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The Bridlespur Hunt
Established 1927

Recognized By
Masters of Foxhounds Association 1929

The Bridlespur Hunt was founded with the inspiration, support, and assistance of the late, much loved gentleman and sportsman, Mr. August A. Busch, Sr. who obtained the original draft of hounds from the well-known Joseph B. Thomas-Percy Rockefeller pack at Overhills, North Carolina. They consisted entirely of American hounds, or, as better known, Virginia Hounds.

By careful breeding, observation, and culling of the less desirable, the two early guiding spirits of the Hunt, Mr. August A. Busch, Jr. and Mr. Adalbert vonGontard, Sr., developed a pack with most excellent nose and voice.  They began to hunt the area of west St. Louis County, with kennels on Squires Lane in Huntleigh.  The Bridlespur hounds have gone out twice a week since that time, even during the war years of 1941-1946 when a great many hunts in this country were forced to cease all activities.

After the development of west St. Louis County began making it impossible to foxhunt, under the leadership of Andrew J. Shinkle, MFH and James B. Orthwein, MFH new kennels, clubhouse and skeet shooting range were completed in St. Charles County, and the country west of Weldon Springs which includes the vast Busch Wildlife Area was opened and paneled.

Through the years English Hound blood has been bred into the pack, developing an excellent "Crossbred" pack.  Many hunts throughout the country have found it necessary to cross their "American" Hounds with "English", obtaining more hound control.  This has become more important as the rural areas have developed and highways have appeared.  The English hound is much more inclined to discipline and control, and crossbreeding has helped in this area without sacrificing the voice and drive of the American Hound.

   The Bridlespur Hunt is involved in many endeavors throughout the year other than actual foxhunting. We make our facility available to many organizations to further the proliferation and enjoyment of horse-related activities in the St. Louis area.

   In addition to our annual Bridlespur Charity Horse Show, we hold Schooling Shows, Hunter Paces, and Hunter Trials, all of which are open to the public. Our membership consists or a cross section of businessmen and women, professional persons, housewives, students, etc., all bound together by their love of riding to hounds, or simply their interest in belonging to a group who loves the outdoors and takes pleasure in horse related activities­

   We make our facility available to a number of organizations, such as the St. Louis Area Dressage Society, the 4-H Council, the Therapeutic Horsemanship Organization, and a number of individual organizations who manage local horse shows. We have also been the sponsor of the Bridlespur Pony Club since its inception in 1954, and make our grounds available for their program of training the "young riders."

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Those who have served as M.F.H. throughout the 77 years of the Bridlespur Hunt:

Adalbert vonGontard 1927-28
August A. Busch, Jr 1929-37 & 1946-47
Mrs. Henry J. Kaltenbach, Jr. 1938-46
Adolphus B. Orthwein 1946-51
Louis F. Aitken 1947-52 & 1969-72
Paul Victor vonGontard 1951-52
James B. Orthwein 1952-87
Andrew J. Shinkle 1952-69
James A. Butler, Jr. 1972-74
Parker B. Condie 1974-78
Harry C. Weber 1983-85
Mr. Wayne Kennedy 1978-79
Mrs. Thomas S. Kenny, Jr. 1978-86
Mrs. E.H. Lewis, Jr. 1986 -Present
Mr. John C. Heisler 1989-90
Mr. Franklin F. Starcher 1991-94
Mrs. Thomas M. Carney 1991 -Present
Mr. Gene Deutsch 1999 - Present
Mr. Werner Kugler 2000 - Present
Dr. Bruce McCloskey 2001 - 2002
Mrs. Mary Hensel 2001 - Present
Mrs. Jill Wagenknecht 2001 - Present


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last updated 07-Oct-2004