- Barbara Smith
[Editor's Note: Hark Forward is a celebration of our community including foxhound performance trials, hunter trials, and joint meets planned through the 2016-2017 season. In addition to building camaraderie, the Hark Forward initiative supports fundraising toward renovation of the MFHA headquarters building in Middleburg, Virginia, which will be an innovative resource to promote our sport.]
I met Boo Montgomery, professional whipper-in at Bull Run Hunt (VA) and one of the weekend's judges, at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport and we checked out each other’s season-opening bumps and bruises. I am sporting a ridiculous black eye from a tree branch lashing yesterday and her fingers are orange from working on sore hooves. We will be right at home with the foxhunters from Fox River Valley and Massbach Hounds (IL), which is where we are headed for the first stop of the MFHA Hark Forward celebration. Tony Leahy, the current MFHA president, is hosting the kick-off for the tour with a Performance Trial in Elizabeth, Illinois. As a diehard Virginian-Marylander I was thinking, “Who hunts in Illinois?” but I have been assured it is God’s country, so Boo is here to judge and I am helping with the Hark Forward team. Epp Wilson, Master and huntsman of Belle Meade Hunt (GA), and Jean Derrick, first flight fieldmaster, who had driven 16 hours from Georgia yesterday with 10 horses, were already settled at Massbach’s kennels. The adventure begins.