Keeneland Magazine

NO4 2013

Keeneland, Investing in Racing's Future since 1936.

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mAKiNg A DiffErENcE K Hound Welfare Fund er — one of the Iroquois Hunt's Masters date back even further than those of the of Foxhounds and the person in charge Thoroughbred, whose earliest founda- of the club's hound program — who in- tion sire, the Byerley Turk, raced in 1690. spired Mason and several others (includ- "The father of modern English hunt- ing this writer) to establish an indepen- ing is considered to be William the Con- dent nonproft foundation to care for the queror," Mason said. "In his time the retired hounds. punishment for shooting a hunting dog Miller, the former president of Blue- was to be blinded. He thought of it as a grass AAA in Lexington, grew up hunting very serious crime. Early hound breeders were royalty and people who had with Walker hounds in rural Ohio and became a Master of Fox Hounds at Iro- didn't rely on the generosity of just one access to ink and paper and were able quois in 1993. family." to keep records. So the hounds' breeding For Miller, retiring hounds was never a question. Miller, who also preceded Mason as the Iroquois huntsman, usually breeds records, in many cases — and in our kennel — go way back." "When I was entrusted with the Iro- only one litter of foxhound puppies a The pack is studded with show-ring quois hounds and the hound program, year. That helps the HWF's work by lim- winners and outstanding hunters, but an it never crossed my mind not to do it," iting the number of hounds that ulti- Iroquois hound doesn't have to achieve Miller said of hound retirement. "It mately retire. celebrity to merit retirement. This year, the HWF Retiree of the Year is 8-year-old wasn't a decision to depart from what happened before or elsewhere. I grew up Ambassadors for Iroquois Parrish, one of the pack's "plain cooks," with Walker hounds, and they were al- The Iroquois Hunt and its hounds Mason said. As Retiree of the Year, Par- ways trusted members of the family. So have a long history in the Bluegrass, rish attended a September cocktail party it continued from there." an area that was famous for producing to honor her and the HWF's many sup- Miller's private, self-funded retire- hard-running foxhounds at least as far porters, from hunt-country farmers to ment program prompted others to form back as the mid-1800s. Noted horse- local businesses that donate items for the HWF and take up responsibility for man and hound breeder Gen. Roger the organization's annual fundraising caring for the hounds after their hunt- D. Williams founded the hunt in 1880, dinner and auction in June. ing days. though he didn't name it until the fol- "Parrish was a hard-working hound "A group of us recognized that Jerry lowing year, when the racehorse Iroquois and hunted for eight seasons," Mason was taking it upon himself to retire the caused an international sensation as the said. "She can still go out hunting every hounds," Mason explained. "We began frst American-bred to capture England's once in a while, to help steady the pup- to worry that once Jerry was gone or the Epsom Derby. pies. But, like all of our hounds, she gets retired." mastership changed that the program It's ftting that a Bluegrass club should might not be carried forward. We want- carry the name of a racehorse, but many The hounds' long history in the area ed to develop a permanent program that of the Iroquois foxhounds' pedigrees and their warm individual personalities are part of what attract people to volunteer for and donate to the HWF, supporters say. "One doesn't need to be a hunt member or a hound expert," said Uschi Graham, who serves on the HWF board even though she is not a foxhunter. "I'm certainly not. One just needs, in my opinion, a true passion for dogs in general. They are man's best friend. If one spends some time with the hounds, subsequently one Retired foxhounds have plenty of room to stretch their legs and sniff for interesting diversions. 88 KEENELAND WINTER 2013

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