The Glenmore Hunt Club was formally established in February 1930 in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. The original hounds were donated by the founding members and were kenneled at “Glenmore,” the home of the first Master of Foxhounds, Houston I. “Jack” Todd. The first formal Hunt was held on March 4, 1930. “Jack” Todd presided as Master of Foxhounds and Huntsman with Whippers-In Dudley Brooks, Forest Taylor, Ralph “Skeet” Crosby and Mason Sproul. Other original Club officers were W. Wyatt King, President; Hugh B. Sproul, Jr., Secretary; and Dr. Ralph Crosby, Treasurer. Hunt colors adopted were Yale Blue collar, buttons engraved with GH, and a Tattersall plaid vest.
Major Charles S. Roller became Master of Foxhounds in 1934, and Glenmore received its recognition by the Master of Foxhounds Association of America in 1935. Two packs of hounds were kept, and the Club typically held drag hunts on Saturdays and fox hunts on Wednesdays. The Club and its activities were featured in state and national publications such as “Down Country” in Old Virginia and The Sportsman, published in Boston, Massachusetts. Hunts were regularly exchanged with hunts throughout the state such as Albemarle Hounds, Bath County Hounds, Deep Run, Farmington, and Keswick Hunt Clubs. Hunts were mostly held in the Staunton to Stuarts Draft area, but on occasion meets were fixed in the Swoope to Buffalo Gap area, the Fort Defiance to Burketown area, and in the Deerfield Valley.
On one occasion the Club rode from Staunton across Great North Mountain to the Deerfield Valley, stayed at the Sproul Camp, and fox hunted for two weeks before riding back across the mountain home. The New Year’s Day hunt in 1935 was an occasion of note, recorded by a professional photographer. The meet was hosted by Major Roller, MFH, who was Superintendent of Augusta Military Academy (AMA) at his farm in Fort Defiance. The Master was resplendent in a new high silk hat. Hounds were hunted by Ned Bush, assisted by Whippers-In Agnes Sproul, John Robson, Forest Taylor, Moffett Black and “Skeet” Crosby. In spite of a cold wind and a skiff of snow, a large field, which included most of the notable sportsmen of Staunton/Augusta County and a number of uniformed cadets from the cavalry unit at AMA, turned out.
During World War II, club activities were put on hold. Following the war the packs of hounds were brought back together under the leadership of Forest T. Taylor, MFH and Hugh B. Sproul, Jr., Huntsman of the “drag pack” and John Robson hunting the “live pack.” Hunting resumed in the mid 40s, very much as it had been during the 30s.
In 1948 the club purchased a farm on the Barterbrook Road to serve as a base from which to hunt and a facility to house hounds and staff horses. At this time the Club incorporated and filed with the State Corporation Commission as The Glenmore Hunt Club, Inc. A noticeable difference in the mid 40s was that there was a second generation of young foxhunters on the scene.
In 1949 Hugh Sproul, Jr. became MFH and found himself with the very enjoyable task of indoctrinating a flock of teenage foxhunters. This also involved a re-indoctrination process with some of the first generation in regard to drinking, profanity, and pranks. During his tenure as MFH, Mr. Sproul assisted his Washington and Lee classmate “Tex” Tilson in starting and obtaining recognition for the Rockbridge Hunt. They both continued to enjoy the sport until they both died in their late 80s.
A hunt of note that occurred while “Tex” and “Hudie” were masters was hosted by “Tex” at his dude ranch in Rockbridge. It was attended by four Masters of Foxhounds (no other staff or riders), of whom hunted his own pack. They started at daylight and hunted one pack after another until dark and until they had worn out two horses each and all four packs of hounds. The number of foxes accounted for varies according to which of the four told the story. During the 50s Glenmore enjoyed a position of prestige among the Virginia hunts. Hunts were regularly exchanged with Rockbridge, Farmington, Keswick, and others.
The Glenmore Horse Show was nationally known as the first of the “Big Five Virginia Horse Show Circuit.” It was given Honor status by the American Horse Show Association on several occasions. Horses that did well in this show went to Madison Square Garden, and some of them, ridden by members of the United States Equestrian Team, went to the Olympic games.
The Glenmore Hunter Trials conducted each Spring following the hunting season was considered the best test of a hunter in Virginia. It consisted of a course approximately two miles in length with over eighteen solid fences, ranging from 3 1/2′ to 4′ in height. It was entered by foxhunters from all over the state and witnessed by large crowds of spectators. During the 60s Glenmore lost its show facility because the city of Staunton took over the Fair Grounds to create a football stadium for a high school.
The 70’s – 90’s
The Club then sold the farm on Barterbrook Road and bought property near Jollivue where it established a show facility and kennels. Horse shows were not as successful at this site, and residential development began to encroach on the hunt country. Masters of Foxhounds turned over somewhat rapidly during this period. They included the following: Frank Moffett, Richard Obenschain, Mack Crosby, William Drumheller, Leland Brown, David Webster, Fred Walsh, and Theodosia Ehle. In the early 70s George and Susan Larkins became Master of Foxhounds, and the Club moved its kennels and hunting to the Middlebrook area in the southern tip of Augusta County.
In 1994 the Glenmore Hunt Club, Inc., established a new kennel at Wheatlands, the antebellum home of Mrs. C. E. Bush, Jr., at Swoope. Mrs. Bush was one of the foundng members of Glenmore and was delighted to once again have daily contact with foxhounds. Hugh Sproul, III and Graham Pitsenberger were elected Joint-Masters. Additional elected Masters of Foxhounds to present include Theresa Terrell Stewart, Brenda C. Stewart Simmons, Georganne “GiGi” Kelly and Sandy Cryder. Jewell S. T. Phelps and George Daniel Jones are presently servings as Joint Masters.
Starting with the 1994-1995 hunt season, meets were held at “Wheatlands”, “Bellevue,” “Walnut Grove,” and “Gray Gables” in the Swoope area and at the “Cobble Hill” and “Prospect Hill” and the Moore farms in Staunton.
Since 1994, Glenmore Hunt Club, has grown and expanded. In 1995 it was re-incorporated as Glenmore Hunt, Inc., and adopted by-laws based on the original Glenmore concept. Hunt Country continued to expand along with the membership growth.
In 1998, the Glenmore Foundation, Inc., a Virginia stock corporation, was formed by the Glenmore Hunt members, with a main purpose of investing in and holding real estate for the benefit of the Glenmore Hunt. In 1999, the Foundation bought property near Spring Hill, VA where the Hunt established its present kennel facility.