The Goshen Hounds Hunt Club was established in 1957 (recognized by the Masters of Foxhounds Association in 1960) from an original nucleus of members from Master Thomas Mott's Redland Hunt. Mrs. Jane Blunt (McGrath) Collins, an honorary member of Goshen Hounds, was among the founding members. Also, in this period, a young foxhunter following hounds with neighboring hunt, Iron Bridge Hounds, before moving to Redland, Stanley Stabler, joined Goshen and was later persuaded to become Joint Master. Master Stabler continued for approximately four decades to serve actively in the operation of the hunt and was named "Master for Life" by unanimous petition of the membership in 1900.
Much of the early work of establishing a new hunt was done by Master William Carl, with Goshen's first huntsman, Frank Fraley, and Frank's cousin Joe, whipping in. Tragically Master Carl died a year after the hunt was established. At this critical point in the club's early days, several members contacted Marian P. Curran, Sr., who, at the time, was Master of his own Indian Springs Hunt. (The Indian Spring Country Club was the site for many years of Goshen's annual Hunt Ball.) Master "Pop" Curran was persuaded to accept the joint-mastership at Goshen with Master Stabler and served in that capacity from 1959-1969.
Master Stanley Stabler continued to lead the field and train a long list of joint Masters including Dan Ligon, Hansen Watkins, A. Hardy Pickett, Ed Willson, Richard (Rick) Jones, Brian Pickett, and Tom Pardoe. That is quite a legacy!
At the end of the 1979 season, it became apparent that our founding huntsman needed to step down, so Master Stabler contacted a fine young British huntsman who had just the right temperament for our aggressive American hounds. Nick Hartung was thus contacted and agreed to serve as the professional huntsman; a position he held for the next eleven years until the end of the 1990 season.
Of note in this era was a staff member named Charles P. “Jimmy” Barger. Jimmy was a consummate foxhunter who had whipped in to Frank Fraley for years, but recognized immediately that the success of the hunt, the only thing that matters to a true foxhunter, was to make certain the “new man,” in this case, Nick Hartung, was given all of the support possible. Jimmy frequently led hounds in fixtures unfamiliar to Nick and, just kept track of things to make the transition from the old school habits of Frank in Montgomery County where he was known by every landowner, to the new man, Nick from Britain with a strange accent and unknown to all. Jimmy made certain that Nick was quickly accepted and the Goshen Hounds were still welcome. In the 1996 season, Jimmy suffered a tragic accident and would never ride again.
Nick Hartung always provided outstanding sport, but perhaps most notably his impact on our pack of hounds was his desire to develop a physically level pack of red and lemon and white American hounds. Beginning with about the 1985 season, the change in the hounds appearance was noticeable. Our hounds had always been good hard hunting hounds, but they bore little resemblance to each other. After the ’85 season, they really began to look like a “family.” Since we remained a relatively small pack and hunted just two days a week, selection for color in addition to hunting qualities did not add a significant impediment to the hunting abilities, and they sure did look beautiful when they took the field!
At the conclusion of the 1990 season, Nick Hartung decided that he had worked long enough as a hunt servant and decided to strike out in a different direction. Nick retired to his farrier business, as well as full time breeding horses, lurchers, and Jack Russell terriers with wife Anne in Western Maryland.
At the start of the 1990 season, a gentleman named John Brake was persuaded to come to Goshen with his wife Pat to be the huntsman. This was the first time our huntsman actually lived at the kennels. John and Pat lived in the original trailer at the kennels and took care of all needs for the pack.
While the care of the hounds during the tenure of the Brakes was superb, at the conclusion of the 1991 season John’s contract was not renewed. It was at this time that another English lad happened on the scene courtesy of the connections of a long-time member of Goshen and local farmer named Gordie Keys. Gordie had become acquainted with a gentleman named Bay Cockburn, who was contacted by the Goshen leadership and quickly became our huntsman from 1991 through the 1994 season.
Hunting with Bay Cockburn was always a thrilling experience. Bay firmly believed that the purpose of the huntsman and his hounds was to provide a day of great hunting for all those members and guests that were in the field on any given day. Almost without fail, he did just that! Goshen had always enjoyed a reputation for being a fast and hard riding hunt, but Bay elevated that by several levels! Four hours of riding behind Bay’s hounds generally at a gallop kept horses and riders in tip top shape!
It was during Bay’s tenure as huntsman that the Goshen staff established the tradition of wearing scarlet regardless of gender. Bay’s principle staff consisted of four outstanding lady riders; Pat McDowell, Karen Jones, Stephanie Mills, and Kimberly Pardoe Manuelides affectionately known as “Bay’s bitch pack.” Watching these fine lady foxhunters all dressed in scarlet and working with the hounds calmly and confidently was a real delight.
The lure of Northern Virginia, Dr. Joe Roger’s timber horses, and the opportunity to hunt the Loudoun West
Hounds on a regular basis finally became more than Bay could resist, so at the conclusion of the 1994 season,
Bay resigned. And of course, as so often happens, when one door closes, another opens.
This time the door opened to welcome a young Irishman by way of Australia having been educated in England.
Best of all, in addition to being a fourth generation Irish huntsman, this sucker could ride a horse!
Robert Taylor came on the Goshen scene first as a riding instructor at the old Oatlands facility of Gordie Keys.
He quickly built a following of young enthusiastic riders who would quickly follow him to the Goshen hunt field.
With the concurrence of Master Stabler and some urging from Master Jones, Robert Taylor was hired as the
Goshen huntsman in 1994. Robert has remained in that position to the present day and now has the
distinction of being Goshen’s longest serving huntsman. In 2006, by unanimous action of the
Board of Governors, Robert was appointed joint Master, a capacity in which he continues to serve with
Mark Challberg, Holly Hamilton, Thompson Pardoe, and Dr. Charles Mess.
As previously noted, Robert is at least the fourth generation of Taylors to carry the horn. In fact, Robert regularly carries the silver horn of his legendary Grandfather, Tommie Taylor. When Robert first came to Goshen, the challenge of running a kennel, training hounds, selecting staff and training them as well, learning the territory, and the myriad details of managing a top notch hunting establishment was perhaps a challenge. It was at this time that Robert’s father, Jack Taylor, arrived. Jack was quickly asked if he would accept the position of kennelman in exchange for living quarters at the kennel. Jack immediately replied with his understandable Irish accent “that’s right up me street!” For the next several months, Jack, in his very quiet and gentle way trained many of the Goshen faithful in the proper way to run a hunt establishment. We will be forever grateful.
Under Robert’s guidance, hound breeding, and training, Goshen’s hunting continues to be simply superb. During his now more than two decades of hunting, we have yet to suffer a blank day. Robert at one point lamented the end of this string of hunting days and complained to his joint Master Tom Pardoe that he thought the string had ended. Master Pardoe corrected Robert by describing hounds running on a viewed fox away while Robert was out of sight! The string continues!