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IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY, 60 ALEXANDRIA PIKE, WARRENTON, VA 20186

VOLUME XXVI / NUMBER 1 • THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE VIRGINIA STEEPLECHASE ASSOCIATION • DECEMBER 2013/JANUARY 2014


IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • DECEMBER 2013/JANUARY 2014

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OPENING MEETS

Joint Masters of Snickersville Hounds Eva Smithwick and Gregg Ryan. Janet Hitchen photo

Huntsman Spencer Allen and his hounds move along briskly on Piedmont Fox Hounds’ Opening Day. Middleburg Photo

Blue Ridge Huntsman Guy Allman moves off with hounds. Janet Hitchen photo

Piedmont Fox Hounds Opening Meet, Oakley, November 7, 2013 Piedmont Joint-Masters Gregg Ryan and Tad Zimmerman. Janet Hitchen photo

Penny Denegre, MFH, Middleburg Hunt, demonstrates her award-winning form over a stone wall on Opening Day. Middleburg Photo

Hugh Robards, professional whipper-in to the Middleburg Hunt, rides away hard to a point. Middleburg Photo

Piedmont Fox Hounds Huntsman Spencer Allen over a coop on Opening Day. Middleburg Photo

Middleburg Huntsman Barry Magner coolly negotiates a stone wall. Middleburg Photo

James Raine, Huntsman for Virginia’s Princess Anne Hunt, moves his hounds to the blessing for the Opening Meet held October 26, 2013. The backdrop is The Sherwood Forest Plantation House. Jody Ciliberto photo

Tanheath Hunt Opening Meet & Blessing of the Hounds, Tyrone Farm, Pomfret, CT, November 3, 2013. (l-r) Kami Wolk, MFH Wentworth Hunt (NH); Daun DeFrance, Wentworth Hunt; Bill Wentworth, MFH, Tanheath Hunt. Eric Schneider photo


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IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • DECEMBER 2013/JANUARY 2014

SPORTING LIFE HIGHLIGHTS Middleburg Hunt’s Tracey Cover and Brandywine Take Virginia Field Hunter Championship Woodley Farm, Berryville, Virginia, Sunday, October 20, 2013 Tracey Cover, representing Middleburg Hunt, piloted her handsome bay Brandywine to this year’s Virginia Field Hunter Championship. An invitational competition, the event is hosted by the hunt whose member won the previous year. With Blue Ridge Hunt member Barbara Batterton’s Middleburg Hunt’s Tracey Cover and Brandywine, the 2013 Virginia 2012 win on Nicki Z, Field Hunter Champion. Richard Clay photo Woodley Farm in Berryville was selected as this year’s venue. Tracey and Brandywine started the day on a high note with a nod as Best Turned out from judge Leslie Hazel, Orange County Hounds. The pair then joined the others as they followed Barbara on a mock hunt accompanied by mounted judges Jeff LeHew, MFH, Thornton Hill Fort Valley Hounds; Jennifer Nesbitt, Keswick Hunt; and last year’s winner Karyn Wilson, Loudoun Fairfax Hunt. With the field pared down, Batterton and Nicki Z showed what a winning ride would look like over the individual test course. The ten finalists each took their turn over the course that included coops, brush jumps, rails, and timber fences. Contestants were also required to take a dash at a fast gallop between two fences and to open and close a hand gate. When the scores were tallied, Tracey’s Brandywine was announced as this year’s winner, which means the 2014 event will be hosted by Middleburg Hunt. Reserve Champion went to Fifty Grand, owned and ridden by Mo Baptiste, Snickersville Hounds. Loudoun Fairfax Hunt’s Hannah Rogers Tucker rode her Midnight Rambler to a third place finish. The fourth, fifth, and sixth spots all went to riders and horses representing Mo Baptiste and Fifty Grand (Snickersville Hounds) galloped Farmington Hunt: Lucky, to the Reserve Championship. Richard Clay photo owned by Tom Bishop and ridden by Maria Bishop Shannon; Eli, owned and ridden by Mark Thompson; and Pocket, owned and ridden by Joy Crompton, MFH. PHOTOGRAPHERS: Steve Berkowitz, VMD John J. Carle II, ex-MFH Jody Ciliberto Richard Clay www.richardclayphotography.com Adam Conglianese Sarah Farnsworth Lauren R. Giannini Ron Glockner Janet Hitchen 540-837-9846 www.janethitchenphotography.com Joan Jannaman www.lakehillstudio.com Adrian Jennings www.adrianjennings.zenfolio.com Austin Kaseman www.austinkaseman.com Nancy Kleck www.equinesportingart.com ON THE COVER: Blue Ridge Hunt, Douglas Lees douglaslees@comcast.com Thanksgiving Meet, November 28, 2013, Jim Meads, U.K. 011-44-1686-420436 Long Branch. Guy Allman, Huntsman Middleburg Photo www.middleburgphoto.com Betsy Burke Parker and Aaron Beltran, Whipper-in. Eric Schneider M. Sharkey www.msharkey.com COVER PHOTOGRAPHER: Sherry Whiting Janet Hitchen

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Book Signing Horse Country Saddlery hosted a book signing for Rosemary Groux, author of Brynwyd Legacy: Finding Truth, November 7, 2013.

With the author is her mother Leigh Ann Groux, seated. Standing: Hank Berg, Head of Highland School; Anne and John “Til” Hazel, grandparents of the author. Lauren R. Giannini photo

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Flowers on the Bank In the June/July 2012 issue of In & Around Horse Country we ran an article about protecting stream crossings. The article emphasized the importance of only crossing at the designated spots to avoid damaging sensitive stream banks. One measure we failed to mention was guarding the bank with an array of flower-filled mason jars strapped to wooden stakes. Fortunately, the creative folks at Tennessee’s Hillsboro Hounds showed us how that’s done. A nicely decorative touch for their Opening Meet ceremonies… and a good way to protect the stream banks too! Adrian Jennings photo

Regular subscription 6 issues $25.00, U.S.A. First Class subscription $35.00, Europe, Canada, etc. $45.00

is a bimonthly publication. Editorial and Advertising Address: 60 Alexandria Pike, Warrenton, VA 20186 For information and advertising rates, please call (540) 347-3141, fax (540) 347-7141 Space Deadline for the February/March issue is Jan. 15. Payment in full due with copy. Publisher: Marion Maggiolo Managing Editor: J. Harris Anderson Advertising: Mary Cox (540) 636-7688 Email: hcmaryads@embarqmail.com Contributors: Aga; John J. Carle II, ex-MFH; Lauren R. Giannini; Jim Meads; Will O’Keefe; Betsy Burke Parker; Virginia Thoroughbred Association; Jenny Young LAYOUT & DESIGN: Kate Houchin Copyright 2014 In & Around Horse Country®. All Rights Reserved. Volume XXVI, No.1 POSTMASTER: CHANGE SERVICE REQUESTED


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IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • DECEMBER 2013/JANUARY 2014

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BASSETS

2013 NBC Fall Basset Trials By John J. Carle II, ex-MFH

Basset Judges: L-R Bennett Barclay, MB and Michael Gottier.

Dr. Rachel E. Cain, MBH & Huntsman, Reedy Creek Bassets.

Liz McKnight, MBH, Ex-MFH with the Monkton Hall Bassets.

The Sandanona Hare Hounds : A Cascade of Dewlaps.

“For the lover of hound work…hare hunting is the choice, found the Virginia turf more inviting scent-wise than the and of all hare hunting that with Basset Hounds is the more sandy terrain in their new Florida digs; and their delibcaviar.” Eric Morrison, Fox and Hare in Leistershire erate style of hunting brought them a modicum of success denied the more flighty packs. For sure, everyone was glad In late October, Aldie, Virginia, having only recently to shut the enclosure gates behind them. mopped up eight inches of rain, was blanketed by a blast of Unavoidable circumstances limited my participation to Arctic air, bringing heavy frosts and persistent, chilling Saturday’s five-couple competition, but from the varied and winds: Mother Nature’s stern winter warning. The frigid detail descriptions I got from participants and judges, it was flood brought upon its stream gatherings of white-crowned a fairly typical day. The Sandanona were first-down, sparrows and chickadees; and flocks of Gabriel Hounds, encountering a 27 degree chill and persistent northwest with muted mutterings, traveled the narrow lane laid down wind under a deep blue sky. Shortly after entering the usuby the remaining silver sliver of the Hunter’s Moon. ally-productive Stable Covert, they were away with a flourUndaunted by the weather came a hoard of sporting folks, ish… on a large, dark-red fox! This brief pipe-opener unsetbringing with them their packs of funny, crooked-legged, tled them momentarily, but when once they unbedded a happy little hounds, to camp out at “The Institute,” filling close-lying cottontail, they were all business, filling the air kennels, rooms, and quaint cabins and overflowing into with lovely music, and pushing their quarry at speed. But campers, motor homes, and one large tent. Came to hunt, they could only run in short bursts, punctuated by diligent they did, to compete in the Fall Basset Trials. casts. After a half-hour of start/stop, Betsy Park, MB, opted The Basset Trials always open with the seven-couple, to draw the more open hillsides northward. After such and from the start it was obvious that hounds were going to intense concentration, hounds indulged in a little high-jinx, be severely tested. A dull, chill day with a heavy front hang- racing downhill in pursuit of a quarry that existed only in ing overhead and threatening rain that never came assured their imagination: an exuberant cascade of dewlaps! Then that scenting conditions would prove difficult, and would they settled to work hard for the rest of their allotted time continue to deteriorate. Monkton Hall, in the capable hands with, sadly, only stale nightlines as a reward. While they of those two extraordinarily sporting ladies, Liz McKnight drew along the old stone wall, the Middleburg foxhounds and Kerry Smyth, was first pack down, and produced the could be heard working a line a mile or so to the northwest. best run by a considerable margin by encountering better Luckily, just as they seemed poised to come careening (but far from excellent) scenting than any following packs. through our competition, their fox turned away, and the In fact, three of the four ribbon-winners ran in the morning. threat vanished. The exception was Ripshin, who, finding an unexpected Reedy Creek was thoroughly defeated by the scenting sweet spot just after lunch, laid down the second-best per- conditions and, despite the unflagging efforts of their formance of the day. Edgar and Ann Hughston’s leggy, Huntsman, Dr. Rachel Caine, MB, who attacked the formirough-coated, attractive hounds are demons in their work… dable briar tangles with more enthusiasm than some of her and they needed to be; a lesser pack would have been hounds, the pack could only produce two short runs, one a stymied. Hill and Hollow not only presented themselves lively sight-race along the creek below the old stable. well, these eager fellows made the best of deteriorating conDrawing the Merry Meadow, the Monkton Hall set to ditions to snare the yellow ribbon. Fourth place went to Jeep work with fierce determination, spreading widely to draw Cochran’s Calf Pasture (still aglow from so handily winning dense briars and head-high switchgrass. When a rabbit leapt the pack class at Bryn Mawr in June), who had the toughest up, Huntsman Liz McKnight’s blood-curdling shriek galvabattle of the top four. ’Tis fair to say that no one in the bas- nized her pack, and they raced away toward Oatlands Road set world has ever seen this pack “spit it out,” and today they at top speed, their high-pitched cry dancing along the creek showcased their grit and determination. It was a tough day bottom. They looped about, crisscrossing the creek, their of hit-and-miss hunting, where hounds had to work extra enthusiasm overwhelming the conditions at times, which hard, with their reward often only an extravagance of night- caused overruns and checks. Each time they were called lines. back by one choppy-mouthed hound who stayed glued to The three-couple is run in the C. Oliver Iselin the line. This run ended with a lively burst back to the Enclosure, which presents always its own set of difficulties. switchgrass, where scent vanished. Taken back, they pushed So many hounds hunt this piece all year that rabbits have a second rabbit eastward past the derelict pond, then looped learned to sit extra-tight, unwilling to run unless nearly in a left-hand circle. Here it was all slow, hit-and-miss with stepped upon. With a blast of frigid air under bluebird skies not all hounds seeming to hunt the same line, and scattering producing ever worse scenting conditions, they sat tighter somewhat. Another viewed rabbit was hunted sporadically than usual. The judges—Michael Gottier (whipper-in to his until a deer got up, momentarily seducing the pack. They father David’s Silver Eagle Bassets and Huntsman for the stopped quickly, and hunted hard until Field Marshal Dave Kimberton Foxhounds), and Bennett Barclay (Master and Gottier sounded his cow horn. Huntsman of his own Hermit Hollow Beagles)—had to rely Missouri’s Three Creek struggled, with several short especially heavily on how hounds drew covert and hunted runs on the hillside above and west of the Merry Meadow. for their rabbits, penalizing severely those that skirted and A good, screaming sortie was ruined by a deer that blunrefused to brave the briars. The Sandanona Hare Hounds dered into the pack and, although hounds settled well after had the best run of the threes, yet it was nothing to write the disruption, they could never find another rabbit despite home about. As Master/Huntsman Betsy Park said, “It was admirable try by both bassets and hunt staff. just a mediocre hunt. My hounds found a rabbit and hunted The Tintern were rewarded for their long trip from it, stuck with it despite the conditions. They simply did what Ontario by the worst luck of the week. Perhaps they’d used they could. No packs had a spectacular day the whole week. up their allotment in the three-couple! Drawing much of the It was what it was.” And the judges agreed that their one same patch as Three Creek, they found the noon hour consteady run set the standard. To further complicate things, ditions too daunting, and only an occasional squeak soundconditions were rapidly changing. Second-placed Three ed from deep in the briars. Then, near “time,” 4½ couple Creek had a steady run on one rabbit, doing well on the screamed away on a red fox (likely Sandanona’s tormenter). grass in the open, but were stymied in the woods. One hour Stopped, they were immediately off on a deer, frustration later, the Hill and Hollow hounds ran well enough in the having pummeled their usual steadiness. They were stopped woods, but threw up their heads in bewilderment in the close to the kennels, at least, so the Martins made it to lunch open. Go figure! The fourth-placed Upper Bay probably on time!


IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • DECEMBER 2013/JANUARY 2014

The temperature had climbed to 55 degrees, but the wind was up stronger at 1:30 p.m. when Ripshin took to the field. They drew the west border of the Stable Woods, then over the creek, where they jumped a small, devious rabbit. Hounds pushed this fellow hard downstream, their strong drive complemented by stirring music. Brief success made them a bit cocky, and they overran. Undaunted, they recovered the line on their own and, racing upstream, forced their pilot to quit the cooler woods in favor of the sun-drenched, wind-whipped briar thickets to the east. Here he just belly-crawled, amusing himself by playing hide-and-seek with the Field and leaving little scent. Heel-line proved a problem when hounds were taken to several views, and they struggled to straighten out the proper path. But how hounds tried! Old campaigner and stallion hound “Rattler” (just back from an amorous interlude at George Seier’s Three Oak kennel), and young “Vic,” 2013 Champion Basset at Bryn Mawr, were viewed doing consistently diligent work. Nevertheless, this rabbit’s antics wore out Huntsman Edgar Hughston’s patience, and he lifted the pack uphill to draw a lefthanded circle through the switchgrass on Merry Meadow and back down across the septic field. From here he angled southeast through the patch of woods that always seems to produce one big doe; and sure enough, she was home and diverted hounds momentarily. Time ran out with hounds working hard downhill toward the creek. Hill and Hollow, a pack that seems to improve exponentially every year, was next down. Huntsman Carter Amigh, MBH, drew downstream below the cabins, and just short of Oatlands Road hounds practically stepped on a rabbit. Away with beautiful, deafening cry they raced westward parallel to the road, uphill to an area particularly densely carpeted in new leaves, where they were brought to their noses. A round-your-hat cast recovered the line Champion Basset, 2013, At Bryn Mawr going back to the road, where scent died. Ripshin “Vic” turns with the hunted rabbit. Drawing westward, oboe-voiced “Baron” had a line past the derelict pond, carrying it singlehandedly until a frantic, squealy-mouthed bitch announced Brer Rabbit afoot. The pack roared away en masse upstream, with their quarry viewed just ahead. But a deer put paid to that run, and, although the “old steadies” quit immediately, it was several minutes before order was fully restored. Judge Michael Gottier’s laughing remark, “Your hounds were really packed-up on that deer!” brought a smile, but Carter Amigh was probably NOT amused. A long draw across Merry Meadow’s upper reaches, through Cody Anderson’s “bear thicket” and down to the Dump Woods produced only a few murmurs and one line so stale that even “Baron” could only mutter on it. Then time ran out. The Upper Bay, who have recently relocated from the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee to the South Creek Foxhounds’ territory in Florida, began their efforts along the main creek below the Dump Woods. This pack hunts very methodically, and just upstream aways, they opened, soft, rather abrupt voices announcing their good fortune. Mellow voices ringing sweetly, they followed their pilot across some foiled ground, where they checked until a hint from the judges got them going again. Eastward into the Stable Woods, slow and steady, working checks with no interference, they kept the pressure on until their enterprising pilot popped through a hole in the aged siding of the former stable and went to ground. After a short, ringing rendition of “Gone to Ground” from Dick Askins’ horn, the pack drew upstream again. As Dick encouraged them with a cajoling, growling voice, hounds attacked the dense thickets with such enthusiasm that they dislodged a deer. They were forcefully dissuaded after a wild burst and, returning to the horn, jumped a proper pilot and raced downhill. They really pushed this rabbit down and back twice, with persistence rather than speed. As time dwindled, the pack-–which seemed to be made up of mostly older hounds—began to tire badly, only two or three having enough breath left to speak consistently as they resolutely struggled uphill one last time. The Virginia hills took their toll, and the tightly bunched pack began to string out. As time ran out, they were checked, casting painstakingly all around a big rock pile. Dick, the consummate Huntsman, was sure their rabbit had sought refuge among the rocks, but he wanted his hounds to work it out on their own. Unfortunately, the judges had turned away downhill when hounds began to mark, and with their Huntsman too winded to blow his horn, they didn’t get the credit they deserved. The Skycastle French Hounds, those funny, fuzzy Griffon Vendeen Bassets, were last pack down. This pack so often lives up to Horse and Hound’s Flora Watkins’ description as “…these stubborn, strong-willed creatures.” Today they produced what Ms. Watkins once called “a musical comedy.” Thinking that Upper Bay had left a rabbit, Huntsman Jim Shornberg, MBH, drew ’round the rock pile, but soon abandoned this nearly impenetrable fortress for the slightly more open hillside when half his pack deemed hunting the briars too prickly a proposition and lollygagged about on the trails. Drawing downward, they suddenly opened in an eruption of soprano shrieks and raced to the enclosure fence, where all cry abruptly ceased: “Evapo-rabbit”! Jim tried the immediate vicinity with no recovery, then drew to the ever-productive stone wall. Here the briars are denser and more formidable than ever, and only one hound would battle their fierce stilettos for long. His efforts to rally the pack brought only one brief burst of music that died a-borning. Throughout the last two packs’ hunts, activity at the shooting range not far enough to the west picked up considerably, and the constant echo of gunfire proved to be a real distraction. With each fusillade, several fuzzies would tuck their sterns and go racing in search of their Huntsman. As evening shadows lengthened and Mr. Shornberg tried above the wall, time was called, ending our day and, sadly, my participation.

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In calculating the results, the judges gave Sandanona best, followed by Calf Pasture (whose determined go on Friday I missed), with Monkton Hall in third, followed by Ripshin. Sunday’s Stake Class had unusually light entries: only 6½ couple from five packs—Hill and Hollow, Skycastle, Three Creek, Calf Pasture, and Monkton Hall. Judge Michael Gottier carried the horn, and a fine job he did. Both young judges are seasoned veterans afield, having hunted since childhood, and under the tutelage of the best. Field Marshall, David Gottier, MBH, Consequently, their insight and instincts are The Silver Eagle Bassets. sharply honed. They didn’t miss much. Michael was pleased that thirteen hounds, mostly strangers to each other, packed up quickly (unlike so many other years, when chaos reigned!), and set to work immediately as they hunted mainly in the area near the enclosure entrance. Three hounds eliminated themselves early on by blatantly and persistently running a deer that had hopped over the antiquated and inadequate enclosure fence. Within an hour, two couple were scratched for skirting and general lack of effort. The pack, now reduced to three couple—1½ each from Monkton Hall and Hill and Hollow—were taken outside to draw the Stable Covert, so productive earlier. When it drew blank, the judges decided hounds must brave the devilish thickets near the creekside burn pile where the Ripshin five-couple had been so harshly tested. But, as they approached, whipper-in extraordinaire Turner Boone encountered that big red fox nonchalantly watching hounds’ efforts and readying himself with relish for an impromptu game of tag. Politely declining, Michael took his charges back to the stable woods again en route to the kennel. By then the judges had seen enough, having paid particular attention to how hounds had drawn for their rabbits: battling the briars with disdain and determination, remaining packed in the open and in the woods, honoring each other’s proclamations of a line found, then staying true to that line when running. Bloodied ears and sterns were honored battle-scars. Of the survivors, Hill and Hollow’s “Baron” wore his “red badges of courage” proudly as he accepted his hard-earned blue rosette. Michael said of “Baron,” whom he really admired, that he has a great nose, his body language is easy to read as he hunts, that he was dead-on every time he spoke, and that he exhibited lion-like courage as he “busted through every thicket.” He was a clear and deserving winner, but Monkton Hall’s “Bison” and “Sherlock” made him work for every accolade. “Baron’s” kennelmate “Nightcap” was close behind in Fourth. Only a couple drops of blood separated the top four. This day, and those that preceded it, was one that never could quite live up to the hopes and expectations of those who came to experience the thrills of the chase so typical of and so vividly chronicled in the annals of Aldie history. The only way to deal with the week’s conditions was to adopt Surtees’ view that “…hunting is best when it involves adversity.” However, if this hunting was caviar, it was definitely of the domestic variety! Results: Three-Couple 1. Sandanona 2. Three Creek 3. Hill and Hollow 4. Upper Bay 50/50 Field and Conformation: Sandanona Seven-Couple 1. Monkton Hall 2. Ripshin 3. Hill and Hollow 4. Calf Pasture

Five-Couple 1. Sandanona 2. Calf Pasture 3. Monkton Hall 4. Ripshin 50/50 Field and Conformation: Sandanona Two-Hour Stake 1. Hill and Hollow “Baron” 2. Monkton Hall “Bison” 3. Monkton Hall “Sherlock” 4. Hill and Hollow “Nightcap”

The Three Creek Bassets.


IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • DECEMBER 2013/JANUARY 2014

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FOXHUNTING

Julian Barnfield – Taking the World by the Tally Ho By Lauren R. Giannini

Julian Barnfield in the distinctive livery of the Heythrop Hunt (UK). Sarah Farnsworth photo

Julian Barnfield (right) accompanied his friend Guy Allman, Huntsman for Virginia’s Blue Ridge Hunt, out for a day of sport during his recent visit to the US. Nancy Kleck photo

Julian Barnfield, serving as an ambassador of rural sport in a public appearance with hounds. According to Tim Bonner, Countryside Alliance Campaign Director, Julian is “one of the nicest and most articulate people you could meet in any walk of life.” Photo Courtesy of Countryside Alliance

You might be able to take the horn from a huntsman’s hand, but it’s unlikely that anything will ever extinguish Julian Barnfield’s love for hounds, especially a pack in full cry. “To have a vocation that occupies you every day, 24-7, is a habit that is really hard to break,” stated Barnfield. “Being huntsman wasn’t a job. It was a pure vocation.” Barnfield grew up in Andoversford, a village in the Cotswolds, about six miles east of Cheltenham. He was a young boy when he started going to the Cotswold Hunt kennels where he soaked up hound care and lore from kennel huntsman Roland Sheppard. When Barnfield was 16, he started in hunt service and then spent four years as a soldier, mustering out at the age of 22. “I got to hunt a lot—I was very lucky to get home on many a weekend,” he said. Barnfield gained more experience, two seasons with the Bramhan Moor and another five with the Worcestershire, before returning to home turf. From 1998-99, Barnfield served as first whipper-in/kennel huntsman to Tim Unwin, MFH and huntsman of Cotswold Hunt, before taking on the huntsman’s duties the next season. In 2004, the year that the hunting ban took effect, Barnfield moved from Cotswold Hunt to the Heythrop where he served as huntsman until 2012. That year, the retirement of Heythrop senior master Richard Sumner resulted in changes within the hunt, including the arrival of a new master who wanted to be huntsman. Barnfield’s bittersweet voluntary retirement from hunt service, spanning 21 years of his life, took place on May 1, 2013, and he admitted that it was very difficult to leave the great pack of modern English Foxhounds. In April, the masters of Cotswold Hunt issued a statement to the Countryside Alliance about Barnfield. An excerpt reads: “During the hunting communities’ long, hard battle for survival Julian was always willing to stand up and be counted, giving informed, articulate interviews to the press when required. Consequently his profile was raised to the extent that, during his years with the Heythrop, he endured constant monitoring, which he suffered with dignity and calm.” Tim Bonner, Countryside Alliance’s Director of Campaigns, has only good things to say about Barnfield. “Julian is not only one of the most experienced and exceptional professional huntsmen in the UK, but also one of the nicest and most articulate people you could meet in any walk of life,” said Bonner. “That’s why I turned to him again and again to represent his community on television and radio which is a role he excelled in.” You can’t keep an enthusiast down for long. By the time his retirement took effect, Barnfield had already set his sights on carving a new niche for himself. His newly launched enterprise, Barnfield Sports, offers customized hunting trips in sporting fields around the world under the leadership of a professional guide and former huntsman. Clients can entrust Barnfield with all the arrangements and he will do his best to make certain that their trip is a sporting dream come true. This includes every detail

from being picked up at the airport and driven to lodging to procuring appropriate mounts and setting up an interesting itinerary for non-hunting days. “The idea came up during a holiday with my wife Polly and some great friends when we went to Spain,” Barnfield explained. “It sort of evolved while we were away. I have already booked a trip for a fellow from Moscow. He spoke quite good English and that was very useful. He was essentially a shooting man, but he wanted one day of sport and rode a horse to foxhunt with us while his friend followed in a vehicle. The Russian jumped and had a fall—his horse had jumped the rails beautifully, but the man sat too forward and got jumped off.” As enthusiasts know all too well, falls in the hunt field are a common occurrence, but Barnfield aims to provide the best unique experiences, whether his clients prefer to be well up in the first flight or in a “hilltop” position to witness how hounds work the line. “I will serve as their local personal guide and give them a day of hunting through the eyes of the huntsman,” Barnfield said. “This will call on all my experience and knowledge of hounds and hunting.” Barnfield Sports will cater to people with experience in the saddle over varied terrain and jumps as well as to those enthusiasts with less accomplished riding ability. “I will go at their pace and make the clients comfortable,” Barnfield said. “We can handle everybody, even if they have different levels of riding. If half want to go on and half prefer to go slower, that’s all part of the customized hunting experience from start to finish. I have great people who will help out in these circumstances.” The hunting, of course, is totally different in the UK and Ireland. Foxes breed like (pardon the pun) rabbits and frequently cause havoc with farmers who raise small livestock and poultry. The US has an unusual mix of coyote and fox, with hunting and quarry quite different in various regions. On either side of the big puddle, you will want a horse with the experience and sense to carry a rider safely through unfamiliar territory in the course of the chase. “Any pack in the Cotswolds is a great place to visit and hunt—the going is so good,” Barnfield said. “Good ground that drains well even in the wet of winter. One of the most exciting places to hunt is in Ireland with the Ward Union Stag Hounds, jumping stuff you would never think to jump otherwise. If clients are coming from abroad, they should plan to stay for a week, because it’s not really worth traveling that far for less time. You don’t have to spend a fortune on lodging—of course, you can if that’s what you like! There are very good B&Bs ranging from about £40 to £70 [approximately US$65 to US$113] a night. We can handle arranging the accommodations, according to what people want.” Customer service is what a huntsman’s life is all about and it’s obvious that Barnfield Sports intends to make every sporting getaway as memorable as possible.


IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • DECEMBER 2013/JANUARY 2014

To be guided through a day’s sport by a huntsman right there with you in the field is the foxhunting equivalent of watching the cross-country jumping phase of threeday eventing connected by earphones to commentary from an Olympic medalist like David O’Connor (US) or William Fox-Pitt (GB). Actually, Barnfield Sports gives clients the real deal: up close and in person, in the saddle. In October Barnfield visited fellow huntsman Guy Allman at Blue Ridge Hunt in Virginia. Allman’s predecessor Dennis Downing had named an English foxhound puppy after Barnfield and it developed into a nice young hound: at the 2011 Virginia Hound Show, Blue Ridge “Barnfield” 2010 (Duke of Beaufort “Bailey” 2003 x Blue Ridge “Crocus” 2006) swept the boards to win Single Entered Dog and then claimed the English Dog Hound Championship. “Blue Ridge ‘Barnfield’ is a very good hunting hound. When we have used him as a stallion hound, he has produced excellent puppies,” Allman said. “As far as my old friend Julian is concerned, I consider him top drawer as a professional huntsman. It’s a real loss to hunting that he isn’t still hunting hounds, because he’s that good.” In Virginia the hound’s human namesake was on a mission to reconnoiter the terrain, so to speak, and to make contacts as well as to experience sport the American way. The consensus from several people, including Blue Ridge Jt-MFH Anne MacIntosh and social member Nancy Kleck, equine portraitist and avid amateur photographer, is that Barnfield is “charming and really easy to talk to.” He is also an accomplished horseman. That he knows hounds and hunting is indisputable—they are his passion and his calling. Soon after Barnfield left Virginia, Allman and his wife Fran received a handwritten thank you letter from their friend. “I rang up Julian and told him, ‘There’s an old saying that visitors and fish stink after two days, but you could have stayed as long as you liked!’” Allman stated. “Julian is extremely intelligent and he knows this game inside out. He’s good fun to be around and as honest as the day is long. All his good qualities will translate well into his new business venture. I think that Julian’s an ideal ambassador for hunting.” As for Barnfield, he’s quite game. It’s a matter of getting his name out there and people being happy with all the little details that add up to a great holiday. That he’s very well known in the UK works to his advantage.

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“I cannot think of anyone better suited to guide a visitor through the complex, confusing, and sometimes chaotic experience of hunting with one of the many packs of foxhounds in the UK,” Bonner emphasized. “He is also known and respected throughout the hunting world and wherever you go, you would be certain of a warm welcome. Nor is Julian just a foxhunter: he is a true countryman. Crossing the English countryside with Julian would be a lesson on how it was created and continues to be managed.” In addition to arranging however many days of hunting clients want, Barnfield will gladly fill in the rest of their trip with jaunts or activities, such as fishing, shooting, social occasions with local foxhunters, museums, historical points of interest, point-to-points, racing, steeplechasing, and shopping. “Although I’m not into shopping, I will find someone local who loves to shop to accompany us,” Barnfield said. “People will enjoy visiting various British landmarks and, when we’re in Ireland and the US, the same Julian Barnfield, hunting with Virginia's Blue Ridge Hunt. Nancy Kleck photo applies. One vital element is arranging for the right horses. We have lots of livery stables in the UK and Ireland. I’m hoping to build up a list of reliable places to hire field hunters across the US.” If passion has anything to do with success, Barnfield’s new enterprise is guaranteed to be a people-pleaser. “It’s an exciting time,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to taking people hunting.” For more information: http://barnfieldsports.com.

OPENING MEETS

Bull Run Hunt Opening Meet, October 19, 2013, Locust Hill Farm, Locust Dale, Virginia. Mike Long, MFH, Greg Schwartz, Huntsman, Rosie Campbell, MFH. ©M. Sharkey photo

Rev. Stuart Smith, Mike Long, MFH with daughter Mollie Visosky and grandson Henry. ©M. Sharkey photo

Mike Long, MFH. ©M. Sharkey photo

Betty Long. ©M. Sharkey photo


IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • DECEMBER 2013/JANUARY 2014

8

RACING

Fall Races By Will O’Keefe • Douglas Lees photos

International Gold Cup Race Straight To It – 2nd; Foyle (Kieran Norris, up) – 1st

International Gold Cup Steeplethon School House Woods (Chris Read, up) – 1st; Leffingwell Lion – 4th; On The Corner – 3rd.

International Gold Cup $25,000 Hurdle Race Forgotten Man (Gerard Galligan, up) – 1st.

International Gold Cup Hurdle Race Awesome Pearl (Kieran Norris, up) – 1st.

International Gold Cup $15,000 Maiden Hurdle Race Lea Von (Martin Rohan, up) – 1st; Annawon – 3rd.

International Gold Cup Races 10-19-2013 The seven-horse field that lined up for the start in the International Gold Cup at Great Meadow on Saturday, October 19, included five timber stakes winners and gave the betting public a wide open field to handicap. When the flag dropped, Irvin S. Naylor’s Tax Ruling, who went off the favorite, set the early pace. Going down the backside the final time around Sheila Williams and Andre Brewster’s Straight To It (Mark Beecher) made his move with Merriefield Farm’s Foyle (Kieran Norris) close behind. At the head of the stretch Al Griffin, Jr.’s Aero, who had been second in this race the past two years, took the lead and was moving best of all, but a mistake at the second last fence severely compromised his chances. Straight To It took the lead, but Foyle was also on the move. Straight To It led over the last but could not hold off Foyle, who prevailed by one length in a driving finish. Tax Ruling held on for third. Foyle had run a dull race two weeks earlier at Shawan Downs for trainer H. Bruce Fenwick and was the longest shot in the field paying $25.20 for a two dollar win bet. For the third consecutive year a horse from Maryland took home the International Gold Cup. Foyle followed in the footsteps of Robert Kinsley’s Incomplete and Michael Wharton’s Grinding Speed. This was apprentice Kieran Norris’ first stakes win and was his second win on the card. Norris rode Mrs. S. K. Johnston’s Awesome Pearl to victory in the first division of the maiden hurdle race for trainer Richard Valentine. Norris rated Awesome Pearl slightly off the pace, which was set by Kinross Farm’s King Ting (Ire) ridden by Martin Rohan. When they came to the last fence King Ting still had a narrow lead but Awesome Pearl appeared to have him measured. He drew away in the stretch to win by 2¾ lengths. Awesome Pearl awarded his backers with a payoff of $11.00 for a $2.00 wager. The popular Steeplethon followed, and this year there were no mishaps. The top three finishers ran very true to form. Irvin S. Naylor’s Saluda Sam (James Slater), who specializes in this type of race, was a narrow favorite over Kinross Farm’s Schoolhouse Woods (Chris Read), who was coming off a win at Willowdale in May. Saluda Sam set the pace until the final turn where Schoolhouse Woods took the lead. Saluda Sam came again to take the lead over the last fence but couldn’t match strides in the run in from the last with Schoolhouse Woods, who won by 5¼ lengths for leading VSA trainer Neil Morris. Ivy Hill Stable, LLC’s On The Corner (Mark Beecher), the winner of the National Sporting Library Chronicle Cup, was third. This win assured Schoolhouse Woods the title as the VSA’s leading timber horse. The allowance hurdle race was the most exciting race on the card as Betsy B. Mead’s Forgotten Man (Gerard Galligan) and Jubilee Stable’s Argentine-bred Wantan (Gus Dahl) hooked up with a quarter mile to run and neither horse gave an inch as they battled over the last two fences and through the stretch. They arrived at the wire as a team with Forgotten Man getting the nod. Kinross Farm’s Saint Dynaformer (Diana Gillam) finished third. This was apprentice Gerard Galligan’s first win in the United States and was a popular win for trainer Doug Fout and the betting public that had sent

International Gold Cup Race Finish Foyle (Kieran Norris, up) – 1st; Straight To It – 2nd.

Forgotten Man off as the $2.60 to 1 favorite. Doug Fout scored a double when he saddled Magalen O. Bryant’s Lea Von to win the second division of the maiden hurdle race under apprentice Martin Rohan. Lea Von raced off the pace but took a share of the lead after Celtic Venture Stable’s Acela (Gerard Galligan) fell and Ben Swope’s Foolish Surprise (Keri Brion) lost his rider. Lea Von put Robert Kinsley’s Tempt Me Alex (Gus Dahl) away and romped home by 7¾ lengths. Tempt Me Alex was second and Andre Brewster and Sheila Williams’ Annawon (Mark Beecher) was third. The last race on the card was the Old Dominion Turf Championship, which attracted 10 entries, the biggest field of the day. James H. Falk, Sr.’s Prima Facie (Eilidh Grant) assumed his usual position on the lead when the flag dropped. Prima Facie had won at Foxfield and Virginia Fall using these tactics, but at Great Meadow he couldn’t hold off Riverdee Stable’s Hear The Word (Blair Wyatt) and Bruce Smart’s maiden filly Fall Colors (Annie Yeager) in the stretch. Blair Wyatt had rated Hear The Word off the pace and launched a rally down the backside. He took the lead at the head of the stretch and won going away by 3¼ lengths. Fall Colors had a big effort but was second best with Prima Facie third. Todd J. Wyatt (the rider’s husband) was the winning trainer. Hear The Word was the favorite and paid $2.30 to 1. The International Gold Cup did not hold an International riders’ flat race this year, but there was an unannounced competition between riders from the United States and Ireland. The final tally was Ireland (Kieran Norris, Gerard Galligan, and Martin Rohan) first with four wins and the US (Chris Read and Blair Wyatt) second with two wins.

International Gold Cup $25,000 Hurdle Race Forgotten Man (Gerard Galligan, up) – 1st; Wantan – 2nd.


IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • DECEMBER 2013/JANUARY 2014

Montpelier Hunt Races 11-2-2013 The Noel Laing Memorial Hurdle Stakes run over the unique natural brush hurdle course at Montpelier was the feature race at the Montpelier Hunt Races near Orange, Virginia, on Saturday, November 2. For the third time in the last four years Irvin S. Naylor’s Decoy Daddy (Ire) took the trophy home. He won this race in 2010 during his first season after being imported from Ireland. He duplicated that winning effort in 2011 but finished second to Augustin Stables’ Rainiero in 2012. This year he was once again the “horse for the course” winning under Carol-Ann Sloan for his new trainer Cyril Murphy. By winning, the Irish-bred Decoy Daddy joined Calvin Houghland’s Mon Villez (Fr) with three wins in this race. Mon Villez (Fr) won this race in three consecutive years starting in 2005. Decoy Daddy took the lead from the start and was only challenged twice. With a quarter mile to run Naylor’s Lake Placid (Paddy Young) moved to the leader, but that challenge was short-lived as Lake Placid could not match strides with the winner. Randleston Farm’s Spy In The Sky (Danielle Hodsdon) moved to the leader at the last fence, but upon landing Decoy Daddy found the winning gear and pulled away to beat Spy In The Sky by 2¼ lengths. Naylor’s Irish-bred Changing Times was third under James Slater but never posed a threat to the top two. This race was a handicap, and Decoy Daddy carried the high weight of 156 lbs. giving 6 to 20 lbs. to the rest of the field but made it look easy. Danielle Hodsdon was the meet’s leading rider with two wins, one second and a third place finish. Her first win was for owner/trainer Alexander Gordon-Watson with Pie Town in the maiden claiming hurdle race. Pie Town moved to within striking distance down the backside, was second to Magalen O. Bryant’s Annual Update (Kieran Norris) over the last fence and proved best in the stretch to win by 1¼ lengths. Annual Update was second, Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey’s Gnostic (Paddy Young) rallied for third. Hodsdon came right back to the winners’ circle following the maiden hurdle race that she won on Daybreak Stables’ Irish-bred Manacor for trainer Jimmy Day. Manacor was slightly off the pace down the backside and rallied to be one of four horses that jumped the last as a team. He avoided trouble at that fence as Rose Marie Bogley’s Jake’s Mandate (Kieran Norris) fell and Kinross Farm’s King Ting (Martin Rohan) nearly came down. Armata Stables’ Wildcatter (Paddy Young) also avoided the mayhem while holding a very slight lead. Manacor finished best and won going away by 2¼ lengths over Wildcatter with Michael Leaf’s Kalas (James Slater) third. In the opener, a conditioned claiming hurdle race, Riverdee Stable’s Prime Prospector (Ross Geraghty) was an impressive winner. He raced off the pace, rallied to take the lead over the last fence and won handily by 5 lengths over Leslie Young’s Dubai Echo (Paddy Young) and Kinross Farm’s Saint Dynaformer (Danielle Hodsdon). Prime Prospector won as his rider pleased. In the optional allowance/claiming hurdle race Mrs. S. K. Johnston, Jr.’s Awesome Pearl registered his second straight win having won two weeks earlier at the International Gold Cup Races. Apprentice jockey Kieran Norris was up for both wins. Awesome Pearl raced toward the rear of a tightly bunched field. He made his move on the

backside to be third over the last fence, was second to Steve Yeager’s Mischief (Annie Yeager) at the head of the stretch and proved best in the run to the wire. Michael Smith’s Arrow’s Conquest rallied to be second ¾ length behind the winner, and Mischief faded to third. Owner Beverly R. Steinman and trainer Doug Fout swept both divisions of the training flat race on the turf. Kieran Norris won his second race on the card with Steinman’s Beamer in the first division. Beamer set the pace but was joined by Stonelea Stables LLC’s Balance the Budget (Roddy Mackenzie) on the turn for home. Sharon E. Sheppard’s Ajzaa (Paddy Young) closed with a rush in the deep stretch, and these three arrived at the finish as a team. Beamer won by a head over Ajzaa, who was a neck ahead of Balance the Budget. In the second division Steinman’s Secret Reward raced in the middle of the field, moved to within striking distance with a half mile to run and was narrowly best by ¾ length over Irvin S. Naylor’s Irish-bred Laterly (Frank Windsor-Clive). Todd J. Wyatt’s Catch the Blues was third with Blair Wyatt up.

9

Montpelier Hunt Races Noel Laing Stakes Decoy Daddy (Carol-Ann Sloan, up) – 1st.

Montpelier Hunt Races Madison Plate Prime Prospector (Ross Geraghty, up) – 1st; Black Pond.

Montpelier Hunt Races The Battleship Maiden Claiming Hurdle Annual Update – 2nd; Pie Town (Danielle Hodsdon, up) – 1st.

Montpelier Hunt Races Liberty Cup Training Flat Secret Reward (Roddy MacKenzie, up) – 1st.

Montpelier Hunt Races Noel Laing Stakes On the way to the winners circle: Carol-Ann Sloan, rider of Decoy Daddy.

Montpelier Hunt Races The Constitution Maiden Hurdle Jake’s Mandate, Manacor (Danielle Hodsdon, up) – 1st.


IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • DECEMBER 2013/JANUARY 2014

10

TEAM CHASE Orange County Hounds Team Chase Old Whitewood Farm, The Plains, Virginia, Sunday, October 27, 2013 Richard Clay Photos

Blue skies and brisk temperatures created the perfect fall day for the Orange County Hounds annual Team Chase Event. 120 foxhunters galloped over fences in the heart of Orange County’s territory as spectators crowded the hillside to watch and enjoy tailgates amongst fellow foxhunting enthusiasts. With a new format of just two divisions this year—Hilltopper Pairs and First Flight Hunt Teams—awards were given for Best Turned Out, Best Hilltopper Pairs, Ideal Time, and Best Hunt Teams. Riders from neighboring hunts such as Piedmont, Casanova, Loudoun Fairfax, Warrenton, MOC Beagles, and Farmington competed for awards and trophies, including the coveted individual Junior and Adult First Flight Championships. After all teams completed the course, the judges gathered to test the best juniors of the day. Paul Wilson, MFH, picked up the ribbon for the “Loudoun Fairfax Lads” Hailing from Piedmont who finished with Closest to Ideal Time. Fox Hounds, the Alcock family rode in the First Flight Teams division and sixteen-year-old Haley, riding Dad’s Doing, was selected as one of nine competitors to compete for the Junior Championship and the George L. Ohrstrom trophy. After a polished test that showcased her family’s passion for foxhunting, Haley bested the field. The Junior Reserve Championship went to Sophia Vella on Curious George representing Warrenton Hunt. The final event of the day was the ride-off for the First Flight Adult Championship and Alfred Hunt Trophy. Daphrie van der Woude of Warrenton Hunt, riding her classic bay Secret Adios, went first in the final test. Setting a high standard with their flawless round against a strong field of competitors, she emerged the victor. The First Flight Reserve Championship went to Eduardo Coria on Denali representing Casanova Hunt. The Best First Flight Team was awarded to Piedmont Fox Hounds’ “Wisecrackers” with Alexa Lowe Wiseman (Vienna Windsor Z), Tom Wiseman (Darcor Windsor Z), Katherine Berger (Nestor), and Barbara Batterton (Ardagh). For the second year in a row The Best Hilltopper Pair award went to the Coria Team of Kathleen Lyons on Luke and Lorena Coria riding Wilhemina Star. This twosome was also selected as Best Turned Out among the Hilltopper Pairs. The Corias added to their awards for the day by also snagging Best Turned Out First Flight Team with Camille Van Skiver (Phillipa), Camila Coria (Wilhemina Star), and Eduardo Coria (Denali) riding under the Casanova banner. Closest to Ideal Time was clocked by the “Loudoun Fairfax Lads”: Paul Wilson, MFH (Quinn), Larry Campbell (Onyx), and Luc Dejager (Vandell). Junior Champion, Piedmont Fox Hounds: Haley Alcock.

Best Hilltopper Pair (and also Best Turned Out Hilltopper Pair), Casanova Hunt: Kathleen Lyons (Luke) and Lorena Coria (Wilhemina Star).

Best Turned Out First Flight Team, Casanova Hunt: (l-r) Eduardo Coria (Denali), Camila Coria (Wilhemina Star), Camille Van Skiver (Phillipa).

Adult Champion, Warrenton Hunt: Daphrie van der Woude (Secret Adios).

The “Wisecrackers,” representing Piedmont Fox Hounds, relax after collecting their ribbons for Best First Flight Team: Tom Wiseman, Alexa Lowe Wiseman, Katherine Berger, and Barbara Batterton.


IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • DECEMBER 2013/JANUARY 2014

Northern Neck

4.29 fenced acres, circa 1889 “Steamboat Gothic” farmhouse, 4,200 sq. feet. Addition in 2006 features Brazilian cherry floors, Zodiaq countertops, Pella windows, 4 bedrooms, 3 baths. Beautiful balconies to enjoy private setting. Near Kilmarnock. $649,500. Call Margaret Curtis (804) 435-2919/ (804) 436-5472 IsaBell K. Horsley Real Estate

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IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • DECEMBER 2013/JANUARY 2014

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Horse Country’s Hideaway To the tune of “Hernando’s Hideway” From The Pajama Game, Adler and Ross

I know a new refurbished place A place decked out in style and grace So much great stuff in just one space It’s called Horse Country’s Hideaway, Hooray! All your stable needs are there From saddle pads to leather care Snug blankets for your horse to wear They’re at Horse Country’s Hideaway, Hooray! Mounting blocks and racing gear and bridles by the score Saddles, halters, horse boots too, whips and crops galore Doggy treats and canine clothes, fly sprays, shampoos too And there is free coffee and tea always a-brew. No need to knock, or say you’re “Joe” Just find the stairs and down you’ll go With one quick glance you’ll surely know You’re at Horse Country’s Hideaway, Hooray!

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IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • DECEMBER 2013/JANUARY 2014

FOXHUNTING Junior North American Field Hunter Championship Green Spring Valley, Maryland, November 10, 2013 Richard Clay Photos

After qualifying at a series of hunts in Pennsylvania, Maryland (Northern Region), and Virginia (Southern Region), a field of young riders met at Green Spring Valley, Maryland, November 10, for the Junior North American Field Hunter Championship. The competition included both Hilltopper and First Flight divisions, with the First Flight group divided between 12 and under and 13 and over. The First Flight, 13 and over champion Hayley Davis and tests consisted of a mock Arts N Crafts, Old Dominion Hunt (VA). hunt, followed by a flat phase, and then an individual test over a designated course of jumps. When the judging was done, the First Flight, 13 and over division championship went to the Old Dominion Hunt’s pair of Hayley Davis and Arts N Crafts. The reserve champion ribbon was awarded to Bailey Doloff and Start the Clock from Green Spring Valley Hounds. The First Flight, 12 and under championship was captured by Ella Brophy and Prince Caspian from Mr. Stewart’s Cheshire Foxhounds with reserve going to Green Spring Valley Hounds’ Daisy Fenwick and D’Artagnan. The Hilltopper division proved to be a double win for Blue Ridge Hunt. The championship went to Alena MacKaySmith and Right on Target, the reserve champion ribbon was awarded to Isobel McDiarmid and Shenandoah Art Glass. Both young ladies were riding under the Blue Ridge banner. Quoting from www.juniorfieldhunter.com: “We hope the children, the future of our hunts, will come out for…a great day of hunting, First Flight, 12 and under champion Ella Brophy and Prince Caspian, Mr. Stewart’s Cheshire Foxhounds (PA). meet new friends, see new country, and realize how important our countryside is and do their best to protect it for their future generations.” To that end, a team of dedicated volunteers work hard to make this event happen every year. Three ladies in particular are to be cited for their devotion and hours of dedication to this program: Mrs. Robert (Iona) Pillion; Mrs. M. Douglas Wise-Stuart, MFH; and Ms. Marion Chungo.

Alena MacKay-Smith, of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Hunt, rode Right on Target to the Hilltopper championship. She received her awards from (l-r) Mrs. Robert (Iona) Pillion, Ms. Marion Chungo, and Mrs. M. Douglas Wise-Stuart, MFH.

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IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • DECEMBER 2013/JANUARY 2014

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OPENING MEETS

Blue Ridge Hunt Opening Meet, Long Branch, October 26, 2013 Blue Ridge Hunt’s three joint masters lead the field as the sport begins on Opening Day: Anne McIntosh, MFH; Brian Ferrell, MFH; Linda Armbrust, MFH. Janet Hitchen photo

Huntsman Guy Allman with the hounds of the Blue Ridge Hunt. Janet Hitchen photo

Orange County Hounds Opening Meet (l-r): Malcolm Matheson, MFH; John Coles, MFH; Peter Walsh, Whipper-In; MaryAlice Matheson, Second Field Leader. Janet Hitchen photo

Orange County Hounds Opening Meet, The Oaks, November 2, 2013 Huntsman Reg Spreadborough moves off with the Orange County Hounds. Janet Hitchen photo

JANET HITCHEN PHOTOGRAPHY WHEN YOU KNOW AND LOVE YOUR WORK, THE RESULTS SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES

540-837-9846 www.janethitchenphotography.com janethitchenphotography@gmail.com

The Juniors of Piedmont Fox Hounds were undaunted by the rainy weather on Opening Day. Janet Hitchen photo

Snickersville Hounds Opening Meet, Creekside, November 3, 2013 Snickersville Joint Master and Huntsman Eva Smithwick with hounds, aided by Bennett Opitz from Thornton Hill Fort Valley Hounds. Janet Hitchen photo


IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • DECEMBER 2013/JANUARY 2014

Piedmont Fox Hounds Opening Meet, Oakley, November 7, 2013. Huntsman Spencer Allen moves off with the Piedmont Fox Hounds. Douglas Lees photo

Dr. William H. Allison, ex-MFH, Warrenton Hunt (standing) greats Kimbrough Nash, MFH, at Warrenton’s Opening Meet.

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Warrenton Hunt Opening Meet, Walnut Springs, November 2, 2013. Huntsman Matt van der Woude moves off with the hounds of Warrenton Hunt. Douglas Lees photo

Douglas Lees photo

Joyce Fendley, MFH, leading the field at Casanova Hunt’s Opening Meet. Douglas Lees photo

Casanova Hunt Opening Meet, Weston, October 26, 2013, Rev. James Cirillo of Grace Episcopal Church, Casanova, Virginia, wishes Huntsman Tommy Lee Jones a good day of sport after performing the Blessing of the Hounds. Douglas Lees photo

Middleburg Hunt Opening Meet, Groveton, November 2, 2013 Penny Denegre, MFH, and Jeff Blue, MFH, lead the followers to the first draw. Middleburg Photo

Loudoun Fairfax Hunt Opening Meet, Overbrook, November 3, 2013 Michael Harper, MFH, and Astrid Harper arrive at the first Opening Day gathering for the newly merged Loudoun Fairfax Hunt. Middleburg Photo

Piedmont Fox Hounds unbox for the Opening Day of sport. Douglas Lees photo

Two hounds of the Piedmont Fox Hounds diligently searched a stack of round bales for hints of Reynard’s presence. Middleburg Photo

“A Place to Call Home”

With the merger between Loudoun Hunt West and Fairfax Hunt complete, the 2013-2014 season kicked off at the Loudoun Fairfax Hunt clubhouse with a huge turnout for the Opening Hunt and Breakfast. Austin Kaseman photo

Golden Years and More Independent and Assisted Living is a home like setting designed to provide seniors with any lifestyle and different issues, a superior level of personal care and support. We understand the needs of seniors who require expert care on a daily basis. Philip & Angelina Calubaquib, Administrator & Owners 13114 Canova Drive, Manassas, Virginia 20112 703-791-0058 • 703-791-0612 (Fax) Email: goldenyearsandmore@yahoo.com Website: www.goldenyearsandmore.org


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IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • DECEMBER 2013/JANUARY 2014

TRAVEL

The Fear of Flying Compared to the Fear Of Never Stopping. Which One Wins Out In Ireland? Story and Photos by Betsy Burke Parker AT THE BOTTOM OF A BOG, COOLISHEAL FIXTURE. CO. WATERFORD, IRELAND—Barely one word of the shouted instruction could I understand though he was apparently speaking English. I thought I could make out “back” and “on.” Too late, I realized “stay” and “kick” were the antecedents. When I stopped rolling a second later, the problem wasn’t that I was hurt—the ground was soft—or even scared—it was a slow-motion cartwheel. It was that I couldn’t find purchase to stand and scurry after my errant horse. The uneven ground under my knees gave way when I went to push off, and sodden soil dissolved under my palms each time I went to press up. Blackberry stickers thick as a thumb gripped my breeches, conjoining me to the peat. No wonder McFly couldn’t stick the landing off the West Waterford Hounds huntsman Coleman Walsh moves off with steep bank. hounds at the Coolisheal fixture near Ballyduff. This was exactly what I’d signed up for. And exactly what I’d imagined—an American foxhunter buying a barn, ride out whatever horse (they have 100), have lessons, take young horses to a show, go hunting. We were yard of ye auld sod. I was carrying out a lifelong pledge to go foxhunting ready to unravel the mystery of Eire’s equestrian set. We’d considered the Irish tourists’ sampler, because in Ireland, and with two enthusiastic hunting friends in tow, we’d conspired to take it a giant’s step further. This after all it’s an embarrassment of historical riches here. chilly, blustery, but sunny, November Wednesday after- We could hit capital Dublin, gorgeous Tipperary, the noon we were halfway around the world on a two-week sweeping Dingle Peninsula, maybe drive the Hobbitesque Ring of Kerry. But when immersion course into Ireland’s we’d chatted about what we equine culture, training and riding, a hoped to accomplish (repetitive bit of the craic thrown in for good practice for Chris, galloping measure. and jumping for me, riding We decided to forego the cross-country for Elizabeth) we Emerald Isle of tourists. Instead we realized immersion therapy was embraced Ireland’s south-central the Rx. horse country as temporary resiWe met up at Washington dents. Cead mile failte, hunters. One Dulles (Elizabeth started at hundred thousand welcomes. Mind LAX) and caught a flight to your footing. Dublin. We rented a car Busman’s Holiday (Elizabeth was our driver; I was We three—me, a lifelong foxhunter the designated back-seat shriekbased in Virginia’s Piedmont; er (“Stay left! Stay left!”), and Elizabeth, Virginia native and forhe-of-international-data-plan mer college equestrian now based in Chris was navigator). We nosed California; and Chris, a new rider south towards Munster on the starting his second hunt season in showery morning we arrived, Virginia—had called in a couple favors to train and lodge at Tim and Ornate St. Colman’s Cathedral is near Cork; historic skies slate gray and pregnant Ireland is rife with art and architecture coast-to-coast. with rain. Marian Beecher’s Loughnatousa in It was quiet in the car—we were all jet-lagged, and Co. Waterford. Theirs is a private breeding, show jumping, and foxhunting sales yard, and the plan was for us to silent in private excitement or nerves. Irish foxhunting is just “join the family.” We’d stay in the house, work in the legendary for huge “fly” fences and gaping ditch-andbanks. We weren’t sure what we’d find, how we’d feel when faced with a big jump, where we’d place our balance to negotiate the sharply up, steeply down drains, or, as Elizabeth asked more than once on the three-hour drive southwest, why we were so sure this was a good idea in the first place. “Are they ‘forward?’” I was in the back seat asking, once I was sure driver Elizabeth had her bearings. “Or are they ‘back?’ I can’t tell from the photos.” I was studying a shot from our hosts’ sales Web site. The lead pic was of the infamous Irish Bank at Hickstead, the rider—their son—perfectly centered sliding down the nearly perpendicular, 20-foot slope winning last year with a homebred. The next shot down was of a big-eared, doe-eyed gray leaping a thorny drain in the hunt field. The photographs make my heart flutter and I’m still a little wide-eyed as we pull into the stone stable yard, a tumble of old white plaster buildings surrounding an American-style center aisle barn. Gray ears poked out of all of them. Patriarch Tim Beecher greeted us. He’s master of the Tim Beecher, left, and son Paul return to the stone stables after a West Waterford Hounds and a respected horse show trainschooling session with a young homebred.

er and teacher. Five of his six kids are “green coats,” having represented Ireland in international competition, and three other homebreds—horses—won championships at this summer’s Royal Dublin Society Show. Sons Paul and Tadhg (say it “tiger,” without the -er) show, hunt, and help Tim break and train the show and sales horses, athletic Irish part-breds for which Loughnatousa has become renowned. They sell horses—that’s the business model—so almost everything in work is 3 or 4 years old. “You have an idea what they’ll want to do,” said Paul, over in one of the older loose boxes saddling a horse. For our first lesson, I’d asked how they “tell” whether a young horse wants to be a show jumper or foxhunter, or what. “You can start to see it early,” Tim added, trilling the “earl” of early. “Jumping style, brains, movement. It shows when you start working a horse.”

Virginia hunter Chris Cerrone waits for hounds outside the Mill House pub in Co. Waterford.

They led the 3-year-old to the indoor to “loose school” over jumps. The gray cantered round and round, with tack but without rider. “It encourages the young horse to think of his feet,” Tim was saying. Paul deftly changed a simple crossrail to a narrow parallel as the horse swapped directions, and leads. He methodically widened it every circuit of the track, saying the breadth “teaches a horse to measure for himself,” invaluable to a rider, international level or pony clubber. “They learn to do it without a rider,” Paul said, “then it’s easier with.” Free-schooling isn’t unique to Beechers’, but we’d never seen it up-close, nor heard running commentary of the “how” and the “why” behind the “what.” Paul returned the youngster to his box—14-by-14 with two-foot thick stone walls and a low, arched brick doorway.

Tim Beecher has made a worldwide reputation for breeding and training Irish Draft crosses. Here he poses with three homebred winners at the Royal Dublin Society Horse Show in August— heavyweight champion Loughnatousa Sheldon, left, middleweight champ Loughnatousa Angelo and 4-year-old performance class winner Loughnatousa Ranier.


IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • DECEMBER 2013/JANUARY 2014

“It was the original house.” Paul explained the unusual stable construction, repurposed into four roomy stalls (two with bricked-over fireplaces). The old homestead, now modernized and expanded, overlooks impossibly green open farmland. Ruler-straight hedgerows divide fields in the near view, with hundreds of acres of planted-pine rolling away to the west. Tiny Tallow nestles in a vale to the north. Impossibly narrow single-lane roads radiate every direction. The rounded Knockmealdown Mountains ring the horizon, giving the region the uncanny feel of Virginia’s Piedmont and Maryland’s Hunt Valley. It felt wholly foreign, being here with everybody speaking a weird mix of native Gaelic and lilting Irish-English, but there’s an underlying connection to home. Horse-speak is an inter- West Waterford Hounds whip Paul Beecher moves to covert at the Coolisheal fixture. national language. After a classic Irish supper (local lamb, peas, cooked carrots, roasted potatoes, and soda bread) we slumped into our beds. Next day it settled into familiar routine—quick breakfast then down to the yard for our assignments. Most mornings we’d do a couple sets for roadwork (we’re assigned to the “older horses”—4- and 5-year-olds, to give lead to the 3-year-olds). Then we’d saddle “our” horses, young hunters Tim paired us with for lessons and hunting. Late fall in Ireland is often drippy and dreary, but Little Miss Sunshine, as we soon dubbed Elizabeth, had smuggled sunny skies from California. “Can’t believe this weather,” Marian would say as each morning dawned clear and dry. Temperatures were about like home—mid40s and cool, not the legendary gale and north blow we’d worried about (and packed for). We rode one morning in a windblown shower, but by the time we trotted home the sun had broken out, dappling the mountains, and a rainbow appeared horizon to horizon. I hoped it was a sign, a lucky clover for our second hunting engagement Saturday. The first hadn’t gone so well, though Tim and Paul reassured me that “many” riders—Irish veterans even—fall on any given hunting day. “You’ll be all right,” Tim chanted when I’d worry aloud. Like most Irish, Tim Beecher has electric blue eyes, the eyes of a malamute, and a crafty, gleeful expression. “Remember what Paul’d told you.” I considered the old saw about the two nations, separated by a common language. “Stay back. Stay way back. And kick on.” This time, I understood. This, apparently, was the key to sticking tight over the drains. Light in the seat, heavy in the lower leg, rock forward going up the bank, as quickly back leaping down. “You’ll get it next time.” I desperately hoped so. Time was ticking on our trip. But before we’d hunt a second time, we owed it to Ireland to take a look. Natural Splendor Ireland is a tiny island nation of incomparable natural beauty with rich cultural heritage. From the windswept cliffs of Mohr to ancient, but gritty urban Cahir, Ireland’s character is weathered and warm, shaped by, not in spite of, wave after wave of invaders. The culture is porous and open, and four years out, most communities have chiefly rebounded from the 2009 collapse of the Celtic Tiger, a real estate bubble that leveled the economy. The Euro—$1.34 during our trip—means prices are steep. In the 1800s, Irish farmers began putting workhorses, sturdy but spare and athletic, to Thoroughbreds, producing a true cross combining the best of both. Racehorse speed and stamina married the steady nature and work ethic of the Irish Draught to produce what has become a world-renowned sport horse. Known today as Irish Sport Horses, the breed isn’t exactly specific, more phenotype than bloodline, but the combo has proved wildly successful: gold medal three-day eventer Custom Made, show jumping champion Flexible, and four of the top 10 at the 2012 Olympics were registered ISH. It’s a cross that works, Tim Beecher said, literally and figuratively. At Loughnatousa, we had plenty of time to observe the construction of the model. I noticed the deeply sloping shoulder on McFly (good gaits). Elizabeth loved the generous girth and strong loin on hers (jumping style). And Chris was obsessed with the kind eye and big ear on his (generous and willing). Tim’s eye has been honed by six decades of making and selling horses, and he guided our attention to the far more telling low-set hock (reach) and powerful quarters (scope). It took a few days to hone my eye, but watching young stock school day after day we started to make the connection. Final Exam Our second day’s hunting soon arrived, and I was uncharacteristically nervous as we offloaded the horses from the lorry at the Millstreet fixture. “Are there big drains?” I asked Tadgh. “Remind me how to ride it.” Tadgh shot me a winning smile and took a page from his dad’s playbook. “You’ll be all right.” And off we went. I zeroed in to follow a fiery bay 12-hand pony with a kid of about 10. She had a determined look. McFly was on his toes, gazing at the open pastureland moving off from the meet. “Oh, (expletive),” Elizabeth exclaimed at the first jump. It wasn’t a bottomless drain. Maybe it was worse. It was a rusty, slightly listing metal bar gate. I felt my stomach tickle, yet Tim’s refrain echoed. “Stay back. Kick on. Any time you feel like using your hands as an aid, use your legs.” It was an excellent reminder, a good takeaway. And a pertinent tip for this day, since it turned out the rusty gate was a mere appetizer. Jumps got bigger, banks got steeper, and drains got wider as the day wore on. McFly floated over; the more trappy the test, the more clever he became. Every time we’d cross an obstacle, my confidence increased exponentially. “Did you see that ditch?” Chris gasped as we pulled up breathless after a strong gallop back, and forth, and back again over a particularly daunting double ditch and bank. “It was like 15 feet deep.” I gulped. I hadn’t noticed. There were foxes everywhere, hounds were on, my blood was up, and, today, I had Irish luck on my side.

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A Bit of the Blarney for Your Irish Jaunt Tips to Take the Emerald Isle with Ease By Betsy Burke Parker With its rolling, verdant hills and endless expanse of country lanes and charming villages, Ireland offers visitors amazing variety of beautiful sights and stunning scenery. Ireland also offers some unique things to consider when planning a trip, especially a riding holiday. Weather and Packing It’s true; it rains in Ireland. A lot. Although the official rainy season is during the winter months, Ireland’s fickle, unpredictable weather is notorious; chances are likely you’ll encounter rain no matter what month you travel. Pack accordingly with oilskin, wax jacket or Goretex coat. Even if a morning is fair, by afternoon there’s often a cold wind blowing. Pack fleece and UnderArmor. Whether rainy or sunny, a great pair of paddock boots are an excellent choice—possibly exclusively. Polished up, paddocks work with slacks or even with a skirt and tights. Add a little Irish peat and a dusting of sandy arena footing and they’re perfect in the stable yard. Check the local forecast before you travel and pack your own knee-high rubber boots if you want to. But you can also play it cool and just plan to buy some when you get there if you’re not sure you’ll need them. Wellies and tons of knock-offs are sold everywhere. Most riding centers and many private barns will have plenty of helmets to loan, but most will prefer you bring one. If possible, pack your helmet— usually it’ll fit in a carry-on (stuff it and surround it with some socks and a change of shirt as well as your toiletries). On the plane, dress in layers (winter travel might include UnderArmor, a turtleneck, a cute scarf or stock tie, a light sweater, sturdy slacks or khakis that’ll double for riding as well as going-out, good socks and paddock boots). This way, you could easily “survive” several days even if your checked bag gets mis-routed. Tuck your half-chaps (or leggin’s) in your carry-on if you can. Driving Driving in Ireland is guaranteed to be alarming. For passengers as well as drivers. Motorways may be modern and spacious, but most sightseeing—especially on the farm and horse circuit—will be along ridiculously narrow country lanes full of twisty turns. Because you’ll be driving from the opposite side of the car on the opposite side of the road, take it easy. In the countryside, you’re likely to encounter stock on the road, too. Watch the blind turns, and remember, center lines and shoulder lines are both white in Ireland. And a two-way road is just as likely to look like the narrowest private cut-through you’ve ever seen. And managing a roundabout takes concentration and forethought. It’s a little more expensive, but it’ll ease your mind to rent an automatic. And if you’ll primarily be out in the countryside, opt for the smallest car you think can handle your group and luggage. It makes navigation much easier. Set up your phone with an international data plan: that, and a good map will at least set you in the correct direction when—not if—you get turned around. Accommodations From five-star castles and hotels to rooms in bed and breakfasts and homey farmhouses, there are plenty of options. Too, Ireland would be a good bet for trying AirBnB.com, an online service that turns strangers into friendsof-friends with a click of the mouse. Most riding centers have lists of locals who’ll open their spare bedrooms to visitors for a few Euros. American pony clubs often have “sister clubs” that can provide similar accommodations if you work the phones (or computer) well ahead of time. More Take a look at the international calendar of your favorite horse sport— showing, steeplechasing, polo, trekking—they all have extensive information on upcoming events a year or more ahead of schedule. Plan your trip around one or two events and link them with tourist must-sees in between. Ask questions along the way. The language is English (though road signs are in both English and native Gaelic). People here are proud of their heritage, and inclusive at the same time; they want to share the inside secrets. Make yourself an extrovert, even if you’re not. Make meaningful contact with locals. When opportunity presents itself, jump on it. Driving by a pony jumper show in Lismore? Stop and watch a couple rounds. See a stray hound crossing the road on the way to Ardmore? Call the closest pack’s huntsman. Be a catalyst for adventure and excitement. Feel privileged to tempt fate at the edge of a Faerie Ring. Lean over and pucker up to the Blarney Stone. Be open-minded. Absorb. Accept. Learn.


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IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • DECEMBER 2013/JANUARY 2014

BOOK REVIEWS

Literally Great Gifts By Lauren R. Giannini

Horse Country has lots of books so that you can find what you want for gifts, stocking stuffers, and a cozy curl-up for yourself while winter rages outside or when you need to unwind at night. Howard Allen’s Unforgotten Times—Jackie Kennedy’s Happy Days in the Virginia Hunt Country is the Middleburg photographer’s lovely photographic chronicle of the Camelot years when Jackie, Caroline, John-John and President Kennedy spent time in Middleburg to get away from the bustle and stresses of the White House in the Nation’s Capital. Allen, a courtly gentleman, and the late former First Lady must have instantly charmed each other when they met, thanks to their daughters being enthusiastic members of the Middleburg-Orange County Pony Club. Because of Allen’s lovely manners and respect for the Kennedy family’s privacy, he soon found himself their unofficial official photographer at Glen Ora. Many of the photos in this collection are being published for the first time and others are making their first appearance in terms of being seen by the general public. From lead-line ponies and shows to the MOC Beagles (the late Eve Fout and Jackie were friends) and foxhunting, the timeless images recall the early sixties—was it really 50 years ago? Nostalgic, charming, and published with Caroline Kennedy’s personal good wishes… Jackie riding to hounds with Orange County and Piedmont Fox Hounds, steeplechase racing at Glenwood Park; shown with the old guard: Paul Mellon, Billy Wilbur, Pamela Harriman, John Warner. Correspondence has its place among visual memories: Jackie wrote her replies in the margins of Allen’s typed letters, thus providing incredible keepsake souvenirs of their association. Hardcover coffee table, dust jacket, illustrated lavishly, 115 pages. $45.00 Truth To Power is the first novel by Zack Ranes, a pseudonym for a Warrenton-area person who knows firsthand all about the gathering and analysis of intelligence as well as the sometimes double-deals which can sully covert operations. The plot takes a while to unfold and it isn’t exactly crystal clear from the beginning who’s on the side of truth and who’s a double agent within the CIA. The big picture begins to get a bit less murky, and it’s totally worth wading through the treacherous layers of deceit and duplicity. There are actually two protagonists, resulting in an interesting yin-yang portrait of the type of people who engage in esoteric undercover work. They are CIA analysts, Trevor Cole and his wife, Hannah, former steeplechase jockey who, since becoming a mother, mostly works from home. Trevor, however, makes

that commute to Langley from their home between Middleburg and Upperville. They have drifted apart: Hannah still grieves for their firstborn, and Trevor can’t help working late every night at Langley to substantiate his growing concern about a possible pandemic bio-terrorism plot against the US. Trevor becomes the victim of a deliberately staged car accident. When his car is found, but not his body, he is presumed dead. The reader witnesses how all of Trevor's training comes in handy as he declined to be discovered by his friend, Sheriff Welkins, because the key to survival is to take nothing that appears to be benign at face value. Despite his injuries from his tumble down Goose Creek, he makes his way through a raging rainstorm to a friend's hunting cabin on Mount Weather and recovers from his injuries. Hannah can’t deal with any more grief. Their children, Lindsay and Calvin, are chips off both old blocks, and Lindsey especially works to boost her mother’s faith that their father is not dead. Hannah comes back to life and starts looking into the reports that obsessed her husband before that fateful rainy commute when his car plunged off the bridge. What she learns through her own covert investigations galvanizes her fighting spirit. Truth To Power is an adventure-espionageromance novel that will engage you. There are some glitches, nothing that a good proofreader couldn’t sort out, and the page formatting appears a bit erratic, but big deal. Minor issues. The good news is that Ranes’ prose gets sharper and less self-conscious as he works through the complications of the plot. His “voice” grows stronger and more distinctive, and the second half of Truth To Power picks up pace that Ranes sustains until the final scenes. Paperback, 425 pages. $12.95 Rita Mae Brown and Sneaky Pie Brown have added another engaging entry in their long-popular series, set around Crozet, Virginia, and spiced with an array of charming illustrations. Litter of the Law finds Harry Harristeen and her cats and dog, led by Mrs. Murphy, up to their ruffs in murders that eliminate individuals who might put the brakes on a multi-million dollar scheme to develop Native American land. The first of the sinister deaths gets kitted out as a scarecrow and hung in a field. Of course, Harry makes the gruesome discovery. In the crafting of this tale, the authors bump off the quirky and beloved Hester, who runs the local produce stand. Losing someone like Hester was a shame, even in the interest of literary necessity. Granted, it is Halloween and the season for ghoulish activity, but not even Rita Mae can raise the dead—or maybe she can… Meanwhile Harry digs a bit deeper into the dark mystery hanging over Crozet. As her protagonist ferrets out the truth, Rita Mae manages to weave in her own commentary on such topics as indigenous tribes, organic gardening, and politics. Some readers may

prefer to stick to the story; others may enjoy the author’s personal insights. Either way, Rita Mae and Sneaky Pie always find a way to entertain. Hardback, dust jacket, 231 pages. $26.00 Finding Truth launches the trilogy of the Brenwyd Legacy penned by Rosemary Groux, class of 2015 at Highland School in Warrenton, Virginia. Groux tackles the eternal battle between good and evil through the Arthurian legends (was there really a treasure?), infused with the author’s own unshakable faith. The tale recounts the ongoing efforts of an ancient organization called the Brotherhood to snuff out a particular line of what they consider to be non-humans. Cassie, the young protagonist who is endowed with special senses and gifts, is the primary target of the Brotherhood whose villainous members kidnap her parents in order to acquire special information from her father. Accompanied by her best friends, Cassie sets off to rescue her parents. Horses play an essential role—from the Blue Ridge Mountains where the action starts to England. The Christian elements blend very well with fantasy, resulting in an engrossing tale that will leave readers, the moment they finish the final sentence, hoping that book two, Finding Secrets, will become available very soon. This first work by a high school student can’t be slotted into “light” reading. It sets the bar high for American “young adult” fiction, and we love its fantasy elements. Best of all, such is the power of this young author’s prose, it is a compelling read, no matter what else demands your attention. Groux proves her passion for reading, riding, history, and everything concerning King Arthur by the maturity of her writing style. She establishes herself as a thoughtful and conscientious writer whose addiction to reading taught her far more than any formal courses in creative writing. An outstanding choice for anyone who enjoys fiction, appropriate for all ages. Paperback, 329 pages. $14.99 Dick Francis’s Refusal by Felix Francis gets two thumbs up and hallelujahs: Sid Halley is back! Retired from private investigation for six years, Sid finds himself torn by the conflict of wanting to keep his wife Marina and their daughter Sassy (Saskia) happy and safe. The tale opens with Sid saying “No” when the chairman of the British Horseracing Authority tries to persuade him to investigate his concern that the future of racing is under assault by someone fixing the outcomes of races. The day after, the chairman is found dead, an apparent suicide. Sid doesn’t think so, but he continues to balk at getting involved.


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IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • DECEMBER 2013/JANUARY 2014

Even while waffling, Sid can’t help himself. He starts looking at races and making a few discreet inquiries, thus infuriating the kingpin criminal Billy McCusker, who fled his native Ireland for greater pickings in the UK. When McCusker realizes that nothing stops Sid, he arranges for Sassy to be kidnapped from school as a warning. Sid continues to probe and finds himself arrested on charges of child abuse and pornography, the frame perpetrated by McCusker. These incidents and a horrific threat to Sassy up the ante and change the dynamics for Marina, who sics Sid on the bad guy behind the bad guys. Sid knows that he needs proper backup in order to storm the kingpin’s stranglehold on his minions, a frightening mix of soul-less killers and terrified ordinary folks. Without the contacts in his cell phone, which was confiscated by the police after his arrest, Sid looks for inspiration in his old address book and stumbles across—are you sitting down?—Chico Barnes, his old partner. Oh yeah, this is so Dick Francis—one can see the master, who passed in 2010, reeling in ecstasy on his celestial viewer’s stand. Chico left private investigations, opting for a full-time job teaching PE and judo in a North London high school. His marriage crumbled, and Chico’s up for some excitement. With Sid and Chico working together as a team, the action ratchets up and carries the reader like a good ’chaser to the end. There is one jarring note: for some odd reason Felix has the funny, irreverently articulate Chico (Odds Against and Whip Hand) talking on a few occasions as if he’s lost all his verbal marbles. The former foundling may have Cockney origins, but please be true to the character, Mr. Felix Francis! This is easy enough to remedy in future appearances of our beloved Chico. We were pleased to see that Felix kept Sid’s ex-father-in-law, the retired Rear Admiral Charles Roland. Sid and Charles enjoy a wonderful friendship, but they

also have a genuine family connection. This comes in handy when the Halleys need a safer haven than their own home. Charles might be a bit longer in the tooth, but he’s still fit as a fiddle. He steps up to the plate when the action gets fast and furious in its race towards the trademark climactic scenes of a Francis mystery. An ongoing issue for Sid is his prosthetic. In Refusal he gets back into the saddle and rides a fast work on a horse trained by his former employer, but the high tech hand simply won’t do. One of the subplots of Refusal concerns cutting edge (no pun intended) hand transplants. Obviously, Sid is very interested in having a living, feeling hand again. He gets a bit impatient, waiting for the right match, after he is approved medically and psychologically for the procedure. Sid’s darker side manifests on several occasions when he hopes for rain—the cause of traffic fatalities from which limbs are harvested. But Sid is, after all, only human. We aren’t sure where a living, feeling left hand might take the five-times former British jump jockey champion, but we are eager to find out. Certainly, Felix has an affinity for Sid—it helps to “get” your protagonist. All told, Sid Halley has been an uber-heroic role model, even when terrified that someone will damage his good hand, in four previous Francis mysteries: Odds Against (1965), Whip Hand (1979), Come To Grief (1995) and Under Orders (2006). Sid is the only character created by Dick Francis to appear in more than two mysteries. This is probably Felix Francis’s best novel. He has begun to infuse his prose with pace and flow. He seems to be finding his “voice” if Refusal is a good indicator of what’s to come. Granted, Marina didn’t give her blessing for Sid to “Halleystorm” the underworld until chapter 19 (out of a total of 32), but it was worth the wait. So, when is the next mystery coming out and will it pick up where Refusal leaves off? Francis fans are champing at the bit… Hardcover, dust jacket, 371 pages. $26.95

OPENING MEETS

Andrews Bridge Foxhounds Opening Meet, PlumbLoco Farm, November 2, 2013 Fran Loftus, Whipper-in; Adam Townsend, Huntsman; Roddy Strang, Whipper-in. Steve Berkowitz, VMD, photo

Hillsboro Huntsman John Gray (left) leads hounds to the Opening Meet’s first draw, aided by professional whipper-in Leilani Hrisko.

Properly turned out for Hillsboro Hounds’ Opening Meet: (l-r) Candace Clemens and Jennifer Walker.

Adrian Jennings photo

Adrian Jennings photo

Second field takes off at a gallop at the De La Brooke Foxhounds W Opening Meet held at Mt. Victoria, the Maryland home of Michael and Laura Sullivan, November 2, 2013: (l-r) Christine Hurry (back), Kathy Glockner, Caroline Hurry, Jackie White, Srimati Kamala, and Tim White. Ron Glockner photo

Theresa Miller, joint master of Red Oak Foxhounds, packs in the hounds for the November 2, 2013 Opening Meet. A new hunt, Red Oak is based in Rawlings, Virginia, and owned by Joint Masters Harry and Theresa Miller. Jody Ciliberto photo


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JENNY’S PICKS Books make wonderful gifts at Christmas time. You can splurge on a big coffee-table book or pick up an inexpensive but pertinent small book. We have a wide variety available here at Horse Country, from the gorgeous and hefty Red Fox in Art to the amusing Jack Rascals, a tiny book devoted to—what else?—the Jack Russell Terrier. Calendars are great, too, for an inexpensive and colorful gift that lasts all year long. First, we have a new novel to tempt you. Menino, Holly. Murder She Rode. This mystery with the title a pun on a well-known TV series is set in the eventing world, and the action starts right away with the protagonist happening upon a horrendous horse trailer wreck. “Tink” Elledge, a worldclass event rider and trainer, recognizes the vehicle as belonging to a neighbor and stops, to find the driver has been taken to the hospital and the horse in the trailer injured beyond repair. At first it seems like just an accident, but then a stable girl from the same farm goes missing. And throughout is woven Tink’s aggravating injury that prevents her from riding in the events herself, at least for now. Hardcover, 277pp. $25.00 Since this is now deer season as well as foxhunting season, we have restocked our venison and other game-cooking library. Just for fun, I added another book that ought to make a great gift for a couple, and several humorous hunting books as well as a cookbook for those inundated with fresh fish from the stream! Jager, Rebecca Field. How to Make Love & Dinner at the Same Time. I can see this as a wedding gift coupled with a slow-cooker, because that’s what this is, a collection of crockpot recipes with a sexy new twist. (It’s subtitled “200 Slow Cooker Recipes to Heat Up the Bedroom Instead of the Kitchen.”) And those recipes look delicious! Veal in Cremini mushroom sauce, curried lamb with prunes and apricots, “spice-of-life pork chop bake,” and how about finishing off with “plums in brandy soak” or “drunken orange rings”? Hardcover, 256pp. $15.95

IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • DECEMBER 2013/JANUARY 2014

HORSE COUNTRY BOOKSELLERS Specialists in New, Old & Rare Books on Horses, Foxhunting, Eventing, Polo, Racing, Steeplechasing & Sporting Art 60 Alexandria Pike, Warrenton, VA 20186 • 800-882-HUNT • 540-347-3141 family’s camping trips, when in the morning my father would go out fishing and come back with a mess of bluegill to be cooked for breakfast. Bony, but oh-so-tasty! Sinkus’s recipes include salmon, bluegill, walleye, bass, perch, catfish, and many other freshwater fish, including how to make basic fish stock for soups. Chances are you won’t have all the ingredients for lakeside cooking, but if you get fish at home, these recipes sound yummy, and I’m sure they can be applied to store-bought fish as well. Paperback, 127pp. $14.95

fighting, romancing—both in soft velvet and in full sharp glory of their magnificent branching antlers. Hardcover, 160pp. $29.50

Then we have a number of other books for your holiday pleasure. Frain, Sean. Hunting in the Lake District. I managed to get the last dozen books the distributor had on hand of this British export, so if you want one, order quickly. I may not get any more. All kinds of hunting are celebrated here, not just foxhunting, so you’ll read about those who hunt the hare, otter, polecat and pine marten as well as fox, with foxhounds, beagles, and terriers, on foot Peterson, Brian R., ed. Laugh It Up and a-horse. Photos are b&w; hardin Deer Camp. As we know all too cover, 224pp. $21.95 well, it’s now open season on deer— Mason, Jill. The Hare. Over here at least, where deer hunting is permit- we’re more likely to run rabbits than ted. This collection of jokes, car- hares, but for all you beaglers and toons, short stories and more would basseters out there, I’ve dug up a nice make a nice small present at a rea- coffee-table book featuring not the sonable price for anyone who enjoys fox but the hare, with a multitude of that sport. Hardcover, 95pp. $12.95 color photos and a handful of b&w Cochran, Bruce. Uncle Charlie’s Hunting Shack. Uncle Charlie is an uncouth, hairy, odoriferous old coot whose primary adventures in this book of cartoons revolve around several kids (presumably his niece and nephews) plus other assorted companions as they hunt and fish, not always with successful results. Sample of the groaners: Uncle Charlie and niece are fishing on a boat in the lake. The girl says, “Can I use this plug that looks like a mouse?” Uncle Charlie replies, “That ain’t no plug, kid.” Sometimes a little on the ribald side, other times it’s just plain fun. Hardcover, unpaginated. $12.50

Barnett, George. Whitetail Monarchs/Legends of Autumn. This is a deer lover/hunter’s coffee table book, with a host of color and b&w photos depicting big bucks—the kind that live in the woods, that is. There are some racks here that will make you trophy hunters drool, but with the exception of a whitened skull of one Sinkus, Henry. 100 Fast & Foolproof that died apparently of natural causes, Freshwater Fish Recipes. One of my all these fellows are hale and hearty, fond memories of childhood was our doing what bucks do—posturing,

photos and illustrations. The author covers the hare’s behavior, courtship and breeding, habitats and locales, plus much more. Hardback, 192pp. $30.00 Clayton, Michael; and Alastair Jackson. A Short History of Foxhunting. It’s not easy to come by new foxhunting books, but the indomitable Michael Clayton has teamed with Alastair Jackson to produce this little book teeming with information about the history of the sport in Britain and North America, including an index of foxhunting packs, with special b&w illustrations by Alastair Jackson. Hardcover, 128pp. $22.50

book’s worth and it’s illustrated by none other than Cecil Aldin. I’m delighted this has been reprinted with the illustrations; not all editions of the book were illustrated. Hardcover, 96pp. $30.00 Wilson, Margaret. Nearest Earthly Place to Paradise. While we’re on the topic of literary notables, I ordered a few copies of this for those of you who have a literary bent or would like a gift for someone who does. This is a book about Shropshire, whose verdant fields have inspired many a poet and writer; 60 color photos accompany quotations from such authors as Charles Dickens, Samuel Johnson, D.H. Lawrence, John Milton, Wilfred Owen, Henry James, yes, even John Masefield. Hardcover, 128pp. $30.00 And don’t forget that lovely coffeetable book, The Red Fox in Art, which makes a very special present for fox-lovers, priced at $75.00. See the June/July issue of IAHC for a full review. Just in! Four new books with cartoons by the British cartoonist Oliver Preston! And we also got a number of new cards with his dry sense of humor as well; we’ll try to get some of them on our website as soon as possible. Howkins, Ben. Real Men Drink Port…and ladies do too! Hilarious cartoons by Oliver Preston illustrate this history/guide to port—that rich dark wine that shows up with sherry on stirrup cup trays everywhere and is said to be good with walnuts after a meal. There’s even a short section comparing vintages. Great gift for the sportsman and anyone who enjoys a good port! Hardcover, 176pp. $39.95

Nickerson, Rosie. How to be Asked Again/How to be the Perfect Shooting Guest. While the text is designed to offer very good advice to hunters, and focuses on—of course!—British sport, particularly pheasant hunting, the cartoons by Masefield, John. Right Royal. John Oliver Preston will have you grinning Masefield? Isn’t he a dead poet? Yes, throughout. Hardcover, 159pp. he is, and no, he did not just write $45.00 about the sea, although that’s probably the only poem of his that wound Preston, Oliver. Another Log on the up in the high school English Lit text- Fire and Rich Pickings. Full-color, book. Right Royal is a Thoroughbred full-page cartoons depict the British steeplechaser, and Masefield has take on the lives of the upper class woven an exciting account of a race and sporting life. Many of these in which his owner/rider has wagered showed up as cards on our shelves! his all on the horse in hopes of win- Each book is hardcover, 95pp. $39.95 ning the love of his life. It’s a full


IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • DECEMBER 2013/JANUARY 2014

AGA’S SAGAS

Howliday Happenings Happy Howlidays to everyone! It’s my favorite time of year. Is it yours, too? Everyone is bustling, the store is bursting, and Bunsen is basking still in the glow of all the turkey he got on Thanksgiving. I’m not sure Marion wanted him to have that much, but she did step away from the table leaving her chair out.

“Aga” by Claudia Coleman.

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Faith and bejabbers, m’lass, ’twas an invitation I thought she was giving me. There was all that lovely turkey cut up into nice easy pieces. Why, it was so tender, I dinnae hardly have to chew. No one would’ve noticed except for the gravy in m’beard.

Well, regardless, we hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving. I mean it when I say the store is just bursting at the seams with everything you could want for yourself, your spouse, your kids, your dog, and especially your horse. Whether you’ll be giving presents for Chanukah, Christmas, or Festivus you should just see what wonders we have this year. In fact, the selection is so impressive, it stirred me to wax poetic. We have new outerwear to keep you toasty and dry. New hacking jackets you’ll just have to try. Our fine leather bridles are gifts that will last. Our selection of saddles will just make you gasp! You’ll find beautiful ornaments for your Christmas tree. And a wide selection of gifts, please send one to me! Pillows and linens, breeches and boots, Gloves and hand warmers, all sorts of loot. Thermatex blankets and leather goods galore. Men’s wear and ladies’ wear all over the store. Whether you’re looking for hubby or wife, Shopping at Horse Country will brighten your life! [Editor’s Note: As a rule, canines have little grasp of such poetic structural elements as rhythm and meter. While Aga is still a little bumpy in this regard, her composition skills far exceed those of most other dogs. As such, we have opted to run her inspiring verses verbatim as composed by her own dainty paws.] Bunsen and I have been getting fit for the season by jogging around the store and climbing up and down the stairs several times each day to increase our stamina. Here is where I’d usually say something pithy about Bunsen’s girth or resemblance to an ottoman, but he really has been trying. He says he feels better and I must say he’s looking quite dashing. Now lassie, you’ll make me blush. Tell me some more! Even without the bowl of biscuits by the door, Bunsen has been greeting customers and offering to show them all the new displays Charles has been creating. He started by walking, but now he trots along quite jauntily. People are really impressed! Ach, lassie, it’s far too kind you’re being. I really dinnae have to do much. The new design and décor of the store together with Charles’ vignettes make it so easy for our friends to see everything. Plus the layout of the downstairs makes shopping for your horse a delightful experience.

I do believe that my exercise program will allow me to fit into the Santa suit that Marion got for me without too many “bowl full of jelly” comments. Don’t forget the hat! You have to wear the hat. Och, the hat is a bit much, do you nae think? I think if we want to go to the parade, you have to wear the hat. After all, I have to wear an elf suit and that has a sparkly headband.

Well, maybe it will accidentally fall off once we get there. That headband of yours is dodgy at best. A quick flick of your nose should see it off and mangled under the feet of the horde of children. Bunsen! Are you sure Santa’s not going to hear that? You want your steak for Christmas? You better be good! He knows when you’ve naughty. You realize that, right? Of course I know that. Wait just a minute, lassie. Is that why you’re being less snarky than usual? Are you angling for better presents from Santa Claws? Why Bunsen, what EVER do you mean? I’m just filled with the joy of the season. That may be, but I think you’re also full of… BUNSEN! There will be no steak for you at this rate! You’ll be lucky to get an over cooked hamburger! Sorry, lassie, it’s just that I am missing our biscuits. Our dear friend Zak the corgi has passed over the Rainbow Bridge, so there’ll be no more garlic biscuits. ’Tis verra sad, although I know he had a verra long and happy life. I’m going to miss Zak and his biscuits, too. I hope in his honor we can send a donation to our local shelter so that all the dogs who are waiting for their fur-ever homes will have some new toys and chewies, maybe a new blanket or bed. That would be a verra good idea, lassie. It would probably be a good idea if we got back out on the floor and directed people to all the holiday cards, ornaments, and other goodies. Indeed. The girls are all rushing around, ringing, wrapping, and packing. Orders are coming in fast and furious, both over the phone and through www.HorseCountryCarrot.com on the web. Gwen says the number of boxes is increasing every day. It’s going to be a great Howliday season. I just feel it my bones! So let’s wish all of our friends, human, canine, and one very special tabby cat the very happiest of Howlidays. May your days be merry and bright, And may all of your presents fill you with delight. May your stockings be filled with treats that are yummy, And lots of Howliday cheer to put in your tummy. Be it silver or gold, the real treasure we’re told Is the family and friends you gather and hold. So let us say, as Santa Claws rides out of sight, Happy Howlidays to all and to all a good night!

Well, you would know. You’ve been visiting Sue frequently. Why, you’re probably able to give lots of helpful advice now. I can certainly tell people which saddle pads and seat savers are the cushiest! We’re really looking forward to seeing all of our friends and participating in the festivities here in Warrenton. We’ve been really very good this year helping with the remodeling and all, so Marion has promised us we can visit Gumdrop Square. She even said if we would wear our Christmas finery we might even get to go up to Main Street to watch the parade! I’m practically dancing with excitement.

“Bunsen” by Claudia Coleman.

[Ed. Note: See previous ed. note.] Aga


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HORSE RACING

IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • DECEMBER 2013/JANUARY 2014

Horses and People to Watch Virginia Thoroughbred Association

Breeders Fund Administration Bids Under Consideration The Virginia Racing Commission has requested bids for the administration to the Breeders Fund. They have received two bids, one from the Virginia Thoroughbred Association and one from prior VTA Executive Director Glenn Petty. Bidding closed Nov. 15 and a decision is on the agenda for the December 11 Commission meeting. •••• Registration Deadline for 2013 Foals Reminder: Register your 2013 foals before December 31 to take advantage of the discounted registration fees ($25 for VTA members, $125 for non-VTA members). •••• New Ideas to Improve and Promote Virginia’s TB Industry The VTA and Hickory Tree Farm hosted an event in November to discuss ideas to improve and promote the Thoroughbred industry in Virginia. The event was a resounding success with over 70 guests attending. VTA President Wayne Chatfield-Taylor spoke about the upswing in the market seen at the recent Keeneland sale, highlighting the strength of the broodmare market. He went on to say that Virginia is still a good place to raise a horse and Wayne Chatfield-Taylor, Susie Chatfield-Taylor, Cheris expressed hope that the statewide Treptow, Debbie Easter, Jim Treptow, and Mary Lea elections may have a positive impact Treptow at the Hickory Tree event. Sherry Whiting photo on the industry. He emphasized two salient political advantages that the industry needs to leverage: the Thoroughbred industry not only creates jobs, but it also promotes the preservation of green space in the state of Virginia. VTA Executive Director Debbie Easter spoke of the VTA’s renewed commitment to inclusivity. She invited all members to be active participants in the VTA and highlighted the importance of member involvement in moving the industry forward. After stating that she is always available for a phone call or a meeting, she discussed the Virginia Racing Commission’s Blue Ribbon Committee and asked for member input. Virginia HBPA Executive Director Frank Petramalo then spoke about negotiations with Colonial Downs over race days. Currently, Colonial Downs is offering 12 days over four weeks, while the VHBPA is petitioning for 32 days over an eight-week meet. Negotiations are ongoing. •••• Blue Ribbon Committee Will Develop 5-Year Plan The Virginia Racing Commission has formed a Blue Ribbon Committee to help Virginia combat the disadvantage of not having alternative gaming to support purses. The Committee is comprised of D.G. Van Clief (Chairman), Sarge Reynolds, Debbie Easter (VTA), Ian Stewart (Colonial Downs), Frank Petramalo (VHBPA), Dr. Al Griffin (Gold Cup Association), Dr. Charlie Dunavant (the Standardbred industry), and Bernard Hettel (Virginia Racing Commission Executive Secretary). Its purpose is to examine Virginia’s racing and breeding industries and formulate a 5-year plan to advance both. The Committee will seek outside experts in the industry to advise and to help formulate the plan. •••• Virginia-Connected Horses Score Wins in New York and Maryland Three Virginia-connected horses won stakes in New York and Maryland over the course of a week this month. Nellie Mae Cox bred Service For Ten, winner of the Dave’s Friend Stakes at Laurel on November 16; Ed and Pat Schuler’s So Lonesome won the Virgo Libra Stakes at Aqueduct on November 16; and Dianne Manning’s Miss Mischief dominated in the Pearl City Stakes at Aqueduct on November 20. 4-year-old Service For Ten was a happy accident for Cox. Bill Collins purchased her dam Tenacious Cheryl, a $1,000-RNA at Timonium, in 2008 for Cox’s husband as a sporthorse broodmare. The Service Stripe colt she was carrying became Service For Ten. Cox raised Service For Ten, entering him in the Yearling Futurity in 2010, where he placed fourth in the colt class. “She was a very pretty mare and I guess the mating with Service Stripe just proved to be the one,” Cox said. “He was attractive [as a yearling]. He was not perfect, but he was attractive and always a very nice horse to be around and work with and so forth.” “We broke him and had him ready to run in the middle part of his 2-year-old year, hoping to maybe get a race in him at Colonial Downs, but that didn’t materialize,” Cox said. “Then I sent him to Flint Stites, and he won first time out in a $10,000 claimer [in September].” Cox and Stites entered Service For Ten back for $25,000 and the horse was claimed by his current connections, Mark Lapidus and Damon Dilodovico. Service For Ten has continued to pay dividends for Cox, however, winning the first prize in the

$5,000 Breeders’ Fund bonus for horses that compete in the Yearling Futurity. The prize is awarded to the highest earners of each crop, with earnings counted through the end of their 3-year-old year. Lapidus and Dilodovico had success with Service For Ten off the bat, running him in allowance company and garnering four wins in Maryland. In February of this year, Service For Ten made his stakes debut, running third in the John B. Campbell Handicap at Laurel. He won the Vincent A. Moscarelli Memorial Stakes at Delaware in August and ran a game third in the Frank de Francis Memorial Dash in September prior to his 1½-length victory in the Dave’s Friend Stakes at Laurel on November 16. Service For Ten will be the last in the line. After Service At Ten was foaled in 2009, the Coxes bred Tenacious Cheryl to a warmblood stallion, but the mare had a difficult foaling. “We did not think that she would be suitable for breeding again, so I think she is doing some 3-day stuff for a young girl in Hanover County,” Cox said. “You just never know where the next good one is coming from,” Cox added. •••• In August, Charlottesville-based Ed and Pat Schuler celebrated their first Saratoga win with So Lonesome, a 2-year-old son of Awesome Again. Now, a few months later, they are celebrating the gelding’s first stakes win in the Virgo Libra Stakes at Aqueduct. The Virgo Libra represented a number of firsts for the $55,000 Saratoga Preferred purchase. So Lonesome stretched out to a mile and ran over the weeds for the first time in the $100,000 contest. After breaking his maiden over 6½ furlongs on the main track at Saratoga, So Lonesome ran second in allowance company at Belmont (6 furlongs on the dirt) and made his stakes debut over 7 furlongs in the Bertram Bongard in October, where he ran third. Pat Schuler had her misgivings about trying So Lonesome on the turf in the Virgo Libra. “[Trainer] Tom [Bush] had wanted to work him on the grass at Belmont and they shut down the grass track, and I said, ‘Do you think we can still run him on the grass?’ and he said, ‘I think he can do it,’” Schuler said. “I still had misgivings, but he did it!” Despite running rank early and a wide trip, So Lonesome whipped up from a posterior position in the field and nailed the victory by a head in the final strides of the race. The final time was 1:39.08. So Lonesome came back looking barely-tested. Schuler laughed, “Tom said, ‘He couldn’t have blown out a match.’ He was not the least bit tired!” Schuler credits the added distance to So Lonesome’s stakes success. “When I talked to Tom, he said, ‘I think the horse can run on the grass, he can run on the poly, he can run on the dirt—I think this horse can run on anything,’” Schuler said. “The whole thing with him is getting him to go longer.” So Lonesome will ship down to Palm Meadows with Bush’s string for the winter, where he will get a month or so off to rest and work through a growth spurt. Bush and the Schulers will evaluate the next steps in 2014. “Tom told me he’s extremely athletic and he’s really excited about him,” Schuler said. “When the trainer gets excited it makes you feel a little good! •••• Virginia-owned Miss Mischief galloped by 6 lengths in the Pearl City Stakes. Dianne Manning’s 3-year-old filly was making her first start for trainer Steve Asmussen in this dominant stakes debut. “She’s been doing everything right,” said assistant trainer Toby Sheets. “I wasn’t sure she would beat some of the horses in there, because there was a pretty dominant favorite, but we were very pleased with how she ran.” The daughter of Into Mischief ran once as a 2-year-old, a fourth-placed effort at Saratoga, before returning to break her maiden at Delaware Park in July of her 3-yearold year. An allowance victory at Saratoga came next, before a fourth-placed effort at Laurel prior to the 6-furlong Pearl City. “We put blinkers on her first time, changed a few things,” Sheets said. “I was very happy—sometimes you think things and they don’t happen, but I thought she would run well.” Miss Mischief sat directly behind the leaders early, came wide coming into the stretch, then made her decisive move once out of the turn. Prohibitive favorite Uno Duo was among the field, finishing third for Juddmonte Farms and trainer Bill Mott. Asmussen and Manning have not made any explicit future plans for the filly. “We usually like to enjoy the moment because they are hard to come by,” Sheets said. “We’ll talk in the next day or so, make sure she comes out of the race okay, then go Virginia-owned Miss Mischief dominated in the Pearl City Stakes at Aqueduct. Adam Conglianese photo from there.”


IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • DECEMBER 2013/JANUARY 2014

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Top Hats, Veils, and a Bowler: Ladies of the Chula Homa Hunt turned out in classically fine style for the Opening Meet, held in Canton, Mississippi, Saturday, November 9, 2013. (l-r) Ellery Chancellor, Allison Crews, Maddie Bennett, and Sudie Moyse. Joan Jannaman photo

The Reverend Doctor Mary Jane Ledgerwood confers a special blessing on one Orange County hound. Janet Hitchen photo


IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • DECEMBER 2013/JANUARY 2014

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ACROSS THE POND

Visiting Beagles and Two Opening Meets of UK Foxhounds By Jim Meads

Tanatside Hunt Opening Meet November 2013 Huntsman Richard Evans taking hounds to draw.

North Warwickshire Beagles, October 2013, The meet at Bacceidon farm, Mid-Wales. Tanatside Hunt Opening Meet November 2013 New Joint Master Stephen Morrison stands in front of riders.

Tanatside Hunt Opening Meet November 2013 Elegantly attired Bod Harvey-Mears over a stone wall.

Tanatside Hunt Opening Meet November 2013 Senior Joint Master Graham Burnip with daughter Emily.

My 64th consecutive season as a hunting photojournalist began when the North Warwickshire Beagles made their annual visit to the Plas Machynlleth Foxhounds’ country, in mid-Wales. As usual, the 10½ couple of studbook beagles were kenneled at Bacceidon Farm, home of Mr. and Mrs. Emyr Lewis, who welcomed all comers to the 2:30 meet. I arrived in good time for a warming stirrup cup, in company of two joint masters, Richard Sutton, the huntsman, and Andrew Mein, as well as Hunt President John Sutton, Master 1978-92. Some 20 members made the 120-mile drive to the meet for three days of hunting and partying, while the weather was kind, being clear and mild, giving wonderful vistas of lofty hills in every direction. Rob Brewin was the trail layer on this day, and he set hounds some serious questions to puzzle over, as he roamed through open country and patches of forestry, which the pack took in their stride with a great cry, which echoed in the still air. I surprised myself by climbing to the summit of several rocky hills, as it is very early in the season, but everyone was in the same boat, and we all enjoyed a splendid day’s hunting in friendly company until “home” was blown after three hours of hectic exercise. Next came my first opening meet of foxhounds, when I received an invitation from the Tanatside Hunt to join them at Nicky Samuel’s home near Llanfechain. This season sees a new mastership, with two former Masters, Graham Burnip and Stephen Morrison, returning to office with Richard Evans, huntsman since 2007, carrying the horn. He arrived with 15½ couple of Welsh-English cross hounds, with young Ben Furnival whipping in. The meet was a festive occasion, with food and a splendid port being handed ’round to the 50strong mounted field and as many “footies.” Of interest

to my readers in the Southern states is the fact that in 1754, this pack was called the Confederate Hunt! After the speeches, hounds moved off to draw for the first trail, with the mounted field being led by Andy Higgens on a big gray hunter. Soon hounds were in full cry, initially on the flat meadowland, with timber jumps that claimed the season’s first victim, who soon recovered. After around 1½ hours, the pack ran into the bracken-clad steep slopes of the hill country, with several stone walls to be jumped, where scent was not as holding as on the grass. Still, the day stayed dry and the hunt continued until “home” was blown to end an excellent opening meet in superb countryside. As tradition dictates, Lord Davies, Master of the David Davies Hunt since 1963 and the longest serving MFH in the country, hosted the opening meet at his ancestral home, Plas Dinam, where the kennels were built in 1905. The morning was dry but windy as Huntsman Steve Bradley arrived with 20 couple of Welsh and Fell Foxhounds, which had escaped the dreaded kennel cough that swept through the U.K. Whipper-in since 1965 Neville Owen, a hill farmer, was also in uniform, while Field Master Des Davies had 35 horses and ponies to look after. There were 50 foot followers from many packs, and all were given mulled wine and foodstuffs until the huntsmen led hounds away to where the first trail had been laid, in the low country. Later they moved onto the 1400-foot Llandinam Hills, eventually clearing the pine trees to the summit, with views over the Severn Valley. Here the winds reached gale force, with riders in danger of being blown out of the saddle! So, via the Lord’s Grave, the pack were taken down to the low country, where the rest of a busy opening meet day was spent in several heavy rain showers.

Lord Davies, Master since 1963 and the longest serving MFH.

David Davies Huntsman Steve Bradley bringing 20 couple of hounds to the meet.

David Davies Hunt Opening Meet, November 2013. The meet at Plas Dinam, home of Lord Davies, MFH.


In & Around Horse Country  

The Official Publication of the Virginia Steeplechase Association

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