. At the end of the private drive is the historic Stone residence. Property also features and additional stone guest cottage/office and a charming and beautifully restored 2 bedroom log cabin. Gardens, lawn, barns, paddocks and ride out provide an outdoor haven. $1,845,000
HOPEWELL ROAD - 82.99 acres with access from either The Plains Road or Hopewell Road. Nice elevation and several options for house sites. All wooded, with amazing view potential. Includes a certification letter for a 5 BR septic system. Property is in Easement and cannot be further subdivided. $1,395,000
The 16 room Manor House, c.1774 on 87 ACRES with mountain views, rolling hills & the property's 1300' of Shenandoah River frontage. Ballroom with dramatic Tiffany style windows. Tenant house and horse barns. VOF easement w/2 DURs. Contingent upon property being divided with option to purchase more. $1,700,000
OLD CARTERS MILL RD - 53+ acres of beautiful, open and gently rolling land with expansive views of the countryside and distant mountains. Located in the coveted Orange County Hunt Territory of Fauquier County, this land provides exceptional ride-out potential. A home-site has been studied including engineers report verifying a site for a 5 Bedroom septic, well and potential pond site. Open space easement, land cannot be divided.
The stately mansion is sited on 8½ acres within the town limits of The Plains, VA. The size of the home and its room sizes lends itself beautifully for hosting large events. The foyer measures 48’ x 11’. The zoning allows for potential division rights or potential tax credits. Convenient to Exit 31 of I-66. $1,495,000
Offers subject to errors, omissions, change of price or withdrawal without notice. Information contained herein is deemed reliable, but is not so warranted nor is it otherwise guaranteed.
(540) 270-0094 THOMAS AND TALBOT REAL ESTATE (540) 687-6500
Middleburg, Virginia 20118
A profile of British artist Daniel Crane, who tries to capture the essence of foxhunting.
SUMMER 2016 • VOLUME 7, NUMBER 2
Features 16 SCULPTING A SECOND CAREER BY CHRISTOPHER OAKFORD
Two artists craft lives as sporting sculptors.
20 THE STORY OF SPORT BY AMY GESELL
Sporting art as seen through the eyes of one of England’s most notable artists.
26 FROM RANCH TO FOXHUNTING BY HEATHER BENSON
Former racehorses find new purpose on ranches and in the hunt field.
30 LAST CHANCE TALENT BY FRED BERRY Last Chance Talent ’11 lives up to her name.
IN EACH ISSUE:
From the President p.2
THE CLUB The people and events of MFHA’s member clubs. YOUNG ENTRY Follow one young rider’s journey to good health and hunting.
From the Publisher p.4
ASK THE KENNELMAN A day in the life of Mike Gottier.
THE FIND Fun and functional riding and tack accessories
ON OUR COVER: Linda L. Volrath’s artistic expression of foxhunting, Fan Club, portrays beauty and solitude.
MFHA News p.6
Last Run of the Day p.48
BETTER HUNTING The perfect foxhunting partner differs for every rider.
FARE & FLASK Lowcountry Hunt’s end of season feast
LIBRARY The foxhunter’s guide to good reads. SUMMER 2016 | 1
FROM THE PRESIDENT
Our New Home
MASTERS OF FOXHOUNDS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA
2 | COVERTSIDE
Dr. John R. van Nagell, MFH • President Patrick A. Leahy, MFH • First Vice-President Leslie Crosby, MFH • Second Vice-President Joseph Kent, ex-MFH • Secretary-Treasurer Lt. Col. Dennis J. Foster, ex-MFH • Executive Director
Dr. John R. van Nagell, MFH • President PO Box 363, Millwood, VA 22646 (540) 955-5680
HUNT STAFF BENEFIT FOUNDATION Nancy Stahl, MFH • President PO Box 363, Millwood, VA 22646 (540) 955-5680
COVERTSIDE EDITORIAL BOARD DAVE TRAXLER
n April, the MFHA Foundation purchased a property at 301 East Washington Street, in Middleburg, Virginia, to become the national headquarters of the MFHA, MFHA Foundation, and the Hunt Staff Benefit Foundation. Previous MFHA offices have been in Boston, Massachusetts, Morven Park in Leesburg, Virginia, and since 2002, in Millwood, Virginia. The new property contains an attractive, historic building and a beautiful garden. Importantly, it is on the main street of Middleburg, with excellent access for the public. This purchase is the culmination of an 18-month search process by the MFHA Site Committee, during which a number of locations in several states were considered and evaluated. When renovations are completed, the major functions of our new headquarters will be: (1) offices for the MFHA Executive Director, as well as the staff of the association and foundations; (2) space for a large board room which can also be used for educational seminars; and (3) a facility to present selected items reflecting the history and art of American foxhunting, which will be informative both to those interested in the sport and the general public. This new facility should allow us to perform all of these functions in an outstanding way. The headquarters will be open to visitors at least three days per week, giving us a unique opportunity to tell the story of our cherished sport. The purchase price of this property was $800,000, and it is estimated that an additional $700,000 will be required for renovations. To date, we have received $300,000 in private donations for this project, and fundraising efforts are just beginning. As is mentioned on page 3, your tax-free donation should be sent directly
to Dennis Foster at the current MFHA office, or online at www.mfha.com, with a designation of support for the MFHA Headquarters Project. It is so important that each of us participate by giving what we can, and that we have a national headquarters that represents each hunt and all of foxhunting in the best possible manner. As the new season approaches, we look forward to seeing how our new entry interact with veterans in the pack, and whether or not our favorite field hunter is better than ever. We are again reminded of how fortunate we are to be able to participate in this amazing sport. All the best,
Dr. Jack van Nagell, MFH President, MFHA
Emily Esterson • Editor-in-Chief Dennis J. Foster, ex-MFH Dr. John R. van Nagell, MFH Patrick A. Leahy, MFH Leslie Crosby, MFH
Canada • Laurel Byrne, MFH Carolinas • Fred Berry, MFH Central • Arlene Taylor, MFH Great Plains • Dr. Luke Matranga, MFH Maryland-Delaware • Sheila Brown, MFH Midsouth • Orrin Ingram, MFH Midwest • Keith Gray, MFH New England • Dr. Terence Hook, MFH New York-New Jersey • Marion Thorne, MFH Northern Virginia-West Virginia • Tad Zimmerman, MFH Pacific • Terry Paine, MFH Pennsylvania • Sean Cully, MFH Rocky Mountain • Mary Ewing, MFH Southern • Mercer Fearington, MFH Virginia • Bob Ferrer, MFH Western • John P. Dorrier Jr., MFH At Large • Daphne Wood, MFH At Large • Mason H. Lampton, MFH At Large • Dr. G. Marvin Beeman, MFH At Large • Ed Kelly, MFH
COVERTSIDE (ISSN 1547-4216) is published quarterly (February, May, August and November) by the Masters of Foxhounds Association 675 Lime Marl Lane, Berryville, VA 22611. Periodical Postage Paid at Winchester, VA 22601 and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to MFHA, PO Box 363, Millwood, VA 22646. COVERTSIDE READERS: Direct all correspondence to the same address. Tel: (540)955-5680. Website: www.mfha.com
National Headquarters Our future home, Middleburg, VA
OUR NEW HEADQUARTERS WILL BE OPEN TO THE PUBLIC,
and you are a part of our expansion. • Easy access to public to provide foxhunting information & history
• Located in foxhunting country with over 26 hunts within two hours
• Meeting rooms, class rooms, videos on foxhunting and foxhunting library all in one
MFHA REPRESENTS FOXHUNTING FOR ALL US! Whether you give $5.00 or $5000, you can be a part of our new headquarters, building on our mission to Promote, Preserve, Protect mounted foxhunting for future generations!
• In Historic Middleburg, a quaint civil war town in the heart of Virginia horse country.
Send your tax deductible donation to:
MFHA Foundation, P. O. Box 363, Millwood, VA 22646 Or online at: www.mfha.com Please make the notation “Headquarters Fund” on your check.
FROM THE PUBLISHER
Hanging Out with History
W ROBERT KORNACKI
henever foxhunters gather, there’s a sense of camaraderie. Such was the case during the third weekend in April, at the Biennial Staff Seminar. As always, there was great learning to be had from the seminars themselves. Jimmy Wofford gave a riding lesson to a banquet room full of riveted guests, using only a white board and a dry-erase marker
(no horses in sight). His points about leg position, balance, and yes, posting without stirrups (a lot), were absorbed and discussed throughout the weekend. Saturday morning’s trip to the Middleburg Hunt’s kennels and to Huntland provided unique insights into the history of foxhunting and its current state. And the workshops covered everything from when and how to introduce puppies to the main pack, to choosing the right horse for the job.
4 | COVERTSIDE
But more importantly, it was the socializing that made the weekend special. Even if we don’t know each other, chances are we share experience and a sense of adventure. This was really clear to me on Saturday night at the Huntland dinner (a truly special event, and shame on those who missed it!). I happened to mosey up to a free spot at a table already occupied by two lovely Canadians (Eglinton and Caledon Hunt, I believe). Within minutes we were telling adventure stories. Those kinds of interactions happened over and over during the weekend. And that doesn’t include reconnecting with old friends. To use the old saw, “a good time was had by all” would be an understatement. Kudos to the organizing committee, including Leslie Crosby, Tad Zimmerman, Keith Gray, Mary Ewing and of course, Dennis Foster and Jenn Lambiase for a job well done. Part of what we love about foxhunting is the culture, and in this issue, we present one of our favorite topics: foxhunting art. From sculpture to painting, this time around we focus on those who both hunt and create art. We also caught up with several ranchers who use their horses for foxhunting and cattle work, and we have our usual news about the clubs and people who make our sport great. Enjoy!
Emily Esterson Editor-in-Chief/Publisher
SUMMER 2016 EDITOR-IN-CHIEF/PUBLISHER EMILY ESTERSON firstname.lastname@example.org 505-553-2671 ART DIRECTOR GLENNA STOCKS email@example.com
EDITORIAL ASSOCIATE EDITOR SANDRA MCGINNIS firstname.lastname@example.org
CONTRIBUTING WRITERS HEATHER BENSON MARTHA DRUM AMY GESELL SUSAN HOFFMAN JOANNE MESZOLY CHRISTOPHER OAKFORD GLENYE CAIN OAKFORD MICHAEL STERN
ADVERTISING AND MARKETING SALES MANAGER CHERYL MICROUTSICOS email@example.com 434-664-7057 PENNSYLVANIA/MID-ATLANTIC KATHY DRESS firstname.lastname@example.org NORTHEAST SPENCER MOORE email@example.com Covertside is the official publication of the Masters of Foxhounds Association Published by E-Squared Editorial Services LLC 2329 Lakeview Rd. SW Albuquerque, NM 87105 Telephone: 505-553-2671 Web Address: www.ecovertside.net www.mfha.com
IT WAS A WEEKEND OF FUN,
answered questions about their
THE BIENNIAL STAFF SEMINAR,
fairly new facility
held April 22-24 in Chantilly,
(the final portion
Virginia. The festivities began
with the popular eventing
year). All eyes
Olympian Jimmy Wofford, who
then turned to
presented key equitation and
fitness principles for foxhunters.
Robards as he brought
Using a white board for simple
out his pack with the
illustrations, he insisted that a
assistance of several
physically fit rider has about 30
percent more horse left at the
a few juniors. A few
end of the day, and exhorted his
2016 puppies, several
audience to begin by trotting ten
weeks old, came out
steps a day without stirrups —
to greet the large
then twenty — and work upward.
crowd as well.
Other excellent tips involved bal-
A highlight of the
Hugh Robards, huntsman, Middleburg, has his hounds’ attention. INSET: Dennis Foster, seminar attendee Tami Masters from Woodbrook Hunt Club, and Jimmy Wofford.
ance, position and stirrup length,
weekend was the
but Wofford’s no-stirrups advice
detailed tour of the
became a theme repeated
historic kennels and stables at
The tour simultaneously explained
hearing Dr. Parker recount cor-
throughout the weekend.
Huntland, one of the most promi-
the original layout and daily use
respondence and hunt reports
nent hunting estates of the early
of the buildings, as well as the
from the original owner. Saturday
burg Hunt opened its kennels to
20th century. Dr. Betsee Parker
conservation and renovation pro-
evening, participants dressed up
seminar attendees. The group
has been carefully restoring the
cess. Seminar participants walked
and headed back to Middleburg
admired the clean, open design
circa 1834 property to its 1911
through the original lodges and
for a spectacular cocktail party
of the runs and lodges. Masters
state, which is when J.B. Thomas
courtyard, learning about the
in the main house at Huntland.
Jeff Blue and Penny Denegre
Jr., avid foxhunter, purchased it.
beagle and foxhound packs and
As a token of appreciation for his
On Saturday morning, Middle-
twenty-five years of service as Executive Director of the MFHA, the Board presented Dennis Foster with a commissioned painting of Foster jumping the famous New Zealand wire. Also, the Ian Milne Award, recognizing an outstanding huntsman, was presented to John Gray, Hillsboro Hounds, Tenn. That formal presentation will take place before the Horn Blowing Championship at the Virginia Hound Show, on May 28. Saturday and Sunday educational sessions included “Hunting Across America,” a survey of country, quarry, technique, and horses ranging from Canada to the Deep South. “The Hunt THE MFHA CLOSED ON ITS NEW HEADQUARTERS in downtown Middleburg, Va., on April 15. The property will include offices for the executive staff of the association and foundation, as well as education space and a visitor’s center for people wanting to learn about foxhunting. There is also storage space for the MFHA’s extensive art collection. The property needs to be renovated, and the MFHA and MFHA Foundation are raising money for that purpose (see ad, page 3). The property won’t be occupied for at least six months to a year.
Horse,” featured several exceptional horsemen sharing their philosophies and practices. A Masters’ seminar featured topics such as public relations and marketing, fundraising and hound care. For more details on the Staff Seminar, check ecovertside.net.
6 | COVERTSIDE
PHOTOS MARTHA DRUM
EDUCATION AND HISTORY AT
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MODEL SHOWN IN ARIAT
THE CLUB society. We have to observe
herded his development and
and adapt, to diversify the
also inspired him to give back.
sources of income, to reach out
With their guidance, Dr. Cowles
to a wider community for sup-
gained experience in all areas
port.” To meet these and other
of the Thoroughbred industry
desired outcomes, strategic
and in the polo, foxhunting, and
planning is critical. Hunt clubs
jump racing communities. He
must articulate goals, brain-
ultimately landed near Charlot-
storm and then refine steps to
tesville, practicing at George-
achieve them, and maintain a
town Veterinary Hospital before
schedule for completion. The
establishing Blue Ridge Equine
plan needs to be reviewed and
FROM PASSION TO SERVICE
Clinic in 1978.
Farmington Hunt President Reynolds Cowles, DVM, to lead the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP). BY MARTHA DRUM
underscores that they shep-
Throughout his professional
Dr. Cowles recommends
progress, Dr. Cowles maintained
officers and Masters identify
a sense of gratitude and obliga-
needs, then form committees
tion to contribute. His service
and empower them to act —
began on veterinary and racing
acknowledging this can be diffi-
committees in Virginia, then
cult to do. He underscores that
gradually expanded to leader-
accomplishments are ultimately
ship in national organizations.
the result of team efforts,
“The AAEP has been so good
and emphasizes that leaders
to me. It’s been so good at sup-
need to be proactive to recruit
porting its members through
others. “You have to ask,” he
DR. COWLES GREW UP in a
advocacy and education. It’s
explains. “You have to go and
farming and sporting family
fun to give back. It’s an honor,”
get the talent that is available
Foxhunters and the AAEP
where service and initiative were
in your group.” At Farmington,
father started the first foxhound
the horse, Dr. Cowles’ success-
kennels, stable, and clubhouse
Dr. Cowles is not the first
field trials in North Carolina. His
ful stewardship results from his
property placed in conserva-
father raised purebred Jersey
pragmatic eye for sound busi-
tion easement last year, which
cattle, bred jacks on Army
ness. Across the groups he’s led,
provides financial benefit to
remount mares to produce qual-
from a hunt club with fewer than
the club through Virginia’s tax
ity mules (innovating artificial
200 members, to the AAEP, with
credit resale program.
Practitioners. Dr. Marvin
insemination in the 1930s),
nearly 9,300, he insists the chal-
Having transitioned out of
Beeman, Master and
and his mother was the county
lenges are the same. “You’ve got
ownership of Blue Ridge Equine
huntsman for the Arapa-
tax supervisor. Surrounded by
to have organizational manage-
Clinic’s successful ambula-
working horses, he became
ment, goal setting, and commu-
tory and inpatient practice, Dr.
an instant Thoroughbred fan
nication — just like you’d need
Cowles remains busy on staff
watching the 1956 Kentucky
in any business, church, or civic
treating patients. Asked how
Derby on television. He speaks
organization. There have to be
he spends time when he’s not
strongly about that influence on
systems in place to channel ideas
around horses, Dr. Cowles gives
his future career: “It starts with
and ensure you get results.”
a quick reply: “Playing with my
foxhunter to lead the prestigious American Association of Equine
hoe Hunt in Colorado, was a board member and president of the organization in 1975. Dr. Beeman also gave the
the example. In 1918, his grand-
a passion for the horse,” he says
While inspired by passion for
Asked about specific chal-
keynote speech at the
with animation, “regardless of
lenges facing hunt clubs, Dr.
organization’s 60th annual
the ability or kind of horse, it
Cowles identifies a changing
convention, held in Salt
drives us, that passion.”
membership: “This sport was
Lake City in 2014. He is also a past president of MFHA (2008-2011).
8 | COVERTSIDE
As Dr. Cowles began his
once fueled, in many places,
career with horses, he ben-
by just a few wealthy families
efited from mentors such as Dr.
and landowners, and it is a very
Joe O’Day, Dr. Dan Flynn, Felix
traditional sport. But we need
Neusch, Danny Van Clief. He
to be adaptable to changes in
this process helped get the
bird dogs or fly rods in Montana. Or bush hogging!” Martha Drum is the social media editor for Covertside. She gives lessons camps at her Easy Keeper Farm in Va. A former Associate Master of Norfolk Hunt, she now rides with Farmington and Keswick Hunts.
A retreat for you
AND YOUR HORSE
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2/1/16 3:36 PM
GOLDEN AGE Hunting past the age of 75 BY KATIE BO WILLIAMS
MERCER FEARINGTON was almost 50 the first time a
CATHY CARR TABER
Meet older foxhunters who still passionately follow hounds.
AGE: 78 never ridden English. “I survived on this horse and
friend prevailed upon him to
I hunted the next 46 hunts
go autumn hunting, but in
straight and they made me
the 28 years since, he’s hardly
a field master. I mean, I was
longevity in the hunt field is
missed a hunt.
one part consistency and two
convince themselves they’re
parts determination. Don’t quit
For Fearington, the key to
“I went out and bought
Fearington says he’s more
a Thoroughbred that dead-
fit now than he was in his mid-
hunting — and don’t buy into
headed back from Oklahoma
30s, a credit to the close to
the fact that you’re getting old.
from a feedlot,” he recalls. “A
400 hours a year he spends in
local low-end horse trader had
the saddle following hounds.
it, so I thought, that’s prob-
“I’ve seen so many people
visible shake of the head. “They’ll sell their horses and
Meanwhile, Fearington says his only regret is that he didn’t start 20 or 30 years sooner.
who’ll get into their late 60s,
“That’s enough to keep you
talking around at a cocktail
ably perfect for what I need. I
fit … or dead, one of the two,”
party, saying, ‘I’m too old,’”
did know how to ride, but had
Fearington says with an almost
Katie Bo Williams is a freelance journalist and editor, and a lifetime Virginia foxhunter.
SUMMER 2016 | 9
THE CLUB Hunt (Md.) opened their own recently built kennels for comparison. Initial challenges included the land itself. Piedmont owns the property, thanks to the generosity of a few individuals who purchased the farm and transferred it to the club. The acreage, however, sits within an historic Civil War battlefield MIDDLEBURG PHOTO
district and foxhound kennels do not precisely fall into either agricultural or commercial land use designation. The leadership team had to communicate their
TWO BRUSHES INTO THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY Visit the venerable Piedmont Fox Hounds in their posh new kennels.
vision persuasively to Loudoun County officials as the plan evolved. The Masters emphasized that the club’s record as a good civic neighbor and the positive relationships they have fostered with surrounding landowners proved invaluable.
BY MARTHA DRUM providing a kennel tour last
THE FLOOR PLAN FLOWS NICELY
is one of the oldest organized
from the 1920s and had been
March, the Masters expressed
The new complex’s clean outline
hunt clubs in the United States.
derelict for a period while
their gratitude to every donor.
stands neatly atop a small hill
When the decision was made
hounds were kenneled else-
“We had one hundred percent
above the stables. Entering
to build new kennels, tradi-
where. The yards rolled steeply
participation from the board,”
through the front courtyard, the
tional wisdom combined with
down to a low-lying field, and
notes Ryan, “and excellent con-
immediate impression is bright,
contemporary execution to
despite staff ’s best efforts,
tributions from the subscrib-
clean, elegant — and quiet.
create a hound haven.
aging fences encouraged what
ers.” This enabled Piedmont to
Hicks, a South Carolina native,
Huntsman Jordan Hicks calls
realize a beautiful and useful
nods and gestures toward re-
in Upperville, Va., has helped
“jailbreaks.” By 2014, Joint
building. They were also deter-
laxed, lounging hounds, “They’re
define the storied horse coun-
Masters Shelby Bonnie, Tad
mined to make it durable. “We
happy, they’re not fussing, we
try of Loudoun and Fauquier
Zimmerman, and Gregg Ryan
love these kennels,” says Zim-
can all hear each other talking,
counties. Prominent sporting
recognized that the old kennels
merman, standing in front of
and they can hear me.”
institutions, including the Up-
could no longer continue in ser-
the new building, “but we don’t
perville Colt and Horse Show,
vice. With the support of Pied-
want to do this again.”
the Mrs. Theodora A. Randolph
mont’s board of directors, the
The broader foxhunting
tect Leah C. Palmer, an active
Memorial North American Field
decision was made to construct
fraternity offered advice and
foxhunter. She shares that she
Hunter Championships, and the
an entirely new facility.
wisdom. Huntsmen such as
grew up enjoying all aspects of
Andrew Barclay and Masters
sporting life — “riding, hunt-
FOUNDED IN 1840, Piedmont
Piedmont Fox Hounds, based
The kennels, however, dated
Piedmont Point-to-Point Races
Piedmont benefited from a valuable resource in archi-
are closely tied to the hunt and
Glenn Epstein, Dennis Foster,
ing, and cleaning kennels, so I
its founders and Masters. In
Once this commitment was
Tony Leahy, and Marty and
knew how important creating a
the field, from the nineteenth
announced, the club commu-
Daphne Wood, among others,
workable space would be!” Her
century to the present, Pied-
nity rallied in support — includ-
offered insight. Orange County
experience contributed to the
mont’s well-regarded pack has
ing the means to complete
Hounds (Va.), Green Spring Val-
spacious and functional floor
provided terrific sport across
the project without drawing
ley Hounds (Md.), Blue Ridge
plan. The welcoming courtyard,
on operating expenses. While
Hunt (Va.) and Elkridge-Harford
oriented to collect heat in the
10 | COVERTSIDE
THE LEADER IN EQUESTRIAN SAFETY Whether you choose the Hampton, H2000 or the Wellington Classic, you can be confident in Charles Owen. Made in Britain to the newest standards of equestrian safety. BY APPOINTMENT TO HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN PROTECTIVE HEADWEAR MANUFACTURERS WREXHAM Kitemarked to PAS015:2011
Kitemarked to VG1 01.040 2014-12
VG1 01.040 2014-12
Certified by SEI to ASTM F1163
winter, guides visitors into the
from it. Hicks praises this lay-
main aisle. In summer, leav-
out’s impact on hound health:
ing the doors open from the
“I have more room to interact
courtyard will capture prevail-
one-on-one with the hounds,
ing winds for airflow.
to sort them, and to tend to
Four airy, bright lodges open
individual needs.” Throughout
off the aisle, with the area
hound areas, multiple ceiling
for bitches in heat separated
fans, awning windows, and
across the roomy feedlot and
overhead doors provide plenty
skinning yard. Piedmont feeds a
of airflow options.
good amount of flesh; the over-
Additional spaces include a large feed room with washable
to enter, and the attached
fiberglass walls, a hound-sized
walk-in refrigerator provides
commercial grade sink, and
convenient storage for future
stainless steel countertops.
meals. The lodges have raised
Across the courtyard, the com-
considering water flow, space,
concrete beds with two inches
fortably finished office boasts
light, air, and sanitation of the
of rigid insulation and sealed
WiFi, desktops for recordkeep-
rubber mats. The concrete
ing, and displays of club photo-
yards extend to gates opening
graphs and memorabilia.
directly into the larger stone
No detail was overlooked when
new Piedmont kennels.
beyond the basic floor plan
walls and windowsills are angled
into myriad smaller, signifi-
to prevent pooling. Connected
easy movement to the three
THE DELIGHT IS IN THE DETAILS
cant points. She and builder
underground trenches at either
1/2-acre grass yards that radiate
Palmer’s expertise extended
James Fletcher utilized modern
end of the aisle and the back
technology and materials to
edges of the yards collect and
enhance and preserve the
transport runoff to prevent mud
structure. The high ceiling al-
and erosion. Accessible valves
lows excellent light and airflow,
allow staff to control how water
slopes to disperse noise, and
drains to protect the leach field.
is covered with two-inch-thick
Most of these details are almost
waterproof acoustic tiles to
unnoticeable, but enable the
absorb sound. Hound area walls
huntsman to maintain his high
are concrete block, painted
standards for sanitation while
with two coats of commercial-
leaving the area surrounding the
grade block filler, in colors
kennels intact and attractive.
dust yard for wet weather and
chosen to conceal oil stains
January 15, 2016, when the
are rounded to prevent injury
pack moved in. Happily, hounds
and huntsman are pleased with
These techniques continue
12 | COVERTSIDE
The ultimate test came on
from hounds’ coats. The edges
the comfort of their custom-
into the yards. To discourage
designed quarters. After a few
Hicks’ athletic hounds from
months’ occupancy, Hicks’
attempting more jailbreaks, the
favorite features include effec-
fences extend underground
tive water pressure coupled
and concrete lines each gate
with excellent drainage. “All my
threshold. As you might expect,
work flows better,” he observes
there is a lot of hosing. Perhaps
with a smile when asked to
the most sustained innovation
name the biggest improve-
throughout this well-planned
ment to his daily routine. “It’s
structure is control of water
a bigger space, so it still takes
runoff. Inside the building, all
time, but everything is simpler.
floor surfaces are sloped to
It’s the best kennels I’ve ever
keep water moving. The tops of
head doors here allow a tractor
The Masters of Foxhounds Association seeks
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR The Masters of Foxhounds Association, based in Middleburg, Va., seeks an executive director to manage a 109-year-old membership-based organization dedicated to mounted hunting with hounds. The executive director works closely with a board of directors and reports to the president. He or she manages the association and its budget, finances and fundraising. Other activities include planning events, seminars, and board meetings; marketing, promotion and public relations for the sport of mounted hunting with hounds; and working with local and federal legislative activities. The executive director will engage with 154 member clubs, as well as hunting-related organizations. Salary and benefits commensurate with experience. PLEASE SUBMIT RESUME AND SALARY EXPECTATIONS TO
Christy@MFHA.com Applications due by June 15th.
Brynn Miller (LEFT) has Cystic Fibrosis, but hunts enthusiastically with her mom Joanne Meszoly (RIGHT), and other members of Potomac.
Hunting for Good Health BY JOANNE MESZOLY | PHOTOGRAPHS KAREN KANDRA WENZEL
“Fire the missiles!” YOU WON’T FIND that phrase in any foxhunting glossary, but you might hear it in the Potomac Hunt’s second field. Last fall, my five-year-old daughter, Brynn, tested the foxhunting waters and promptly plunged in. One outing and she was a convert. She’s a vocal participant, yelling “’Ware hole!” or “’Ware wire!” though there’s no one to ’ware; she’s the caboose who trails the second field. But as the last in line, she gets to holler, “Staff please!” when a whip suddenly approaches and needs 14 | COVERTSIDE
to wend through a trail clogged with riders. “Fire the missiles!” is Brynn’s vernacular for an impending run: She shortens her reins, grabs her pony’s neck strap, and hunkers down. At present, Brynn is the youngest rider in the Potomac Hunt. Her paddock boots barely clear the saddle flaps, and creek crossings are daunting, cavernous leaps for a kindergartener. In the foxhunting world, her age isn’t remarkable. Youngsters participate in hunt clubs across the country — some younger
than Brynn. On the whole, these pint-sized riders are wellreceived: Not only are they cute in their miniature hunt coats and tiny jods, but they represent future members who will hopefully sustain hunt clubs for years to come. Like any parent, I am pleased that one of my kids is interested in foxhunting. I hope that she learns about the sport and hones her riding skills. But for Brynn, foxhunting poses an added benefit: It might help her lung function. And she needs all the help she can get. My husband Martin and I never knew that we both carried a single defective gene that normally helps salt move
in and out of cells. We discovered this when our third child, Brynn, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (CF), a genetic disease that causes the body to produce thick mucus, which leads to digestive problems and compromised lung function. Decades ago, CF sufferers rarely lived beyond elementary school age. Now, the average age for CF patients is 38, and many live much longer, thanks to frequent hospital check-ups, advancements in medical treatment, and daily physical therapy that helps to loosen and clear mucus from the airways. Riding horses was already a part of Brynn’s life when I mentioned it during one of her check-ups at Johns Hopkins. Her physical therapist perked up and said that riding can be beneficial; all the bouncing might help with airway clearance. Doctors are less enocuraging, citing the germs and pathogens that are present in barns. Foxhunting wasn’t part of the plan, but when the Potomac Hunt hosted an Introduction to Foxhunting clinic last summer, I took Brynn and she was hooked. I hastily pulled together appropriate apparel, snapped a lead rope to her pony, and off we went. The first few hunts, she cried in fear when we negotiated steep hills and
ravines. But by her fourth outing she’d mastered much of the terrain, and in November, she hunted solo — “off the leash” as she likes to say. Her pony Rocky has accepted his new career as a hunt mount, though every so often, he grabs the bit and takes off. Brynn grabs the neck strap and hangs on until someone
heads them off. Brynn’s lung health is a mystery — her airways may be clear and healthy, or clogged and compromised. But if horseback riding may help, then hours of foxhunting are even better. And more importantly, Brynn likes hunting. She is mesmerized by the hounds, and she
scans the horizon in the hopes of seeing the fox. She soaks it all in — the hounds at work, the country, and the rules of riding. She refuses to head in until our huntsman announces that we’re done for the day. I’d like to say that she’s equally receptive to hunting etiquette, but I’d be lying. At one meet she loudly proclaimed, “We’ve already hunted here today! Why are we hunting the same territory again?” (I hissed at her to be quiet.) At the conclusion of that hunt, as we passed one of the Joint Masters, I advised Brynn to thank the field master for the day. “For what?” she asked indignantly. “What did he do?” Hopefully, Brynn will temper her smart-aleck remarks and
retain her passion for horse and hound. But I hope her tenacious attitude will help her fight a lifelong battle with CF. Ronald Reagan (or Winston Churchill, depending on who you ask) once said, “There’s nothing better for the inside of a man than the outside of a horse.” For Brynn, I truly hope those words ring true. Joanne Meszoly is a Marylandbased freelance writer and a member of the Potomac Hunt. EDITOR’S NOTE: Brynn was admitted to the hospital for a week shortly after this story was written. She went home with an IV-catheter line to continue treatment; a day after that line was removed, she rode at the hunt’s final meet.
SUMMER 2016 | 15
FOXHUNTING SEEPS INTO EVERY NOOK AND CRANNY OF A PERSON’S LIFE, affecting everything from one’s choice of clothes to where one lives, and most certainly in how much income remains in one’s bank account at the end of the month. And perhaps most pervasively of all, it can profoundly influence a person’s taste in art, as just a cursory examination of most foxhunters’ homes will reveal. From the grandest hunting estate to the humblest cottage, sporting art is ubiquitous and surprisingly democratic. Below, we profile artists who specialize in hunting and sporting sculpture.
BY CHRISTOPHER OAKFORD
SCULPTING A SECOND CAREER Two artists show their passion for sporting art through bronze. 16 | COVERTSIDE
arry Henderson of Atlanta, Georgia, spent much of his career in commercial real estate, becoming a full-time artist only six years ago at the respectable age of 65. “I guess being an entrepreneur and building shopping centers was still kind of creative!” Although art was a serious preoccupation, he pursued it on a strictly amateur basis. All that changed when a friend who specialized in wildlife sculpture persuaded him to take a class. “I took it for a week and I really enjoyed it, so I took some more in Sedona, Arizona, and that’s where I really fell in love with it.” As the former MFH and huntsman of the now-defunct Shamrock Hounds, Henderson has a profound knowledge of the sport, and this informs his work. “Ever since I started sculpting I had in the back of my mind that I wanted to combine my two passions: English foxhunting and sculpting,” he says. And as he explains, “I’m really fortunate to be able to combine them. Most artists search around for something they enjoy doing that will also sell, and often there’s a conflict there because what they enjoy is the art, but they have to sell their work and so there’s a compromise.” The enduring popularity of sporting art means Henderson can produce art from his passion that is also highly marketable. Henderson begins each piece with a mental picture of a typical scene from his hunting past and then aims to capture the moment in bronze. “I hunted hounds for 27 years. So my mind just races with ideas. I hope that my love of the hounds, and my understanding of and appreciation for the traditions of the sport, come through in my art. I concentrate on accuracy. I study the anatomy of horses and I kind of know by now what a hunter looks like.” Ultimately, though, it is the hounds that intrigue him most. “Anything with a dog involved, that’s where I’m happiest! And hopefully anyone who knows hounds will look at my work and think I know exactly what those hounds are thinking.” Henderson describes the sculpting process as a collaborative effort. “It’s my vision, my idea. I produce a clay model of what the finished piece will look like. Then I send it to a foundry about an hour from my house, and they turn it into bronze.” The sculptures are cast in pieces and then welded together. The process can take up to 90 days, and Henderson visits the foundry several times in order to keep an eye on proceedings. “I’m very lucky to have a good foundry so close. There are not many that specialize in art casting. I’ll go there and just check, for example, that a hound’s leg is exactly as I meant it to be. If you don’t catch flaws early, then they go through the whole process and you could end up with a hound with a crooked leg.” Once the piece is assembled, Henderson works with an expert to apply his choice of patina. “It’s not paint, it’s a mixture of chemicals that’s applied to the bronze and gives it a color, whether it’s bright or dark. I’m very traditional and prefer a darker patina for my work. “My inspiration is actually Western art. … And a lot of it is narrative sculpting; it tries to tell a story. I’ve taken that and combined it with my passion for foxhunting.”
ABOVE: Barry Henderson, Let’s Go. Photo by Lynn Henderson. LEFT: Barry Henderson, First Cast of the Day. Photo by Lynn Henderson.
SUMMER 2016 | 17
L BELOW: Stephen Winterburn, Grayling. Photo by Justin Gardner. LEFT: Stephen Winterburn, Greenfinch. Photo by Justin Gardner.
ike Henderson, Stephen Winterburn pursued an alternative career for much of his adult life. “I tried a lot of different ways to make a living. I had a motorcycle business, then a printing business, and finally a clothing business,” he reveals. “I suppose I started painting in my early twenties, and for many years I concentrated on oil paintings of wild animals. I traveled all over the world, to India and Africa, for example, to paint. I didn’t start sculpting until I went to a game fair and saw a display of falconry. It fascinated me. The first thing I sculpted was a golden eagle!” The sculptor, who is based in Yorkshire, England, now commands high prices for works that can take up to a year to construct and are issued in editions of only eight. Commissions have included hounds for the Duke of Beaufort, a portrait of the Duke of Edinburgh, and a sporting piece to decorate the gates of Wembley Stadium. Winterburn’s technique begins with creating an armature, which in turn is followed by applying clay and forming a mold into which the molten bronze is poured. It is a process that is over 5,000 years old, and one that to Winterburn finds an echo in the subject matter. “It’s very traditional and hasn’t changed, and I think that’s what I like about it. And that’s what I love about hunting, too. As a city lad, I didn’t know anything about it. I was introduced to it by Justin [Gardner, owner of Muse. The Sculpture Company, the gallery that represents Winterburn], who was Master of the Monmouthshire for years. I love the energy and enthusiasm of the people who do it, and also the tradition and continuity. It really is something that binds the community together.” Even so, Winterburn isn’t above taking a few artistic liberties. “I’m working on a piece now of a
huntsman and three hounds. The huntsman is slightly out of the saddle and the hounds are quite close to the rear with one coming round the side and looking up. I said to Justin, ‘I want to put the horn in the huntsman’s hand,’ and he said, ‘Well, the hounds wouldn’t be there and he wouldn’t have the horn.’ But I have to tell that story in a very small space. It has to have drama and a sense of energy, and whether that involves putting things closer together than they would be, or making the figure’s limbs slightly longer than they actually are, is all part of the art.” Winterburn’s desire to oversee every aspect of the sculpting process has led him in unusual directions. “Now, I’m in a comfortable position because I’ve made my own foundry at my studio. Most artists farm out the casting, but in the past I’ve had some problems with that. So now, every piece I produce is not just designed and finished by me, but also cast by me and my family, too.” Sculptors such as Henderson and Winterburn face a difficult task. Most aim to capture the mood via the speed and graceful lines of the equines and canines involved. They don’t have the benefit of words or brush strokes to move their characters forward. And most — foxhunters being a traditional lot and artists being in the business of selling their work — take a strictly representational approach to their subject matter, concentrating on getting the conformation exactly right. Why do foxhunters love sculpture? Perhaps because they are used to having physical contact with their animals and the medium has the same tactile quality. But as Winterburn explains, “With sculpture, there’s no place to hide.” Christopher Oakford lives in Lexington, Kentucky, and is the author of the book, “The Iroquois Hunt: A Bluegrass Foxhunting Tradition.” He and his wife Glenye are currently writing a biography of Joseph B. Thomas.
SUMMER 2016 | 19
The Story of Sport A foxhunter paints with an eye toward the tale. BY AMY GESELL
ARTIST DANIEL CRANE, one of the United Kingdom’s leading sporting artists, isn’t painting on the day of our interview. Instead, he’s drying off after a soggy day with the Brocklesby Foxhounds, in Northeast Lincolnshire. This avid hunter, a regular with the Brocklesby, the Belvoir, and a Joint Master of the iconic Scarteen black-and-tans, takes the traditions of the hunt field into the painting studio. Crane’s work extends beyond the hunt field: He is the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment’s Resident Artist, a post he obtained just prior to the royal wedding and still has today.
20 | COVERTSIDE
Crane grew up watching hounds run across his family’s farm in Norfolk, England, a few times a year, but he didn’t start hunting until his late teens. He says the presence of the hounds was something he took for granted. “It was a while before I understood what it meant ... what it was, the pursuit.” Long before his hunting passion ignited, Crane remembers rushing home to get his homework out of the way so that he could while away the rest of the evening drawing. Anything in his immediate surroundings was a subject to which he could turn a keen eye and pencil: the family dog, a gate, a tree, a flower. He always knew that he would be an artist. Even Crane’s teachers were certain of his eventual career. “My schoolmasters raised their eyes to the heavens and declared that [my major] must be art ... because there really wasn’t anything else for me to do. It was about all I was good at,” he says. Studying at Lincoln College of Art and Design, Crane prepared himself for work in one of the few industries employing artists at the time. “When I was in school, the course of an educated artist was someone who worked in advertising and design. One would need to go to London for that and I didn’t fancy it too much.” One day, he came across hounds on a lane and decided to watch what “this was all about.” He was so appreciative of the hound work and the people involved that he began to follow regularly by car, on foot and on a bicycle. “It was an education. A long-time foot follower would warn me ‘the huntsman will draw here’ or ‘they’re likely to find there.’ I learned a great deal from those first years.”
Around the time he became involved with hounds and hunting (even learning to ride despite a horse allergy), he would draw caricatures and cartoons. The hunt provided rich material for his art. “The foot followers are a lively group and I would draw the hounds, of course.” He would sell them here and there and that bit of fun was what sparked his commercial business. PASSIONS COLLIDE
Crane paints daily. Currently he has about three canvases going at once, mostly because of commissions. His preference, however, is to work on one piece at a time. “I like to start a canvas and see it through to the end. I don’t like leaving a painting to sit. The longer a painting is idle, the more I lose the spontaneity. Getting the atmosphere right is better than having a pin-point, perfect piece. Although one always strives for perfection, you run out of inspiration if you’re running at it all day long. You want to be correct, but again, that spontaneity has to be present. Sometimes, you can’t dwell on the mistake. You have to just drive on.” Mood and atmosphere define Crane’s work, but at the heart of each canvas is the desire to tell a story. One will always find a bit of “once upon a time” in his work. His paintings depict a vaguely romantic world where you will find the cut of an old-fashioned coat or a cap rather than a modern coat or protective helmet. “If we go out and I see an instance I want to share, it may be that if I painted it very literally, the casual observer might miss a part of the story. So, as an artist trying to convey a story, I may need to enhance
All artwork by Daniel Crane, photographed by Ali Crane. LEFT: What Chance Saturday?, Oil on canvas. TOP LEFT: Marjorie Comerford-Bird, Oil on canvas. Commissioned by Marjorie, MFH of Belvoir. TOP RIGHT: Lengthening Shadows, Oil on canvas.
SUMMER 2016 | 21
what I saw to such a degree that an observer gets a proper sense of it all. So, my paintings aren’t total products of an imagination, but rather an embellishment and translation of the story of sport.” Crane’s body of work also includes commissions. “Commissions are different, of course. They are a very specific recording of any particular situation. Painting for oneself is a happy venture, as the painter only has himself to please. Commission work requires that one must understand their client and their client’s vision.” Once Crane has been given the elements his client wishes to include, he might offer advice on how to make the painting flow. It is here where the client’s desires and Crane’s own vision meet and the work becomes inspirational rather than task-oriented. “You’ll never find me having any artistic hissy fits,” Crane laughs. “After all, money is hard fought for these days and you must respect that your client has seen fit to spend it on your time and talent. I feel a responsibility to look after my client’s financial investment.
“Every piece you paint, any bit of work you do, you may be unaware at the time, but you always learn something — even if it’s not to do that thing again.” Daniel Crane has 20 years of work behind him and produces about 10 to 12 commissions and another 15 or 20 pieces for himself per year. He currently resides in Lincolnshire along with his wife, Ali. (Ali is also an avid hunter and very supportive of both hunting and the arts.) When he isn’t painting, he can be found hunting the 27,000 acres that are home to the Brocklesby Foxhounds or attending to his duties as one of the four Joint Masters of Ireland’s Scarteen. Samples of his work can be found at www.danielcrane.co.uk Amy Gesell left her home and career in Charleston, South Carolina, behind three years ago in order to reside in the countryside with the horses, hounds and huntsman of Wiggins Hounds. In addition to writing and cooking, she enjoys her positions of groom, road whip and de facto kennelman for the hunt.
ABOVE: Daniel Crane, Season Heralds, Oil on panel. Photographed by Ali Crane.
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COURTESY BELVOIR CASTLE
A Week in Leicestershire Experience royal hospitality when you hunt the majestic grounds of England’s Belvoir Castle.
itting high on a ridge overlooking the counties of Leicestershire and Lincolnshire sits Belvoir Castle, the ancestral home of the Dukes of Rutland, which has been the home of this unbroken line for almost a thousand years. Belvoir, meaning “beautiful view” (and now pronounced “beaver”) is named as such by the Norman French and remains as one of the most magnificent and beautiful Regency houses in England. The Belvoir Hunt, young in comparison, was established by the third Duke of 24 | COVERTSIDE
Rutland in 1760 and is one of the very few remaining packs of purebred Old English Foxhounds in the United Kingdom. But even before the conception of the Duke’s private pack, Belvoir has long been associated with hunting — from Medieval times at Belvoir’s hunting lodge — Croxton Park, sitting in a secluded corner of the Estate, the “chase” was laid out for deer initially, then fox soon followed. With that the popularity of foxhunting laid accessible for many keen-thrusting followers and not just nobility.
In later years Belvoir was frequented by kings and queens, most notably in 1843 when Queen Victoria attended a meet at Croxton Park; it was recorded that over 800 mounted followers were in attendance. Belvoir and the Melton area hunting and social scenes would attract other notable visitors: Beau Brummell, The Duke of York, and then into the second Golden Age in the early 20th century, all three royal princes: Prince Henry, Prince George and the Prince of Wales. The “Meltonians,” as they were known, the fashionable set from London, would
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LEFT: A beautiful hilltop view of Belvoir Castle. RIGHT: The Chinese Dressing Room at Belvoir Castle is one of the many bedrooms made available to guests. BOTTOM RIGHT: The Belvoir Hounds at the Belvoir Hunt kennels, purpose built in 1832.
COURTESY BELVOIR CASTLE
tunity, to hunt across the Belvoir’s beautiful countryside while watching a lovely pack of hounds do what they were made for ... on a great horse. When Caroline met us after the hunt with a basket of delicious goodies and drinks, it was the perfect finish to a great day.” Belvoir Castle is a mere 1 hour and 10 minutes by train to central London and all it has to offer in theatre, shopping and exhibitions. Take a short journey to Chatsworth House or Burghley Park, other stately homes in the area, which would satisfy any history, art or gardening enthusiast. Belvoir itself boasts a formidable private art collection and gardens and estate on a 16,000-acre grand scale. The current Duchess of Rutland has only just recently fulfilled Capability Brown’s vision from his original plans for Belvoir made in the 18th Century — plans which were very recently discovered in the Castle archives. Tour the estate in a horse-drawn carriage, relax in the stunning surrounds or simply take tea at Belvoir Castle — where the ritual was invented in the mid 1800s — it was said, as the ladies
COURTESY BELVOIR CASTLE
descend on Melton Mowbray in the hunting season from the early 1800s (Melton being central between the key “Shire hunts”: The Belvoir, Quorn, and Cottesmore) staying in various hunting lodges and inns. The hunting week was set out as such: Monday with the Quorn, Tuesday with the Cottesmore, Wednesday with the Belvoir, Thursday with the Cottesmore or slightly further afield — the Fernie — Friday with the Quorn and Saturday again with the Belvoir. A lively social scene quickly evolved around this typical hunting week in the Shires. It seems an obvious and natural progression that today Belvoir Castle, which has also evolved over the centuries as a successful working estate supporting many farmers, is one of the most successful commercial shoot estates in the U.K., and is now set to become the base for Belvoir Equestrian. Caroline Stewart, the secretary of The Belvoir Hunt, also manages Belvoir Equestrian and arranges bespoke equestrian and hunting tours that offer the exclusive use of either Belvoir Castle or Croxton Park Lodge. Caroline Stewart arranges every detail of your visit and believes that the winning combination of the team at Belvoir, their unparalleled, century-long hospitality and exceptional Shires hunting and riding are key to delivering a truly memorable experience. Cameron Sadler, MFH of Moore County Hounds, N.C., says about her experience, “This was a terrific oppor-
were bored waiting for their gentleman folk to return after shooting or hunting. If it’s a luxurious riding holiday with a difference, or a hunting excursion never to be forgotten, Belvoir Equestrian will craft a bespoke tour with the ultimate aim to deliver incomparable hospitality, lodgings and horses for an experience of a lifetime. Visit the Duchess of Rutland and Caroline Stewart at this year’s Virginia Hound Show on May 28-29 in Leesburg, Va., or contact Caroline Stewart at cstewart@belvoir equestrian.com for additional information. Learn more at www.belvoircastle.com. SUMMER 2016 | 25
COW SENSE E Q UA L S
HOUND SENSE From stock saddle to jumping saddle, ranch horses make the transition to foxhunting with the greatest of ease. BY HEATHER BENSON
26 | COVERTSIDE
“A HORSE THAT CAN PUT IN A TEN-HOUR DAY RIDING ACROSS COUNTRY THROUGH THE ROUGHEST OF TERRAIN, ALL IN PURSUIT OF THE QUARRY. A HORSE THAT IS MANAGEABLE
proof. We can allow guests or people new to hunting to ride these kinds of horses, and they will have a good time riding out with us. It helps us grow the sport.”
BOTH ALONE AND IN LARGE GROUPS, AT ALL SPEEDS AND ON A LOOSE REIN. A HORSE YOU CAN MOUNT
A LOGICAL AND SEAMLESS CROSSOVER
ANYWHERE, OPEN GATES FROM HORSEBACK AND
The trustworthy qualities of a typical ranch-trained horse are what launched Kail Mantle and his wife, Renee DanielsMantle, into the sport of foxhunting. The idea to register Big Sky Hounds in Three Forks, Montana, as an MFHA hunt came when the Mantles first leased some gentle ranch horses to members of the Red Rock Hounds near Reno, Nevada. “Mantle Ranch has been in the business of leasing quiet, ranch-broke horses
PLUNGE INTO THE CRAZIEST SORT OF CHAOS WITHOUT THEM FLICKING AN EAR.”
IT SOUNDS LIKE THE IDEAL FOXHUNTER, RIGHT? HE DESCRIPTION ABOVE, however, is that of an ideal ranch horse as described by his cowboy partner. As it turns out, the ranch horse and the foxhunter have more in common than you might think and crossover between these two diverse worlds is becoming more prevalent. Adren Nance, huntsman and MFH of Juan Tomas Hounds in New Mexico, knows a thing or two about both ranch horses and foxhunters. The kennels of Juan Tomas are located on his family’s 26,000-acre working cattle ranch. “The horses are the tools of our work here,” he says. “We need them to do every job possible — rope a calf or catch a steer one week and then change tack and go hunt the next. We use the same horses for all jobs on the ranch year-round.” Ranch horses across the United States are still an important part of the work of raising cattle. While four-wheelers and even helicopters often assist with some aspects of range work, horses are still
LEFT: Atlas, a South Dakota-bred Frenchman’s Guy Quarter Horse gelding, roading hounds. RIGHT: Kail Mantle of Mantle Ranch moves horses on Atlas. PHOTOS: RENEE DANIELS-MANTLE AND VAL WESTOVER PHOTOGRAPHY
the preferred tool for most ranchers. A well-trained horse is a capital asset to a rancher as are his pickup, his fencing and his cattle. For the working ranch horse, days are often long, sometimes 10 to 14 hours during the busy seasons of the spring and fall, and the work strenuous. A well-trained ranch horse may spend half a day traveling alone through rough country, hunting a stray cow, and the rest of the day working with two dozen other horses and riders sorting pairs (weaning calves away from the mother cows). Working dogs underfoot, truck traffic, and riding into rough country are all part of a typical day’s work. “Our horses do the cattle work in the spring and fall, hunt all winter and even play polo in the summer,” Nance explains. “They need to rope, they need to jump. They need to be able to cover some wild country whether they are chasing cows or coyotes. There is always a purpose when we get on them and they become our working partners on the job.” Nance explains that the hunt benefits from having a number of well-trained ranch horses available. “When you put the kind of miles you put in on a ranch horse, after you’ve roped 50 calves and seen lots of wet saddle blankets, you know a lot about the horse and that they are generally bomb-
Ranch horse Captain Steubben doubles as Juan Tomas Huntsman Adren Nance’s field hunter.
to dude ranches, big game hunters and summer camps for decades,” says DanielsMantle. “A member of the Red Rock Hounds happened to own a hotel in Three Forks and they needed horses for an away meet. We had never hunted before but the member gave us a brief description of what they wanted — quiet horses that could cover rough country and keep their rider safe — and we were able to supply them.” That initial foray into leasing horses to visiting foxhunters has led the Mantles to establish a hunt based at their ranch (see sidebar). Daniels-Mantle says that the qualities she has always sought for the typical Mantle Ranch string are the same as SUMMER 2016 | 27
CATHY CARR TABER
what she seeks now for foxhunting. “Typically, you just cannot take an arena and one-acre paddock horse into big country — you’ll blow his mind,” she shares. “Our riders are aiming for a trouble-free ride. We buy most of our horses direct from working ranches. A ranch horse is used to busy livestock, used to big groups of riders working and has the know-how on rough terrain. A group of 50 horses running across country is nothing new for them.” ... “I WANT A HORSE THAT LOOKS THROUGH THE BRIDLE AND GOES FORWARD. I WANT THEM TO STAY IN THE GAIT I PUT THEM IN WHILE ON A LOOSE REIN. I LIKE A GOOD, FAST WALK ON A HORSE AND I WANT THEM TO PAY ATTENTION TO WHERE THEY PUT THEIR FEET. AND I WANT THEM QUIET, QUIET, QUIET — I DON’T HAVE TIME FOR A HORSE THAT SHIES.” These are the words that Daphne Wood, MFH of Live Oak Hounds in Mon28 | COVERTSIDE
ticello, Florida, uses to describe her ideal hunting partner. The description is identical to that of an ideal ranch horse as given by Dale Simanton of the Gate to Great offtrack Thoroughbred ranch horse retraining program. Gate to Great also happens to have been the source for Wood’s newest horse in her hunt string, Swingn Slew. Swingn Slew may look like a typical hunt horse — a tall, dark bay Thoroughbred build on classic lines — but between retiring from the racetrack at age five and hunting with Live Oak, he spent two years with Simanton at his ranch near the Black Hills of South Dakota chasing cows and branding calves. ALWAYS FORWARD
“My goal with our horses is for them to do anything I ask of them and do it willingly,” explains Simanton. “I never know what we might come across when we’re out working cattle and I need them to just do the job in front of them without question.” When former racehorses enter the Gate to Great program, they come with few of the skills that either a ranch horse or a foxhunter needs. After leaving the program, they come with a “Ph.D in real
work,” as Simanton puts it. At the ranch, they become desensitized to everything from ropes to working cattle dogs to riding through a milling herd of cattle. The horses learn to handle themselves in terrain that ranges from rough, timbered mountains to wide open prairies. While running down errant cows, they learn to jump whatever is in front of them, be it an irrigation ditch or a downed pine tree. In short, they pick up the basic skills that make a transition to the life of a foxhunter relatively easy. Wood’s experience with Swingn Slew backs that up. “I watched Slew ride with us the last year (with former owner Gretchen Bickel) and he took to hunting so well, so quickly, that at first I was sure he had to be aced or be a ringer,” she laughs. “I rode Thoroughbreds for most of my life but recently had felt I needed more of a Volvo and less of a Maserati. But Slew changed that for me and I am proud to once more be riding a Thoroughbred. He can get in touch with his Thoroughbred side when we need to really gallop, and come back down and show me his quiet, steady ranch-horse side the moment I ask.”
FAR LEFT: MFH Daphne Wood pictured on Swingn Slew next to Huntsman Dale Barnett after a fabulous day’s hunting on Mayhew Plantation. LEFT: Swingn Slew shows off his ranch horse abilities with former owner Dale Simanton, in Newell, South Dakota.
did his job like he’d been doing it every day of his life. He seems to understand what the job is all about and enjoys it.” DOROTHY SIMANTON
IVE OAK isn’t the only hunt bearing witness to the ease with which ranch-trained Thoroughbreds transition to hunting. Ranch-trained Thoroughbred ex-racehorses from the program can be found in hunts across the east, including three that recently joined the staff at Long Run Hounds in Simpsonville, Kentucky. “As a whip, I need a horse that is independent and can go out alone,” explains Marilyn Glattstein, a whipper-in for Long Run. “Not all whip horses come like that — they don’t want to leave the herd and it takes time to train them and some fail out of it. But both of these horses were okay from day one with whatever I asked.” Indeed, the training time Glattstein put into her former ranch horses was nearly non-existent. She explains that Special Al only walked hounds twice before she had to whip from him when her other horses managed to both throw shoes the same week. “He was perfect, I mean perfect,” she says. “On our first real hunt, I heard the first field come galloping and I thought to myself ‘Oh my God, I’m on a racehorse, he’ll gallop off.’ But he just stood there and
THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HOUND AND COW
Glattstein’s experience in having her ex-ranch horse thrive in the job of a staff horse is not a singular one. Renee DanielsMantle shares, “I think there is something about a cow-bred horse that makes a great staff horse. A horse that likes to work cattle is usually going to make a great partner for a huntsman or a whip; they participate and are interested in the hunt.” “It’s like getting the perfect whip horse and needing no extra training,” says Glattstein of her two ranch-trained Thoroughbreds. “They understand the hounds and what you are trying to do; it’s exactly like cattle to them. They are desensitized to everything, even cracking a whip the first time didn’t bother them because they had already been roped off of.” “Cow sense equals hound sense,” says Huntsman Nance. “I truly believe these ranch horses with natural cow sense understand what they are doing. They watch the hounds. They know when something has gone to ground. They truly get the game.” Heather Benson has worn many hats: horsewoman, marketing guru, corporate executive, and racetrack manager. She’s now managing partner of Back Forty Media and Marketing, a full-service consulting firm that manages marketing and media portfolios for agribusiness and equine industry customers. www.backfortymarketing.com
BIG SKY HOUNDS BREATHES NEW LIFE INTO MONTANA HUNTING SCENE WHEN KAIL MANTLE AND HIS WIFE, Renee Daniels-Mantle, leased their first horses to members of Red Rock Hounds for an away meet in nearby Three Forks, Montana, they never foresaw a day where they would be hosting a hunt meet of their own. Big Sky Hounds, registered with the MFHA for the 2015-2016 season, began with just two hounds in 2013. “It has been popular from the get-go. We had 30 to 40 people nearly every time we went out the very first year,” says Daniels-Mantle. “We are lucky because we have 120 horses on hand that we can put anyone on to come and join us. This allows us to bring in new people and get them excited about the sport.” Big Sky typically hunts September through April of each year despite cold temperatures. “We might take a break in January this year, when it gets really cold — you know, ... 20 or 30 below,” laughs Daniels-Mantle. It is “function first and fashion last” to cope with the unique conditions in which Big Sky typically hunts. DanielsMantle shares that nearly half their riders ride in western or Australian stock saddles. “It’s truly the Wild, Wild West out here. When you are coming down the side of an ice-covered mountain in blizzard conditions, you want to be sure you are going stay in the saddle and stay warm.” She notes that some days the temperature is so cold that most people head out to hunt while wearing insulated Carhartt overalls. Big Sky Hounds hunts every Wednesday and Sunday. More information can be found at www.montana horses.com/Fox_Hunting.php SUMMER 2016 | 29
Last Chance Talent ’11 celebrates the win with her team: Marcia Brody (LCH whipper-in), Jason Daisey (LCH), Kira Koval, LILI WYKLE
Roy Good (LCH whipper-in), Carin Golze (LCH), and Taylor Bullen (LCH).
A Cinderella Story
LAST CHANCE TALENT ’11 BEATS 62 HOUNDS TO WIN THE SEDGEFIELD BY FRED BERRY, MFH
ASTER WEEKEND, 13 packs came to the Sandhills of North Carolina to compete in Sedgefield Hunt’s annual performance trial held on a 9,000-acre bird dog competition grounds. It is an all-star game of great hounds — the top five from each participating hunt. Every year George Harne brings his hounds, but they never win; in fact, they never even score. His hounds are all retired bitches from other hunts, hence the pack’s name: the Last Chance Hounds. He gives the old gals a season or two, and then finds homes for them. George comes to Sedgefield for the pure fun of it. This year was extra big because he was the reigning Cutest Huntsman (CH) — an award given by the crowd on Saturday night. 30 | COVERTSIDE
But, eight days before the competition George was in a bad car crash. He fractured three vertebrae in his neck and had to be airlifted to Baltimore Hospital. Luckily he wasn’t paralyzed, but he needed a major operation. While waiting for the operation, George made it clear that his hounds were going to Sedgefield, no question about it. So, because they love him, his people made it happen. George’s pack this year included Talent ’11, an American bitch from the Potomac Hunt. Friday night is a big welcoming party for old friends and new. And there is a Calcutta where folks can “buy” a hound in hopes of winning a pot of money. Doug Davis, one of the road judges, does double duty as an auctioneer, and Friday night he sold 10 hounds
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The annual Sedgefield Performance Trials attracts 100 riders from 13 different hunts. LEFT: Talent (#26) at work; and George Harne gives a thumbs up from his hospital bed when hearing of
at auction. A tip about Talent ’11 came from Larry Pitts, Potomac’s recently retired huntsman. Larry, who is always willing to make a pronouncement, says to the crowd, “Somebody ought to buy that bitch.” Marie LeBaw, one of the Last Chance support team, took Larry’s advice. It was a good investment. DAY ONE
The hunt: The first day of a performance trial can be sloppy, and our first day was a classic: The hounds don’t know each other, and don’t know for whom they are supposed to be working. And, some think they are in Las Vegas and that all the rules of good behavior don’t apply. Luckily, the judges were able to get some scores. At the end of three hours Ed Fry, the chief judge, called an end to the day’s competition, and most of the judges went to the clubhouse to download their scores. But it was then, after the hunt officially ended, that the best hunting began. The hounds found a good line and worked it beautifully, steadily trailing, solving the mystery. And even though the trial was over for the day, Tony Leahy, the huntsman, could not bring himself to stop. None of the competing huntsmen wanted to stop either — they had come to hunt. And it was then that the hounds gelled; they became a pack. There was hope for tomorrow. 32 | COVERTSIDE
The party: Saturday night involved two big events: the scores, and the Cutest Huntsman “contest.” The scores from the first day had most of the hunts on the board in some category, but the crowd really cheered when Last Chance’s Talent ’11 earned third in the Hunting category. Yea, George, one of your hounds got a ribbon! For overall points, Talent ’11 was 13th. A real old-timer and sentimental favorite, Sedgefield’s Mailbox ’09, was No. 1. The Cutest Huntsman crown is a Sedgefield tradition. The first CH was Lili Wykle, of the Stonewall Hunt, whose intensity led the other huntsmen to create the title and give it to her. The next year Lili orchestrated a “pageant” to select her successor. Now each year the queen comes up with something ridiculous all the other huntsmen must do, and the crowd chooses the winner. And all huntsmen, whether or not they are competitors, must be in the line-up. The event is universally loved by the crowd; not so much by the huntsmen. Some flee, some balk, some hide, but most man up and surrender, knowing the crowd will not be denied. And once in a while the chance to be cute and feminine strikes a chord in a huntsman, and his soul is released. Unfortunately, George, this year’s CH, was in the hospital, so his well-laid plan had to be executed by a surrogate. Roy Good had big ugly shoes to fill, but he did it. George sent down a CD, a boom box and cryptic instructions, and Roy made up the rest. The huntsmen were to dance — in groups of six. Two finalists were selected from each group by official experts on cute: three teenage girls. And then there was a dance-off. It was ugly, and if there is video, it should be destroyed. But the crowd went wild. And, we learned something about Robert Taylor, huntsman of the Goshen Hounds: he wears dresses. Robert unleashed himself, and is now the Cutest Huntsman. The news of the evening was carried to George by Alasdair Storer, huntsman of New Market-Middletown and team Harne member
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who stayed in Maryland. By then George was on a ventilator, but his eyes smiled at the report. DAY TWO
The hunt: After a few bumps in the road, it all came together. While Tony was drawing a fresh cover, a gray fox was viewed half a mile away. So Tony gathered his hounds, and we hacked to the holler. With over 100 people on horses and in trucks watching, Tony made the play of the day: He stopped and made sure all the hounds were together and with him, that they each had a chance. Then he eased into the area of the view, and he turned it over to the hounds — the all-star team. And they knocked it out of the park. The hounds trailed almost a mile to a thick creek bottom, and when one hound spoke in the cover, they all piled in. And they roared. The fox fled with the hounds coming on fast behind. Two hours later the hounds were still running, but the horses weren’t. They were cooked. At some point the fox had morphed into a coyote, and 9,000 acres wasn’t big enough to hold it. It ran for the hills. During that epic two-hour run, and before the main pack left the country, the judges collected lots of scores, mostly full cry scores where hounds win points for running at the front. And that is why it is so impressive that Talent ’11, an old bitch from a pack of has-beens won Top Hound of the trial. Maybe she wanted to make George feel good. He should — the Top Hound cap looks good on him. Fred Berry is huntsman and Joint Master of the Sedgefield Hunt, and a lawyer.
Huntsman Tony Leahy with the pack. Day two had the hounds running for two hours.
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ASK THE KENNELMAN
Starting from Scratch Midland Fox Hounds Kennelman Mike Gottier learns from the best. BY AMY GESELL
Covertside: What are your specific duties as a kennelman? Gottier: It’s my job to keep the kennels clean, feed the hounds, medicate them if needed, make repairs at the kennels and keep up with mowing, weeding, things like that. I help with walking out hounds and am involved in whelping the bitches. During the summer, I’ll clean up the trails at Midland, repair coops and basically anything else I’m asked to do. It’s pretty hands-on! I’m happy to be learning about hunting from the ground up.
Covertside: What is it like to work for such an historic hunt? How has this job affected you professionally? Gottier: I really feel privileged to have this job. I get to see the result of the years of work that Mr. [Ben] Hardaway has put into these amazing bloodlines. You have to study and appreciate the bloodlines. It’s fascinating! This job has given me a deep appreciation for 36 | COVERTSIDE
the work that was put into developing these hounds and an appreciation for the amount of work it takes from everyone involved to keep things running smoothly. Thanks to the graciousness of the huntsman, the Master and members, I’ve been able to go out with the hounds and whip-in some this season as well. My past experience has been in country that isn’t quite so large and the quarry was mostly fox. Here, we have a lot of country and coyotes. Because of that, I’ve definitely had to improve my horsemanship. Everything happens faster when you’re running coyotes, so I’ve not only had to learn, but learn fast! It’s challenging, but I think we learn a lot when we are challenged.
Covertside: You graduated from the MFHA Professional Development Program (PDP) last year. How has that helped you in your current position? Gottier: Experience is a great teacher, but the PDP helped me immensely. It gave me
ONSIDERING that Mike Gottier’s parents met at a Thanksgiving foxhunt, it would seem that he was literally born to hunt. Whipping-in as a youngster to the basset pack of Skycastle French Hounds and whipping-in and working as acting huntsman for Kimberton, Gottier’s background in hunting with hounds is varied. For the past year, he has worked as kennelman for the fabled Midland Fox Hounds ... and he’s loving every minute of it.
Hound sense comes naturally to Mike Gottier,
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