Chris Hornick has been around beagles his entire life. The early days were tagging behind his Uncle, Joe Hornick and hearing the stories of the great hounds of the past, the chases that lasted from sun up to sun down, the exhilarating runs on European as well as snowshoe hare, and the desirable qualities that houndsmen of old sought.
Chris’ first hound was of Patch descent, with a good dose of some outstanding cottontail blood through Ray Miller’s Woodland hounds. This hound was specifically chosen by Joe Hornick for Chris so that he would have a great start in the hounds. Luke of Snowhill was beautiful to look at and an exceptional gundog. He had the stamina to run all day and also had a desire to please. He claimed the line with a clear “bell-like” bawl that switched to a fast chop on the drive. He was run many nights with Chris, his father, and uncle sitting on the porch listening to the hound music.
As Joe Hornick grew older, he eventually gave up the hounds, Chris searched for hounds from other breeders including field trial stock. However, these hounds did not come up to his standards. Some were serviceable and game could be harvested with them, but they did not measure up to Luke. As Chris settled into his career, the hounds were calling him and he returned to the fountainhead of the Patches, Mike Capozzi.
A beautiful male hound was the first, followed the next year by a solid female. These hounds DID measure up to the standard and Chris was bit by the bug. They were beautiful, sturdy hounds. Mike and Chris developed a strong friendship and spent many hours discussing the hounds and breeding philosophy.
In the early 2000s, during a pup swap along I-87, Mike asked Chris that when the time would come, if he would take over the kennel and hounds. At the time, Chris thought nothing of it and said "sure." Forward ahead to August of 2010, Chris' phone rang in the early morning hours and Mike said it was time, come up and get the hounds. Within a week, Chris was on the road and bringing back 9 hounds from Mike. Paperwork was completed that they would be partners in the AKC kennel and all hounds were transferred to Chris. During the next 4 years, Mike and Chris worked closely with the hounds. All crosses were ran through Mike, (as they had been done previously) and progress reports were shared on each hound's abilities. Shortly before Mike's passing, Chris and Mike were on the phone, ( I think Mike knew it would be the last time they would speak) Mike instructed Chris to take care of the hounds and protect the kennel, they both were in Chris' hands now.
Among the early hounds was Cymbrian Bonnie Patch. Bonnie was outstanding. Gentle as could be with her owner, she was ferocious with any other animal. An alpha female, she was the leader of Chris’ pack. She had the ability to drive as well as knuckle down and work out a tough check. She made problems look easy as she effortlessly took control of the pack. Her voice was unequalled, the last to go out of hearing and the first to hear coming back.
Chris lives in the heart of the Alleghenies of Pennsylvania with his wife Tina.