David Gaylard, kennel-huntsman for the Berks & Bucks Draghounds and the Palmer Milbourn Beagles, retires in May after 50 years in hunt service with 12 different packs, mostly in the West Country.
David began as second horseman with the Sevington, going on to the North Cornwall as whipper-in, where he married Rosemary in 1963. He also worked as whipper-in at Taunton Vale and kennel-huntsman at the Stevenstone with Frank Sumner, before spending three years in Canada hunting the Eglinton & Caledon, a pack based 25 miles outside Toronto.
Rosemary says: “I loved it in Canada, but the seasons were short — September to December — and David missed the traditional long English seasons. There, we hunted fox and hare; the hares were big and put in some big circles. They could give you really good days.”
Their son, Antony, was born in Canada. He was seven when they returned to the UK, and is now back in Canada as huntsman of the Montreal Foxhounds, after spells with the West Percy and North Tyne.
“Antony loves it in Canada. He doesn’t mind the heavy snows,” says Rosemary. “I can’t see him moving back here.”
When David and Rosemary returned to England, he first worked as kennel-huntsman with the Tetcott in Devon, and then went to the Fife Foxhounds for three years as kennel-huntsman to John Gilmour. The Radnor & West Herefordshire came next, as kennel-huntsman to sole master and huntsman Neil Ewart.
But arthritic hips curtailed David’s riding days, and he took a job as kennelman at the Meynell & South Staffs. Next came a role as huntsman with the Four Shire Bassets, while Rosemary was stud groom for the Heythrop for five seasons.
Rosemary says the six seasons that followed — back in Devon with the Cotley — were very special. She remembers showing with great success at the Honiton Hound Show.
- This news report was first published in Horse & Hound (1 March, ’07)