Recently, a program was held at Horse & Rider Tack store, Bullville, NY (Orange County) on All About Fox Hunting, with Heidi White, Vice President of Windy Hollow Hunt, Inc. A talk about the history, culture and the basics of fox hunting and the hounds was given by Chris Burrows-Wood, the Windy Hollow Huntsman, who brought along a couple of his young (nine-month old) hounds and conducted a very interesting question and answer period.
Attendees were delighted with the young hounds, who dutifully waited while their Huntsman spoke and answered questions about fox hunting, hounds and Windy Hollow, Inc. The program was part of a lecture series given by Heidi White.
It was interesting to learn that fox hunting is alive and well in North America. Here in the mid-Hudson region of New York State, the Windy Hollow Hunt began back in 1960 with an informal group who began fox hunting at Windy Hollow Farm in the Florida, NY, area with their private pack of foxhounds; the territory to hunt over was limited. Eventually, as the membership grew, the club purchased property, built kennels, developed its own pack of hounds, and acquired a professional Huntsman. Windy Hollow Hunt was formally registered with the Masters of Foxhounds Association in 1969, and was officially recognized in 1972. In the intervening years, through the ‘gracious consent and cooperation of the neighboring landowners’ additional lands were made available and the club expanded to its present Florida territory of approximately 30 square miles.
Windy Hollow Hunt also has a large territory just south of Warwick, NY, on the state line between New York and New Jersey; and in Wantage, NJ, the club has the ability to hunt more than 10,000 acres which are mainly paneled with coops, post and rails, and stone walls. In 1990, new acreage opened up in the Westtown area of New York, providing approximately 4,000 acres of hay fields and dairy farms for the Hunt to enjoy.
Today Huntsman Chris Burrows-Wood operates the Windy Hollow Hunt kennels in Port Jervis, NY. The pack consists of ‘couples’ — pairs of any sex — or 37 American foxhounds of Penny-Marydel and crossbred strains. He exercises the hounds every morning when not hunting (all 37, at liberty!) and spoke of one foggy morning when walking the hounds up to the crest of a hill he noticed a car that had slowed, then pulled to the side of the road. Thinking the driver needed assistance, he drew nearer only to find the astonished fellow snapping photos — he said as he approached the top of the hill and could see beyond, he was amazed to see one person walking 37 hounds at once — and thought it was a mirage!
That he is devoted to his hounds is apparent by the response of the young hounds he brought along to the lecture; the love and respect is easy to see. A short blast on the hunting horn caused an immediate reaction as the hounds snapped to attention.
Hunt members and their friends are encouraged to visit the kennels, help walk out the hounds and get to know them by name. Those who might like to learn more about the hounds to may contact the Huntsman at 845-697-4184.
Heidi White, Vice President and member of the Board of Directors of Windy Hollow Hunt, provided the Sourcebook for the information for this story. For more information visit www.windyhollowhunt.org.