VOLUME XXX / NUMBER 2 • THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE VIRGINIA STEEPLECHASE ASSOCIATION • SPRING 2018
(l-r) Payton Jones, Anna Grasso, and Addison Jones try their hand at bridling Chocolate Chip, owned by Kathy Blanche, at the De La Brooke Foxhounds W closing meet at Keechland in Charles County, Maryland, held in March. Ron Glockner photo
(l-r) MaryAlice Larkin Matheson Thomas and Molly Dalton are all smiles at Orange County Hounds’ Closing Meet, Springfield Farm, March 25, 2018. Joanne Maisano photo
Springs Road - Warrenton WALNUT SPRINGS Spacious English country house on 54 acres (25 ac & 29 ac) fronting on Springs Road, 2 miles from Ole Towne Warrenton. Nine stall, center aisle stable, Great Run runs through, lovely distant views, fruit trees. $1,695,000
OLD MILL FARM Just oﬀ Springs Road, convenient to Warrenton in protected countryside. 27 extremely private acres, mostly open, 4 BR, 3 1/2 baths, 2 fPs, sun porch, gracious large LR, bright breakfast room - Great Run runs through.$1,200,000
Allen Real Estate Co., Ltd.
Joe Allen 540-229-1770
43 Culpeper Street Warrenton, VA 20186 Oﬃce: 540-347-3838 http://www.allenrealestate.com In The Historic District
Tray Allen 540-222-3838
IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY â€¢ SPRING 2018
For Sale HISTORICALLY IMPORTANT HUNT PAINTING JOHN FRANCIS SARTORIUS (English School, ca. 1775- ca. 1831) William Edmonstone of Campus Wallace, Doune, Master of Renfrewshire Hounds Oil on canvas Signed lower right; circa 1800-1825 Height: 40 3/4 inches Width: 50 inches Gilt-wood frame of mid-19th century period Note Lanarkshire & Renfrewshire Foxhounds of Renfrewshire, Scotland, was founded in 1771, and has continuously maintained the hunt since that time. See: www.lanarkandrenfrew.com John Francis Sartorius (1775?-1831?), was an English painter of horses, horse-racing and hunting scenes, and a member of the celebrated Sartorius family of artists.
Page Art Inc. 1042 61st Street, Oakland, CA 94608 Tel: 323-422-9192 firstname.lastname@example.org www.page-art.com
IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • SPRING 2018
SPORTING LIFE HIGHLIGHTS Upcoming Events In & Around Horse Country Spring is finally here! We encourage you to get out and enjoy the many happenings in Horse Country. Hunt Trail Rides: All the hunts will be hosting trail rides throughout the spring and summer. These are typically leisurely rides, jumping optional, through the beautiful hunt countryside. Lunch or light refreshments are usually included. Hunters depend on these rides to keep their horses fit and socialize with fellow hunters during the offseason. If you’re thinking about giving foxhunting a try, these rides are a great way to get yourself and your horse out in a group in the open country but without the added excitement of hounds and horn. To find contact information for the hunts in your area, go to www.mfha.org. Hunter Pace Events and Spring Races: Here’s the list of remaining events as of publication of this issue through the end of the spring season. For contact information and more details, go to www.centralentryoffice.com. Spring Races, Virginia: Sunday, April 15: Loudoun Hunt Point-to-Point Saturday, April 21: Middleburg Spring Races Sunday, April 22: Blue Ridge Hunt Point-to-Point Saturday, April 28: Foxfield Spring Races, Charlottesville Sunday, April 29: Middleburg Hunt Point-to-Point Saturday, May 5: Virginia Gold Cup Races Spring Races, Maryland: Saturday, April 14: My Lady’s Manor Races Sunday, April 15: Fair Hill Point-to-Point Races Saturday, April 21: Grand National Steeplechase Saturday, April 28: The Maryland Hunt Cup Sunday, April 29: Maryland Junior Hunt Cup Saturday, May 5: Howard County Cup Races Sunday, May 29: Potomac Hunt Races Hunter Pace Events: Saturday, April 14: Rappahannock Hunt Saturday, April 21: Warrenton Hunt Saturday, April 28: Loudoun Fairfax Hunt Other Springtime Happenings: Bull Run Hunt Camping Weekend Trail Ride Friday, April 20 – Sunday, April 22 www.bullrunhuntclub.com Museum of Hounds & Hunting North America “The Year of the Hound” Art Exhibit and Sale Opens Showcasing the foxhunts of Virginia, featuring select artists of the American Academy of Equine Artists The Mansion, Morven Park, Leesburg. www.mhhna.org Opens Saturday, May 26, 4:00 pm The show then runs every Friday-Sunday, and some Mondays, through June 25. (Call 703-777-2414 or visit www.mhhna.org for times.) Museum of Hounds & Hunting North America Members Reception, Saturday, May 26, 5:00 pm The Mansion, Morven Park, Leesburg
Virginia Foxhound Club Cocktail Party and Dinner Saturday, May 26, 6:00 pm Horn Blowing Contest, 7:00 pm www.virginiafoxhoundclub.org Hunt Country Stable Tour Saturday, May 26 & Sunday, May 27 www.trinityupperville.org/Hunt-Country-Stable-Tour/ Virginia Hound Show Sunday, May 27, 8:00 am, Morven Park, Leesburg email@example.com Hound Shows For the full schedule of hound shows: www.mfha.org/hounds-showsched.html. Upperville Colt & Horse Show Monday, June 4 – Sunday, June 10. www.upperville.com ••••••
Save the Date Dehner Days at Horse Country, May 25 & 26 Jeff Ketzler of Dehner Boot Company will be at Horse Country Saddlery, Warrenton, Virginia, to measure custom riding boots. Appointments are necessary. Please call Horse Country Saddlery to schedule an appointment. 800-882-4868. ••••••
Hunt News Upcoming Hunt Staff Changes Several staff changes have been announced for next hunt season. Here’s what has been confirmed as of press time. More details will follow in our next issue. • Tony Gammell, who stepped down at the end of last season after serving as huntsman at Keswick for 17 seasons, will carry the horn at Lowcountry Hunt (SC). • Martyn Blackmore moves from Lowcountry to Virginia’s Princess Anne Hunt. • Neil Amatt makes a short trip from one neighboring Virginia hunt to another as he steps up from his professional whipper-in position at Piedmont Fox Hounds to take the huntsman job at Loudoun Fairfax Hunt. • Having enjoyed one season in retirement, Ivan Dowling returns to his role as huntsman for Mr. Stewart’s Cheshire Foxhounds (PA). • Jefferson “Tot” Goodwin, MFH, after a long and illustrious career, will retire as huntsman for Green Creek Hounds (SC). David Raley, formerly of Moore County Hounds (NC) will carry the horn at Green Creek. In related news, Los Altos Hounds (CA) and Traders Point Hunt (IN) have disbanded.
Jefferson “Tot” Goodwin, MFH.
COVER PHOTOGRAPHER: Joanne Maisano www.joannemaisano.com PHOTOGRAPHERS:
Benoit Photography Jake Carle Coglianese Photography Ron Glockner Douglas Lees firstname.lastname@example.org Joanne Maisano www.joannemaisano.com Jim McCue Daphne Walsh and Olney Quick Draw McGraw enjoy their sprint in the Small Ponies division at the Piedmont Fox Hounds Point-to-Point, Salem Course, Upperville, Virginia, March 24, 2018.
is published 5 times a year. 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 Summer issue is June 11 2018. Payment in full due with copy. Publisher: Marion Maggiolo Managing Editor: J. Harris Anderson Advertising: Kim Gray (540) 347-3141, (800) 882-4868, Email: email@example.com Contributors: Aga; J. Harris Anderson, Jake Carle, Lauren R. Giannini, Will O’Keefe, John Stuart, Virginia Equine Alliance LAYOUT & DESIGN: Kate Houchin Copyright © 2018 In & Around Horse Country®. All Rights Reserved. Volume XXVX, No.1 POSTMASTER: CHANGE SERVICE REQUESTED
IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • SPRING 2018
A Temple Restored Huntland Kennels Return to Their Former Glory By J. Harris Anderson, Managing Editor For many foxhunters, an essential element of the sport’s allure is its link to the past, those moments when it feels like history-come-to-life. There’s a reassuring comfort that flows from the sense of permanence, that today’s foxhunters are continuing a legacy coursing across many generations. Nowhere is that felt more strongly than in the Virginia Piedmont where hunt club founding dates go back as far as 1840. Conversely, the fading of a once glorious property into disuse and disrepair never fails to cause a sharp pang of sadness. Happily, the fortunes of one such property began a remarkable reversal in 1997 when Dr. Betsee Parker purchased the historic Huntland estate outside Middleburg, Virginia. With great devotion and enthusiasm, she set about to restore Huntland to its original function and grandeur— first the gracious Federal-style main house and more recently the exquisite kennels. The original structure was built in 1834. Joseph B. Thomas, Jr., a sporting enthusiast, was drawn to Virginia hunt country by the Great Hound Match of 1905*. This led to his purchase of the estate in 1911, which then consisted of approximately 400 acres. He immediately set about to design and build a truly first class kennels. Author Julian Street, in his American Adventures (1914), described the Huntland kennels thusly: “In a well-kept park near Mr. Thomas’s house stand extensive English-looking buildings of brick and stucco, which, viewed from a distance, suggest a beautiful country house, and which, visited, teach one that certain favored hounds and horses in this world live much better than certain human beings. One building is given over to the kennels, the other the stables; each has a large sunlit court, and each is as beautiful and as clean as a fine house—a house full of trophies, hunting equipment, and the pleasant smell of well-cared-for saddlery.” Alexander Mackay-Smith described them as “the most perfectly appointed foxhound kennels and hunt stables in America.” Another commentary referred to the Huntland kennels as “a veritable temple to foxhounds.” Thomas was appointed master of the Piedmont Fox Hounds in 1915. Under the guidance of his huntsman Charles Carver, his pack showed blazing sport. Eventually, though, both men moved on and Huntland passed into other hands. Subsequent owners had no use for the kennels and over the ensuing decades they succumbed to the degrading forces of neglect. Dr. Parker’s objective was to restore the kennels to their original “perfectly appointed” condition. Fortunately, she had Thomas’s original plans to work from. But recreating every detail as it had been first formed a century before required much more research, planning, and meticulous execution than simply following a set
of drawings. It also required several years and an extensive team of expert craftsmen and specialists. Part of the challenge, of course, was that Huntsman Charles Carver leads hounds from kennels, c. 1915, as Joseph B. Thomas, MFH Piedmont Fox Hounds, follows. construction technology and codes have changed Photo courtesy of Karen Myers Collection in many ways since Joseph B. Thomas first arrived at Huntland in 1911. Thus a hefty dose of ingenuity, imagination, and careful research was required to capture the true embodiment of the original structure. The project began in 2008 and reached its conclusion just this year. Over those ten years a small army of project managers, master carpenters, master masons, electricians, plumbers, roofers, and suppliers of millwork, ironwork, and an array of specialty components painstakingly returned Thomas’s “temple to foxhounds” as he had originally envisioned it. The result was completed with such preci- Mr. Thomas’s “Temple to Foxhounds” when it was first completed sion in every aspect that if Mr. Thomas himself around 1914. Photo courtesy of Karen Myers Collection were to return today, he could easily believe nothing had changed in the past 100 years. The Masters of Foxhounds Association held a fundraiser at Huntland on March 9, for the restoration of the new headquarters in Middleburg. Dr. Parker graciously hosted the event at Huntland, showing the newly restored kennels, which for that evening housed hounds of the Middleburg Hunt. Afterward, the 200 guests enjoyed dinner in the historic Huntland mansion The foxhunting history of Huntland was Joseph B. Thomas, MFH, slightly celebrated the following day when Middleburg’s soiled after a long day of sport in hounds were released from their temporary digs the Virginia to join Huntsman Richard Roberts, masters, staff, Piedmont country. and followers in a scene that rivaled the days Photo courtesy of Karen Myers Collection when Mr. Thomas held court at Huntland. History-come-to-life doesn’t get much better than that. * This seminal event is thoroughly covered in entertaining style in Martha Wolfe’s book The Great Hound Match of 1905, available at Horse Country Saddlery.
Middleburg Huntsman Richard Roberts, with Dr. Betsee Parker, ready to carry on the tradition of great sport from the Huntland Kennels, March 10, 2017. Joanne Maisano photo
Hounds of the Middleburg Hunt rested and eager to be off for a day of sport after spending the night in the newly renovated Huntland kennels. Joanne Maisano photo
IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • SPRING 2018
2018 Spring Point-to-Points By Will O’Keefe • Photos by Douglas Lees Warrenton Hunt Point-to-Point 3/17/18 The Warrenton Hunt Point-to-Point opened the 2018 steeplechase season at Airlie Farm near Warrenton with an exciting nine race card. The footing was excellent and the sport was good. The first race was an open hurdle race that attracted a field of seasoned veterans. At the drop of the flag, Keri Brion sent Team Ollie’s Orchestra Leader to the front as is his favorite running style. Ross Geraghty rated Rosbrian Farm’s Daneking (GB) in Orchestra Leader’s shadow for most of the race and was a close second when the field went out of sight with a half mile to run. When they came back into view, Daneking had moved to the front. Orchestra Leader held on well but was second best as Daneking won by 1 length. Ricky Hendriks saddled the winner. Beverly R. Steinman’s Pure Deal (Kieran Norris) was third. Trainer Jimmy Day had a great day saddling the winners of three races with Liam McVicar aboard in two of them. The first of these was the maiden hurdle race, and Liam McVicar took Cristina V. Mosby’s Foxhall Drive to the front about a half-mile into the Warrenton Hunt Point-to-Point, Maiden Hurdle race and that’s where he stayed. The final margin was 5 lengths as Foxhall Drive won Foxhall Drive (Liam McVicar, up) – 1st. handily. Bon Nouvel Chasers LLC’s Mo’s in the House (Shane Crimin) and Beverly Steinman’s Marvari (Kieran Norris) ran well for second and third but were no match for the winner. The inaugural running of the Viola T. Winmill Sidesaddle chase was next on the card and provided the day’s closest margin of victory. When the seven-horse field was Warrenton Hunt Point-to-Point, The Airreleased by the field master, Maureen Britell’s Tango (Teresa Croce) and Cherry Blossom lie Steeplechase Open Hurdle Daneking (Ross Geraghty, up) – 1st. Farm LLC’s King of Hearts (Devon Zebrovious) battled to the finish where Tango won in a photo finish by a nose. Jimmy Day struck again when S. Bruce Smart, Jr.’s He’s One Wild Dude carried Bryan Cullinane to his first win in the United States in the novice rider flat race. He’s One Wild Dude was never far from the pace, took the lead in the final quarter mile and held off Beverly Steinman’s Jump Through It (Emme Fullilove) and Eva Smithwick’s Rutledge Classic (Mike Woodson). Day won back-to-back races, taking the Virginia-Bred or Sired flat race with S. Bruce Smart, Jr.’s Officer’s Oath (Liam Warrenton Hunt Point-to-Point, Novice Timber McVicar). Officer’s Oath won this series last year and appears poised to repeat. He assumed command at the start, dictated the (l-r) Albus (Kieran Norris, up) – 1st; Codrington College pace and held off Sara Collette’s Eryx (Kieran Norris) by 2 lengths with S. Rebecca Shepherd’s Trustifarian (Shane Crimin) (Darren Nagle, up) – 2nd. third. The open flat race provided an excellent opportunity for trainer Julie Gomena to get a prep into Stonelea Stables LLC’s hurdle stakes winner, Balance the Budget. Mark Watts rated him within striking distance and made his move with a quarter mile to run. Hudson River Farms’ Taper Tantrum (Keri Brion) gave up the lead begrudgingly but had to settle for second ½ length behind the winner. Buttonwood Farm’s Juvonia (Gerard Galligan) closed well but could not match strides with the top two. The open timber race was won in a romp by Armata Stables’ Vintage Vinnie with Chris Gracie up. This horse and rider duo make an interesting story. Vintage Vinnie was making his first start over timber after successfully running in steeplechase races in England, and Gracie was returning to racing after a twelve year absence. As an amateur, Gracie won the Maryland Hunt Cup on Bug River in 2006. Trainer Joseph G. Davies is not a stranger to riding and training top timber horses, including training the last two winners of the Maryland Hunt Cup. At Warrenton, Vintage Vinnie joined the other two starters as they set a slow early pace. This did not suit Vintage Vinnie, and Gracie quickly let out a notch. From that point to the finish they steadily improved their advantage and the final margin was a conservative 25 lengths. Heather Austin’s Ray de Light (Mark Beecher) was second and Magalen O. Bryant’s Last Farewell (Kieran Norris) was third. The novice timber race attracted a field of five maidens with limited experience. Four Virginia Gents’ Albus (Kieran Norris) was making his first start over timber and took the lead in the early stages. The field ran as a group most of the race with Albus turning away several challenges. In the late stages Albus pulled away and won by 6 lengths at first asking for trainer Doug Fout. Hudson River Farm’s Codrington College (Darren Nagle) and Armata Stables’ Sanculpa (Gerard Galligan) finished second and third. Warrenton Hunt Point-to-Point, The Springs Valley Open The amateur and novice rider timber race was combined with the foxhunters race. Aaron Davis set the pace on Nicki Timber Valvo’s Triton Light and led to the last fence where Straylight Racing LLC’s Pied Du Roi (Alex Leventhal) and Small Giant’s Vintage Vinnie (Chris Gracie, up) – 1st. Stables’ Air Maggy (Amber Hodyka) moved into contention. Upon landing, Air Maggy lost his rider, and Pied Du Roi continued to rally, collared Triton Light in the stretch, and won going away by 2 lengths. William Santoro trained the winner, who was making his first start. Triton Light held on for second and Matthew McCarron’s Addones Last Hurrah (Erin Swope) was third. Piedmont Fox Hounds Point-to-Point 3-24-2018 On the Wednesday before the Piedmont Fox Hounds Point-to-Point was scheduled to be run, the races were very much in doubt. Snow was falling on the Salem Course near Upperville, and the forecast was not favorable. Luckily, the worst of the storm went to the north, and the races were able to be run as originally scheduled on Saturday, March 24. To the surprise of many, the going was excellent and the racing was great. The featured Rokeby Challenge Bowl attracted four runners with last year’s winner, Kinross Farm’s Old Timer (McLane Hendriks), on hand to defend his title. In the race Sam Cockburn sent Nicki Valvo’s Sol a Pino to the lead at the drop of the flag, but it didn’t take long for Sara E. Collette’s Zanclus (Darren Nagle) to take command. Zanclus was impressive, running and jumping on the front end; and when everyone thought he would tire after a sixteen month layoff, he proved them wrong. For Zanclus this was a triumphant return crafted by his trainer, Neil Morris. The 2016 Virginia Point-to-Point Timber Horse of the Year is back. Old Timer ran well but was second best, and Black and Blue Stables’ Monstaleur (Forrest Kelly) was third. The Morris and Nagle team had two other winners on the card. They collaborated to win the first division of the maiden timber race with Thomas A. Hulfish, III’s Formidable Heart and the Virginia-Bred flat race with Zanclus’ full brother, Sara E. Collette’s Balistes. In the maiden timber race Nagle rated Formidable Heart off the pace, rallied in the final quarter mile and got up in the final strides to win by a head over Riverdee Stable’s Biedermeier (Mark Beecher). Avla Pitts’ Simply Certain Warrenton Hunt Point-to-Point, Novice Rider Flat (l-r) Rutledge Classic (Mike Woodson, up) – 3rd; He’s One (McLane Hendriks) was third. In the Virginia-Bred flat race Balistes went to the front at the start and led the entire race, holding Wild Dude (Bryan Cullinane, up) – 1st; Jump Through It off Jean Rofe’s Willisville (Jeff Murphy) in the stretch to win by a neck. Heather Booterbaugh’s Scented Up (Bryan Cullinane) (Emme Fullilove, up) – 2nd. was third.
IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • SPRING 2018
Trainer Todd Wyatt brought a van-load of horses from Maryland, and he had a successful invasion winning three races and finishing second twice. After saddling Biedermeier to be second in the first division of the maiden timber race, Wyatt accounted for the next three races. This march to the winners’ circle started with Armata Stables’ Rudyard K (Brett Owings) in the second division of the maiden timber race. Owings rated Rudyard K close to the pace, had a narrow lead over the last fence and held off Noble Stables’ Kingofalldiamonds (Barry Foley) to win by ¾ length. Kinross Farm’s Pocket Talk (Chris Gracie) finished third. Next was the amateur and novice rider timber race won by Blair Wyatt’s Witor (Eric Poretz). Witor raced on or near the lead for most of the race. With three furlongs to run Magalen O. Bryant’s Dakota Slew (McLane Hendriks) engaged Witor, and they ran as a team towards the last fence. Upon landing Witor pulled away and won easily by 2½ lengths. Dakota Slew was second, and Ben Swope’s Way Up High (Erin Swope) was third. Winning owner Blair Wyatt is one of Randy Waterman’s daughters, and it was nice seeing the familiar purple and gold silks back on the race course. Randy Waterman was the long time MFH and Huntsman of the Piedmont Fox Hounds and a champion point-to-point rider. For the second year in a row Wyatt saddled Peter A. Jay’s Prime Prospector to win the foxhunter timber race at Piedmont. This year Prime Prospector (Brett Owings) led for most of the race with Andrew Motion’s Awesome Pearl (Janie Motion) close behind. When Awesome Pearl faded in the last half mile, Addones Last Hurrah (Erin Swope) took up the chase but fell 3 lengths short of the winner. Gerry L. Brewster’s Derwins Prospector (Ashton Williams) used this race to prep for his winning effort in the Maryland Hunt Cup last year, and he got a race under his belt again finishing a good third. Another former Maryland Hunt Cup winner was in action in the lady rider timber race with Ann Jackson’s Raven’s Choice (Blair Wyatt). Erin Swope rated Sweet Talking Guy in the early going but went to the front with about a mile to run. Raven’s Choice joined the leader in the final quarter mile, and these two jumped the last as a team. Sweet Talking Guy pulled away in the stretch and won by 3 lengths over Raven’s Choice. Ouroboros Racing’s Sumo Power (Mackenzie Rosman) ran evenly and finished third. Junior pony racing came back to Piedmont after a very long absence with races run for small, medium, and large ponies. Suzanne Stettinius’ Emmy-Lou (Austin Belt) was the front running winner of the small pony race with Imogen Weaver’s Quick Draw McGraw (Daphne Walsh) finishing second. The winning margin was 30 lengths. Teddy Davies rode the medium pony winner, Count Chocula, and the large pony winner, Bailey. Both ponies belong to EHM Stables and are trained by Betty McCue. Anna Bourke’s Sunny Delight was second to Count Chocula, who won by 4 lengths, with Flora Hannum’s Eddy third. Bailey won by 2 lengths over Regina Welsh’s Ace of Spades (Hannah Belt) with Chloe Hannum’s Snickers third in the large pony race. Continued
Piedmont Fox Hounds Point-to-Point, Rokeby Challenge Bowl Open Timber Zanclus (Darren Nagle, up) – 1st.
Count Chocula (Teddy Davies, up) wins Medium Ponies; Davies also won the Large Ponies Division on Bailey.
Piedmont Fox Hounds Point-to-Point, Thomas M. Beach and Virginia A. Beach Memorial Lady Rider Timber Sweet Talking Guy (Erin Swope, up) – 1st.
Piedmont Fox Hounds Point-to-Point, George Robert Slater Memorial Open Timber, 1st Division Formidable Heart (Darren Nagle, up) – 1st.
IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • SPRING 2018
Two additional flat races rounded out the racing action. In the maiden flat race Ellerslie Farm’s King of the Road won with Jeff Murphy the winning trainer and rider. Murphy rated King of the Road within striking distance of Cross Racing Stable LLC’s Slug and Jockey (Barry Foley), who had taken the lead shortly after the start. King of the Road went to the front at the head of the stretch and won going away by 1¾ lengths over Slug and Jockey. Bettina L. Gregory’s Los Cabos (Darren Nagle) finished third. Julie Nettere’s Amigo was trained and ridden to victory by Zoe Valvo in the open flat race. Amigo went to the lead at once and stayed there throughout the race. Alexandra S. White’s Kanaka (Jeff Murphy) rallied but fell short by 2¼ lengths. William Russell’s Holiday Mousse (Barry Foley) was third.
Piedmont Fox Hounds Point-to-Point VHBPA Virginia Bred/Sired Flat Orange County Hounds Point-to-Point 4/1/2018 Stretch run (l-r) Balistes (Darren Nagle, up) – 1st; Willisville The Orange County Hounds celebrated Easter with a full (Jeff Murphy, up) – 2nd; Scented Up (Bryan Cullinane, up) – 3rd. Orange County Hounds Point-to-Point, Rufus W. Humphrey Maiden Hurdle, 2nd Division (l-r) New Saloon (Kieran Norris, up) – 1st; Confederate (Shane Crimin, up) – 3rd.
Orange County Hounds Point-to-Point, Charles S. Whitehouse Memorial Open Flat, 2nd Division (l-r) Negotiate (Barry Foley, up) – 1st; Stormy Alex (Graham Watters, up) – 2nd; Satish (Eddie Keating, up) – 3rd.
Orange County Hounds Point-to-Point, Locust Hill Open Hurdle (l-r) Sempre Medici (Darren Nagle, up) – 2nd; Mutasaawy (Barry Foley, up) – 1st.
Orange County Hounds Point-to-Point, Orange County Hounds Cup Novice Timber Longing To Travel (Darren Nagle, up) – 1st.
card of ten races at Magalen O. Bryant’s Locust Hill Farm near Middleburg on Sunday, April 1. It was an especially good day for the home team as trainers Doug Fout and Neil Morris combined to win six races. Doug Fout was the first of these two to strike when he saddled the winners of both divisions of the maiden flat race. In the first division Beverly R. Steinman’s Perfect Union (Kieran Norris) led all the way and won handily by 2½ lengths over Michael A. Smith’s Mercouer (Archie MacCauley). Mike Dalton’s Emme (Barry Foley) finished third. Beverly R. Steinman’s Negotiate (Barry Foley) won the second division by 1½ lengths over Bruton Street-US’ Satish (Eddie Keating) and Irvin S. Naylor’s Stormy Alex (Graham Watters), who finished in a dead heat for second. Negotiate was never far from the front, took sole possession of the lead with a quarter mile to run and came again when Satish and Stormy Alex passed him at the head of the stretch. The Steinman/Fout/Norris team’s Bullet Star won the first division of the maiden hurdle race. Bullet Star led in the early going but was content to stalk Mrs. George L. Ohrstrom, Jr.’s Rashford’s Double (Shane Crimin) before taking the lead for good with about a mile to go. The result was never in doubt as Bullet Star held the fast closing Ellerslie Farm’s King of the Road (Jeff Murphy) safe by 3 lengths. Celtic Venture Stable’s Bridge Builder (Darren Nagle) finished third. Doug Fout left his best for last as he saddled Four Virginia Gents’ Albus (Kieran Norris) to win the open timber race in impressive fashion. Albus went to the front at the drop of starter Peter Walsh’s flag and was never headed. He had won the novice timber race at Warrenton and easily handled the step up in class. Magalen O. Bryant’s Only Charity (Shane Crimin) pressed the pace most of the way before fading to third behind the winner and second placed Gordonsdale Farm’s Canyon Road (Jeff Murphy), who could get no closer than the 2½ length margin of victory. This was racings’ version of a grand slam as this was Kieran Norris’ fourth win on the card. In addition to winning three for Doug Fout, he added another win for his wife, Madison Meyers, who saddled Timber Town Stable’s New Saloon to win the second division of the maiden hurdle race. New Saloon was rated within striking distance, went to the front with a half mile to run, and held off Beverly R. Steinman’s Jump Through It (Barry Foley) and Mrs. George Ohrstrom and Helen Groves’ Confederate (Shane Crimin) who finished a close third. Orange County Joint MFH Neil Morris saddled Buckshot Racing Stables LLC’s Longing To Travel (Darren Nagle) to win the novice timber race. Longing to Travel was rated off the pace, closed quickly in the final quarter mile to take the lead after the last fence and drew away from Magalen O. Bryant’s Last Farewell (Kieran Norris), who had held the lead at the last fence. The runner up and the third place finisher, EMO Stables’ Appoggiatura (Barry Foley) were trained by Doug Fout. Morris completed his double when Mrs. S. K. Johnston, Jr.’s Mutasaawy (Barry Foley) won the open hurdle race in front running fashion. Irvin S. Naylor’s Sempre Medici (Darren Nagle) loomed boldly in the last quarter mile and was a close second over the last hurdle but could get no closer and lost by 1½ lengths. Neil Morris also trained the third place finisher, Thomas A. Hulfish, III’s Swellelegent (Michael Mitchell). The first of three flat races on the card was for novice riders and was won by Sharon E. Sheppard’s Khafayya (Eddie Keating). He made his move to the lead with about a mile to run and won handily by 3½ lengths over Beverly R. Steinman’s New Horizon (Aaron Davis) and Ballyerin Racing LLC’s Delawanna (Emme Fullilove) was third. Leslie Young was the winning trainer. Brook T. Smith Investments LLC’s Paddy O’Wagon (Graham Watters) rallied from off the pace in the open flat race. He took the lead in the stretch and held off William Russell & Yadkin Farm’s Gold Braid (Darren Nagle) by 1 length. Magalen O. Bryant’s City Gold (Darren Nagle) finished third. Beverly R. Steinman’s Be Somebody (Barry Foley) lost his rider while leading a quarter mile from the finish. Paddy O’Wagon was trained by Cyril Murphy. S. Rebecca Shepherd’s Trustifarian (Shane Crimin) won the Virginia Bred race by 8 lengths over Sara E. Collette’s Eryx (Kieran Norris). Trustifarian raced within striking distance until making his winning move with three furlongs to run. He steadily drew away and won handily giving trainer David Bourke a nice win. Sara E. Collette’s Eryx (Kieran Norris) was second and R. Robert Kirk’s Super Bird (Barry Foley) was third. The Carolina Cup Races were run on Saturday, March 31 in Camden, South Carolina, and it was a great day for Virginians. Magalen O. Bryant’s Personal Start (Barry Foley) won the $75,000 Carolina Cup Sport of Kings Novice Hurdle Stakes, and Stonelea Stables LLC’s Balance the Budget (Mark Watts) won the $150,000 Marion DuPont Scott Colonial Cup Hurdle Stakes. Personal Start is trained by Richard Valentine, and Julie Gomena trains Balance the Budget. Both races were run in front running fashion with Personal Start winning by 1¼ length and Balance the Budget by 6¼ lengths.
Orange County Hounds Point-to-Point, Rufus W. Humphrey Maiden Hurdle, 1st Division (l-r) Rashford’s Double (#3, Shane Crimin, up) – 4th; Bridge Builder (Darren Nagle, up) – 3rd; Bullet Star (#1, Kieran Norris, up) – 1st.
IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY â€˘ SPRING 2018
RACING Piedmont Fox Hounds Point-to-Point Salem Course, Upperville, Virginia, March 24, 2018 Joanne Maisano Photos As exciting as the races are, attending a point-to-point offers additional pleasures as well, such as the chance to get up close and personal with working fox hounds, who love getting the attention as much as the visitors enjoying giving it. Piedmont Fox Hounds Huntsman Jordan Hicks brings the pack up for the spectators to enjoy a meet-and-greet.
IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • SPRING 2018
Museum of Hounds and Hunting Celebrates “The Year of the Hound” By Lauren R. Giannini Art lovers, hunting and hound enthusiasts are invited to join the celebration of the 2018 Museum of Hounds & Hunting North America’s Art Exhibition and Sale—“The Year of the Hound,” which showcases all 25 recognized Virginia hunts—at the Virginia Hound Show. The grand opening for Museum members and their guests takes place on Saturday, May 26, 4:00 pm at the Morven Park Mansion, Leesburg, Virginia. The exhibition and sale is open (free) to the public to enjoy starting Sunday, May 27 at noon. The show then runs every Friday-Sunday, and some Mondays, through June 26. Call 703-777-2414 or visit www.mhhna.org for times. The well-established artists are Signature members of the American Academy of Equine Art: Christine M. Cancelli, Kathleen S. Freidenberg (sculptor), Morgen Kilborn (sculptor), Booth Malone, Joanne Mehl, Sally Moren, Rev. Michael Tang, Linda Volrath, and Larry Dodd Wheeler. The exhibit focusing on Virginia hunts is the brainchild of Rev. Michael Tang. “I wanted to do something special to help rejuvenate the mission of the AAEA,” Tang said. “Although it’s not an official Academy exhibition, it has been greatly helped by the support of Nina Bonnie, who wrote a letter encouraging all the Virginia masters to get involved. We’re all very excited about this exhibition.” Booth Malone, president of AAEA’s Board of
Rev. Michael Tang’s “Piedmont Fox Hounds,” one of the many fine works of art showcasing Virginia hunts that will be on display at the Museum of Hounds and Hunting beginning on Memorial Weekend.
Directors, said, “The idea was to take nine seasoned equestrian artists from all over the country, put them in Virginia for one year, and see what happens. Our goal was to include every recognized Virginia hunt and despite wind, rain, blizzards and a few canceled meets, I think we accomplished our goal. “I wish to thank the officers and members of the Virginia Fox Hound Club, along with numerous masters and huntsmen, for their help and cooperation. The artwork is spectacular, and I’m proud to be a part of it. I wager this show will be long remembered.” The Museum of Hounds and Hunting has a solid reputation for excellent exhibitions, and this lat-
est entry is a winner. “The Year of the Hound” pays tribute in oil, watercolor, sketch, and sculpture to quintessential scenes, including hounds flowing like a multi-colored wave over a coop, crossing streams, the field checked motionless against backdrops of gorgeous open country, hounds in repose in kennels, puppies, huntsman with hounds, to name a few. Best of all, these timeless and universal scenes will appeal to anyone from any part of the hunting cosmos. Enthusiasts can check out several previews on the Facebook event page, “Grand Opening! The Year of the Hound: Art Exhibition and Sale.” The purpose of the Museum of Hounds & Hunting North America, Inc. is to preserve the rich North American heritage of hunting with hounds, for today and for the future; acquire important artifacts before they are lost; provide a repository for precious objects; and, by developing educational exhibits through research projects, present hunting with hounds through the sport’s historical, sociological, and cultural heritage. We encourage everyone who values the sport of mounted hunting to join us in that effort. Memberships are available at a variety of levels, starting for as little as $50.00. For more information, visit www.MHHNA.org.
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DERBY SERVING BOARD. Cast aluminum stamped with D-Bits. Engravable oval is perfect for a monogram, with equestrian style. 13 ¼”L by 7 ¼” W. #1850-SB0010 $60.00
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DOG VASE/PLANTER. Resin, handpainted, oak finish. Holds a small pot or use as a vase. 7.25"Wx5.5"Dx6.75"T. #4036-G00500. (HC1B) $39.99 WELCOME HOME DOORMATS. 100% Polyester. Indoor/outdoor doormats/rugs. Ideal for front entrances, mudroom, kitchen or tack room. 21" x 33". (HC1M) $34.00. A. Sleeping Fox B. Barn Friends C. Hunter Jumper D. Sly Fox
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IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • SPRING 2018
To Hear or Not to Hear… What Was the Question?
For some time now, I have noticed Marion doesn’t come when I call. She is aware her hearing is not perfect, the “Led Zeppelin Syndrome,” she says. So now, tied to the back door knob is a rope with a little bell. When I need to go out, I tug on it to ring the bell and Marion jumps up from her computer and opens the door for me. A while back, I noticed I would have to ring for quite a while before she responded, so I asked her to swap out the little bell with a Fox Dinner Bell that we sell at Horse Country. It has the most delightful, silvery ring that brings Marion to the door right away to let me out. For some reason, she has named it “Tinkle Bell.” “All the famous bells have names, Aga. The Liberty Bell here in the USA, the bells at Notre Dame have beautiful names, there is Etienne...”
Illustration: Claudia Coleman
is actually the sound of traffic on Route 29 during evening rush hour. “Hey, you two! What is the hold up? I’ve been calling you both for 15 minutes! For months now, I’ve been using a Beaufort Hunting Horn to let you know when dinner is ready and you can’t even hear that, anymore. Tomorrow, I’m bringing home a Berkeley Horn.” Oh, please, Marion! Not the Berkeley horn. It’s so loud! “Let’s hope it doesn’t bring the baying pack of Warrenton fox hounds to my door. And who keeps turning Alexa’s volume up all the way so she’s shouting out her answers?” Aye! Alexa is really getting annoying. She’s always right.
Ach! I cannae figure why people are so daft as to name bells. They don’t come when you call them, do they?
Let’s have a test! Marion, Alexa is all the way across the yard on the porch. Ask her a question and we can see who can hear the answer best.
Neither do you, Bunsen! The “Wink and Blink” light on your collar is the only way Marion can find you at night when it’s time to retire because you just sit there when she calls. Come to think of it, Bunsen, you are as hard of hearing as Marion. Who do you think has the worse ears, you or she, Bunsen? Bunsen? BUNSEN!
“What fun! Okay, here’s a good question. Alexa, when was the first Virginia Gold Cup Race run?”
Aye, ’tis true. Marion has large ears but they aren’t much use. She is almost as deaf as ye, lassie!
No, I didn’t hear it, either.
Me?! My ears are fine! I am the only one of us three who can hear the ocean at dusk.
Okay, Bunsen. So tell Marion and me when the race was run?
Um, sorry to break it to ye, m’wee darlin’, but I think what you’ve been hearing
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Alexa: May 5th, 1922. “I didn’t quite hear the answer. Did you, Aga?” For shame on ye both. I heard the answer clear as Tinkle Bell! I forgot the answer…
IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • SPRING 2018
The Tejon Festival By John J. Carle II, ex-MFH
For lovers of hunting, its spontaneity is one of its beguiling charms. The possibility that almost anything could happen at any time can prove challenging but never dull. Andrew Sallis, MFH There is nothing that can’t happen today. Sign in the Tejon Huntsman’s house After a year filled with glowing memories and anticipation, on the second of February I was once more headed for Labec, CA, on assignment from In and Around Horse Country to cover the Tejon Hunt’s Hunt Week and their edition of the MFHA’s Hark Forward Hound Trial Series. After leaving Burbank’s Bob Hope Airport, I was soon flowing along the main north-south artery of Interstate 5 (“the Five”), as it coagulated with early-Friday rush-hour traffic. Thankfully, traffic kept flowing, albeit slowing at times, until reaching the foot of the Tehachapi Mountains, where it bled out, and the road cleared. In contrast to last year’s emerald lushness, the landscape was sere and stark, dotted with dead California live oaks, victims of the persistent drought. This winter had been unusually warm, and no mantle of white hung on the high peaks. After an hour of pedal-to-the-metal, I’d serpentined up to the Tejon Equestrian Center, where I was greeted by the Red Rock Hounds’ Whipper-In, Reina Robrahn, offering a red Solo Cup filled with Russian jet fuel—“Mixed just for you”—and I was instantly at the start of an adventure! At the hunt stable, I reunited with Tyce and Hillary Mothershead, with whom I was staying. Tyce is Tejon Huntsman, and Hillary, who whips in, organizes everything equestrian, including Hunt Week and the Trials. Under Hillary’s guidance, to borrow from Rebecca Jordan, at Tejon “visitors are assured a Michelin-starred experience.” With her warm and genuine, radiantly lovely smile, she is Tejon’s premier ambassador of welcome and good will. There, too, recently deplaned from England, was sporting journalist Octavia Pollock—she of the lyrical line—as effervescent as a freshly mixed gin and tonic: another happy reunion! At the Mothersheads’ cozy Victorian farmhouse were Monte and Diane Antisdel, here to enjoy in equal measure the hunting, partying, and grandparenting of Finlay Mothershead. Monte is Joint Master at North Hills, where the wicked winter had shut down hunting for the season. The partying began immediately, when Red Rock Joint Masters Lynn Lloyd and Angela Murray threw wide the doors of Casa Grande, where the inimical Red Rock ladies, led by Amy Lessinger and Cathy “Gimlet” Evans, put on the posh. Angela Murray, MFH, delightfully enlivens, with her overwhelming personality, and outrageous sense of humor, any gathering of which she is a part…and this party rocked! It just ended too soon! Saturday, February 3, saw an early rising at the Huntsman’s house, with kennels to do and twenty-five horses to ready. Under a china sky Wedgewood blue, and chilly temperatures, Tyce did kennel chores and Hillary supervised the hunt horses and the day’s liveries. All about the kennel the air was alive with a frantic chorus of Eurasian collared doves, whose cry sounds somewhat like mourning doves afflicted with Tourette’s. As Tyce washed down the kennel yards, hounds swirled about in anticipation, all looking fit and sleek. Tall, wiry, lean as eels, they move—the bitches especially—as sinuously as serpents. Purebred foxhounds and foxhound-Saluki cross lurchers meld together in a lovely, level pack. Out here, both participants in the hunting game, hounds and coyotes alike, ascribe to the pirates’ motto “fortune favors the fast.” These hounds are purpose-bred to suit their quarry and country. At 8:00 a.m., a seemingly endless convoy of trailers set off for the Meet at “Chimenez,” spiraling down the Grapevine Grade to the San Joaquin Valley (“breadbasket of the nation”), where vast pasturage is interspersed with arable land—a veritable Hershey Horizon: everywhere rich, newly-turned soil, the color of dark chocolate. Sprawling almond orchards play leapfrog with relatively new vineyards, and here coyotes are especially hated for their nocturnal practice of chewing the nozzles off irrigation pipes, a prank that wastes countless gallons of platinumprecious water. At the Meet, morning smiled coquettishly through a veil of heavy white haze—a sight to chill the hopes of eastern foxhunters, but here inHillary Mothershead, 1st dicates a bit of welcome moisture in the air. With Whipper-in, Tejon Hunt. a Field of 36 anxiously awaiting, Tyce unboxed
Tyce and Hillary Mothershead with the Tejon pack at the end of their Hunt Week day.
13½ couple of what Frank Houghton Brown, ex-MFH, would describe as “a quality, level pack unspoilt by fashion or fad, and bred with only hunting in mind.” The Tejon have had a sensational season, and Tyce got a good tune out of his pack on a day with more action than a three-ring circus. Tejon Master Mike Campeau was on hand aboard his trusty four-wheeler. Newly elected as a vice president of the Tejon Corporation, Mike’s hunting on horseback has been seriously curtailed of late, but he grabs every available opportunity to follow hounds on his quad. Leaving the Meet, Tyce drew the country meticulously to an area known as “Rock Ridge,” and here hounds found a huntable line to which they locked on with accuracy and pit bull tenacity. Suddenly realizing that he’d dallied too long, this coyote leapt up from the depths of a brush-lined canyon with all the grace and determination of a freshly-hooked rainbow, and fled upstream; but hounds relentlessly reeled him in. Although “Old Wiley,” in his contract with hounds, usually has an escape clause written in, this fellow soon discovered that his was not ironclad. Breaking covert in sight of hounds, he led them a blazing race of a half-mile until, led by “Stevo,” “Lineman,” and “Speedo,” the pack rolled him. After a quick stop for water, Tyce drew on, with Hillary on his flank a halfmile distant. From her vantage point atop a high ridge, she watched a second coyote for some time as it meandered along below her, hunting for ground squirrels, then eased into a herd of brood cows, perhaps hoping that medallions of veal were on the menu. Signaling with her hat held aloft, Hillary got Tyce’s attention, and he brought hounds to the view. Almost instantly, they set to ringing what Leslie Charteris calls “the syncopated clarions of adventure.” The coyote made good use of the large herd to foil his line, but hounds picked the puzzle with laser-like precision for at least 1¼ miles before they suddenly jumped him. With the sweet cry of hounds riding his wake, the coyote fled—caught a fast freight for a distant zip code. He should have “gone Greyhound”! Running with a breast-high scent, the pack raced toward the high hills. I’d been riding in a ranch truck with Greg Kadanyk, but when long-serving Red Rock Joint Master Scott Tepper (with whom I’d served on the MFHA board) appeared, I jumped into his daughter Tallulah’s Audi 4 x 4 and raced away to catch hounds as they crossed the ranch road. The energy that drove the pack was a palpable thing, and Marigold Armytage’s long-ago words perfectly describe their passage: “They came pouring liquidly toward us…tense and eager and effortless.” Over and under a wire fence they surged, running by view now, cry and speed together amped-up, after-burners engaged. As for the coyote, “his after-burners had after-burners,” to borrow from the New York Times’ Terrance Rafferty, as he set his mask for the safety of the high country. Anticipating as only the best of whippersin can do, Hillary galloped flat out along the flank, closing the escape route. Racing along a steep-sided ditch, the coyote, in mid-stride, suddenly leapt sideways—rather like a “jumping spider”—and gained twenty yards’ advantage. But as he turned downhill, gaining more ground, a red streak emerged from the pack: “Lineman” drew a bead and, with “Stevo” on his flank and outrunning the younger 5/8 Saluki “Speedo,” he closed the deal. It was one of the most exciting few seconds of sport I’ve ever seen: the teamwork, the sheer speed and determination, and the quick finish, all accomplished with beautiful fluid grace. Immediately there unfolded a brief scene straight from “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight”: “…they all fell on him and worried the wily one with great noise…” And in the midst of this marvelous maelstrom stood their proud Huntsman, doling out praises to his beauties and grinnin’ like a possum eatin’ persimmons. Everyone privileged to be there—only First Field, thanks to a convenient coop—was mesmerized. In the words of Ryan Stalvey, “the image of the moment spread through us like a strong drink.” A drink is what hounds needed, so Greg Kadanyx emptied the largest cooler in the ranch truck of its canned contents, and they drank their fill of ice water.
IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • SPRING 2018
Then “Speedo,” having quenched his thirst, jumped into the cooler, somehow folding his length to fit, and lay there, smug as a sultan! Octavia Pollock best summed up the day and the excitement hounds inspired. “Brilliant,” she proclaimed, “absolutely brilliant!” With cheeks blooming like Lancashire roses and flashing a radiant smile, she noted that she’d been with Second Field, contemplating pulling out, but when hounds went away, she fell into their slipstream. “Dutch,” the big blue roan draft cross Hillary had put her on, although tiring a little, felt Octavia’s enthusiasm and aired himself over the coop off the road to put them close-in at the end. “Today showed just how well the scent-hounds and sighthounds work and run together…with such great teamwork and incredible speed. Just brilliant!” she enthused. Sunday was Red Rock’s turn to shine, but they faced a serious dilemma. On Friday, while walking out, the whole pack bolted—took to the hills above the Equestrian Center and Tejon kennels, and went night hunting, which is a Walker hound specialty. And some stayed out until Sunday morning. Yet, despite their exhausting adventure, all except for a few hopelessly halt and lame were ready to rock and roll, and Angela Murray unboxed 13½ couple at “The Globes.” It was another cool, clear morning, under a vivid blue sky graffitied with several jets dispersing contrails indicating moisture aloft. With a Field of 30 riding her coattails, Angela hacked her pack to a nearby water trough to “gas up,” then drew southeast into the low, rolling hills. Within ten minutes, Whipper-In Amy Lessinger viewed a coyote, and Angela laid on the pack. Ready for business, hounds settled to work immediately, feathering earnestly to get on terms, then hunting a somewhat faint line in a lovely display of teamwork: blanket-tight, each hound contributing and not just competing, while raising a stirring chorus of delight as they quickly gained momentum. At 10:35, Hillary viewed, and her holloa enabled hounds to get more intimately acquainted with their quarry—who hopped aboard an elevator to the upper stories. Flying now, their battle cry riding the wind, these Red Rock Walkers pushed their pilot into what Hillary calls “the really big stuff”: steep hills that demand high tariff from hounds and horses. Packed tightly, speeding like falcons on the wing, while maintaining their stirring cry, the pack called upon every ounce of their fabled Walker reserve, and drove their songdog to seek sanctuary in a deep, hillside cave, where he had to be given best. “I was yelling over the radio for a man—any man—to help get the coyote out. I sure wasn’t going into that cave!” Angela reported. But from where she was, radio transmission failed, and no one came; so she took her pack to a water trough some distance away. Everyone had been impressed and excited by Red Rock’s performance. Hillary spoke for us all when she said, “What a pack! Watching them work and hearing that cry was…well, it was fun!” It had gotten hot, so Angela decided to draw toward the Meet. A couple of miles on, Hillary viewed a coyote a half-mile distant, slipping into a steep-sided ravine, and Angela laid hounds on the line. What ensued was some of the most diligent and persistent houndwork anyone had as yet seen; but in the end, the dry conditions and rising heat put paid to their efforts. “Boss, there’s nothing here,” they seemed to say; and “home” was blown by their proud Huntsman. A devoted disci-
ple, worshipping at the altar of Diana, Angela Murray is fast learning the art and craft of venery. Already, like her predecessor, mentor and Joint Master Lynn Lloyd, she has acquired “the huntsman’s touch” with her hounds. Great things shine in her future. Lunch was served overlooking a lovely vista of the very best of back-country California. Juan Tomás Hounds’ Joint Master and Huntsman, Adren Nance, brought ten couple of American and Crossbred hounds to Tejon from Alamo, New Mexico. Adren camped out in the Mothersheads’ travel trailer, while his hounds remained kenneled in Adren’s stock trailer; and every day he walked-out his hounds alone through the high hills surrounding the Tejon kennel. So tight is the bond of trust, each for the other, that hounds never strayed, nor did Adren worry. His is “the golden thread” at its best, and it proved equally strong afield on Monday. The Meet was at “Farming” on another clear, cool morning (39o at the kennel, 60o at the Meet) that held a lot of promise for the Field of 26. One bothersome aspect of hunting at “Farming” is that when there is a lot of activity in the orchards, coyotes will ease up into the hills. This morning the orchards were a beehive of activity, and the Juan Tomás pack drew with steadfast purpose for an hour before Tyce and Adren viewed a brace away. One coyote ran south, but Adren laid the pack on one headed east down a long, deep arroyo and into a herd of cattle. The hunting was tough, but hounds’ noses were accurate and their drive persistent as they slowly unraveled the twisted line. Things were going well until they reached a seemingly innocuous ditch, where scent mysteriously vanished. Although they worked like Trojans, hounds couldn’t recover the line; but just when all hope seemed gone, their pilot was viewed to the south as he came almost to Hillary on that flank. Given a sudden boost, hounds quickly renewed their acquaintance and, mustering more steam, hustled their quarry straight to one of the orchards, where they had to be stopped. The decision was made then to hunt back toward the distant trailers, and everyone set off without any great expectations. But this relentless pack had other ideas, and suddenly had their heads down, trailing in earnest; then, breaking into full cry, were off at speed. Ahead, a surprised coyote sprang up out of the grass and raced away along the orchard fence. A half-mile on, he ran into Hillary and laid down—clapped like a European hare or a hard-pressed Virginia gray fox. Perhaps he thought he was the reincarnation of the late eccentric, Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton, who believed that, when he donned his cape, he became invisible. Unlike Sir Edward, Sir Wily soon discovered he was quite visible, and he rocketed away. With Hillary racing beside and between him and the orchard, and hounds fast closing the gap, the coyote took refuge under a parked service truck, where he was accounted for. It had been a thrilling chase while it lasted, proving a point made by Frank Houghton Brown and many before him that often, a good run comes after a slow start. The sterling performance by the Juan Tomás pack branded them as a force to be reckoned with during the Performance Trial; but alas, it was not to be. Adren, who is his county’s prosecuting attorney, was called home by new developments in a murder trial in which he was embroiled. Too bad, for these Juan Tomás hounds would have been hard to beat. Continued
Angela Murray, MFH Red Rock, leads First Field.
Juan Tomás Hounds Adren Nance, MFH/Huntsman.
Angela Murray, MFH and the Red Rock Hounds at “The Globes.”
Red Rock Hounds Whipper-in Reina Robrahn.
IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • SPRING 2018
Paul Delaney, MFH, Grand Canyon Hounds, leads part of the field.
Grand Canyon Whipper-in Jason Mackelprant.
Hounds numbered for the performance trials.
Whipper-in, Judge Peter Wilson.
The Grand Canyon Hounds took center stage on Wednesday morning. It was another bluebird day, with temperatures shooting up into the seventies almost immediately, which served up nightmarish scenting conditions. For the pleasure of a Field of 26, Huntsman Peter Wilson and Whipper-In Jimmy Boyle (late of Virginia’s Piedmont Fox Hounds) brought an imposing pack of 15 couple, foxhounds and lurchers, lean and leggy with balletic grace, but tough as teak. These hounds are not only swift, but are possessed of unbelievably accurate noses, a talent that served them well on a long, hard day. Early on, when conditions were kinder, hounds had a coyote unkenneled, and enjoyed a brief but scorching run that ended prematurely at an orchard fence. From here, conditions deteriorated from a hunting day to a Jimmy Buffett Day: “Pop Tops and Flip Flops”; but no matter, it was all Margaritaville to this pack. Drawing into the hill country, hounds were gifted with a song-dog that jumped up at close range. After a brief view-chase, the pack was brought to its noses, and ran very well to a sudden loss after a mile at a twominute clip. With hounds really feeling the heat, Peter lifted them to a nearby water trough; then, as they quickly recovered, Tyce spotted the hunted coyote, and hounds were brought to the view. Unfortunately, at that moment Jimmy Boyle had a crashing, rotational fall over a substantial coop, and hunting ground to a halt. Luckily, Jimmy landed clear of his somersaulting horse, but suffered a concussion, broken collarbone, and sorely bruised ribs. An ambulance was summoned and, with Jimmy made as comfortable as possible, and in the loving care of several ladies, Peter lifted hounds to the now-stale line where, miraculously, they owned it with authority, and were away at racing speed, tightly packed, for a two-mile run. After a second stop for water, hounds were off on another two-mile jaunt, albeit considerably slower. Their pilot didn’t make it easy, describing a corkscrewing route, but hounds worked every twist with unerring intensity, their accuracy almost otherworldly at times. They finally worked their coyote into “the Big Hills” where, at the lip of “the Cut,” they had to be lifted. This geological phenomenon is a huge canyon, almost 1,500 feet deep, with nearly vertical sides. A horse can negotiate to its depths, but the climb back out knackers even the freshest of horses. So Peter hunted back to the Meet—quite a trek in itself—but with no quarry encountered. Amazingly, as they trotted down the ranch roads, almost every hound looked able and eager to tackle another coyote, even after four hard hours. And, even more amazing, a check of their GPS collars indicated hounds had covered 36 miles! Like the Tejon pack, the Grand Canyon are bred for, and uniquely suited to, this sort of country and quarry. Indeed, it is fair to say that every pack showcased during Hunt Week could hunt any country; but in the open, they shine like new money. Cody Mothershead, Tyce’s older brother, in California on business, stopped by for a couple of nights. Cody is a coyote hunter in Iowa, but eschews a horse in favor of his pickup. Raised hunting July hounds, Cody now favors a local strain of American hound known as the Croghan Hound, which apparently combines the July’s toughness with biddability akin to that of the Bywaters Hound of Virginia fame. Renee Daniels-Mantle, Master, Huntsman and founder of Montana’s Big Sky Hounds (registered 2015), had rented a Tejon Ranch cabin high in the hills, and put on a lovely evening of good food, plentiful drink and wonderful hunting craic. Here for Hunt Week, she also brought hounds for the trials; but with deep snow having curtailed her hunting, she feared for her hounds’ fitness. As things unfolded, her fears were wellfounded; but her hounds’ gameness and grit carried them through. Later in the evening, the serious Nimrods
gathered around the glow of the patio firepit, where Renee initiated a discussion of how to breed a pack of hounds. Tyce took the lead, and this man with “an old head on young shoulders” put on a veritable clinic. Articulate and precise, his presentation could feature in any MFHA-sponsored seminar. In essence, he emphasized that the key lies in using the best proven bloodlines of hounds bred for one’s own country and quarry, then ruthlessly culling. To Renee’s compassionate heart, the latter seemed to come as a shock, but gradually she accepted this harsh necessity. Keeping and hunting second-rate hounds and ancient mariners, no matter how beloved, can only lessen a pack’s performance, and rogues will ruin it. I think the message got through; and for sure, everyone there hopes so. Much of Thursday was taken up with numbering hounds for the trial, and the judges’ meeting was the evening feature. The Sedgefield Hunt’s Master and Huntsman, Fred Berry, was on hand as Chief Judge, and ran the meeting. Fred and Belle Meade’s Epp Wilson have worked tirelessly to facilitate MFHA President Tony Leahy’s series, the “Hark Forward! Hound Trials and Friendship Tour.” Tony’s idea is aimed at bringing hunts from all over the country together regionally at MFHA-sponsored, friendly competitions and to present anew MFHA presence as an intimate and concerned governing body. To this end, Hunt Visits have been carried out, and eye-openers they’ve been—on both sides. Fred instantly warmed the hearts of the Masters present when he said his purpose for being here was to “push the panache of Western hunting.” Fred then laid out the rules of the trials. It was agreed that Tejon should have two couple of unnumbered and unjudged hounds out each day to act as catalysts in holding together a pack of virtual strangers. An immediate objection was raised by Paul Delaney, MFH, Grand Canyon, Santa Fe’s Terry Paine, and Steve Lejour from Santa Ynez Valley to the inclusion of any sighthound crosses, for fear they would get hounds’ heads up. A vote was taken, and it was decided that Tejon’s participants were to be only foxhounds. Tyce was Honorary Huntsman, with Hillary and Peter Wilson as his Whippers-In. Fred Berry and Terry Paine were judges, Fred to ride on Peter’s side, Terry with Hillary. Santa Ynez Whipper-In Emily Ainza, filling the shoes of Merol Liquori, who has emigrated to Ireland, served as third judge, and rode with Tyce. All judges (including whippers-in) carried recorders and Fred urged them to “talk to your recorders, dammit!” There were radios for the judges, Mike Campeau on his quad, in the hound truck, and for the Field Masters: Angela Murray leading First Flight, Renee Daniels-Mantle, Second. All the hounds would wear identical GPS collars. Hounds were to be scored on hunting, trailing, full cry, marking (or accounting for the quarry), and endurance. Immediately after hunting, the judges were to transcribe their recordings, and a special computer program would then tabulate the results. With everyone enlightened and agreed, we fell upon dinner like a pack of starving coyotes! A highlight of the evening was catching up with Los Altos Huntsman Gerald Keel, formerly with Cheshire and Old Dominion. There for the fun, with daughter Vanessa Gerrish in tow, Gerald had entered no hounds. Sadly, he announced that Los Altos has folded, effective at season’s end. With its leadership grown older and no new blood stepping up, they’d no choice. Happily, Gerald has found good homes for all of their hounds. Performance Trial: Day One Little flecks of purple clouds began to appear above the sun’s approaching glow, as though they had been newly created. The range to the west began to lift its rugged accents into view in a purple radiance. Clarence A. Lyman
IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • SPRING 2018
Four a.m. comes mighty early in these mountains, and it stays dark a long time. On Friday, February 9, it was clear and cold (34o at the Equestrian Center, 47o at the Meet). A sizeable convoy of trailers poured into the Meet at “Alamo Solo,” where the soft susurration of an east wind bent the tall, sere grass until its ripples resembled a tidal river on the ebb. It seemed as if everyone tried to park as close as possible to the Porta-John! The plan was to put all 12½ couple of hounds into one trailer with Tyce and his hounds to get acquainted; but the Santa Fe hounds decided that racing wildly about the Meet was far more fun, and persuaded the rest to follow suit. Every Whipper-In present joined the fray, so that what might have been a disaster was reduced to controlled chaos. But it was a pretty disjointed pack that more or less followed their strange Huntsman to the first draw. However, at “leu-in” it was “cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war,” as the entire Santa Fe entry, led by a white bitch aptly named “Frolic,” rioted. Most of the rest of the pack simply watched in stunned amazement; and eventually the staff returned the miscreants to the pack, where “Frolic” was captured and exiled to the dog-box in the hound truck. Drawing across the vast pasture northwestward from the Meet, the pack disturbed a whole convocation of coyotes: as hounds began trailing, one was viewed going northwest, one west, and a third south. But there was a fourth, to which hounds stuck like burrs, working up to and jumping it out of the brushy confines of a dry creek bed. Leaping up in full view of the pack, this coyote ran with the abandon of an escaped convict, straight toward the distant Field. Singing a fierce anthem, hounds coursed this speedster for ¾ mile and rolled him. Tejon “Cannon” (unscored) made first contact, with Grand Canyon’s “Kobalt” and “Lolo” on each flank being the first scored hounds. Red Rock “Yelp,” who was a star all day, dove into the melee a strong third. As is usually the case in every trial, it takes a good run—and especially one with a satisfying conclusion— to mold a mob of strange hounds into a pack; and, from here on, hounds began to work increasingly well together, learning to trust and honor each other as they went. It must be noted that, as the day wore on, the Santa Fe entry all settled to the job for which they were bred, and scored respectably. After a long quest cross-country, at the northwest corner of what is called “The Tunis Field,” a coyote sprang up, and hounds were away in full cry, running by sight from the jump, then alternating repeatedly between sight and nose for two blistering miles across this vast pasture. Conditioning showed during their run, the fittest hounds in the vanguard and the rest stringing out to the rear. Tejon “Cannon” got the coyote stopped briefly, but “the trickster” pulled a Houdini and escaped; then, like a rocket launched from Canaveral, he described a spiraling trajectory up the vertical slope of a nearby mountain. This steep pull quickly and inevitably exhausted his fuel reserve, and he sought refuge among some rocks. Respite was brief and, bolted from his cairn in full view of the Field assembled at a water trough below, down the mountain he sped, the pack an avalanche on his brush. Grand Canyon “Lolo” tumbled him, lost her grip, then rolled him again, as her kennelmates “Kobalt” and “Clint” joined to close the show. Big Sky’s “Kieffer,”, “Victoria,” and “Baritone” were on hand to celebrate the occasion. Meanwhile, less than a half-mile away, Santa Ynez Valley “Lautrec” had split off on a ’yote of her own and, with spirited cry, had it bayed in a big rockpile atop another high hill. Below, several other hounds had flung themselves into a small creek to recover and, hearing her compelling summons, joined in dislodging and dispatching her quarry. An emaciated male with a horribly mangled leg, likely administered by members of his own tribe in a breeding-season dispute, his was a far quicker and more merciful end than inevitable starvation. Next to the water trough at the scene of “Lolo’s”
Performance Trial Huntsman Tyce Mothershead.
triumph was a small pond, and hounds availed themselves of its restorative waters. Several hounds were on the verge of collapse, but generous helpings of cake frosting squeezed from plastic tubes, and the ministrations of Troy Osbourne, DVM, who arrived in his vet truck, had them rallied somewhat; however, they all rode to the Meet in the hound truck. At the Day One Awards Ceremony, announced between songs at the “Blue Jean Ball,” held in the Equestrian Center’s indoor arena, Grand Canyon had four hounds in the top ten (led by “Kobalt,” #1 and “Lolo” at #2), as did Santa Ynez (“Lautrec,” #4, and “Easy” #5). Red Rock’s “Yelp” claimed 3rd spot, with their “Ennui” in 10th. After the announcements, it was Rock & Roll Time! Performance Trial: Day Two Saturday, February 10, dawned a different sort of day, marked by weird temperature inversions and some cooperative cloud cover. Oddly, it was cooler at the Meet at “Farming” than at the kennel in the foothills, and a black cloud that accompanied dawn’s first glow grew into a blanket of gray over the entire country hunted—while the distant eastern horizon sparkled under blue skies. As night bled into morning, an eager Field of 41 assembled to greet a much more settled pack of twelve couple. It was evident from the beginning that scent was better today, and hounds fell to work fairly bursting with enthusiasm. Within five minutes a coyote was viewed at a considerable distance, and hounds stooped to the line. What ensued was a fascinating hunt across fairly flat, open country, where the judges’ scoring opportunities were many and varied, and the work of hounds was a beautiful exhibition of hunting at its best. The wily one kept it a challenge, making two major turns and weaving through several herds of cattle. Hounds’ noses were tested severely, their persistence and drive called upon to “keep the tambourine a-rollin’.” During this run, Tyce later remarked that Red Rock “Edna” was amazing; “smokin’ hot,” said someone else. After three miles, a difficult check occurred, but eventually hounds worked through it and described another half-circle, although at a slower pace. Then, in the deep ravines at “Rock Ridge,” the pack encountered the strange phenomenon of air inversion, where pockets of warm and cold air alternated, and scenting conditions were constantly, bewilderingly changing. Here is where the noses of the Santa Ynez Valley’s French hounds (Gaston-Saint Angous and Blanc et Noir) kept the hunt moving forward, although slowed to a brisk walk. It was SYV “Hubert,” singing the Marseillaise in a stentorian baritone, who held the pack together. In the words of old-time houndsman Edward A. Bragg, “And the voice he had! Long and loud, and deep; a reg’lar trumpet tone…a Gabriel-horn of a voice…” It was a beautiful piece of work; but meantime, their pilot was increasing his already huge lead and, when hounds got clear of the inversion, they found scent gone aloft on the warming air. Even then hounds were reluctant to quit and join
13 Tyce on a one-mile trek to water. A deep drink and a half-hour rest restored hounds’ and horses’ energy, and they eagerly responded when Tyce touched his horn and moved off to draw in a large, right-handed circle, working the “Contour Ditch” and up “The Hill” above Reservoir #1. From on high, Peter Wilson suddenly capped away a coyote, and immediately the pack flung themselves onto the line. Their cry turned it, and the coyote blasted through the middle of the Field. But just then, hounds “got eyes on it,” as Tyce put it, and the race was over. Tejon “Cannon” knocked it over, and Grand Canyon “Clint” accounted for it, with instant help from kennelmates “Kobalt” and “Komet” and Red Rock “Edna.” After working so hard all day, SYV “Hubert,” “Lautrec,” and “Éclair” and Big Sky “Baritone” made sure to get scored. It was a fitting end to the day, and the perfect closing act of the trials. Once more, the gracious Red Rock ladies welcomed everyone to Casa Grande for the awards ceremony and banquet. Tyce Mothershead acted as Master of Ceremonies in Fred Berry’s absence and, behind the self-proclaimed “Iowa Country Boy” there lurked quite the erudite after-dinner speaker. He prefaced his remarks by saying, “It has been a joy and honor and privilege to hunt these hounds.” Day Two’s tally again showed Grand Canyon and Santa Ynez Valley having four hounds each in the top ten, with Red Rock “Edna” earning third place convincingly, and Big Sky “Baritone” a strong 8th place finisher. When the overall scores were announced, no one was surprised at Grand Canyon’s win, only at the overwhelming margin of victory. In overall scoring, their hounds were the top four: “Lolo,” “Clint,” “Kobalt,” and “Komet.” Red Rock placed two: “Edna” in 5th and “Yelp” in 8th. Santa Ynez filled the other top ten spots. The top hound of the trial, Grand Canyon’s little bitch “Lolo,” won Marking and Endurance, was second in Hunting, third in Full Cry, but oddly enough was out of the top ten in Trailing…which was won by silvertongued SYV “Hubert.” The most prestigious award at all performance trials, as Fred Berry had earlier emphasized, is the Huntsman’s Choice, and Tyce’s pick was “Lolo” by a landslide. According to her proud Huntsman, Peter Wilson, “Lolo” is ¾ Running Walker, from a line long bred by Donnie Clifton in Texas, and ¼ Penn-Marydel, from the De La Brooke in Maryland, where, as Huntsman, Peter bred an extraordinary pack. In his closing comments, Tyce noted that, “It’s amazing how the cream rises to the top in all phases of the scoring.” He then succinctly summed up the secret for success in Grand Canyon “Lolo,” Huntsmen’s one sentence: Choice Top Hound of the Trial “Consistency is the key.” How true! This festive evening was a lovely way to end ten days of extraordinary sport and camaraderie. Mere words cannot plumb the depths of my gratitude to everyone who contributed and in so doing, made me so very welcome. To Tyce and Hillary, Monte and Diana, the Hopkinsons, the Red Rock ladies and Renee Daniels-Mantle for their hospitality; to Mike Campeau, MFH, who made it all work; and to the Huntsmen and hounds, whose exploits amazed us all, a huge THANK YOU. I can but quote the Bard: “I can no other answer made, but thank you and thank you”! Four a.m. Sunday found me spiraling down the Tehachapi slopes toward Burbank. Ahead, the huge sickle of a waning moon both bade me adieu and begged my return. I can only hope that another sporting pilgrimage will highlight my hunting calendar in the near future.
IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • SPRING 2018
The Princess and Cinderella By John Stuart
This is the story of a horse auction—the highs and lows of buying and selling future Thoroughbred racehorses—and in this particular case, the story that led to the most successful Virginia-bred race filly in a state with a long and storied history of breeding all kinds of famous horses. I saw this story unfold and found myself in the middle of it. I was the bloodstock agent involved in the sale of a couple yearlings at the select Fasig-Tipton 2013 Yearling sales, a tradition begun in 1917 and held the first week of August in Saratoga Springs, New York. My involvement was, in a sense, a result of growing up at Upperville’s Llangollen Farm during the heyday of Virginia racing and breeding. In 1959 my mother, Tessa, after working at Llangollen for ten years, and Tyson Gilpin cofounded the Stallion Service Bureau, the first blood- Virginia-bred Stellar Wind, after bringing just $40,000 as a yearling, stock agency in America. The Gilpin family, from went on to earn almost $3 million during her racing career and recently sold as a broodmare for a whopping $6 million. Clarke County, previously owned the Fasig-Tipton Keeneland photo auction company. The family has since gone on to other pursuits. For example, Tyson’s eldest child, Drew Gilpin Faust, is the current president of Harvard University, the first woman to serve in that position. John Stuart was born in Back in the early days of the Stallion Service Bureau, Virginia horse breed- Winchester, Virginia, graders dominated the Saratoga sales. A teenager growing up in Virginia’s horse world uated from UVA, and comight find himself learning how to prep yearlings and helping out on a week- founded Bluegrass long tour of Virginia farms where the yearlings were introduced to a travelling Thoroughbred Services in group of party-going buyers. Then you could ride up to Saratoga in the back of 1981, which he operates a van, show yearlings for a week at $100 a day, and watch prominent socialites today with two longtime and their private trainers select young horses. I can remember showing a Vir- partners, Peter Bance and ginia-bred yearling to a very large Charles Engelhard (the man on whom Ian Sandy Stuart. Fleming is said to have based his character Goldfinger), drinking his non-stop cola, accompanied by trainer Mack Miller. With this background, it was only natural that I would become a professional bloodstock agent and in 1981 my partner Peter Bance and I founded Bluegrass Thoroughbred Services, based in Nicholasville, Kentucky. In 2013, along with my son Sandy, who is also a partner in the agency, and my wife Douglas Wise, we were hosting buyers at our annual consignment at Saratoga (where our show area next to the bar is the last refuge for Virginians to hang out). With the group of yearlings we elected to bring for that year’s showcase, there were four fillies, including the only yearling bred and raised in Virginia, the last to come from one of the most successful horse breeders in Virginia’s storied history, Peggy Augustus, out of her famous nursery known as Old Keswick. In the stall next to this modest and overlooked chestnut filly was an elegant bay Dynaformer filly from Kentucky’s renowned Calumet Farm and from the moment this filly came out of the stall buying agents from around the world drooled over her. Nowadays at the top horse auctions yearlings are selected by a small group of bloodstock agents (trainers are rarely involved anymore). These specialists like a certain look and typically flock together to bid up the ones that have the great fluid walk, like a Quarter Horse on long legs. The Dynaformer filly was vetted by 11 outfits and drew all the attention. Finally, after personally working around sale consignments since 1965, Bluegrass Thoroughbred Services had its first sales topper ever when a Brazilian gentleman outbid a new Canadian buyer at $1,225,000! Meanwhile, in the stall next to the Calumet princess, was that modest, overlooked Virginia-bred Curlin filly and no one had time for her. She was the first foal from the mare and Peggy had selected her sire because we were able to work what is known as a foal share agreement; Peggy would give up half ownership in the foal but pay no stud fee and the resulting foal would be sold without reserve. She was a good first foal (first foals can sometimes be a little smaller than what comes later) but she was slow to mature—gawky, tall, narrow, not focused (i.e., spooky), and wouldn’t stand still, one of those that would step on your foot to get out of the way of her shadow when walking away for a buyer. By sale day we were in trouble. The lowest price in the whole horse sale was $100,000 and with no reserve the auctioneer found just one interested fellow, a bottom fisherman who buys to resell—known as a “pinhooker.” He made one bid at $40,000, the auctioneer banged the gavel down, and no one was too happy. Yes, we moved
her but when the smart strategy is to sell the big fish in the little pond, we had it ass-backwards here! So what happened when these two horses grew up and went racing? Well, the princess won a race, did get stakes placed, and actually re-sold as a broodmare, once again for a stratospheric $2,350,000 to the people who make Chanel perfume. Meanwhile, the overlooked Virginia-bred, named Stellar Wind, became the champion 3-yearold filly in America in 2016 while winning $2,903,200, and this past November she topped the Keeneland November sales for breeding prospects at a whopping $6 million. That’s right, $40,000 turned into almost $9 million for the Cinderella, probably the greatest Thoroughbred filly ever bred in Virginia.
Stellar Wind and jockey Victor Espinoza are shown after winning the Grade 1 Beholder Mile. Benoit Photography photo
IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • SPRING 2018
My Little Pony: Bonnie Zacherle’s Creative Contribution to the Toy Industry By Lauren R. Giannini
My Little Pony, Hasbro’s money-making toy and entertainment franchise, began many years ago with Bonnie Zacherle. She was working for Hasbro Toy Company in Research and Development when she came up with the concept for a line of pony toys. In the early 1980s, the booming toy market was highly competitive, and Hasbro hedged their bets on each product proposal with marketing team strategists who morphed every good idea into a new version. Zacherle’s original brainchild was vastly different from what hit the market. Still, it was a pony, and no one prior to Zacherle had thought to create such a toy. “I created something I would have loved to play with when I was a child,” said Zacherle. “I love horses. I was always horse crazy. My father, a veterinarian in the Army, was in charge of animals in quarantine. When I was four, we moved to Japan and there was a Korean pack-pony at the facility. I got to ride him all I wanted because my father was the vet in charge. Nicker was my little pony.” Zacherle’s father had repeatedly told her that when he retired, he could get his dream house and she could get a horse. “When my father retired, I was a sophomore in high school,” Zacherle recalled. “He said I could have a horse if I got up early every morning to take care, groom, muck and ride; ditto in the afternoon. We lived far out in the country and I didn’t have any friends at school, so to make friends I did a lot of after-school activities.” The backstory is important. Zacherle claims she never regretted her decision, but young experiences and dreams tend to stick. She loved to draw, especially horses. “My father taught me to draw horses and he taught me their anatomy, so I learned correctly,” she said. “I thought I wanted to be a vet, but I didn’t enjoy biology in high school, so I decided to go into art, a subject I always liked. I went to Syracuse and majored in illustration, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. I wanted to earn a living with my art and thought I would illustrate books, but that only came to pass recently.” Zacherle’s first job applied her talents to humorous cards and studio art at Rust Craft Greeting Cards (Mass.). During her nine years there, she became Art Director in charge of special projects and also freelanced frequently for Hasbro. When the company was sold, she accepted a standing job offer with Hasbro, joining their team as an illustrator in R&D where she was responsible for generating ideas for kids’ products. “I didn’t particularly like dolls, but one day I thought to myself, ‘Wouldn’t it be fun to have a doll-like horse?’ You could have fun grooming it, and it would be soft like a doll,” Zacherle said. “I presented it intensely two times, and my boss said, “Little girls aren’t like you—they like role-playing, pretending to cook, clean and iron.” The next year my boss came up with the idea for a pony, mechanical and hard, through one of his team. The industrial designer, who could draw cars but not horses, told me, “Bonnie, I realize this is your idea. Would you do it up?” It was produced and was marginally successful. The head of marketing took the large pony toy home to his wife, who said it really should be soft and smaller, and played with like a doll. He came back to me and directed me to design a smaller pony that looked exactly like the large one.” Zacherle was talented, but no one had any clue that her proposal for a pony toy, originally called My Pretty Pony, would inspire a line that would earn megabucks. It was her persistence that overcame management’s initial reluctance to produce a toy pony. Zacherle’s My Pretty Pony came in only one color, brown, and she wasn’t crazy about marketing’s request for ponies in pastel colors, although she acquiesced. “I wanted them to be realistic, but it was marketing’s decision to turn the ponies into little girls’ toys,” recalled Zacherle. When My Little Pony hit the market in 1983, they were pink, purple, blue, peach, yellow, and gray, four-inches tall and sporting long manes and tails with “cutie marks” on their hindquarters (another Zacherle innovation)—a runaway best seller. The rest, as they say, is Hasbro history. Zacherle’s ponies simply galloped off toy store shelves. “By virtue of the fact that I was working for Hasbro at the time, I was paid my regular salary and a bonus of $1 to sign off on the patent,” Zacherle said. “Along with the success of My Little Pony, I got to work on Mr. Potato Head, which I always wanted to do.” Zacherle wasn’t finished creating toys. After she left Hasbro, she designed and submitted patents for a toy that she called Nerfuls. According to Wikipedia, they were promoted with the tag line: “They’re a ball to be around!” Nerfuls were composed of a nerf ball on which there was a face and had accessories that turned them into little creatures. From 1985-87, they were produced by Parker Brothers
in the U.S. They also made it into toy markets in the UK and Argentina. Zacherle, who is recognized worldwide by fans of My Little Pony, makes appearances at conventions where kids of all ages line up for her au- Bonnie Zacherle, whose My tograph. At the 10th annual My Little Pony Fair in Little Pony creation spawned a July 2013, in Indianapolis, Zacherle was the Spe- multi-million dollar franchise. cial Guest of Honor and the first person inducted Photo courtesy of BZ into the newly minted My Little Pony Hall of Fame. The MLP Fair also celebrated the 30th anniversary of the franchise. In 2016, Zacherle’s story and how she created My Little Pony—“My Lil’ Pony Tale”—was published in paperback. For the past 20 years Zacherle has lived in Warrenton. “I love being here in Virginia. My brother and his family lived here. They’re why I moved down from Boston,” she said. “It’s a beautiful scenic area with lots of horses, farms, and cows. I am happy to end up in Horse Country.” Zacherle’s artistic and personal vision for My Little Pony has evolved and survived the test of time. As the original creator of the pony toy for Hasbro, she holds a permanent position as linchpin in the multi-million-dollar franchise, which has experienced at least four rebirths and spawned an animated series and feature film. “I think it’s a miracle the ponies have lasted all this time,” she said. “My Little Pony is 35 years old this year.” It all comes back to Zacherle, who knew that her enduring desire to have her own horse was shared by children around the world, and her original six ponies — Bluebell, Blossom, Butterscotch, Cotton Candy, Minty, and Snuzzle. May they gallop forever in sweet dreams. For information about Zacherle’s presentations: PonyPresentations@gmail.com
IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • SPRING 2018
Horses and People to Watch Virginia Equine Alliance
Top 2017 Virginia-Bred Horses To Be Recognized At May 4th Awards Ceremony Stellar Wind’s natural hat trick of three consecutive Grade I stakes wins last year earned the now sixyear-old mare Virginia-bred “Horse of the Year” honors, which her breeder will accept at the Virginia Thoroughbred Association’s annual awards ceremony Friday May 4th at Great Meadow. Stellar Wind, bred by Peggy Augustus’s Keswick Stables and Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings LLC., also will be awarded honors as Champion Dirt Mare. The daughter of Curlin was triumphant in a trio of Grade I events: Oaklawn’s Apple Blossom Handicap, Santa Anita’s Beholder Mile Stakes and Del Mar’s Clement Hirsch Stakes. She bankrolled $800,000 in 2017 and ended her career with $2,903,200 in earnings from 17 starts. The Chad Brown trainee won the Eclipse Award in 2015 as Champion Three-Year-Old Filly. Her career concluded in January when she finished sixth as the lone female in the $18 million Pegasus World Cup field.
Yes to the Dress and jockey Jose Lezcano are shown after winning the Jamestown Stakes September 30th at Laurel. Jim McCue photo
Honors for Champion Dirt Horse will go to Just Call Kenny, a seven-year-old Jump Start horse bred by Althea Richards. In a busy 2017, he made twelve starts and finished “in the money” in nine of those. Just Call Kenny won the Grade 3 Philip Iselin Stakes at Monmouth which complemented a series of top three finishes in other stakes. Freshman Champion honors will be awarded to Greyvitos and Yes To The Dress respectively in the colt and filly categories. Greyvitos’s win in December’s Remington Springboard Mile boosted his Triple Crown profile. Bred by Audley Farm Equine, the now three-year-old Malibu Moon colt amassed over $300,000 from four starts last year. Yes To The Dress started six times in 2017 and reached the winner’s circle twice. September was kind to the threeyear-old Congrats filly, who collected victories in a maiden special-weight race at Delaware and the Jamestown Stakes at Laurel. She was bred by Corner Farm and John Behrendt. Special Envoy will be recognized as Top Turf Horse courtesy of a clean sweep in three special Virginia-bred race days held at Laurel. The seven-yearold Stroll gelding captured the Edward Evans in June, the Hansel in August, and the Bert Allen Stakes in September. The Arnaud Delacour trainee was bred
Stellar Wind (left) will be named 2017 Virginia-Bred “Horse of the Year” and Champion Dirt Mare. Benoit Photography photo
by Mr. and Mrs. Bertram Firestone and bankrolled $129,512 last year. Long On Value has had a long and productive career, and he continued to thrive as a seven-yearold in 2017. Though he did not reach the winner’s circle, the Value Plus horsed earned over $300,000 and will be recognized as Champion Turf Sprinter. He was bred by the Snow Lantern Thoroughbreds and is trained by Bill Mott. Long On Value has career earnings of $981,693 from 30 starts. Champion Turf Female honors will go to Queen Caroline, who was overall Champion Female a year ago. The five-year-old Blame mare again thrived in restricted Virginia-bred stakes held in Maryland, gaining wins in the Nellie Mae Cox and Brookmeade, and a third in the William Backer Stakes. Owned by Amy Moore and bred by Morgan’s Ford Farm, the Michael Matz trainee earned over $115,000 last year. Ring Knocker, a six-year-old Birdstone mare, has more starts than any other category winner. A dozen of 34 career outings came in her five-year-old campaign and nine were “in the money” finishes. That consistency and a ’17 bankroll of $200,000 clinched her the title of Top Female Sprinter. Ring Knocker was bred by Morgan’s Ford Farm, is trained by Michael Maker and is owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey. Award for Top Virginia Raised Horse goes to the winner of the 2017 Grade I Sword Dancer Stakes at Saratoga, Sadler’s Joy. Bred in Kentucky but raised at Woodslane Farm in The Plains, the fiveyear-old Kitten’s Joy horse amassed over $1 million in earnings last year alone. He also won the Grade 2 Pan American Stakes at Gulfstream and finished
Sadler’s Joy, shown winning the Grade 2 Pan American Stakes at Gulfstream, will be named Top Virginia Raised Horse. Coglianese Photography photo
third in a pair of Grade I’s: the Man o’ War and Manhattan Stakes. Champion Virginia-Bred Over Fences honors will go to Dapper Dan, a six-year-old Pleasantly Perfect gelding who was bred by Mr. and Mrs. Bertram Firestone. In three starts last year, Dapper Dan prevailed twice. He scored in a maiden special-weight race at Great Meadow in May and followed that with a handicap triumph at Parx. Virginia-based Trainer Susan Cooney will be recognized for her 2017 accomplishments. Based in Delaplane, the Cooney Racing Stables had ten wins, 44 “top three” finishes from 155 starts, and $420,124 in purse earnings. Three horses in her stable captured allowance races at Laurel last year including a pair of Virginia-breds: Speed Gracer and Made Bail. Overall, Cooney’s horses have earned $5.8 million in purse monies.
Special Envoy wins the Edward Evans Stakes June 24th at Laurel, one of three Virginia-bred stakes he captured in 2017. Jim McCue photo
Fourth Off Track Betting Center In Collinsville, Virginia Is Now Open The VEA opened its fourth Off Track Betting (OTB) Center in early March. The site is located at the Dutch Inn hotel in Collinsville (in Henry County just outside of Martinsville) and is called The Windmill Off Track Betting Sports Grill. It features 45 flat screen TVs and shows a combination of live horse races and sports. Other OTBs currently in operation include Ponies & Pints in downtown Richmond, Breakers Sports Grille in Henrico, and Buckets Bar & Grill in Chesapeake. Virginia residents can also wager via four on-line betting partners TVG.com, Xpressbet.com, Twinspires.com and NYRABets.com. The busiest wagering time of the year is during Thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown events. The Kentucky Derby is May 5th, the Preakness is May 19th, and the Belmont is June 9th. Details are at www.virginiahorseracing.com. Dates Are Set For Fall Harness Season at Shenandoah Downs The third annual pari-mutuel harness race season at Shenandoah Downs is slated for September 15th October 14th. Pacers and trotters will compete most every Saturday and Sunday afternoon. A special Friday twilight card has also been scheduled on October 12th. The family friendly track is located at the Shenandoah County Fairgrounds in Woodstock at Exit 283 off I-81. Admission and parking are free. Details are at www.shenandoahdowns.com.
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A narrow miss at the Piedmont Fox Hounds Point-toPoint, March 24 in Upperville. Two-time Eclipse Award winner Douglas Lees caught this shot when Elizabeth Scullyâ€™s GirlsRuleTheWorld refused at the timber fence in front of the stewards stand. Elizabeth continued over the fence alone as Alexandra McKee exhibited some impressive horsemanship to steer her aptly named Alert N Ready around the balking horse and tumbling rider to clear the fence and finish the race.
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