Maggie Pearlstine, like her brother and sister, was put on a horse at the age of three. Her father enjoyed hunting from his father’s farm and hoped that all his children would take after him and be keen riders. Only Maggie got the gene.
A former master of the Farmers’ Bloodhounds in the Cotswolds, she developed a passion for watching hounds work and listening to the rich music of Bloodhounds in full cry. Hoping to hunt Bloodhounds in and around her home in the Peak Park, at the Millennium she persuaded the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire, Sir Andrew Buchanan, Edward Hammond and Rowan Naylor to help her form the Four Shires. She and the other masters are indebted to the farmers and landowners who generously allow hounds to hunt over their land. Her hope is that the Four Shires will enable a wide range of local people – both in the mounted field and as followers – to enjoy this exiting country sport.
Tel: 01629 640809
Chris has been a keen hunt supporter and follower from a very young age. A popular Mansfield businessman and a former gamekeeper, Chris is a well-known countryman. Blessed with a good eye for a horse, he has bred hunters for many years.
Following his wife, Deb, and daughter, Jenna, for ten seasons he finally caught the bug himself and started hunting in 2011. Having thoroughly enjoyed himself throughout the season and improved in confidence hunt after hunt, this last season he took on (along with Mandy Stone) the role of leading the second field.
Having now joined the Mastership, we will benefit from his excellent people skills, sense of humour and ability to lead the second field whilst making everyone feel part of the team and ensuring they are able to watch the hounds at work.
Mandy has ridden from an early age, sharing ponies with her cousin at her Uncle's farm. Working alongside her father from a tender age until her late teens, she learned about farming, cattle markets and countryside issues. Born in North Staffordshire, she moved to Buxton where she met her husband, Gary. After living for a while in the Peak Forest, she moved back to a small holding close to her father in 2001.
A recent convert to Bloodhounding in 2009, Mandy became totally hooked by hounds, the countryside and those involved - 'living for Sundays'. Having helped out in various roles (unofficial 'Gateshutter' and Membership Secretary for two seasons), Mandy shared the role of leading the second field for the last season.
Having now joined the Mastership, her people skills and understanding of 'first day nerves' ensure that all will have a good and memorable day and are eager to come back for more. Her passion and commitment to the sport and the people, together with her eagerness to learn, will add further strength to the team.
The eventer, Fiona Davidson, has ridden horses all her life, with her first taste of eventing whilst living at the Kentucky Horse Park (where Rolex CCI**** is held). She spent her GAP year as a working pupil for John-Paul Sheffield, gaining invaluable experience of the eventing world. He achievements were lauded in an article in Eventing magazine.
As she was already dedicated to competing and producing young horses, her only choice of universities was Hartpury College. Fi spent glorious three years there training her team of horses with outstanding mentors including: Carl Hester, Nick Burton, Jamie Foyers, Nigel Taylor, and Patsy Bartram. As an International University Riding competitor, she took Gold in Dressage at the Nationals and Silver Internationally in Norway.
Following a good year competing at CCI** level and advanced, Talk Time lead her to her first national representation at the European Championships in 2004. In 2011 with Touch Royale she placed and went double clear in at Advanced at Chatsworth.
From her new yard with state of the art facilities at Willoughby on the Wolds – in the heart of the Quorn's best hunting country – indeed she was featured in Horse & Hound as a 'Thruster of the Week'. Fi competes and produces horses full time – as well as breeding for the future. A marvellous field master for the Four Shires this season, she consistently shoed good sport and encouraged members of the field. For more information see http://www.fionadavidsoneventing.co.uk
Since the age of seven, Bruce Langley-McKim has been smitten by horses. Although his native Corby is not known for equestrianism, he was always determined to pursue a career with horses.
Within hours of sitting his 'A' levels, he was off to start his apprenticeship at a Newmarket race yard. After five further years at Brackely, he went to work for the distinguished horseman David Tatlow."
In his time as a jockey, whip, huntsman, master, Bruce has been thrown, kicked and trampled; he has broken three fingers, dislocated his left shoulder and snapped the right collar bone, but nothing keeps him out of the saddle.
During the season Bruce divides his time between hunting and running Thorpeley Stud, where he produces Irish Draught Horses. Jack his prize-winning, half-Irish stallion is known for his near perfect conformation and much in demand at stud, as is his purebred Conan. For more information see: www.facebook.com/pages/Thorpeley-Irish...stud/250066835006839
A former huntsman at the Readyfield Bloodhounds, Bruce has developed a keen appreciation of these extraordinary scenting hounds. He is pleased that this season, as one of our field masters. he has been able to watch at close hand "the best British Bloodhounds pack" at work. He is popular with the filed, showing good sport, supporting members and of course as one of Horse & Hound's most eligible hunting bachelors, making many a heart race.
The President of the Hunt is the Duchess of Devonshire DL.
Brought up on a farming estate, the Duchess has a lifelong affinity with the countryside and is a keen supporter of rural pursuits. Having ridden since a child, and hunted most of her life, she is delighted to be President of the Four Shires Bloodhounds.
Since moving to Derbyshire in January 2006, the Duke and Duchess play a key role in running the Chatsworth Estate and that, alongside the Duchess' many charitable commitments, translates into a very strong affinity with the local community and ensures a warm welcome to the thousands who visit Chatsworth each year.
Tel: 01335 370250
Paul Harrison has played a pivotal role in laying on meets and ensuring that the days are carefully planned and agreed with the local farmers and landowners.
When Paul and his wife, Jacky, moved to New House Farm in 2003, they generously invited to the Four Shires to hold hunter trials, farmers’ lunches and excellent Opening Meets in Hulland Ward.
On hunting days, Paul often takes the second field of those mounted followers who do not want to jump. Thanks to a thriving second field, the Four Shires can offer thrilling days to a range of riders. His unstinting contribution to the Hunt has been crucial to its success.
A life-long sportsman, Sir Andrew has always particularly enjoyed country sports. His grandfather was Chairman of the Pytchley and he agreed to support the Hunt’s creation and become the Four Shires’ founding Chairman.
Since the 18th century, Sir Andrew’s family has farmed at Hodsock Priory, now famous for it magnificent early spring snowdrops. In 1966 the estate passed to Sir Andrew who moved to Hodsock Priory with his wife, Belinda and the whole estate is run in an environmentally friendly way. In addition to bringing up their four children and running the farm and estate, they have always been active volunteers involved in many aspects of local and regional community life. From 1991-2012 Sir Andrew served as Lord Lieutenant for Nottinghamshire, the Queen's personal representative for the County.
Hodsock contains one of the best snowdrop collections and displays in the country as well as hosting weddings. The five acres of formal gardens containing snowdrops and other fragrant flowering winter borders are open around five weeks during February and early March, and attract visitors from all over the world. www.snowdrops.co.uk.
Sir Andrew and Lady Buchanan host a hound exercise in the autumn. It is a perfect day for newcomers and novices.
Tel: 01335 361328
Simon Carr enjoyed crossing the country, sampling various packs. But then he discovered the Four Shires. He quickly appreciated that Hunt’s country combined all the best aspects of hunting in England: old turf, rolling hills, inviting hedges, stone walls and moorland panoramas. And he found that Bloodhounds’ diligence offered the chance of viewing superb hound work. Lovers of the countryside, he and his wife, Jen, are enthusiastic followers. Thanks to his vision, the pack will soon be almost entirely homebred.
After his father’s death Simon took over his farm. As a master for eight seasons, he helped administer the Hunt, represented it at meetings of the Masters of Draghounds and Bloodhounds Association and ensured that the Four Shires appeals to a large section of the community. His clear-headed logical approach and unstinting support have been invaluable.