Tuesday, Mar. 5, 2024

Horses, Hounds And Fellowship

Bull Run Hunt
P.O. Box 14,
Mitchells, Virginia 22729.
Established 1911.
Recognized 1954.

Huntsmen converged on Virginia for the Bull Run Hunt huntsman’s invitational on Jan. 4. Undaunted by predictions of dire weather, representatives of seven Virginia and Maryland foxhound packs brought a total of 211⁄2 couple of Crossbred, American, English and Pennmarydel hounds for an exhilarating day of sport and fellowship.

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Bull Run Hunt
P.O. Box 14,
Mitchells, Virginia 22729.
Established 1911.
Recognized 1954.

Huntsmen converged on Virginia for the Bull Run Hunt huntsman’s invitational on Jan. 4. Undaunted by predictions of dire weather, representatives of seven Virginia and Maryland foxhound packs brought a total of 211⁄2 couple of Crossbred, American, English and Pennmarydel hounds for an exhilarating day of sport and fellowship.

The Bull Run huntsmen’s invitational, now in its second year, was the brainchild of Bull Run Huntsman Greg Schwartz. Each hunt was invited to bring three couple of hounds, their huntsman, a Master, and a member of staff.

In addition to Schwartz, the huntsmen participating included Adrian Smith of Deep Run (Va.), Robert Taylor, MFH of Goshen (Md.), Tony Gammell of Keswick (Va.), George Harne of New Market-Middletown Valley (Md.), Thomas McElduff of Reedy Creek (Va.), and David Conner of Rockbridge (Va.). Other huntsmen who participated unmounted included Orange County’s (Va.) Stephen Spreadborough, Old Dominion’s (Va.) Gerald Keal and former huntsman Charlie Brown.

Hounds met at Lindy and Bill Sanford’s Arrowpoint in Orange, Va. Bull Run MFH Mike Long, who owns Horseshoe Farm, where a lot of the hunting took place, greeted participants. Keswick’s Gammell took the horn, under Schwartz’s watchful eye.

Whippers-in included Bull Run’s Rosie Campbell, MFH, Jeff Woodall and Kathy Broaddus, accompanied by Karen Jones, Barclay Rives, and Catherine Connor. Bull Run’s Joe Kincheloe (ex-MFH) led the first field, while MFH John Smith led the second field, though he was forced to retire midway through the day due to a previously injured ankle.

A variety of Masters and staff from the represented hunts rounded out the field, and several more followed in a convoy of cars.

Hounds seemed to find their quarry almost immediately and chased down toward the river, putting the fox quickly to ground. Hounds hunted across several of Bull Run’s fixtures toward Cedar Mountain, including Arrowpoint, Horseshoe Farm, and the Preserve, thanks to the generosity of landowners such as the Sanfords, Master Long and Clyde Innskeep.

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Schwartz was impressed with the way the hounds melded as an effective pack, especially after the first 30 to 40 minutes. They seemed to perform as a fairly level pack throughout most of the day, although Bull Run’s hounds had the clear advantage bestowed by familiarity with the territory and having the best idea of where to find the foxes.

Several extensive runs ensued, and the hounds put several foxes to ground throughout the five hours of vigorous hunting. By all accounts, the last run was the best and longest of the day. Hounds were really locked on, and the collective voice of the pack was incredible.

Bull Run’s wide-open fields, bordered by small rivers, woodlands and some hilly country, are a paradise for hunting. Their country is extensively paneled with inviting jumps of moderate size, which enable riders to follow the hounds fairly efficiently.

From where hounds met, Bull Run can hunt uninterrupted for more than 10 miles due north, practically into Culpeper. Goshen’s Robert Taylor especially appreciated the way this vast, open country, uninterrupted by roads, affords a great opportunity to watch hounds work without having to frequently worry about stopping them—quite a contrast with the trappier, more patchwork country more common to hunts like Maryland’s Goshen and New Market-Middletown Valley.

Participants were especially grateful for the presence of the hospitality truck, carefully stocked by Bull Run members Walt Holloway and Jerry Wade, which always seemed to know exactly where to check. After frenetically following the hounds over more than 60 coops (according to one field member’s count) refreshment was particularly prized. Field member Jennifer Sponseller Webster remarked, “Today was the day my horse became a man.”

Bull Run MFH Rosie Campbell summed up the day most appropriately with her comment, “What a wonderful sight to see a field of scarlet coats, masters and staff enjoying the sport as one. Hopefully next year we will have even more huntsmen bringing their hounds, able to really enjoy seeing them work within a mixed pack.”

Darkness fell, and hounds, horses and humans faced a 3-mile hack back to the fixture, where they were greeted by a true huntsman’s repast of wild game dishes, hosted by the Sanfords with the culinary assistance of several Bull Run members.

Marcia Brody

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