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By Lauren R. GianniniLauren R. Giannini | Rappahannock News

On March 29, Thornton Hill Fort Valley Hounds’ final meet of the 2014-15 season doubled as the swan song for Billy Dodson, who retired as huntsman. Dodson has carried the horn for THFVH since 1998, when he started with 100 donated hounds, including one of the best hounds he ever had, a crossbred called Kako, thanks to Jim Atkins, then Warrenton huntsman, and turned the pack into one that has garnered rave reviews from members as well as visitors from other hunts. The March 29 field included enthusiasts from as far as Ligonier, Pa., Piedmont Foxhounds, Snickersville Hounds and Keswick Hunt, for what insiders call a bluebird day: not a cloud in the sky and it warmed up too fast, which is terrible for scent. Hounds provided good sport all the same, running one fox for a few miles from the Five Forks covert on up the Thornton River where they lost the scent. The day concluded with another brief blast, albeit a screamer in terms of pace and hound music while it lasted.

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