No, foxhunting isn't just an obsolete British tradition, although the sport did originate in Great Britain. But when the colonists came over here to escape the tyrannies of Bad King George, foxhunting was one of the old country traditions they just couldn't do without. It's been going strong on this side of the pond since 1650, when Colonel Robert Brooke brought hounds to Maryland from England. In fact, George Washington (father of our country, the guy on the dollar bill) was an avid foxhunter after he outgrew cutting down cherry trees. It's sort of ironic to think of him wearing a scarlet coat while his soldiers referred to the enemy soldiers as "Redcoats." Speaking of those scarlet coats, did you ever wonder why some people call them pink (or Pinque)? Jim Reeds did, and did some exhaustive research on the subject. And, as long as we're on the historical subject, check out these essays on foxhunting, written by Anthony Trollope and presented on the web by Dean Rudy.
And three centuries later, while more trivial pastimes like hula hoops have come and gone, foxhunting is still going strong on both sides of the Atlantic. According to the foxhunting exhibit at the International Museum of the Horse , there are over 150 active hunts in North America, and other estimates put that number over 200. And of course, the British have an even more active foxhunting population still devoted to chasing the elusive red fox. And, to show that tradition and technology can co-exist nicely, some hunts are beginning to strut their stuff on the Web . And there's even a Foxhunters OnLine mailing list to provide a way for foxhunting enthusiasts around the net to keep in touch. And, if you're suffering under the delusion that foxhunters are a bunch of stuffed shirts with no sense of humor, check out this slightly unorthodox view of the sport. And, if you would like to read about foxhunting from the horse's perspective, a very literate British horse named Branston's Pickles has commandeered his owner's computer, and built his own web page.
On a more personal note, foxhunting has been somewhat of a family tradition since my father began hunting in the late 1940's. It seems only natural that he would be drawn to the sport, being a life-long horseman who grew up in the saddle, farmed with horses and mules, and dabbled in thoroughbred breeding and racing until 1954 when, in his words, he sold his racing stable, bought a tractor, and got married. He didn't hunt much while his children were growing up, but about the time he finished putting us through school, he took it up again, and persuaded some of us to start also. At one point, he took great pride in having three of his children hunting with him.
The Simpson presence in the hunt field has dwindled somewhat, since the old man gave it up a few years ago. But my brother and I are still boldly representing the family in the hunt field.
I realize the tone of this page is a little flip, and if you have any serious questions about foxhunting, I probably haven't answered them. There are several other hunts and related organizations that have created very informative web pages, and instead of trying to duplicate their efforts here, I'll just refer you to my Foxhunting on the Web page which has links to some very interesting sites.
Please do not send me email asking for information on a specific hunt, even one which you think I might be a member of (and note that nothing anywhere on this website indicates any affiliation with any organized hunt). Unfortunately, if you can't find the information on the web, I can't provide it either. Any such requests for information will be ignored. I'm sorry if that seems unfriendly, but trying to be helpful just gets me in trouble.