The late Ben Hardaway gave a gift to all foxhunters when he modeled his foxhound performance trials after those held for field trial foxhounds. In 1996, Hardaway and co-master Mason Lampton premiered performance trials for mounted foxhunters and the concept has brought new depth to the sport. Performance trials help validate breeding practices for hunting traits.
Starting in September, nine qualifying events will be held around the country.Competing hunts will enter their top hounds for two days of hunting. Thehounds are numbered and hunted as a pack. Skilled judges ride among themand record how each hound performs. The scores are tallied and awardspresented. The top-10 hounds in each trial qualify for the finals, to be heldMarch 26-27, 2022, in Hoffman, North Carolina.
The rules are simple. Hounds are judged in three main categories: hunting –searching for scent vigorously; trailing – when the scent is found, workingand speaking on the line; full cry – when hounds fly on a hot track. Thescores are combined to determine the overall winners.
During the series, foxhunters can join the field getting a first-hand view of theaction in some of the country’s premier territories. “If you love the roar of apack of brilliant hounds, this is for you,” Berry said. “It’s the all-star game offoxhounds. The sport, adventure, parties and the fellowship are amazing.Ya’ll come!”
Foxhunters are welcome whether or not your club has entered hounds.Reserve your spot soon as space is limited for some trials.