Report by Huntsman Adam Townsend PC MFHA/Anne Litz

Andrews Bridge Foxhounds hosted their Performance Trial Oct. 6-7th, 2022 from their kennel country in Kirkwood, Pa. Seven hunts compete, Green Spring Valley (MD), Essex (NJ), Wicomico (MD), Amwell Valley (NJ), Radnor (PA), Kimberton (PA) and Windy Hollow (NY). The host hunt also contributing 2 ½ couple of unjudged hounds for a combined pack of 20 couple from 8 Hunts. The pack proved to be a testament to their huntsmen on their selections and quality of hounds that they brought. Judging was led by Mark Murphy, Kennel Huntsman for Fox River Valley/ Massbach Hounds. Ably assisted by four other riding judges, most senior being Geoff Hyde, Huntsman of the Elkridge Harford Hounds and two judges by car.

Day 1: Hounds moved off at 8 am and provided 3 Hours of solid hunting in the immediate kennel country behind multiple red foxes giving sporting runs. Marking 3 of those foxes to ground with great enthusiasm. Marking is just about unheard of at these trials given game is mostly coyote in other parts of the country. Obtaining those marking scores and at that quantity was a real treat, with extra points involved. The pack was quite unified throughout and biddable to the staff, they were a real pleasure. It was personally great to see the pack building off each other, especially at the find, then escalating the chase into the galloping run. Hounds fed off each other in a very positive way.

Day 2: Hounds were hacked over to the Smith’s Meadow country from the kennels at 8am. A fog laced morning gave a slow start for the first hour and change. Hounds gave good efforts, but nothing sustained. We hacked back across to the previous day’s country where conditions eased, and hounds provided a very active and sporting hunt behind willing foxes for another 2 ½ hours. 21 Miles total in 3 ½ hours. A couple of those foxes marked to ground as well. Hounds once again, showed their talents, no erroneous behaviors, steady, and keen to the job at hand. Great views were had both days of hounds and quarry.

Every hunt participating, regardless of score, walked away prideful of their hounds. Essex Burma #70 was Top Hound Overall with Wicomico Buddy #41 and Windy Hollow Glider #21 rounding out the Top 3 Hounds. GSVH Notebook #26 was Huntsman’s Choice. Notebook’s unforgettable vocal cords didn’t dampen this bitch’s drive, workmanship, and enthusiasm from the find to the mark. Day 1, Notebook was the sole hound to initially find on a number of foxes, becoming a safe beacon of reference for the huntsman. As the runs would develop some of the leggier types dominated in Full Cry but Notebook held her own for top hound overall in the hunting category and was an enthusiastic marker. Top pack honors by mere points on day one; went to Green Spring Valley. However, a small glitching scoring found in the following days declared Windy Hollow the honor by an incredibly thin 2.5 Points. Green Spring Valley and Essex rounding out the Top 3 Overall Hunts respectively. That sequence of events would typically be unheard of to jockey the Overall scores based on a small change in a specific catagory but it shows just how stiff competition was with each hunt collecting a stack of ribbons. As Chief Judge Mark Murphy said after Day 1 “It’s a razor thin margin between the Top Four hunts”. This is sure to set up quite the contest in 2023, especially if the 2021 top pack Elkridge Harford makes a return appearance.

It was a very memorable couple of days hunting. Judges allowed hounds to work while also collecting plenty of scores, making for a well-rounded hunting experience with minimal interference. The Amish landscape provided the finishing touches to the unique and special hunting country that is Andrews Bridge. Thank you to all participating hunts, Masters, Staff, riders, landowners, and hounds.