By Lauren R. Giannini
Randall Wiseman serves as junior whipper-in at Sedgefield Hunt (NC). Now 18 and heading into her senior year at Chatham Hall, Randall thinks that hounds, horses and hunting “must be in my blood”: her grandmother Virginia (“Gin”) Wiseman whipped-in at Sedgefield for many years, ditto her parents and others in the family tree.
In 2009, Randall persuaded Sedgefield to enter the Virginia Hound Show at Morven Park (Leesburg, VA). The outing proved a roaring success. Randall showed in several Penn-Marydel classes: Sedgefield Budweiser took first place in Single Dog (Unlisted) and partnered with littermate Bullet to garner the blue rosette in Couple of Dogs (Unlisted). Best of all, it was Randall’s last chance, age-wise, to compete with her peers in the Junior Handler 11-16 class: she showed Faust in a very competitive field of handlers and won.
Sidelines: Did you take to hunting like a duck to water?
RW: When I was about nine, my parents took me with three of my friends on our first hunt. I was on a little 12.2 hand pony that would drag me all around and bite people. My friends and I went about once a month, and I don’t think we had any idea that there were hounds out there. We were just having a blast, galloping around, trying to control our ponies.
Then, after two or three years, Fred Berry, our master and huntsman, started letting me ride with his wife Elaine or Judy Gallman, two of our whips. That’s when it started coming together and I realized what was going on. I rode with them for a couple years before Fred let me go off on my own and that was when it definitely clicked. I live to hunt now.
Sidelines: How did you survive going away to school?
RW: It was pretty hard. I went to public school all my life and then had the option to come to Chatham Hall. My grandmother Virginia Wiseman went here and, because they don’t like to take people as seniors, we thought it would be good if I repeated my junior year. I probably don’t work as hard as I should. I’d rather be hunting, and my parents use that as an incentive. My friends are mostly horse people and this was really different, coming to a boarding school and having to make friends with people who don’t know about hounds and hunting, but I have a horse here, which really helps.
Sidelines: Who is your all-time favorite field hunter?
RW: Unodatsrite (“Cap”), but I don’t have him anymore. He’s with a family friend hunting with Old Dominion Hounds. He’s a 15.2 gray OTTB – the best hunt horse I’ve ever ridden – but he was a little small for me. He’ll stand on the buckle at a check. If we need to go, I just have to squeeze him and he’s gone. I got him after he’d been off the track for three months, about six weeks before hunting season started, and he was perfect from day one.
Sidelines: Do you have a favorite hound?
RW: Budweiser and Faust are probably my two favorite hounds. I won the Junior Handler class with Faust – he’s been drafted to Aiken. We got Faust from Grand Canyon and he was the first hound I got attached to. Everybody at Aiken loves him and he’s doing really well. Budweiser is three now. Ever since that show in Virginia in 2009, he has won every class he’s been in. He was champion Penn-Marydel Dog and reserve champion Penn-Marydel at the 2011 Carolinas Hound Show. He’s so easy – he’s so much fun to show. He really keeps eye contact with me.
Sidelines: Who are your mentors?
RW: None of this would be possible without my parents, Paige [neé Collier] and Frank Wiseman, who hauled me, my horses and smelly hounds around for years and encouraged my enthusiasm. My father and my uncle, Buck Wiseman (master and huntsman of Clear Creek Beagles, KY) had their own pack, Bachelors Hall Foxhounds, when they were young. Buck, Sherry Buttrick and Forbes Reback (Farmington Beagles) let me tag along with them to Bryn Mawr Hound Show to show beagles and they got me started with my own pack. We all have come a long way in the last year.
Then there is Fred Berry, our Master and Huntsman. I don’t believe my passion for the art of hunting hounds would be where it is today without Fred’s support and leadership, and the opportunities he has made for me. After the first couple of seasons riding with Elaine and Judy, Fred had me ride up with him to “run errands” in 2008-09. I watched Fred work, the hounds work with each other, and listened to their beautiful music in full cry which cannot be described. I learn something new everyday from Fred. He is always encouraging me to learn all I can from everyone I can. Codie Hayes, one of my closest friends from Moore County Hounds, and I are founders of the “Fred Berry Fan Club.”