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Tennessee Valley Hunt Hounds Perform Well at Championships


By Ryan Johnsey, TVH Huntsman

It was a great weekend competing at the National Foxhound Performance Trail Championship in Southern Pines, NC. Tennessee Valley Hunt (TVH) had three hounds qualify at the Belle Meade Hunt qualifier. We traveled to the Championships with TVH Headboard and Wallet, as TVH Hudson was a scratch.

Sixty-six hounds from across the country competed, representing 22 different packs. Tony Leahy hunted the hounds, and we moved off from the Hoffman Field Trial Clubhouse with over 150 riders and countless folks on foot and in trucks. With a string of tired staff horses back in Tennessee, my 6-year-old baby horse, Gravy Train, was the only horse left to take for the weekend. It was a humorous run in the Huntsman’s field.

Saturday’s hunt was fast and furious; hounds found right off the bat and smoked our pilot for 45 minutes, ending with hounds earning their marking scores. After a check, staff and hounds re-organized and set off for their second pilot.

Having survived my freight train of a horse, I leaped at the opportunity to hack back in with Steven Thomas, who, with a tired horse, was pulling up to score from a truck. Halfway back to the barns, hounds were already smoking their next customer.

We retired our horses and jumped in the truck with the TVH followers piloted by Casey Balloch Johnsey, who had just lost a bet that I would wreck my horse in the first five minutes. Hounds hammered until they checked at 11:15 or so. It was a trememdous day.

Day 1 results landed TVH Wallet in 8th Place in the Hunting category.

Our second hunt would be a real test for just about everyone. Hounds managed to work up a grey fox early in the day, getting some scores, but tough going would continue. Hounds finally settled to give the field trial grounds their best—credit to Tony and all the staff for providing the pack a chance to show good sport.

Headboard and Wallet did not disappoint and showed their class on a day that took some true grit to keep pressing on, both hacking back in with the Huntsman.

Day 2 results landed both hounds scores for the following:
Headboard: 2nd Place in the Hunting category.
Headboard: 1st Place in the Trailing category.
Wallet: 2nd Place in the Trailing category.
Headboard: 1st Place Day 2 Overall
Wallet: 2nd Place Day 2 Overall
Tennessee Valley Hunt: 1st Place Day 2 Overall

For the overall final scores, Day 1 & Day 2 combined, Headboard finished in 2nd Place in the Hunting category and Wallet finished in 5th Place in the Trailing category.

In the conformation class after lunch, the two hounds rallied, with Wallet earning a 3rd Place Bitch ribbon and a 5th Place Dog ribbon for Headboard. Casey snagged a 2nd place Dog ribbon showing Hillsboro Hounds’ Striker.

It was an exhilarating weekend for fox hunting. TVH is lucky to have Wallet in the kennel, an incredible English Bitch generously drafted as a pup from Hillsboro Hounds. It was even more exciting for TVH bred and entered Headboard.  He’s a pure Penn Marydel with a tenacious drive and an incredible voice that showcases what I cherish in a good foxhound. It was pretty neat to see him keep pace and even beat some very good English and Crossbred hounds.

A huge thank you to Steven Thomas for helping make the weekend a success. Also, huge congratulations to the Hillsboro Hounds and Leilani Gray for their success at the trial. Also congrats to Kalie Wallace-Smith for earning the Huntsman’s Choice award with her hound Dart. It’s really neat to see such good sport come from the Volunteer State!
Overall Champion Hound was Goodwin Indigo; huge congratulations to Tot Goodwin!

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