Woodford Hounds was organized in 1981 by its first MFH, Richard Dole, and
his wife, Tessa. Dick had been the
master of the Mells Fox Hounds in Tennessee and
before that he had served as master of the Blue Ridge Hunt in Virginia.
Tessa’s father, Lieutenant Colonel Riddick, had been master of the High
Peak Harriers in England and both Tessa and Dick shared a lifelong
involvement in breeding and hunting a pack of hounds and making hunters.
They opened up the hunt country in southern Woodford and western Jessamine
Counties and built kennels on their farm on Kidd’s Mill Rd. in Woodford.
Dick asked his old honorary whipper-in from Mells,
Dr. Charles Walker, to come to Kentucky to join him and Charlie, an equine
veterinarian, upped stakes and moved to Woodford County to a lovely
ante-bellum house on the banks of Craig’s Creek on Ford’s Mill Rd. The hunt
was recognized by the MFHA in 1982. The kennels were later relocated to
Charlie’s place where they remained for 20 years until the summer of 2006
when the hunt purchased property adjacent to the Shaker Village at Pleasant
Hill and built new kennels and stabling for the huntsman’s horses. A house
on the property was completely renovated as a huntsman’s lodging as well.
Dick carried the horn and Charlie whipped-in and they soon had an
enthusiastic group of sportsmen and women following hounds through the
challenging country after the abundant red and gray foxes and coyotes.
Charlie joined Dick as a joint-MFH in 1983 and assumed the huntsman duties
as well. He continued to hunt the hounds, showing tremendous sport, and
serve as Master until retiring in 2000. For a number of years, Dick and
Charlie were joined by Dr. Herman Playforth as a
joint-MFH prior to his resignation.
Ill health forced Dick to give up an active roll
in the hunt but he remained our senior Master until his death in 1998.
Charlie asked Robbie Lyons to join the mastership in 1998 and they were
joined by Jane Winegardner in 2000. In 2004, Sam
Adams joined Robbie and Jane as a joint-MFH. Following Charlie’s
retirement, our first professional huntsman was hired, Tim Richardson, from
the Zetland Hunt in Yorkshire, England. Tim
stayed with us one season before returning to help run his family’s farm in
England. Robbie hunted hounds himself one season, showing tremendous sport
and then in 2003 we hired another huntsman, Paul Jeremy, who came to us
from Fox River Valley. Paul left at the end of the
2005-2006 season, to be replaced by Glen
Westmoreland from the London Hunt in Ontario, Canada. Glen’s wife Sharon
whips in to him as well.
As development and urban sprawl encroached on our home country in Woodford
County, additional countries were opened up in Mercer, Lincoln and Nelson
counties. We now have a challenging mix of countries with everything from
vast fields bordered by stone walls to forested hilltops. More country
continues to be opened in Lincoln and Garrard and Mercer each season
through the hard work of our masters.
With the addition of our new countries, a dedicated team of masters and a
fine pack of hounds, the Woodford Hounds seems
certain to provide many years of challenging and enjoyable sport for many
years to come.