Blessing of the Hounds

Opening Day for Fox Chasing


Thank you to the McMakin Family for the invitation to attend Opening Day and Blessing of the Hounds, for the 2016/17 fox hunt season.

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The Howard County Iron Bridge Hounds Club, has a long and rich history of raising, training and working the very best of fox hounds.


Did you know that the term “a man’s best friend” was first used by George Vest, lawyer and U.S. Senator, during closing arguments from a trial in which damages were sought for the killing of a fox hound named Old Drum on October 18, 1869.  It’s absolutely a treat to watch well trained dogs bred to do what they do!


Tom and Jennifer D’Asto attended with Michelle and I, and we all enjoyed the pomp and ceremony of this hunting tradition.


A huddle of hounds.


And now for the Blessing of the Hounds . . .


. . . and the calling on our Savior for his divine protection over horse, rider and hound.


Thank you Lord, Amen.


Thank you’s are extended to host and patrons.


Masters of Foxhounds explains the hunt positions here –


It’s time to mount-up.


We have both red and gray fox in central Maryland.  Coyote is becoming relatively common as well, and some fox chasing activities have flushed coyote instead of fox.

As you may be aware, the gray fox is native and the red fox has been assumed to have been introduced from Europe.  This long held assumption has turned out to be wrong.  Check out the following article –


So how do you tell the difference between a gray and red fox, especially because they can sometimes have confusing color coats?  A red fox will always have a strongly white-tipped tail, whereas the gray fox will have a solid colored tail.


Prior to the actual hunt, the equestrian team does a ‘drive-by’ to show-off the beauty of a well-trained group of riders, all having very specific tasks during the hunt.


And now for the “Opening Meet.”  The team works its way to a large pond, hoping that the scrub-shrub littoral fringe may hold a fox.


The hounds are released, and all riders are in position to cut-off an escaping fox.


It would make sense that a strong scent trail would occur along the shoreline, as several species of animals would walk the water’s edge in search of food and water.


No animals were flushed from this particular hedge row and riparian corridor, and it was time to move on and work other woodlot edges.


At this time the team began to work areas well away from Harwood Farm, and most visitors left to enjoy the warmth of a beautiful autumn day.

We headed out to have lunch at Sunrise General Store in Brookeville, a cultural activity of an entirely different sort, especially for the D’Asto’s, who have never been there.  We sat at the counter to take in all the ambiance, while we ate Sunrise’s signature hamburgers.