A houndpourri of news

The hounds at Boone Valley on summer hound walk. See anyone you know? Photo by Dave Traxler.

JUST a couple of weeks after we saw him at the Peterborough Royal Foxhound Show, the Duke of Beaufort’s Gaddesby ’07 got a nice big headline in Horse and Hound‘s Aug. 4 issue. “The Great Gaddesby” was the headline over Michael Clayton’s coverage of the Beaufort puppy show. The reason for it was that puppy show judges Capt. Brian Fanshawe and Martin Scott had selected a pair of puppies by Gaddesby–the young doghound Handel and the young bitch Bonus–as the day’s winners from an entry of 23 1/2 couples.

Gaddesby '07 in the stallion hound class at Peterborough.

The news is of interest to us here at Iroquois for two reasons. First, because Gaddesby is the sire of our former pupposaurus–now doghoundasaurus–Driver ’10. And, secondly, because it was Fanshawe who brought the ST bloodline from Ireland to the North Cotswold and Cottesmore hunts, from whom Iroquois also received this excellent blood.

You might recall that Driver, who is out of North Cotswold Dragonfly (now also hunting with Iroquois), attracted a lot of attention last year when MFHA hunt staff seminar attendees visited the Iroquois kennel. He proved a precocious hunting hound in his first season, too. So we’re not surprised to read that more Gaddesbys are catching eyes back home in England.

Many thanks to Iroquois joint-Master Jerry Miller for pointing the Horse and Hound article out to the houndbloggers!

The Kentucky Foxhunter

Going back through some old notes, the houndbloggers found this interesting passage from an old copy of Kentucky Progress Magazine, which at one time ran an annual “National Fox Hunt Edition.” This is from that special edition back in October 1931, and it was written by the intriguingly-named Bessie Martin Fightmaster.

Night-hunting with foxhounds, an American tradition that heavily influenced early American foxhound breeding. Photo courtesy of the National Sporting Library.

I don’t know what Bessie Fightmaster’s connection to hunting was, but we have her to thank for this description of a Kentucky hunter–which, you will notice, appears to be a night hunter rather than a hunter in the mounted English style:

The Kentucky Foxhunter has been anointed with the dews of early morning and the woodfires of his night camp. He is weathered by the autumn winds and rains. He knows the taste of the wild grapes and has breakfasted on luscious persimmons. He knows that where the crows cry loudest, there will the fox break cover. He has hunted this country over until he is familiar with the circle where Reynard will run, the roadway where he will cross, the hole where he will go to earth. This hunter in heavy boots with his hunting horn slung over his shoulder and an apple in his pocket strides over the hills listening to the music of his beloved hounds. And when the chase is over he will blow a blast upon his cow horn that must equal the winding of Charlemagne’s Roland, and he calls in every hound that he has cast. Hark!

Iroquois Bagshot '10 on hound walk this month. Photo by Dave Traxler.

Never having heard of the author, I did a little research that turned up only one very sad note in the June 15, 1917, Bourbon News from Paris, Kentucky. Bessie Fightmaster was the adopted daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Joseph Martin of Cynthiana, and she went on to marry Forest Fightmaster, “the proprietor of the auto bus line recently established between North Middletown and Lexington,” the Bourbon News story tells us. Sadly, the reason for the story is to report on the death of Bessie’s 18-month-old daughter, who died after Bessie tripped over her while carrying a teakettle of scalding water. What a terrible thing, indeed.

Bessie Fightmaster, according to local funeral records, died March 19, 1973, and is buried at Battle Grove in Harrison County, Kentucky.

Glow-in-the-dark beagles

In case you missed it, we have this unsettling news item sent in by a friend of the hounds. South Korean scientists have (controversially) genetically engineered a beagle to glow in the dark. The young beagle is named Tegon, and her glow came from dog DNA that the scientists modified by adding a “green fluorescent gene” from sea anemone. The scientists claim they can use the glowing hound to help track disease progression. Not surprisingly, anti-vivisectionists and hound lovers are not amused.

Tegon apparently glows bright green under ultra-violet light. To read more about this, click here.

Only Eider's eyes glow, which is weird enough.

Old Habit auction

We were unhappy to hear, last year, that The Old Habit was closing. This Virginia tack and consignment shop was a good source for foxhunting and beagling attire, and it had quite a good selection of used tack, too. Yesterday the houndbloggers got word from the Harlowe-Powell auction house in Charlottesville, Virginia, that they’ll be selling the remaining merchandise and some fixtures from The Old Habit on Saturday, Aug. 20.

Absentee bidders are welcome but must register (this can be done at the website), and the catalog is available online here. There are a few saddles, quite a lot of art, some furniture, hunt whips, a vintage polo mallet, books, field boots, and, for the real specialist collector, an English Beefeater’s uniform. Also, a chrome and rubber contemporary mannequin. Never know when you might need one of those.

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Tonight’s the night!

The Hound Welfare Fund‘s annual dinner and auction takes place this evening. For more details on some of the items on offer–including sporting artworks and the unveiling and sale of a new work by Andre Pater–click here and here. We thought you might also be interested in seeing some of the the night’s live auction items, too, and hear some of the voices behind the artists who support the fund, the first registered 501(c)(3) charity to care for retired foxhounds after their working days end due to age or injury.

What’s so special about hounds?

WE asked famed sporting artist and Iroquois Hunt member Andre Pater that question and got a great, thoughtful answer, which you can hear on the video above (click play, then click the HD box in the upper right-hand corner of the video to see the high-definition version). He also offered his thoughts on retiring hunting hounds, and his timing was excellent: the annual Hound Welfare Fund benefit dinner and auction, which supports the Iroquois Hunt’s retired hounds, is right around the corner on June 4. And this year’s live auction will feature Andre Pater’s “Awake,” a charcoal and white pastel drawing of a foxhound.

Other well-known British and American artists whose works are coming in for the auction include Sandra Oppegard, Hazel MorganSally Moren, Ena Lund, Judy Boyt, and others!

This Wilton Hunt hound study in oil by English artist Hazel Morgan is among the Hound Welfare Fund's auction items this year.

The auction offers more than art, too. The live auction will feature a sporting clay shoot and picnic at Miller Trust Farm, traditionally one of the night’s hottest items, and the much-coveted chance to have a private hunt with the Iroquois for up to eight people. Other items in the live or silent auctions include  a morel mushroom hunt and gourmet picnic for two at one of the hunt country’s most beautiful fixtures, Boone Valley Farm; an antique set of stirrup cups with the Iroquois Hunt logo; a unique set of hand-painted glassware depicting hunt scenes; the ever popular tickets to HWF Retiree of the Year Stammer‘s exclusive retirement party; hassle-free Blessing Day braiding and boarding for your horse–and more!

This watercolor hunt scene by Sandra Oppegard also will be among the offerings at the Hound Welfare Fund's June 4 fundraising dinner and auction.

The Hound Welfare Fund is a 501(c)(3) charity that is the first of its kind to care for working foxhounds during their retirement.

Stay tuned for the Virginia Hound Show

Before June 4’s dinner and auction at the Iroquois headquarters, the old Grimes Mill, the hounds have business to attend to in Virginia. The Virginia Hound Show takes place this Sunday, May 30, at Morven Park near Leesburg, and the houndbloggers will be there to cheer them on. Last year, our Hailstone won his class, single crossbred dog–entered.

New HWF auction art: Michael Lyne

This oil on canvas measuring 36 inches wide by 28 inches tall is the latest artwork donated to the March 20 Hound Welfare Fund benefit auction.

MANY thanks to John Milward for donating this oil painting by renowned British artist Michael Lyne. The subject is a familiar one to hound lovers: the judging of a puppy show in an English hunt kennel.

This large framed work measures 36 inches in height and 28 inches in width and will sell as part of the annual Hound Welfare Fund live and silent auction on March 20 in Lexington, Kentucky. Can’t make it? You can still bid. To find out how, contact Christopher Oakford at coakford@aaa-alliedgroup.com.

To see more of the art that will be on offer, check out our special auction page here for a sample. There is much more on offer, too, including a private hunt for eight with the Iroquois Hunt!

Houndbloggers Abroad: Tattersalls, home of The Fox

The Tattersalls auction house in England is the world's oldest Thoroughbred sales company and has a long association with foxhunting, as evidenced by the fox seen sitting in the iconic Tattersalls cupola. The structure, known simply as The Fox, is topped by a bust of King George IV. The Fox is a covered fountain that used to serve as a water trough at the company's original location on Hyde Park Corner in London.

The Tattersalls auction house in England is the world's oldest Thoroughbred sales company and has a long association with foxhunting, as evidenced by the fox seen sitting in the iconic Tattersalls cupola. The structure, known simply as The Fox, is topped by a bust of King George IV. The Fox is a covered fountain that used to serve as a water trough at the company's original location on Hyde Park Corner in London.

NOW UPDATED WITH AUCTION VIDEO!

IF you’re involved in the Thoroughbred breeding world, chances are you’ve heard of Tattersalls. The famous English auction house is headquartered in Newmarket and conducts seven Thoroughbred sales a year. But it also has a deep connection to foxhunting. The company no longer conducts sales of hounds, field hunters, or foxes (yes, foxes!), but it still honors the noble art and science of the hunt by including a fox in its corporate logo.

The company opened in London at Hyde Park Corner in 1766, and it’s worth noting that its founder, Richard Tattersall, started off as a canine auctioneer even more than an equine one. To quote from Peter Willett’s fascinating book The Story of Tattersalls, “Richard … was making friends with the county families through the medium of his hound sales–sales which he conducted in person at The Corner. This was a lucrative business, resulting in a daily turnover of anything up to 500 guineas, with the advantage that hacks and hunters were frequently offered at the end of the day. The horses caused the fodder bill to rise, but attracted a wider clientele. There was always a good market for horses of every description.”

The Tattersalls auction ring is round, intimate, light, and airy, with a domed top. It is, as one attendee observed, "a little like sitting inside a teapot." Unlike at major Thoroughbred sales in the United States, where the horses generally are held standing in the center of a small auction area, at Tattersalls the horses are walked around the path so potential buyers can watch them while bidding.

The Tattersalls auction ring is round, intimate, light, and airy, with a domed top. It is, as one attendee observed, "a little like sitting inside a teapot." Unlike at major Thoroughbred sales in the United States, where the horses generally are held standing in the center of a small auction area, at Tattersalls the horses are walked around the path so potential buyers can watch them while bidding. The empty auctioneer's stand can be seen to the far right of this photo.

Tattersall’s rise in the auctioneering business was steady and steep, partly because he had the reputation for conduting his sales with integrity. He and his auctions at Tattersall’s, as it was then known, were held in such esteem that it was said even the highwaymen wouldn’t rob him. One night, a story goes, Tattersall was riding along a lonely road when a masked man rode up alongside him. The two rode side by side for nearly two miles in silence before the robber said, “I think your name’s Tattersall?” When Tattersall confirmed this, so the story goes, the highwayman replied, “Ah, I thought so. I beg your pardon, sir,” and rode away without drawing his pistol.

In the early 1910s, before the outbreak of World War I, one of the firm’s auctioneers was J. R. Rawlence, who was also secretary of the Masters of Foxhounds Association at the time. Rawlence continued the auction house’s tradition of hound sales by conducting an annual hound auction until World War I intervened. Over time foxhounds, greyhounds, and other sporting dogs (in 1863, the firm also dispersed the late Duke of Gordon’s original group of Gordon setters as well as his terriers) faded from the trade at Tattersalls, but it continued selling hunt horses well into the 20th century.

Today, the company mantains a close cultural relationship with hunting, even though it has narrowed its business focus entirely on racehorses now. The current Tattersalls chairman and chief auctioneer, Edmond Mahony, is a great hunting man and Master of the Louth in Ireland. And nearly everyone we ran into among the Tattersalls staff was an active member of one hunt or another. So were many of the buyers and sellers at the company’s recent October Book 1 yearling sale.

To see Mahony in action selling horses, see the clip below.

Support for hunting and annoyance at the 2005 foxhunting ban were frequently in evidence in the form of pro-Countryside Alliance bumper stickers and even a large sign on one consignor’s barn!

One consignor let his feelings on England's 2005 foxhunting ban be known

One consignor let his feelings on England's 2005 foxhunting ban be known

Tattersalls has not been based in Newmarket for all that long, considering how old the firm itself  is. It moved from Hyde Park Corner to Knightsbridge, also in London, in 1865. Tattersalls purchased the Park Paddocks land in Newmarket where it currently is headquartered back in 1870. But it wasn’t until 1977 that Tattersalls completely consolidated its operations in Newmarket.

The ornate Tattersalls arch once formed the entrance to the auction house's Knightsbridge location in the late 1800s.

The ornate Tattersalls arch once formed the entrance to the auction house's Knightsbridge location in the late 1800s.

When the company finally relocated to England’s racing center at Newmarket, it considered leaving The Fox behind, but it ultimately had the cupola dismantled and very carefully removed to Park Paddocks, where it now is a central and much loved focal point, as it had been throughout the decades at the London sales. Even more ambitiously, in the late 1940s the company also moved the enormous stone arch from its Knightsbridge location’s entrance. That huge edifice now stands near the Park Paddocks entrance as a grand monument to the auction house and its deep roots.

For the horses on offer at Tattersalls today, the setting is much simpler. The barns are situated around the sale pavilion, and they provide a peaceful, leafy setting that promotes relaxation in the horses and thoughtful contemplation among their examiners.

The Tattersalls barn area: bucolic and peaceful for man and beast.

The Tattersalls barn area: bucolic and peaceful for man and beast.

Thoroughbred sales surely have entered the technology age, with digital X-rays, endoscopic exams, and computerized race replays and pedigree analyses. But there are still traditions aplenty at Tattersalls. The firm still conducts its auctions in the old currency of guineas, the equivalent of £1.05 per guinea. Charmingly, the sale sessions are still opened each day by a man who stands outside the pavilion ringing a large brass bell for five minutes before the start of each day’s selling. (When sales aren’t on, John the bellringer told us, he does the gardening at Park Paddocks)

The auction begins each day with five minutes of bellringing to draw the bidders into the pavilion. When he's not carrying out this tradition, John the bellringer is a gardener at the Tattersalls Park Paddocks.

The auction begins each day with five minutes of bellringing to draw the bidders into the pavilion. When he's not carrying out this tradition, John the bellringer is a gardener at the Tattersalls Park Paddocks.

At 10:25 a.m., John emerges and clangs his bell steadily as fair warning to the crowd that the sale will open in five minutes’ time. Sure enough, the bidders and spectators all are drawn toward the pavilion very much as if they are heading for church, but carrying catalogs instead of Bibles. At 10:30, another man signals to John from the pavilion door that it’s time to start the selling; John and his brass bell go back into the sale offices; and the auctioneer calls in the first lot of the day.

One of the Tattersalls sale barns, occupied by the Highclere agency's consignment.

One of the Tattersalls sale barns, occupied by the Highclere agency's consignment.

The Tattersalls auction style is very different from that seen at most U.S. Thoroughbred sales. Each auctioneer has his own highly individual style. Mahony, for example, is precise and elegant and quite serious, while Alastair Pim is more theatrical and sometimes resembles a strict schoolteacher chiding his students (see below).

In 2005, Newmarket’s local Thurlow Hounds paraded at Tattersalls to remind the public how entwined are the histories of hunting, racing, and Tattersalls. For fun, we took Tattersalls up on the offer to arrange a kennel visit to the Thurlow, and we’ll report back on that later this week. But, as a tempting sneak preview, we offer this lovely view of the Thurlow hounds. Happy hunting, all!

Thurlow hounds