VOLUME XXIX / NUMBER 2 • THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE VIRGINIA STEEPLECHASE ASSOCIATION • SPRING 2017
Deep Run Hunt Closing Meet March 23, 2017, The Show Grounds, Manakin-Sabot, Virginia
A large field of Deep Run Hunt members and guests turned out for the season’s Closing Meet from the Showgrounds on March 23, 2017, which marked Huntsman Richard Roberts’ last official meet as Deep Run’s Huntsman. He now moves to Middleburg Hunt where he will take over from retiring Huntsman Hugh Robards. Bill Sigafoos photo
Sean Cully, MFH/Huntsman at Rose Tree–Blue Mountain Hunt, had helmet cam duty. Karen Kandra Wenzel Photo
Marion Thorne, MFH/Huntsman, Genesee Valley Hunt.
Mrs. Coleman P. “Ginny” Perrin, MFH, Deep Run Hunt.
Karen Kandra Wenzel Photo
Karen Kandra Wenzel Photo
Bull Run Hunt Bull Run Hunt (VA) kicked off their annual March Madness Week on Monday, March 21, 2017, with a meet from Bending River. Belle Meade Master and Huntsman Epp Wilson (right) brought hounds up from Georgia to hunt with the Bull Run hounds and Huntsman Charles Montgomery (left). Hounds went out all week, six days straight, followed by members and visitors from a wide segment of the country. The week culminated in a “Mount Olympus” themed Hunt Ball on Saturday night. Liz Callar photo Matt van der Woude, Huntsman, Warrenton Hunt. Karen Kandra Wenzel Photo
Joining in on Bull Run’s March Madness Week were (l-r) Jean Derrick, visiting from Georgia’s Belle Mead Hunt, and Bull Run Joint-Masters Rosie Campbell and Jay Moore. Liz Callar photo
Three-month-old puppies of Stonewall Hounds, Forest, Virginia are eagerly looking forward to starting their hunting careers next year: (l-r) Juliette, Jupiter, Julep, Jumper, Jurney, and Jimbo. LiLi Wykle, MFH, photo
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Orange County Hounds
(l-r) Emily Hannum; Neil Morris, MFH; and Glenn Epstein coming in from Orange County Hounds’ day at Barton Oaks, March 22, 2017. Doug Lees photo
Aubrey Wyatt (front) and Molly Catlett hunting on March 27, 2017, from Dencrest on the day Orange County Hounds invited Piedmont Fox Hounds to join them. Joanne Maisano photo
Potomac Hunt Closing Meet, March 25, 2017, The Race Course, Boyds, Maryland Karen Kandra Wenzel Photos
Viviane Warren (front), at Orange County Hounds’ meet at Glen Welby, March 25, 2017, with MaryAlice Larkin Matheson Thomas. Doug Lees photo
Orange County Hounds…ready for action from Old Whitewood, February 27, 2017. Joanne Maisano photo
Laura Pitts, whose father Larry Pitts recently retired as Potomac Huntsman after serving for more than 30 years. Karen Kandra Wenzel photo
Brynn Miller on “Rocky.” Karen Kandra Wenzel photo
Orange County Hounds invited Piedmont Fox Hounds to join them for a day of sport from Dencrest, March 27, 2017. Joanne Maisano photo
IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • SPRING 2017
SPORTING LIFE HIGHLIGHTS
Three Legendary Huntsmen Tapped for Induction to MHHNA Huntsmen’s Room At a ceremony to be held on Saturday, May 27th, at 4:00 pm, three gentlemen who carried the horn for decades will become the newest inductees into the Huntsmen’s Room at the Museum of Hounds & Hunting, Leesburg, Virginia. James Atkins distinguished himself as the quintessential Virginia Huntsman during a career that included service for Old Dominion Hounds (1978–1987), Piedmont Fox Hounds (1987–1989), and Warrenton Hunt (1993–2005). Jim passed away in 2013. Dr. G. Marvin Beeman, MFH, began whipping-in to his father, George Beeman, at Colorado’s Arapahoe Hunt at the age of ten. Now in his 80s, he continues to carry the horn for Arapahoe. His many distinguished accomplishments include a term as President of the Masters of Foxhounds Association. C. Martin Wood, III, MFH and his wife Daphne founded Live Oak Hounds in 1974, based in Monticello, Florida. Marty served as Huntsman for the next several decades until the results of accumulated injuries forced him to switch from following hounds on horseback to following in his trusty Tahoe. He has also served as MFHA president and is one of the most sought-after judges at hounds shows on both sides of the . Atlantic
Four US Pony Club team members recently participated in an International Foxhunting Exchange trip to Ireland. From Februray 17th through the 27th, the four young hunters and their chaperone hunted with several Irish packs and had the opportunity to tour the countryside, visit hunt kennels, and see other points of interest. Shown here, during a day out with the Island Foxhounds, the Ballagh, on February 23 are (l-r) Connor Poe, Virginia Region; Heather Fecunda, Virginia Region; Karen Nutt, Chaperone; Sharlee Lowe, Great Lakes Region; and Katherine Doherty, Maryland Region. Siobhan English photo (www.siobhanenglishphotography.com)
Junior Field Hunt Championship Looks Ahead to 2017 Competition and Finals at Belle Meade At the invitation of Joint Master and Huntsman Epp Wilson, Belle Meade Hunt in Thomson, Georgia, will be hosting the 2017 Junior North American Field Hunter Championship finals over the weekend of November 11-12. This program is designed to achieve several important goals. Number one is for juniors to come together, get to know each other, form friendships that may last a lifetime, and enjoy foxhunting. Seeing juniors embrace the sport is a vivid way to remind hunt members how important juniors are to preserving both foxhunting and the countryside. The JNAFHC has proven to be a valuable tool in encouraging more cooperation among hunt clubs, thus strengthening the bonds of foxhunting throughout the country. Juniors travel around to the different participating hunts, enjoy hunting in new territory, and learn about the different hound packs. Qualifying meets are held during hunt season. Most are scheduled from September through early November, but dates may vary depending on the hunting season in a given area. Check with your local hunt. We encourage everyone who cares about the future of foxhunting to help support the JNAFHC. Juniors are the future! For more information, go to www.jnafhc.com or contact Marion Chungo at 540-220-7292 or Mchungo@aol.com. •••••
Randy Rouse Dies at 100 We are saddened to report the passing of legendary horseman Randolph D. Rouse. He slipped away, at the age of 100, just as this issue was going to press. Look for a full remembrance of his remarkable life in our next issue.
A tight field in the Novice Rider Flat Race at the Orange County Hounds Point-to-Point, April 2, 2017. Ballyerin Racing LLC's Delawana (Emme Fullilove up), front right, was the winner. Joanne Maisano photo
PHOTOGRAPHERS: Benoit Photography Liz Callar www.lizcallar.com Jake Carle Claudia Coleman Siobhan English www.siobhanenglishphotography.com Deb Kerns-Anderson Tawny King Janet Hitchen Douglas Lees email@example.com Joanne Maisano www.joannemaisano.com Jim McCue Jim Meads 011-44-1686-420436 Pat Michaels Larry Schaudies Bill Sigafoos Melanie Snowhite Jenna Stiles Karen Kandra Wenzel Lili Wykle, MFH
The ceremony will be held on the steps of the Morven Park Mansion on the weekend of the Virginia Foxhound Show. The public is invited to attend. For more information: www.MHHNA.org. •••••
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 the next issue. Steffanie Wilcox moves from her First Whipper-In position at Old Dominion Hounds (VA) to carry the horn as Huntsman at Loudoun Fairfax Hunt (VA). Andy Bozdan leaves Loudoun Fairfax to serve as First Whipper-In to Graham Buston at Blue Ridge Hunt (VA). Richard Roberts moves from Deep Run Hunt (VA) to replace retiring Huntsman Hugh Robards at Middleburg Hunt (VA). John Harrison heads south from Toronto and North York Hunt (ON) to take the Huntsman’s job at Deep Run. Tony Gammel is leaving Keswick Hunt (VA) after serving as Huntsman there for the past 17 seasons. •••••
Museum of Hounds & Announces 2017 Exhibit: “The Hunt Country Table” The Museum of Hounds & Hunting NA, Inc. is opening its 2017 exhibit, The Hunt Country Table, to the public May 28th, 2017. The ballroom in the Mansion at Morven Park is being transformed into a hunt country experience with 20 table settings inspired by 19th and 20th century antique hunt scene china. Famous makers such as Wedgewood, Royal Doulton, Copeland Spode, Lenox, Crest, Tiffany, and Minton will grace the specially decorated ballroom for four weeks. Visitors will enjoy the Piedmont Fox’s Holiday Dinner, Sister Jane’s Table, Greendale Dinner at Eight, and the Bollingbrook Hunt Breakfast among other vignettes. Museum members and their guests are invited to the private opening of the exhibition and reception Saturday, May 27, 2017 at 5:00-7:00 pm. Look for membership renewals and invitations in the mail in April. Visit the mansion, home to Governor and Mrs. Westmoreland Davis from 1903 to 1967. “The Hunt Country Table” is open Saturday and Sunday, 12:00-4:00 pm, Sunday, May 28th through Sunday, June 25, 2017. Admission for this exhibition is $10. MHHNA members admitted for free. Presented by the MHHNA, Inc., a 501©3 charitable organization. Please call 703-777-2414 for information. Morven Park, 17195 Southern Planter Lane, Leesburg, Va. 20176.
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 May 19. Payment in full due with copy. Publisher: Marion Maggiolo Managing Editor: J. Harris Anderson Advertising: Kim Gray (540) 347-3141, (800) 882-4868, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Contributors: Aga; J. Harris Anderson; John J. Carle, II ex-MFH; Lauren R. Giannini; Scot Litke; Jim Meads; Will O’Keefe; Virginia Equine Alliance; Jenny Young LAYOUT & DESIGN: Kate Houchin Copyright © 2017 In & Around Horse Country®. All Rights Reserved. Volume XXVIX, No.2 POSTMASTER: CHANGE SERVICE REQUESTED
IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • SPRING 2017
Foxhunters Speak By Mary Motley Kalergis Reviewed by J. Harris Anderson The canon of foxhunting literature has been graced with a new entry, one that deserves must-have status. Non-fiction books on this ancient, arcane sport typically fall into one of three categories: personal memoirs, instructional treatises, or photo collections. Mary Motley Kalergis—photographer, author, interviewer, and foxhunter—has used her unique skills and lifestyle to craft something different. Over the past few years, she has assembled a collection of interviews with 50 men and women who represent a veritable pantheon of foxhunting’s leading lights, people for whom, with one unique exception, hunting with hounds has been the central focus of their lives. The foxhunting connection comes naturally to Kalergis. She and her late brother, Hugh Motley, grew up riding with Virginia’s Keswick Hunt Club. Hugh served as Master at Keswick from 2000 to 2005. Mary is still actively involved in the club. Her professional path, however, took her to the world of photography where she has achieved considerable success. Her work has been exhibited at the Smithsonian Institution and The Virginia Museum of fine arts, as well in several major magazines and through other channels, such as her service as a “special stills” photographer on movie sets. Her interest in human stories ultimately led to producing a series of books based primarily on personal interviews. She has published eight such works so far, on such topics as childbirth, adoption, motherhood, immigrants, and other issues. Foxhunters Speak is her ninth book. And lucky for us that Mary has turned her talented focus back to her love of foxhunting. Readers familiar with the pages of this paper will recognize many of those whose stories form this unique collection. (We obviously can’t name all 50 here and citing a few would be a slight to the others. Suffice to say it’s a half-hundred folks whose tales you’ll want to read.) Kalergis is careful to let each person’s unique voice come through in these first person accounts of lives shaped by the addictive lure of hounds and hunting. You’ll hear the homespun reminiscences of old-time country boys who went on to become long-serving huntsmen and the confessions of college-educated sophisticates who preferred the bouquet of a barn to the burden of a boardroom. Most are, or have been, either huntsmen or masters (or both). Some grew up hunting with clubs that have been around since the 1800s, a few started their own packs from scratch (or did both). American, Irish, or British; leader or follower; field member or staff; active hunter or retired, the spectrum of voices creates an inclusive choir that hits every note on foxhunting’s stirring scale. Opinions abound—and differ—on a range of topics: hound breeds, quarry, hunting style, how followers should behave, the huntsman’s obligation to the field, the use of radios and tracking collars, the state of foxhunting today versus how it was in “the old days,” and where the sport may be headed in the future. Whatever that future may hold for you, it should include some enjoyable hours shared with this knowledgeable, expressive, and eclectic group of foxhunters who speak their minds openly and honestly. Their voices are worth hearing. Hardcover, dust jacket, Derrydale Press, 312 pp. $30.00
IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • SPRING 2017
FOXHUNTING Cloudline Hounds Foxhunting Thrives in the Heart of Texas By Scot Litke Cloudline Hounds History and Perspective Cloudline Hounds, originally known as “Colonel Denny’s Cloudline Hounds” when founded in 1974, is an MFHA-recognized hunt in Celeste, Texas. Located in northern Hunt County approximately 80 miles northeast of Dallas, Cloudline is one of six recognized hunts actively carrying on the tradition of foxhunting in Texas. Celeste is a ranching and farming community and the hunting territory is approximately 20 square miles of rolling grasslands and wooded areas. Fortunately, unlike other areas where encroaching development has reduced hunting territory, Cloudline members still enjoy ample country and abundant game. Cloudline founders Col. Rex Denny and Marjorie Denny (deceased), met when Col. Denny, a decorated Marine pilot, was stationed in Virginia. Marjorie was an accomplished The first and second flights coming home on the Formal Day of Cloudline’s horsewomen successfully showing Hunters Hunt Week. Western-style “outriders” often accompany the hunt to open gates and otherwise assist. (l-r) Cloudline Whippers-In Dom Chiffolo and Rex Hamil- and Jumpers. Rex decided that if he was going to be able to impress this lovely blonde, he had ton Gentry; Susan Denny Gentry, Cloudline MFH and Huntsman. Jenna Stiles photo best learn how to ride “English.” Marjorie introduced Rex to foxhunting when they resided in Northern Virginia. They married in 1944, and when Rex retired from the Corps the couple headed to Celeste, Rex’s home town, and settled on a farm there. Having discovered the wonders of foxhunting while in Virginia they began hunting with the Hickory Creek Hounds, which at the time was located near Denton, Texas, some 50 miles west of Celeste. Hickory Creek, founded in 1970, is the oldest hunt in the state. The Dennys soon decided that it might be an interesting idea to start their own hunt closer to home. And so the Cloudline Hounds was born. The original hounds were drafted from the Casanova Hunt, who generously encouraged the Dennys in their new pursuit. Now numRed Rock Hounds Masters Lynn Lloyd (left) and Angela Murray flank Cloudline bering between 25 and 30 couple, the pack is Master and Huntsman Susan Denny Gentry in celebration of what was clearly a mostly Crossbred hounds. The expansive and challenging day as evidenced by Susan’s bloodied face and lost buttons. varied country, which includes a number of Jenna Stiles photo steep ditches and water crossings, requires fast, hardy, courageous, and biddable hounds bred for this purpose. The quarry is primarily coyote with the occasional gray fox or bobcat. Recently “Texas Hare,” commonly known as the jackrabbit, has been tossed into the mix. Coyote run fast and usually straight away. They will often “swap” with others who lie low and then enter the chase. As you might expect, given the terrain, speed, and cleverness of the quarry, well-conditioned horses and bold riders are the order of the day. Cloudline’s reputation as a “forward going hunt” is well deserved. Members are fond of saying, “If you can hunt with Cloudline, you can hunt anywhere.” For many years Rex hunted the hounds Prior to the day’s first cast: (l-r) Cloudline members Erin Kornacki, Rex Hamilton Gentry, Joint-Master Marcella Houston Norman, Joint-Master Susan Denny while Marjorie served as First Flight Field Gentry, Red Rock Hounds Master Lynn Lloyd, Cloudline Whipper-In Dom Chif- Master. Over time Col. Denny, who at age 92 folo, and North Hills Professional Huntsman Dave Kruger. Jenna Stiles photo is still “Marine ramrod straight,” came to be
considered a leading authority on hunting coyote. Coyotes have increasingly displaced foxes in many traditionally fox-only regions. As a result, huntsmen from other parts of the country often visited Cloudline, some with their packs in tow, in order to learn the ropes of coyote hunting from the Colonel. While serving as the Western District Representative to the MFHA, Col. Denny presented many talks on the subject at MFHA events. From the outset Cloudline hosted joint meets with hunts from throughout the country. “The Colonel,” as he is called, hunted the hounds until he turned 70. At that juncture he handed over that considerable responsibility to daughter Susan Denny Gentry. A very accomplished equestrienne, Susan began riding to hounds at the age of 9. She was a “natural” right out of the gate. She has enthusiastically followed in Col. Denny’s footsteps as Master, Huntsman, Hound Show and Performance Trials Judge. Like Rex, Susan served as the MFHA’s Western District Representative. The Dennys are the only father-daughter team to have done so. Susan’s and husband Craig’s 19year-old son Rex Hamilton Gentry serves as a Whipper-In. Under Susan’s guidance he is learning to hunt the hounds. On occasion he has accepted the challenge of “taking the horn,” thus becoming the family’s third generation to serve as huntsman. In addition to all of her duties as Joint Master, Huntsman, and “PR Person Extraordinaire,” Susan manages the Cloudline Equestrian Center where she trains field hunters, teaches students, and provides experienced hunters for guests. Susan has an uncanny eye for finding the kind of draft-cross-sport horses that are most suitable for difficult terrain, bold over a wide variety of obstacles often in challenging footing, and possessed of the right kind of temperament for any level of rider in the hunt field. Cloudline horses are owned by Masters and hunting members all over the country. Susan is the original force behind a new program that has gained national attention. It is designed to introduce folks to foxhunting. Known as the “H4H”, or “Hounds for Hilltoppers” program, this is a full-fledged, two-partflight led by Craig Gentry for riders and horses who may be youngsters or oldsters. These are folks new to the sport, as well as others who prefer a slower paced day in the field. Area Pony Clubbers often begin their hunting experience riding with this group. The first flight of the H4H group is a jumping flight with its own fieldmaster who rides up close and personal with the huntsman. This group has the option of negotiating specially built 2’ coops, logs, and similar obstacles intended to develop horses and riders who may later choose to go on to join the hunt’s more forward going 1st and 2nd flights.
IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • SPRING 2017
The 2nd part of the H4H group, also led by a designated fieldmaster, walks, trots, and does some canter under controlled conditions. An important aspect of the H4H group for newcomers to the sport is to learn hunting etiquette and protocol as well as all components of what it means to take part in the foxhunting experience. Susan provides a running commentary to these field members even while she is focused on hunting a small pack of hounds. She often provides not only mounts but appropriate formal and ratcather kit for those very new to the sport. The H4H group alternates weekend days with the regular hunt. It also joins the main group on special occasions such as Opening Hunt, Hunt Week, and Closing Hunt. Land Owner Relations and Expanding Cloudline’s Hunt Country The Cloudline kennels is located on the main Denny property on which Col. Denny and the Gentry family have homes. Over the years a number of Cloudline members have purchased farm and ranch lands adjacent to or near the 400 hundred acre Denny Farm to which Susan and Craig have added additional land. All of these large acreage purchases have expanded Cloudline’s country considerably. The properties also serve as locations for fixtures, hunt breakfasts, and social events. Cloudline’s newly acquired “Horse Hotel/RV Park” and remodeled clubhouse offer members and frequent hunting visitors multiple venues where they can prepare for and recount the day’s activities. One of the most important roles of a Master is to maintain good landowner relations. As one can imagine when your hunting country covers 20 square miles, the hunt will be crossing multiple working farms and ranches. Jumps and gates have to be properly maintained and secured as the hunt goes on. Fields that are in plow or fallow have to be carefully traversed being sure to stay to the headlands when the fields are in planting. Cattle cannot be startled or be otherwise caused to run off precious pounds. This calls for obedient hounds and mindful riders. Joint Master Marcella Thacker Norman leads the first flight. She and husband Scott recently built a new home and barns very near Cloudline’s main property which is also the location of the kennels. In designing the home Marcella kept entertaining the hunt, its many visitors and friends very much at the forefront of her planning. The result is a large, lovely hunt-themed home with indoor and outdoor entertainment areas that often serves as the site for hunt functions. Hunt Week 2017, January 13-16 One of the season’s highlights is Cloudline’s Hunt Week. This is an annual three day event held in mid-January with a full slate of hunting, social gatherings, and sponsored breakfasts, culminating with a hunt ball held at a local country club. This year over 60 guests came from the West and East Coasts and everywhere in-between. Approximately 10 hunts were represented. Guests included many well-known Masters, Huntsmen, and Whippers-In. Masters from visiting Hunts included: Dave Keffeler, MFH North Hills Hunt, Elkhorn, NE Alice Jernigan, MFH Misty River Hounds, Huntsville, AK Lynn Lloyd and Angela Murray, Joint-MFHs Red Rock Hounds, Reno, NV Cathie Kornacki, ex-MFH Ft. Leavenworth Hunt, Leavenworth, KS Participants included a large contingent from North Hills Hunt (Nebraska) and Misty River Hunt (Arkansas). Cloudline and Misty River have a long-standing tradition of joint meets and recently Cloudline has started the same annual interchange of travel-hunting with North Hills as well. States represented at Hunt Week were California, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, and, of course, Texas. Hunting commenced on Friday morning, January 13. The official Kick-Off Cocktail Reception was held that evening at the Denny home. Famous for its “Marine Room,” a pub-like venue, it has provided members of the hunt and guests with a warm atmosphere in which to share adult beverages, make new acquaintances, rekindle old friendships, and tell and “re-tell” colorful hunting stories. The walls of the Marine Room are filled with photos of hunting, Col. Denny’s years as a Marine pilot, as well as many years of cherished memorabilia. The festivities continued with a cocktail party and dinner at the Normans’ home where enthusiastic foxhunters and friends were treated to elegantly presented food and beverages. The fun continued on through the evening until revelers realized that Saturday morning’s hunt was on the horizon, and that a modicum of sleep might be a good idea. On Saturday morning 60 riders met at the “Sky View Fixture” for a Stirrup Cup. Visiting riders on their own horses along with others mounted on hirelings provided by Susan arrived from Cloudline’s three barns. They were joined by riders stabling at the farms of nearby hunt members along with members who live within hacking and hauling distance. The weather over the three day event was close to perfect for foxhunting with temperatures in the mid to high 40s. The skies were overcast and while rain
Multiple generations of the Denny family: (l-r) Rex Hamilton Gentry, H4H Fieldmaster Craig Gentry, and Master Susan Denny Gentry. Susan’s horn was another casualty of a speedy, aggressive, and “eventful” day. Jenna Stiles photo
was forecast for every day none materialized. The ground held scent and the hounds provided exemplary sport for all three days with multiple views of coyote. On one speedy run in the woods on Friday’s outing a bobcat bounded ahead of the field in plain sight. Not many of the riders had seen that prey up that close and personal. To add to the special nature of the hunting a most unusual occurrence happened on Saturday’s hunt when a pack of six coyotes appeared in full view of the field. In order to provide all riders an opportunity to place themselves in a flight in which they felt comfortable four flights were offered. This proved to be a perfect arrangement. If one wanted to fly like the wind on long runs jumping every obstacle encountered, or preferred the same experience at a bit slower pace, or chose to go through gates and still keep up with the main hunt, or elected to ride with the two Hilltopper flights, there was an option for everybody. Saturday evening’s “Denim & Diamonds” Gala held at the local country club provided the social pinnacle of the weekend. The evening featured pre-dinner cocktails served during a silent auction where guests could peruse and bid on unique and also useful hunting and equestrian themed items. Dining and dancing soon followed going well on into the evening. “All on and Heading Home” Cloudline’s 2017 Hunt Week was all that could be hoped for: good folk, hard-working and skilled hounds, three days of hard riding, and wonderful memories to take home to savor and to share. To learn more about foxhunting opportunities in Texas, see the accompanying sidebar. If you would like to participate in Cloudline’s 2018 Hunt Week, which will take place over Martin Luther King Weekend in January, contact Susan Denny Gentry, MFH, at: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. As we say in Texas, “Y’all come down!” Sidebar: Texas Hunts In addition to Cloudline Hounds, the other Texas hunts, which are spread out around the northeastern and central part of the state, are noted by proximity to the closest cities with which readers will be familiar. Included is the Independence Foxhounds, east of Austin, the Master of which, John P. Dorrier, Jr., is the current Western District Representative to the Masters of Foxhounds Association (MFHA). Other recognized Texas hunts are Brazos Valley Hounds, near Weatherford; Hickory Creek Hunt, Forestburg; Kenada Fox Hounds, near Austin; and Longacre Hunt, close to Houston. All follow the classic traditions of the sport. Formal hunting season usually starts in early November and goes on through the middle of March. Several hunts start a bit earlier in the fall and end later in March. Informal hunting and cubbing begins anytime between late September and early October. In that Texas winters are milder than the northern and eastern states, it is rare that hunting is cancelled due to snow and/or ice. Heavy winter rains can present some challenging footing but, as we know, foxhunters are a hardy lot. About the Author Scot Litke is a 30+ year member of both Cloudline Hounds and Hickory Creek Hunt and has hunted throughout the US and in Ireland.
IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • SPRING 2017
Spring Point-to-Points By Will O’Keefe • Photos by Douglas Lees
Warrenton Hunt Point-to-Point, The Springs Valley Open Timber Le Chevalier (Mark Beecher, up) – 1st
Warrenton Hunt Point-to-Point, Novice Timber Boogie Biz (Mark Beecher, up) – 1st.
Warrenton Hunt Point-to-Point, Open Flat Last Farewell (Brendan Crowley, up) – 1st.
Warrenton Hunt Point-to-Point 3/18/17 When entries were taken on the Monday before the Warrenton Hunt Point-to-Point, the weather forecast for snow was foreboding. Most people anticipated the worst and felt that the races, which were scheduled for Saturday, March 18, would be cancelled or at best postponed a day. When the worst of the storm passed by, the few inches that fell were manageable, and the show went on as planned at the Airlie course. The Springs Valley Open Timber race was the featured event, and Over Creek Stables, LLC’s Le Chevalier and rider Mark Beecher once again found this course to their liking. Le Chevalier won the novice timber race a year ago in his first start of a season that would include a win in the $50,000 New Jersey Hunt Cup at Far Hills. In his 2017 debut he was reserved just off the pace in the three-horse field. Magalen O. Bryant’s Adios Diablo (Ross Geraghty) and Four Virginia Gents’ Worried Man (Brendan Crowley) raced in first and second for most of the race with Le Chevalier close behind. With a half mile to run Beecher let out a notch, and Le Chevalier jumped to the lead. He drew away to win handily by 10 widening lengths over Worried Man with Adios Diablo third. Julie Gomena was the winning trainer. In the following novice timber race Mark Beecher completed a riding double with Daniel R. Baker’s Boogie Biz, who is also trained by Beecher. The amateur and novice rider timber race was combined with the two novice horses. Sam Cockburn’s Mr. Lit tried to run with Boogie Biz the first time around; but when he pulled up, Boogie Biz was alone on the front end and was never threatened by Irvin S. Naylor’s Aquies (Gerard Galligan), who finished ten lengths behind the winner. Zoe Valvo’s Addones Last Hurrah finished far behind Boogie Biz and Aquies, but won the amateur and novice timber race. The open hurdle race attracted a six-horse field of seasoned hurdle veterans and one maiden. To everyone’s surprise the maiden, C & C Racing LLC’s Pac Yer Tack, upset the field. Under Gerard Galligan he was never far off the pace, which was set by Pathfinder Racing’s Cognashene (Kieran Norris). With four fences remaining Pak Yer Tak went to the front and won by 3 lengths over Cognashene with Rosbrian Farm’s Mizyen (Ross Geraghty) third. Keri Brion saddled the winner. Erin Swope’s Slaney Rock won the amateur/novice rider hurdle race last year and finished first again this year, finishing 5 lengths ahead of S. Bruce Smart, Jr.’s Fall Colors (Amber Hodyka). Unfortunately, Slaney Rock lost his lead pad during the race and was disqualified for not carrying sufficient weight. This was Amber Hodyka’s first win, and Jimmy Day was the winning trainer. The maiden hurdle race was split into two seven-horse fields. In the first division Ross Geraghty reserved Eve Ledyard’s Quarla off of Sara Collette’s Balistes (Kieran Norris), who made most of the running. Quarla drew alongside Balistes at the last fence and proved best in the stretch to win by ½ length. Winning trainer Ricky Hendriks and Eve Ledyard had doubles on the card. Hendriks also
trained Rosbrian Farm’s Swansea Mile, who won the novice rider flat race with Eve Ledyard up. Ledyard was content to let Move Up Stable’s It’s Nothing set the pace, then sent Swansea Mile after It’s Nothing with a quarter mile to run. They took the lead and held off the late closing Rutledge Classic to win by 4 handy lengths. It’s Nothing faded to third. In the second division of the maiden hurdle race Jeff Murphy sent Flying Horse Farm, LLC’s Jesse O to the front and was never challenged, winning by 8 lengths. Virginia Lazenby Racing Stable LLC’s Misfortune (Ross Geraghty) was second, and Morning Star Farm’s Needle in the Hay (Michael Mitchell) was third. Jazz Napravnik trained the winner. The most exciting finish of the day was when three horses arrived at the finish as a team in the open flat race. Magalen O. Bryant’s Last Farewell made most of the running and won by a head over Beverly Steinman’s Pure Deal (Ross Geraghty) with Jonathan Sheppard’s Strawbridge (Keri Brion) completing the three-way photo finish. Doug Fout saddled Last Farewell and Pure Deal. Trainer Jimmy Day and owner S. Bruce Smart, Jr. also completed a double when Liam McVicar guided Officer’s Oath to a 5 length score in the Virginia-bred flat race. As the field turned for home, Lazy Lane Farm’s Life’s Fortune was in front but went off course. Officer’s Oath inherited the lead and won easily by 5 lengths over Pathfinder Racing’s Akubra (Kieran Norris) and Fraco 1 LLC’s Sunburned Gold (Gerard Galligan). Last year Officer’s Oath was the NSA Three-Year-Old Hurdle Champion and this race should be a good prep.
Warrenton Hunt Point-to-Point, Maiden Hurdle, 2nd Division Jesse O (Jeff Murphy, up) – 1st.
IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • SPRING 2017
Piedmont Fox Hounds Point-to-Point 3-25-2017 The Piedmont Fox Hounds celebrated the 76th running of their historic race meet on Saturday, March 25, near Upperville. A big crowd was on hand to enjoy a day of racing under unseasonably warm conditions. The Salem timber course is one of the sport’s most popular, and entries were particularly heavy this year with the cancellation of Mr. Stewart’s Cheshire Point-to-Point in Pennsylvania. The featured race was the point-to-point timber classic, the Rokeby Challenge Bowl over 3½ miles of inviting stone walls and split rail fences. Starter Graham Alcock sent a field of four away from the start, and a conservative pace was set by Jeff Murphy on Merriefield Farm’s timber veteran, Foyle. This left everyone in contention for most of the race. When the field came back into view from the east end of the course, Kinross Farm’s Old Timer had assumed command under McLane Hendriks leaving the field intact and within striking distance. With five fences remaining Larry Levy’s Handy Cap refused and lost rider Gerard Galligan leaving a field of three. At the last fence Foyle jumped alongside Old Timer, who landed running and steadily drew away to win in hand by 7 lengths with Foyle second and Kiplin Hall’s Rodriguez (Casey Pinkard) third. The winning trainer, Richard Valentine, who had saddled Magalen O. Bryant’s Dakota Slew to win this race four consecutive years, added another win to his amazing streak. This was also Kinross Farm’s sixth win in this race moving into second place behind Dr. Joseph M. Rogers’ incredible eight wins. McLane Hendriks also won the amateur and novice rider timber race with Eva Smithwick’s owner trained Rutledge Classic. In the race Rutledge Classic went to the front when the field was out of sight. Irvin L. Crawford, II’s Touchdowntony (Eric Poretz) launched a rally with three furlongs to run and they jumped the last as a team. Regal Classic responded to the challenge and drew away to win by 1¼ lengths. Frank A. Bonsal’s Snobby Scamp (Casey Pinkard) led in the early stages but had to settle for third. McLane Hendriks scored a riding double and was the meet’s leading rider over fences. This year there were sufficient entries to run the foxhunter timber race with a field of six going to the start. Trevor McKenna made most of the running opening a wide lead on Keystone Thoroughbred’s Great Halo. He went very wide with four fences to jump but came back to regain the lead. He tired from his efforts and could not hold on when Peter and Sarah Jay’s Prime Prospector (Amelia McGuirk) and Gerry Brewster’s Derwins Prospector (Ashton Williams) rallied to the lead. These two battled over the last fence and to the finish where Prime Prospector struck gold by a neck. Keri Brion’s Air Maggy (Kelly Wooster) rallied for third. Todd Wyatt trained the winner. A year ago Emme Fullilove led throughout the lady rider timber race on I’m Telling. This year with I’m Telling retired she was up on Ron Blankenship’s timber maiden, Skunk. The eight starters made this the biggest lady rider timber race in years. In the race Skunk was always close to the pace, took the lead when the field was out of sight and steadily pulled away to win by an easy 8 lengths. Mrs. S. K. Johnston’s Share Out (Amelia McGuirk) had a nice
trip and finished second with Erin Swope’s Sweet Talking Guy third. Eight horses started in the maiden timber race, and it was far from dull. In the early going Jeff Murphy sent his Secret Soul to the front avoiding Ben Swope’s Gusto at Dawn who fell and Enuff Alex (Sam Cockburn) who lost his rider at the second fence. Everything seemed to be okay but as the field returned from the east end of the course, Secret Soul was forced out by a loose horse and relinquished the lead. He came back after losing a lot of ground to regain the lead but in the late stages could not hold off Jonathan Sheppard’s Going For It (Gerard Galligan) and Sportsmans Hall’s Hill Tie (Eric Poretz). These two battled in the stretch but jumped the fence closest to the finish making them disqualified for going off course. Secret Soul was moved up, and Jeff Murphy celebrated his first win as a trainer. Clearly with the lengths he lost contending with the loose horses, he was the best horse in the race. H. Bruce Fenwick’s Daddy in the Dark (Gus Dahl) and Magalen O. Bryant’s Only Charity (McLane Hendriks) finished second and third. Piedmont Fox Hounds Point-to-Point, Rokeby Challenge Bowl Open Heavy entries led the next two flat races to be Timber. Old Timer (McLane Hendriks, up) – 1st. split. In the first division of the maiden flat race Runnymede Racing LLC’s Conquest Falcon (James Slater) rallied to take the lead with a sixteenth of a mile to run and won going away by 1¾ lengths over Mrs. George M. Sensor’s Street Passage (Robert Walsh). Charles C. Fenwick, Jr.’s Puller (Gus Dahl) was third. Edward L. Graham was the winning trainer. In the second division Ebullience (Gerard Galligan) emerged from a tightly bunched field with S. Bruce Smart, Jr.’s Candy Way (Liam McVicar) at his collar with a quarter mile to run. They matched strides in the stretch with Ebullience best by a head. Amy Taylor Rowe’s Waveless (Trevor Ryan) was a close third. Jonathan Sheppard owned and trained the winner. The first division of the open flat race went to Mrs. S. K. Johnston, Jr.’s Fantastic Song with Robert Walsh up for trainer Fenneka T. Bentley. Fantastic Song was reserved off the pace, split horses while rallying and outdueled Welcome Here Piedmont Fox Hounds Point-to-Point, Foxhunter Timber Farm’s Second Amendment (McLane Hendriks), (l-r) Derwin’s Prospector (Ashton Williams, up) – 2nd; Prime who just missed by a head. S. Bruce Smart, Jr.’s Dai Prospector (Amelia McGuirk, up) – 1st. Bando rallied for third. The second division was a very popular victory as Colvin Gregg Ryan’s Hoppala (James Slater) won in a photo by a nose over Amy Taylor Rowe’s For Goodness Sake (Paddy Young). Ryan is a Joint Master of the Piedmont Fox Hounds, and he and trainer Eva Smithwick are Joint Masters of the Snickersville Hounds. This was Eva Smithwick’s second win on the card and the second win for James Slater. Hoppala was never far from the lead, joined Second Amendment in the stretch and proved best. S. Bruce Smart, Jr.’s Corstorphine (Liam McVicar) finished third. The result of the Virginia-bred flat race was also highly popular as Jean Rofe’s owner trained Willisville (Eric Poretz) won this race for the second consecutive year. He stalked Lazy Lane Farm’s Life’s Fortune (Trevor Ryan), went to the front at the quarter pole and won going away to win by 8 lengths. Ridgeview Farm’s Virginia Envy (Teresa Piedmont Fox Hounds Point-to-Point, Col. Richard Henry Dulany Croce) rallied for third. Memorial Open Flat, 2nd Division Continued st Hoppala (IRE) (James Slater, up) – 1 .
IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • SPRING 2017
Orange County Hounds Point-to-Point, Locust Hill Open Hurdle Mizyen (Ross Geraghty, up) – 3rd; Hishi Soar (Gerard Galligan, up) – 1st.
Orange County Hounds Point-to-Point, Rufus W. Humphrey Maiden Hurdle, 1st Division (l-r) King Of The Road (Jeff Murphy, up) – 3rd; Rodie (Susan Cooney, up); Amazing Anthem (Michael Mitchell, up) – 4th; Strawbridge (Keri Brion, up); Cuba Libre (Shane Crimin, up) – 1st; Make Big Plans (Ross Geraghty, up).
Orange County Hounds Point-to-Point, Orange County Hounds Novice Timber (l-r) Class Cherokee (McLane Hendriks, up) – 2nd; Georgetown Burning (Kieran Norris, up) – 1st.
Orange County Hounds Point-to-Point 4-2-2017 After a year’s absence, hurdle racing returned to the Orange County Hounds Point-to-Point on Sunday, April 2, at Locust Hill Farm near Middleburg. The race card included six races and three of these were run over the National Hurdles. There were also two flat races and one over the timber course. The feature race was the Locust Hill Open Hurdle Race, which is named for Magalen O. Bryant’s host farm. This race attracted five horses that not only were point-to-point winners but all had at least one sanctioned win on their résumé. When starter Peter Walsh dropped his flag, S. Bruce Smart, Jr.’s Fall Colors (Liam McVicar) went to the front with the remainder of the field racing within striking distance. Rosbrian Farm’s Mizyen took over on the front end with a mile to run and stayed there until the final fence. At this stage Randolph D. Rouse’s Hishi Soar had launched a rally from the middle of the field and jumped to the lead over the last fence. Hishi Soar drew away in the stretch to win handily by 2 lengths. Rosbrian Farm’s Dino Mite (Michael Mitchell) got up for second, and his stablemate Mizyen was third. [Hishi Soar’s trainer, Randolph D. Rouse, passed away at the age of 100 on April 7, 2017. This was his last win in a truly remarkable career.] It’s always nice when members of the host hunt have success at their own races. Zohar and Lisa Ben-Dov’s Kinross Farm won both divisions of the maiden hurdle race with first time starters trained by Richard Valentine. Their Cuba Libre (Shane Crimin) went to the front several fences into the race and held that position throughout. Ellerslie Farm’s King of the Road (Jeff Murphy) threatened with a quarter mile to run, but could not sustain his rally. Pathfinder Racing’s Mutasaawy (Kieran Norris) blew past King of the Road in the stretch and was flying approaching the finish but fell short by 1 length. Mutasaawy was making his first start over hurdles after a highly successful career on the flat and is trained by Orange County Hounds Joint Master Neil Morris.
VSA 2016 Awards Announced The Virginia Steeplechase Association celebrated its 31st annual awards dinner on Friday, March 3, 2017 at the Middleburg Community Center in Middleburg. All of the champions from the 2016 season of sanctioned races were recognized, and there were two inductees into the Virginia Steeplechase Hall of Fame. The highlights of the evening were when jockey Willie Moore and Kinross Farm’s Sur La Tete were inducted into the Hall of Fame. Willie Moore was recognized for a career that made him a fixture on the timber racing circuit in the Mid-Atlantic states. He was a regular rider on four of the horses in the Virginia Steeplechase Hall of Fame. He won the Virginia Gold Cup in 1974 on Rokeby Stables’ Mongogo, in 1966 on David L. “Zeke” Ferguson’s Leeds Don and in 1969 on John Warner’s Annual Meeting. He was also the regular rider on Rokeby Stables’ Chapel Street, who won five timber races in 1971-72. In Moore’s career he won all the major timber races in Virginia—many of them multiple times. After receiving his award, he stole the show with several stories about what truly were the good old days. Kinross Farm’s Sur La Tete was trained by Neil Morris and was ridden by Chris Read. In 2003 he won the $100,000 Foxbrook Supreme at Far Hills and was the NSA Novice Champion. He opened the 2004 campaign winning the $100,000 Georgia Cup at Atlanta. He also won the $100,000 Meadow Brook Stakes at Belmont Park and was the NSA Leading Horse money won. He won at first asking in 2005 winning the $50,000 Carolina Cup. His next start was in the $150,000 Royal Chase at Keeneland where he was second to Hirapour and beat McDynamo. He beat McDynamo again when he won the $150,000 Iroquois.
In the second division of the maiden hurdle race, Kinross Farm’s French-bred Mutin went to the front and held the field safe while leading throughout. He drew away to win by 10 widening lengths over Magalen O. Bryant’s Bob’n For Silver (Shane Crimin), who was also trained by Richard Valentine. The Neil Morris trained Balistes finished third for owner Sara Collette. The four horse field in the novice timber race ran in the same order from start to finish except for a brief change with a quarter mile to run. Lana Wright’s Georgetown Burning (Kieran Norris) went to the front in his first start over timber. Mrs. George L. Ohrstrom, Jr.’s Class Cherokee (McLane Hendriks) stalked the leader with Lewis Schaffel’s Sal the Barber (Gerard Galligan) in third, and Galena Racing’s Addones Last Hurrah (Zoe Valvo) completing the field. They stayed in that order until the quarter pole. At that time Class Cherokee made a run at the leader, which put him on top briefly. Georgetown Burning responded to the challenge by regaining the lead and drawing away to win easily by 5 lengths. Ballyerin Racing LLC’s Delawana won the novice rider flat race under Emme Fullilove. Delawana was rated slightly off the pace until the final quarter mile. He launched a rally to the front and repulsed a challenge from Heather Booterbaugh’s Scented Up (Mike Woodson), who loomed boldly in the stretch but was second best beaten by 1½ lengths. Gordonsdale Farm’s pace setter Gallitan County (Teresa Croce) held on for third. Madison Meyers was the winning trainer. Eight horses contested the open flat race and part of the field consisted of sanctioned hurdle horses prepping for their upcoming campaign. Stonelea Stables LLC’s hurdle stakes winning Balance the Budget (Ross Geraghty) was the favorite, and he didn’t disappoint. After S. Bruce Smart, Jr.’s Orchestra Leader (Liam McVicar) made the pace, Balance the Budget rallied from second to take the lead with a quarter mile to run and won as his rider pleased by 3 lengths. Julie Gomena trained the winner. Pathfinder Racings’ Swellelegent (Gerard Galligan) rallied for second and Orchestra Leader held on for third.
In 2006 he won the $150,000 Royal Chase at Keeneland and the $150,000 Iroquois. In his career he won $674,640. He faced the best horses in training including three Eclipse Award winners: McDynamo, Hirapour, and Good Night Shirt. Sur La Tete joins Kinross Farm inductees Miles Ahead and Lord Kenneth. The 2016 awards and their recipients follow: Virginia Leading Owner - Michael Smith Virginia Leading Trainer - Doug Fout Virginia Leading Rider - Kieran Norris Virginia Leading Hurdle Horse - S. Bruce Smart, Jr.’s Orchestra Leader, trained by Jimmy Day, ridden by Keri Brion Virginia Leading Timber Horse - Sara Collette’s Zanclus, trained by Neil Morris, ridden by Kieran Norris Open Leading Owner - Irvin S. Naylor Open Leading Trainer - Doug Fout Open Leading Rider - Kieran Norris Open Leading Hurdle Horse - Mrs. George Sensor’s Top Striker, trained by Arch Kingsley, ridden by Bernard Dalton & Paddy Young Open Leading Timber Horse - Bruton Street-US’s Two’s Company, trained by Jack Fisher, ridden by Sean McDermott Virginia Leading Horse on the Flat - Pathfinder Racing’s Mutasaawy, trained by Neil Morris, ridden by Kieran Norris Virginia Owned Steeplechase Horse of the Year - Stonelea Stables LLC’s Balance the Budget Steeplechase Horse of the Year - Irvin S. Naylor’s Rawnaq (Ire)
IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • SPRING 2017
Jim and Carlie Beisel 100 Years of Foxhunting…and Still Going!
Jim and Carlie Beisel of Mission Valley Hunt, Q: What advice do you have for memKansas, boast some impressive records few can bers of the field? rival. One is that in 2019, just two years away, Jim: Watch the hounds work. they will celebrate their 50th wedding anniverQ: What advice would you give to a sary. The other, perhaps even more notable by novice foxhunter? some standards, is that together they have a Jim: Get a good horse that is safe, first combined total of 100 years of foxhunting. Not and foremost, then fast, and that will stand still only are they still at it, but Jim serves as Huntsat checks. The horse makes all the difference man, hunting the Mission Valley hounds twice between enjoying a hunt or not. weekly. No slowing down for these two! Q: What gets on your nerves? Husband and wife were both born in Jim: I would prefer people not talk at a Pennsylvania and met when Jim was 18, Carcheck. lie 16. Each had been riding since early childQ: What makes you smile? hood, Jim having started at the age of 5 on his Carlie: A good ride, a good student, and a grandmother’s Shetland ponies and Carlie at good lesson. summer camp when she was 10. In the summer Q: What should a beginning foxhunter of ’62 Jim took a job as stable help at a horse know? farm where Carlie was a working student. Carlie: Foxhunting is the fine art of being In 1965, at the age of 21, Jim rode on his under control while you’re out of control. first foxhunt with Pennsylvania’s Rose Tree. Q: What should a veteran foxhunter reCarlie’s first time out with hounds was during member? Carlie and Jim Beisel. Tawny King photo the winter of 1964 when she rode with MaryCarlie: Be patient with new hunters so land’s Elkridge-Harford. they can learn and carry on the sport. Upon Jim’s discharge from the Marines in 1968, after fulfilling a 13Q: What makes a perfect hunt? month tour of duty in Vietnam, he entered Kansas State University. MeanCarlie: Good hounds, a view, being able to keep up with the hounds while, Carlie, having graduated that same year from Maryland’s Goucher and watch them work. College, studied for her masters in German at Johns Hopkins and hunted Editor’s Note: Our thanks to MVH Honorary Secretary Patti Gnau for with Green Spring Valley Hounds behind legendary Huntsman Dallas alerting us to the Beisels’ notable achievement and providing the biogLeith. raphical information for this article. The couple married the following year and Carlie, along with their two horses TR and Bun, joined Jim at Kansas State. He graduated in 1973 with two BS degrees, one in agriculture and the other in business. In 1972 their daughter Perky was born, and in 1975 the family expanded to include son David (the only short breaks in Carlie’s foxhunting career being for their children’s births). For the next several years Carlie taught riding lessons at their farm, Settlers Acre, and other nearby facilities. She has taught and had much success with students in hunters and jumpers, dressage, and eventing. For 34 years she has been actively involved with Pony Club, including time as a National Examiner. In the fall of 1973 Jim was hired at Longview Community College in Kansas City to teach agribusiness courses. He started foxhunting with Fort Leavenworth Hunt in the fall of 1974, where he met Bob Smith, who invited him to try the Mission Valley Hunt. (Jim’s teaching job at Longview enabled him to hunt on Wednesdays.) In 1976 he joined MVH and in 1977 started whipping-in for them. In a couple of months Mrs. George Bunting, who served as MVH Master from 1952 to 1980, decided Jim should wear a red coat, so she gave him one which he still uses today. He whipped-in for Kurt Dutton, who became an important mentor and from whom he learned a lot about hunting hounds. Jim also whippedin for Hall Harsh, and then became huntsman himself in the early 1980s for a few years, before Tommy Jackson was hired. Jim continued to ride with MVH, and became the huntsman again in 2010, a role he continues to fill, adding further to the laudable record he and Carlie have achieved, a couple whose combined records total 100 years of foxhunting. Certainly, anyone who has been involved in the sport that long has some wisdom to share. And thanks to some Q&A provided for this story, we have a few valuable insights to pass along.
IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • SPRING 2017
In Good Hands
“Suitcases packed. Batteries, chargers, cords packed. International minutes, check. Passport, tickets, hotel and car rental reservations, emergency numbers, kennel reservation, car to airport, travel insurance, last will and testament, check. Carryon bag sorted and packed. Aga and Bunsen, I’m ready to go, and a week ahead of schedule!”
Artwork by Claudia Coleman
banks of Loch Lomond, only to wake up in the middle of the pool entangled in Marion’s favorite lounge chair? Lucky for you the groundskeeper knew Scottie CPR. And just a few months ago, you mistook a blue Christmas bulb for a low-flying bug, knocking out power for half of Warrenton. You almost out-shined the tree. I remember remarking to Marion, ‘See! Who says Bunsen isn’t bright?’
Once my Marion is on that plane, our vacation begins, Bunsen. On the list, she’s packing two beds for each of us, two blankets, dog food, my itch medicine, toys and balls.
Verra funny…not! Actually, ever since then I’ve had a fear of blue bugs that light up.
Are ye sure she’s packed enough? I dinnae want the kennel to run out of food. And I dinnae hear ye say treats. D’ye think she forgot to pack our treats?
Look, I’m just a realist, that’s all. I’ll tell you my plan. I’m leaving my beds, toys and IRA to the Fauquier SPCA. They do such good work in the county. See, a will can be quite simple, really.
Don’t worry, Bunsen, treats are on the list. She always packs more than enough supplies, almost for two months, in case she gets detained.
What about our magic bowls. Only we have bowls that appear brimming with food twice a day. I could leave them to the SPCA, too, along with my beds. They would be greatly appreciated there.
Detained? Well, things happen. Delays, flat tires, rerouting. You know how she wakes up some mornings and says, “Not today.” She’ll cancel reservations and reschedule for another time. “Aga, I need your help with something. My brother has asked me to make a codicil to my will. Here’s what he says he wants to insert: ‘While traveling, if any fatal misfortune befalls or beheads me, I leave my Game of Thrones DVDs to my brother, Mark, without reservation. He may share them or not, as he so pleases. Being of sound mind and body, etc., etc., etc.’ I need you to witness this with your paw print.” That makes me think, Bunsen, have you updated your will? A will? Do I have a will? You should have one. Things happen. It’s responsible planning. Imagine the coyote jumping in the yard when we’re sleeping on the porch. Or the pack of wild dogs attacking you and your pet walker. Any sort of unpleasantness could happen in the back field. At the store, you could eat a tainted biscuit, the UPS truck could back over you one morning during delivery. Or, just the worst, you could have a veterinarian emergency. Why d’ye always imagine the worst scenario? I’d like to think that when my time comes, I could go in my sleep, with a lassie at my side. Face it, Bunsen, you are prone to mishaps. Remember that sleepwalking episode last summer when you were having one of your epic battles with Nessie on the
We’ve forgotten the most important possession. Who will we leave Marion to if anything happens to us? Faith and bejabbers! I almost forgot about her! “What are you two going on about? Help me pick the cover photo for the next issue of In & Around Horse Country. What do you think? Hunting or horse racing? You decide. So much to do before I leave. Aga, while I’m away, make sure the girls unpack the new Ice-fil riding shirts and get them to the floor quickly. Bunsen, this is right up your alley. Be sure to flirt with the ladies when they come in for their Virginia Gold Cup hats. Mowing has started so check out that it’s done every week and the parking lot cleaned daily. Water the hillside and the boxwood. So much to do this week!” (Sigh) She’s high maintenance, isn’t she? Aye, I’m afraid we’ve spoiled the darlin’ lass. “The new Italian show jackets and shirts need to be on mannequins. Order new Swiss wrapping paper for the bridal registry. Put spring scarves in the country clothing display. Redo the jewelry cases. Raincoats need to come front and center for the month of April. Hang the new watercolors in the art room. Keep up with HorseCountryCarrot.com. Be sure all the new things go on the e-commerce site. Remember, for the Dehner Boot Event, make the space nice for Jeff, give everyone room to move around. Order the prosecco, be sure it’s chilled. OMG, I have to write an eblast or two!” Calm yourself, Marion. The girls will do everything that needs to be done in good order. You will be proud of us all. “Aga, you are the calm in the eye of the storm. I hope I haven’t forgotten anything, like donations and advertisements.” Ach, I’ve got an idea! When the end comes, maybe we could donate her. A donation cannae be refused, can it? High maintenance gifts need endowments. If she leaves me to Hally and you to Jean, we go with an endowment for food and the dreaded veterinary care. Let’s leave her to the groomer. See how she likes having a bath once a month, whether she needs it or not! I’d even put up an endowment for it. Well, that’s the answer then. We’ll be sure she’s verra well cared for. We’ll leave her to the vet.
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Mother lifted me on my first pony, took me to riding lessons, and enrolled me in Pony Club and camp. She talked Dad into buying a trailer. Mom made my first show choker and sewed fancy buttons on my show jacket. She made all the entries and took me to my first horse show. Mom helped while I bathed my horse, clipped his ears; we learned how to braid together, and how to hold a horse for the farrier and the vet. In the happiest memories, mother was with me. This year, say Happy Mother’s Day with a special gift from Horse Country. Meaningful help with your purchase and, of course, free gift wrap.
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IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • SPRING 2017
JENNY’S PICKS We have a new book on foxhunting for you, hot off the press! You’ll recognize a number of those featured from being mentioned in the pages of In and Around Horse Country Kalergis, Mary Motley. Foxhunters Speak. In this new book from Derrydale Press, who have produced or reproduced so many well-loved foxhunting books, readers are treated to the words of noted foxhunters from the late 20th-early 21st century, many of whom are still alive and hunting today. Foxhunters interviewed include such notables as Melvin and Albert Poe, Ben Hardaway, Jake Carle, Rita Mae Brown, Tommy Lee Jones, Barclay Rives, and Andrew Barclay—and many, many others, for a total of fifty, including several who are the old-fashioned night hunters. Each gets 5-6 pages of their recollections and several b&w photos. It’s fun to read and an excellent way to familiarize yourself with some of the most notable in the field. Hardcover, 269pp. plus introduction. $30.00 [See full review on page 3.] A number of years ago we carried a book by Michael Sinclair-Smith, entitled Lure of the Chase, which was actually the first in a proposed series. Michael has now completed two more of the books. In the first book, we meet the protagonist, an American named Glenn O’Brien, and Caitlin O’Neil, the Irish girl who befriends him when he is lost in a storm while out hunting in Ireland. They discover they have something in common: matching gold pendants that have been handed down from their respective families generations ago. Together they begin to research the history of these families, and we are introduced to two “blood brothers,” friends who went their separate ways: Tom Smith the blacksmith’s son to Canada, and Guy d’Arcy, son of one of the local gentry, who remained home in England. Tom, who was in love with Guy’s sister Elizabeth, left under a cloud of dishonor, having been drugged and accused of drunkenly attempting to molest one of the guests at a party given by the D’Arcy’s. After he had left for London, the treacherous plot was revealed, but it was too late to make amends. Start of the Chase. Glenn sells his engineering company and makes plans to have Caitlin visit him in Boston. Sud-
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Specialists in New, Old & Rare Books on Horses, Foxhunting, Eventing, Polo, Racing, Steeplechasing & Sporting Art 60 Alexandria Pike, Warrenton, VA 20186 • 800-882-HUNT • 540-347-3141 denly he gets a letter from her calling it all off and telling him not to try to find her. Of course it has the opposite effect; he’s a gentleman and in love. When they do get together, they continue reading the diary of Tom Smith and his adventures in the New World. In this book, Tom gets a chance to go to Virginia to pick up a few foxhounds to establish a military hunt back in Canada, for which he has agreed to be huntsman, and he sees what plantation life is like. He likes the idea of the gracious plantation house, but the slavery issue just doesn’t set well with him. Softcover, 488pp. $20.00 Cost of the Chase. Just when he thinks everything is going to turn out nicely, Glenn’s new business arrangement runs into a problem, suggesting that his engineering statistics were flawed and that the process would not work. He also receives a letter from a woman who believes that they may be distantly related through Tom Smith and wants to get together with him about ancestry records. On the other side of the Atlantic, Caitlin receives another installment of the Tom Smith diary, which tells more of Tom’s exploits in Canada and his rise to prosperity. Softcover, 295pp. $20.00 Do you have a horse business, think you might qualify for one, or want to start one? If so, you may be aware that horse businesses are a magnet for IRS auditors, who tend to suspect that anyone trying to take deductions for one actually just has a hobby. We just got a new book in to help you prove you’re really a business! McCarthy, Cindy; with Michael Farnam. Horse Hobby or Equine Business. I was privileged to be able to proofread an advance copy of this before it went to press, and
I was very impressed by the author’s attention to detail and the enormous amount of work that obviously went into her tables and information. No, it isn’t “summer reading” material—if you’re serious about a horse business, she’s serious about telling you how to survive the IRS audit you’re likely to have. She’s been through eight so far, and came out with flying colors each time! Granted, if you’re a big racing stable, you probably have an accountant to do all this digging for you, but boarding stables, small riding stables, even breeding farms can only benefit from understanding what McCarthy has to say. For instance, you can’t just say, “I bought 500 bales of hay at $5.00 per bale this summer.” What if you have a couple of retired school horses that don’t contribute to the economy? What if you have a trail horse you just use for pleasure? You can’t count those as business expenses, so how do you figure their upkeep and deduct it from IRS-approved expenses? Read this and find out! Highly recommended—and take the time to read it thoroughly! (You might even want to get one for your accountant!) Softcover, 199pp. $29.99 We’ve all been anxiously awaiting more of Rita Mae’s mysteries. While the next Sister Jane has to wait until fall, we do have Mrs. Murphy and her cohorts appearing this spring. Brown, Rita Mae. A Hiss Before Dying. The next in the Sneaky Pie series finds “Harry” Haristeen and her pets once again on the trail of a murderer when rabbit-hunting beaglers find a human body; and once again, she links action in this century to an injustice in the American Revolution. Orders taken now; due out May 30. 384pp. $27.00
IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • SPRING 2017
Hark Forward and Join The Celebration Warm Welcomes, Fond Farewells By Lauren R. Giannini
In certain parts of the world, from late summer to early spring, there exists a fifth season, known as foxhunting. This sporting lifestyle requires year-round maintenance from each individual hunt and even greater efforts from its national governing body, the Masters of Foxhounds Association of America. Masters and ex-Masters, who are active in the MFHA, do lots of planning, especially every third year when the officers change. This “recycling” strategy helps to keep ideas and energies fresh and enthusiastic. Officers are volunteers—they serve without salary, which reveals a great deal about the passion and dedication generated by foxhunting. This year, the MFHA welcomes new President Tony Leahy, MFH/Huntsman of Fox River Valley, who moved up through the levels to succeed Dr. John R. van Nagell, MFH Iroquois, now serving as a Director At Large. The retirement of Lt. Col. (ret) Dennis J. Foster, ex-MFH, after 24 years as Executive Director signals a huge change—stepping up to shoulder those responsibilities is David Twiggs. Rounding out the officers for the next three years: Leslie Rhett Crosby, MFH Mooreland Hunt (AL) as First Vice-President, and Penny Denegre, MFH Middleburg Hunt (VA) as Second Vice-President. Joe Kent, ex-MFH, continues as Secretary-Treasurer. Then there’s the retirement of lifetime career Huntsman Hugh Robards, ex-MFH, who spent the last three seasons at Middleburg Hunt, first as whipper-in, then hunting hounds for two seasons. More on Robards in a bit. Leahy Tradition Horses and hounds are in Patrick Anthony (Tony) Leahy’s DNA. He grew up in County Meath (IRE) next door to the foxhound kennels of the Ballymacad and rode to hounds with the Meath and the North Fingal Harriers. He also competed in show jumping all over Europe. Leahy’s family boasts multiple generations of horsemen and foxhunting enthusiasts. “I grew up with hounds and never really considered hunting them as a career. I just fell into it,” said Leahy. “We sold a lot of horses through hunting—the horse farm was next to the kennels. It was fun as well as a business, and I was more on the horse side of things. I came to the US for the first time in 1985 to do some show jumping and hunting, then I went back to Ireland.” Two years later, Leahy returned to the US .He mostly showed, but also enjoyed some hunting and whipping-in at Rolling Rock (PA). An injury made him take time off, but he didn’t stay idle for long. “I took a job whipping-in to a great guy, Tommy Kniepp, the Huntsman at Deep Run Hunt in Virginia where I spent three years,” said Leahy. “I still rode a lot of horses, but whipping in to Tommy was the start of my career hunting Tony Leahy, newly elected MFHA hounds. He taught me a lot about breeding that I still use today. Then I went to Illinois and worked President, at the Virginia Hound Show. Janet Hitchen photo for Bill McGinley, Master of Fox River Valley with Vicki Fitch. When their Huntsman ended up leaving, I took over with the hounds, thinking that I would do it until they got someone else. That was in 1990.” In 1996, Leahy added MFH to his Huntsman duties at Fox River Valley, which partnered with Cornwall Hounds, now known as Massbach. In 2003, he signed on as Master and Huntsman of the Spring Creek Bassets. That same year, Leahy handled his first Virginia Hound Show Grand Champion when FRV “Cornwall Secretary” won the Crossbred title over dog champion, Midland “Import”, then claimed the Grand Championship and coveted William W. Brainard Perpetual Cup. Four years later, Fox River Valley triumphed again in the Crossbred ring with their “Keg” by Fox River Valley “Kentucky” ’02 out of Cornwall “Secretary” ’99—both sire and dam are about 50 percent Midland blood. In 2004, Leahy acquired an English bitch from a friend and Windfall’s most successful crop was the K line from Midland. Windfall’s son, FRV “Larry” won the Crossbred Championship at the Virginia Hound Show. Needless to say, they hunted as well as they showed. “We were lucky showing at Virginia, but I just like doing my own thing with hounds and hunting,” said Leahy. “I’m a real student of hound breeding. It’s pretty interesting to me and I pay close attention to it. I have tons of respect for a whole bunch of hound breeders.” For many years Leahy has served his sport in the field and on the board, establishing himself on solid footing within the MFHA. During the Centennial Celebration, 2006-07, he received a great accolade when he was chosen to be the guest Huntsman for all but two of the Centennial Performance Hound Trials, a wonderful opportunity to hunt mixed packs in various countries across the USA. Although he doesn’t show much anymore—he’s often asked to judge—Fox River Valley hounds often figure in the bloodlines of hounds that win and place at major foxhound shows in North America. The MFHA asked Leahy to develop a structured curriculum for aspiring huntsmen and, by request, continues as Director of the MFHA’s Professional Development Program. Leahy divides his season between hunting the Illinois country through Christmas, then “snowbirds” to his farm, kennels and winter country in southwest Georgia where, since 1997, he gets in as much sport as possible from January to March. He also hunts the Spring Creek Bassets in Illinois and Georgia.
“I grew up with hunting and I’ve been involved with it all my life—I love it,” said Leahy. “I’ve had a brilliant time and there’s no place I’d rather be. I’ve been blessed to hunt a lot—I’ve had these hounds for 27 years, now going into my 28th season—and it’s been a blast. I’m humbled and honored to be president. I’m excited about the next three years. “We’re looking to broaden our program, to use the platforms that the MFHA already has in place and to expand communications by sharing a focused message using social media and websites,” continued Leahy. “Technology can help us to reach out and bring new people in so they can see that foxhunting is more of a lifestyle, that it’s fun for the whole family, that it can be satisfying and fulfilling, and that the excitement is never-ending. I want my daughter and other kids to get involved so the sport goes forward for future generations. There’s brilliant hunting going on in the US and Canada. We have lots to be proud of and celebrate.” Greater Visibility Spring is the season for rebirth and renewal, and the MFHA has lots of changes in the works. One of the most forward-thinking is the decision to move the MFHA offices from Berryville (VA) to Middleburg where visitors will receive a warm welcome and inviting glimpse into the world of horses and hounds. “It was Jack van Nagell’s vision to take the MFHA forward and open its doors to not only foxhunters, but also the public,” said Dennis Foster. “Our new national headquarters in Middleburg is the perfect place and will be a real boon to the future of our sport. Jack is a quiet, intelligent, ‘tell me like it is’ kind of a guy, who was his own man. He kept his focus and made it happen.” When the historic house that belonged to the late Howard and Nancy Allen went back on the market, the MFHA purchased it last April. After the necessary renovations are completed in about a year, the new official national headquarters will contain offices for David Twiggs, Executive Director, and for the staff of the MFHA, the MFHA Foundation, and the Hunt Staff Benefit Foundation: Billie-Jo Pearl and Jennifer Crider. The three-story building is spacious enough to allow for a large boardroom, which can be used for educational seminars, and space for a display of selected items that reflect the history and art of American foxhunting. The attractive stone edifice, complete with lovely garden and convenient public access, will be a splendid setting for the MFHA’s mission to promote, preserve and perpetuate foxhunting and the conservation of open land. Hark Forward For the uninitiated, “Hark Forward” is a hunting cheer used to encourage lagging hounds to join the lead hounds on a line. It’s a very appropriate title for the MFHA’s plan to rekindle the spirit of the 2006-2007 Centennial Celebration when activities prompted enthusiastic involvement and joyful solidarity of foxhunters across North America. The MFHA is very keen to re-create that “buzz” by scheduling a year of the most popular events from the Centennial: Field Hunter Championships, chaired by Sheila Jackson Brown, MFH; Regional Meets, chaired by Leslie Rhett Crosby, MFH; and Hound Performance Trials, chaired by Epp Wilson, MFH. Planning sessions have already generated excitement among the masters, including the incoming president. “Hark Forward is part of an agenda that the whole MFHA Board of Directors is behind,” said Leahy. “We’re hoping to regenerate some of the Centennial’s togetherness to fully establish and achieve our goals as well as to broaden our horizons. Several components in Hark Forward will help the drive to increase the number of subscribing members, and we’re working on a coordinated effort to reach out and get everybody involved in the sport in some way with horse trials, performance hound trials, regional meets, and special hound shows. There’s going to be an art component with a special exhibit by the Museum of Hounds and Hunting of North America at the 2018 Virginia Foxhound Show. “The horse trials and performance hound trials are two important components of Hark Forward,” continued Leahy. “Many foxhunters enjoy competition and equine sports tend to be very popular with the general public. We’re looking to interest likeminded people in all aspects of the sport of foxhunting. We have made a new condition for performance hound trials that each participating hunt can appoint a judge for the meet. It seems like a small measure, but we think it will make a huge difference to the huntsmen especially.” The new rule puts huntsmen closer to the hounds, thereby giving them and their horses a familiar hunting experience during the performance hound trial. Riding in the field is quite different to what the staff experience in the course of a day’s hunting. Good field hunters follow sanely and don’t go off half-cocked, no matter how exciting the chase, whereas staff horses proceed independently, ready and willing to navigate the hunting panels and terrain they encounter in the course of the day. Huntsmen’s horses must carry them as close as possible to hounds. “Happy huntsmen and staff, fully engaged and honestly appreciated, is important to us, but it’s one element of Hark Forward,” said Leahy. “We’re looking to try and increase support and engagement from everyone involved in hunting on every level. Enthusiastic Initiatives David Twiggs has unlimited enthusiasm for his responsibilities as the new Executive Director of the MFHA. An avid sportsman and passionate advocate of rural and farmland conservation, he turned his passion for outdoor sporting activities and leisure pursuits into the lynchpins of his business career. He founded the Savannah Lakes Rod & Gun Club (SC) and the Ouachita Rod & Gun Club (AR) and, in 2014, created Ouachita High Country magazine to showcase traditional sporting and adventure activities in Arkansas.
IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • SPRING 2017
With the MFHA’s goal of bringing in more people and growing the sport, Twiggs’ business acumen of branding and popularizing destinations for their attractions and activities will be quite useful. Naturally friendly and outgoing, he has great people skills, which will come in handy with the “open door” policy when the MFHA moves into its new headquarters in Middleburg. He’s very enthusiastic about the challenges facing him. “It’s an absolute honor. When you’re passionate David Twiggs takes over as ExDirector of the Masters of about a sport the way I am about foxhunting, it’s part of ecutive Foxhounds Association. a dream come true to be involved with the actual carePhoto courtesy of the MFHA taking of the sport and its future,” said Twiggs. “It’s interesting that my past and everything I’ve done—creating different types of sporting clubs, introducing people to different sporting elements—all culminate with this. I started foxhunting when I was about 35, when I got married, and my whole family is involved. The people, the sport, the hounds, the horses—for me, it couldn’t be a better fit. If I had to make up a job to do, this would be the one.” In late January, at the annual MFHA meeting in New York City, among the final duties performed as the outgoing president, van Nagell paid tribute to Foster and his 24 years of service and also shared a few details of the selection process that chose Foster’s successor out of a tough field of 120 applicants. Twiggs’ skills and successes in “organization building” will be part of the drive “to grow subscribing memberships, support member hunts, facilitate the development of new hunts, and increase the financial base of the MFHA.” (extracted from: “MFHA Welcomes Leahy and Twiggs, Looks Ahead at Annual Meeting”: www.eCovertside.net under MFHA news) Epp Wilson, MFH and Huntsman Belle Meade, can be trusted for his wholehearted endorsement of Twiggs. Not only did he whip in to Wilson for many seasons, he also volunteered to be Wagon Master for many opening meets. That’s a big deal, to organize and orchestrate the Tally Ho Wagons, a day-long fund-raising celebration providing hospitality and sporting excitement to hundreds of guests. But that’s Twiggs; he wants everyone to enjoy the chase. “I think he’s wonderful—I love the guy,” said Wilson. “He and his wife love the sport, they have the passion, and they pitch right in when there’s work to be done. As soon as they moved into Belle Meade’s country, the whole family—they have two daughters—got involved. David’s a worker. He’d be out on the tractor and get a flat tire, but instead of saying that’s that, he would get the tire fixed and finish what he was doing. David and his wife Ashley are thrilled to be back in the East and very pleased to be living near Middleburg. He’s gregarious, makes friends easily. He loves the sport. He has ideas about how to get our message out.” Twiggs has the right energy for the job, and he’s just as keen about encouraging community—i.e. fellowship, solidarity, unanimity—among foxhunters as he has been throughout his business career when he focused on putting a new spin on the traditional models of sport and retirement. Golf, after all, doesn’t do it for everyone. As Chief Operating Officer of the Hot Springs Village (AR), he was instrumental in bringing about many changes, including a more conscious focus on being stewards of the land and greater awareness of the sporting elements of resort lifestyle for residents and guests. Education is a vital component of the MFHA’s agenda. Seminars, classes and district meetings are being planned for the general membership, professional development, and hunt staff. “That’s one of the things with people new to foxhunting—they’re so interested in knowledge, they want to learn as much as they can,” said Twiggs. “I have been learning so much—from working with Dennis to learn about this job, and creating new strategies to reach our existing members and attract new ones. I want to look at ways to help every foxhunter understand the basics of our studbook and how hound families make up packs. Masters and huntsmen have very specific goals for evolving their packs. The more every foxhunter knows about the hounds, the more they will enjoy the foxhunting and support and protect our sport. We need to invite people in and get them interested so they have a chance to catch the passion and the enthusiasm.” Semi-Silver Retirement With all due respect to Lt. Col. (ret) Dennis Foster, his retirement after 24 years as Executive Director and Keeper of the Stud Book really does signal the end of an era. In MFHA history, he was only the third Keeper of the Stud Book. He had a lot more to offer and evolved his job into something much bigger. He departs with many achievements to his credit. “Obviously, I’m proud of the fact that I got the Subscribing Member through, which has been huge in helping the MFHA continue its mission,” said Foster. “I’m very proud of the fact that I broke into two different power groups. One is the professionals—the huntsmen and staff—and the other is the Masters. No one did that before. I was very close to both groups and, for that reason, they’ve come to me with their problems and it’s been one of the reasons for my success.” Another accolade that made Foster very happy took place after he had been with the MFHA for a couple of years. “The Board of Directors actually voted and gave me what they call ‘universal colors’ which meant that I could wear a scarlet coat and hunt wherever I wanted and they couldn’t charge me caps,” said Foster. “But I never did wear scarlet when I hunted around. I wore a black coat with the MFHA logo brass button, the old logo from when I first started. That was a very nice thing for them to do and had never been done before. They realized that I was huntRetiring MFHA Executive Director, Dennis Foster. Jim Meads photo ing a lot—and I was. As far as I was
concerned, it was part of my job—and important. I’m the only person they ever did that for.” Foster has a complete set of the old brass or copper buttons, etched with a huntsman standing up a hound as if they’re showing, which he wears on all his hunt coats. But Foster’s retirement as Executive Director coincides with his retirement from foxhunting. He’s already out West in Big Sky country. “There are three hunts within 3 or 4 hours of my place in Montana, but I don’t really plan on doing much foxhunting. I will occasionally, but…” said Foster. “I’ve been religious about foxhunting and now I’ve got other things to do. I live in a wilderness, and I want to do some exploring. I want to work with my dogs and horses—all the things I haven’t had time to do because of this job.” He will continue to work with the MFHA on a contract basis about animal welfare. His activism is greatly appreciated along with his efforts to educate foxhunters about the link between politics and anti groups going after hunting and other animal welfare targets. “When I provide factual information about where animal rights groups spend their money—legislation, law suits they’re behind, and politicians they give money to—people ask what that has to do with foxhunting or they insist that hunting has nothing to do with politics. It has everything to do with politics,” said Foster. “We have to support other animal welfare groups that are targeted. We are too small to do it alone and together we have been successful. We live in an age where political decisions can govern our daily lives. I’m against anyone who would ban or curtail hunting.” Fond Farewell to Hugh Robards Hugh Robards has retired after 53 years in hunt service, including 27 seasons hunting the County Limerick Foxhounds in Ireland. He came to the U.S. in 1998 to help rebuild the historic Rolling Rock (PA) pack and served as Master and Huntsman. In 2009 he went to Saxonburg (PA) where he hunted hounds until 2013 when, not quite ready to retire, Robards moved to Middleburg Hunt (VA) where he spent his first year as 1st whipper-in. When Barry Magner received an offer in early May 2014 to hunt hounds in Australia, the Middleburg Masters, Jeff Blue and Penny Denegre, with mixed emotions (they wanted Magner to stay), sent the young Huntsman on his way with their blessings. They had Robards, who just happened to be a foxhunting legend, and he knew their hounds. It was a win-win situation for all concerned. “I took over a very, very good pack of hounds from young Magner and I hope that I’m leaving them in the same state as I found them,” said Robards. “I’ve had great Masters in Mr. Blue and Mrs. Denegre, and Mr. Harmon, coming in this year, has been a great assistance.” During his time with Middleburg, Robards earned Hugh Robards leads the hounds of Middleburg Hunt through affection and respect from the gates of Huntland, December 19, 2015. Joanne Maisano photo the Masters and whippers-in to subscribers of all ages. “Hugh was just wonderful and we learned a great deal from him,” said Blue. “He was very intent about showing good sport, but he also knew that people go foxhunting to enjoy themselves. Hugh made it fun for everyone in the field and he wanted them up close so they could see the hounds. Certain days I’ll never forget when he showed his expertise and the brilliance he developed throughout his long career.” “It’s just a shame that Hugh couldn’t go on forever—he is brilliant at his craft,” said Denegre. “It’s been very special to have him as Huntsman. He exudes confidence. The working relationship that our professional whip, Libby Gilbert, had with Hugh was very special. She has said ‘He’s my best friend’ and ‘How lucky for me to work with him every day.’ ” Tim Harmon stated that it was an honor to follow Robards, and added, “The most important thing was his great pride in the hounds and how much he wanted the field to see and enjoy them working. We were so lucky he wanted to share that.” The Middleburg Hunt Ball set the stage for Robards’ retirement party. According to reports, it was a great celebration for the outgoing Huntsman. He is succeeded by Richard Roberts, who spent six seasons at Piedmont Fox Hounds and the last six at Deep Run Hunt. Robards and his wife Juli decided to stay in Virginia; their new abode is in the heart of Old Dominion Hounds’ country. “I’m going to do what (former) President Obama said—sleep for two weeks, go on holiday, and write a book,” said Robards. “People keep digging at me and, yes, I might well do. I’ve got time to think. I’ve just got to get used to not getting up terribly early in the morning and working seven days a week!” New Era For Enthusiasts Hunts don’t run themselves. The Masters and Hunt Staff are hard at work to provide enthusiasts with great sport. They need everyone, all subscribers, both riding and social, and all ages right on down to juniors and young entry, to pitch in and help. Each Member Hunt is required to adhere to strict standards of hound care, kenneling, professional staff, landowner relations, and sport in order to be recognized by the MFHA whose officers oversee the 154 packs currently active in the US and Canada. Foxhunting is a cultural microcosm in this high tech world that harks back to simpler ways. Foxhunting reminds us to be responsible for the land, to protect wildlife habitats, and embrace conservation. Fresh air and exercise, the muscle tone required to ride a horse or pony, help to keep kids of all ages healthy and happy. Even if you don’t ride to hounds, there are so many ways to be a part of this amazing world. The MFHA is on a mission—you’re invited to Hark Forward and join the celebration. For more information: www.mfha.org.
IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • SPRING 2017
A Visit to Palm Beach Hunt Following Hounds in the Sunshine State By John J. Carle II, ex-MFH “You’re going hunting where?” “Palm Beach.” “They have a hunt there?” “Yes, and a good ’un, too!”
Palm Beach Huntsman Noel Ryan with hounds and Fieldmaster Robert Pelio, MFH (left).
Palm Beach Field with hounds and Huntsman Noel Ryan.
Gavin Snowhite on “Ranger.”
Pat Ries, DVM, and “Jo Jo.”
For months I’d been bombarded with that question, and by the time I’d deplaned in Florida, I was rather sick of it. I’d come to judge the Palm Beach Hunt Puppy Show and enjoy a day’s hunting as well. Knowing the abilities of Huntsman Noel Ryan, I knew I’d be pleasantly surprised. My hostess, Honorary Whipper-In Melanie Snowhite, a professional firefighter and a friend ever since her hunt with Thornton Hill behind Billy Dodson several years ago, met me at the airport; and from the first time I settled into her Mini, I was treated like royalty. Why, I don’t know, but I’ll sure take it! Her happy home adjacent to Jupiter’s extensive Riverbend Park offered a warm welcome and encouraged deep slumber, so by Friday I was feeling pretty refreshed—good thing, too, for the day was a whirlwind of delights. After meeting Melanie’s three horses and going out to breakfast, we set off to Jupiter’s Call of Africa Gallery and its collection of Mopho Gonde sculptures. Finding it closed, we set off to the kennels. We were happily greeted by Noel Ryan—unshaved, unshorn, and looking rather like a harassed porcupine—knee-deep in last-minute preparations and happy to leave the work in the capable hands of volunteer Liz Esimol while he gave me a tour. On land owned by Joint Master Bob Pelio, the facilities are well designed and practical. A large, welcoming farmhouse-turned-clubhouse (where Noel lives) fairly begs to entertain; the spacious stable is airy and comfortable, and the kennels, now that Noel has made some very necessary improvements, are more than adequate for their under-twenty-couple pack. Blessed with soothing airflow, they offer plenty of room for hounds to spread out and are easy to clean. Adjacent is a rambling grass yard, well-fenced and tree-shaded, where hounds relax most of the time. Many so-called “name” packs should have it so good! That evening we met Melanie’s fellow firefighter Rod “The Bod” Peeler and his wife Vicki aboard their boat for a cocktail cruise down the Intercoastal Waterway. What a spectacular experience, with visual delights everywhere! Some of the houses were extraordinary and the variety of boats unending, ranging from a tiny converted tug to a couple of miniatures of the QE2. After an hour’s run, we tied up at the dock of “Sea-
sons 52,” commandeered a corner of the mahogany bar, and feasted like Lucullus on seafood to die for. To cap off the evening, as we headed back to Rod’s slip in the shadow of the Jupiter Lighthouse, the full moon rose and caressed us with silver kisses. I believe that’s ’bout as close as I can expect to come to Heaven, outside the hunting field. Smart call it was to retire early, for Saturday’s start was at what the Washington Post’s Chuck Culpepper calls a “loathsome hour;” in our case, 4:45 a.m. What ensued immediately was the usual hunting-morning chaos: frantically gulp coffee; feed, water and knock off horses; back to the house to dress; and finally, load tack, horses and selves. Melanie’s 12-year-old son Gavin sleep-walked through the early stages but rallied to help with the loading. The Meet was at Quail Land State Park, where we were greeted by a congenial Park Ranger named Chris, on duty by law at every hunt here. When we pulled in to park, the moon still hung high above the trees, blessing us once more, and setting hounds to singing in their trailer. Then the rising sun, bright as a doubloon, gilded our day with promise. For reasons known to no one, the expected large Field never materialized. However, twelve dedicated foxhunters gathered to greet Noel and eleven couple of mostly crossbred hounds. Not yet as level as they will be, they are nevertheless a handsome, cheerful pack. At the Meet, I renewed acquaintances with Joint Master Scott Traphagen and his wife Patty, who whips-in, whom I’d first met when they’d trek from Pennsylvania to hunt with Billy Dodson. I also met Joint Master Bob Pelio, who proved to be a true sportsman and gracious host. I was then gifted with yet another thoughtful and unique experience: over a lifetime of hunting, I’ve followed hounds on ponies, horses, and Shank’s Mare*, but never in a horse-drawn cart. Now I have! On hand were Pat Ries, DVM, and her mare “JoJo,” hitched to an “easy-access cart”—a sulky on steroids—in which we were to follow. Pat is a charming lady with a bubbling personality, a droll sense of humor, and a perceptive wit, to which, when circumstances dictate, she can add a sharp bite of whiplash. As for “JoJo,” she is a dun breeding-stock Paint, heavy on the Quarter Horse, but the picture of a classic Connemara. A real Renaissance Mare, she drives, rides, can jump the moon, has competed in pole-bending and barrels, sorts cattle, and does a very respectable dressage test. And she’s a real lady to boot—I’m in love!
IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • SPRING 2017
Noel, having forgotten his four-fold, purloined Gavin’s stock, unloaded hounds, and soon moved off. I almost fell out of the cart in the first ten yards when the nearside wheel (my side) fell into a cavern excavated by the foragings of feral hogs. “Don’t worry,” laughed Pat, “plenty of ballast on this side!” From there on, all was smooth sailing, save for occasional white-knuckling over hog-diggings. “JoJo,” who is extremely fit, “trotted-on” much of the morning, turning barely a hair in heat that climbed like a monkey up a rope. Pat knows the area intimately, and we were always in the catbird seat. Leaving the Meet, it was instantly apparent that game had been moonlighting quite recently, and hounds excitedly acknowledged snatches of scent as they settled to work a line southeastward. In the area near Moccasin Swamp, they opened joyously and began a circling run reminiscent of gray fox chases, but which Noel said was characteristic of local bobcats. Hounds’ cry was lovely: lilting and lyrical, fairly high-pitched but anchored by the voice of “Belltrees,” as deep and sonorous as that of Luigi Labache, the celebrated basso profundo of Tolstoy’s day. Throwing their challenge ahead of them until they outran it, and it rode the waves of their wake, hounds set the pines and palmettos aglow with their music for thirty beautiful minutes, until they abruptly checked and began to mark. “Barkin’ tree,” as coon hunters say, and appropriately so, unfortunately. As they raced along in full cry, an impertinent raccoon had crossed their bows, and hounds, highly insulted, treed him with a chorus of angry invective. But theirs was mild oratory compared to that of their Huntsman! Finally, with reprimands complete and order restored, hounds were laid on the line again; but too late, for despite hounds’ Herculean efforts, the sun had well done its work, and they had to be lifted to draw another area. Pat had us in the middle of the action: surrounded by the Field, yet close enough to watch hounds’ diligence in the dense palmetto cover without interfering. Most of the Field’s horses were at ease with “JoJo” and her cart, but Celia Calhoun’s tall chestnut and Art Cirkus’s rangy bay promised all sorts of rodeo photo ops at our every appearance—promises they failed to keep, fortunately. In contrast, Gavin Snowhite’s adorable paint “Ranger” proved unflappable in all circumstances, which let his young rider handle the vagaries of the hunting field with the assurance of a grizzled veteran. Meanwhile, hounds, encouraged sparingly by voice and horn, continued their quest, enticed here and there by teasings of scent, as tantalizing and soon gone as a wicked woman. Suddenly the pack opened with an exuberant roar…and immediately split: evidently a brace was afoot, probably coyotes, Noel said, judging from the enthusiasm of “the Brothers B.” “Belltree’s” hearty chop led 2½ couple to the right, while his brother “Buckshot’s” baritone insistence led the bulk steadily to the left. Sent to intercept the smaller split, Melanie soon had the pack reunited. Working with relentless determination along an oft-broken line, hounds persevered until, at a final check, the sun robbed them of scent altogether. Casting widely, as Noel prepared to lift them, they stumbled over another ’coon, which they half-heartedly bayed before coming to the horn. Noel was disappointed in the day—the conditions and the fragmented results—and irritated at his hounds for yielding to temptation. I, on the other hand, was mightily impressed with this pack he has molded: their looks, their work ethic, their musical cry, and their immediate response to their Huntsman’s
wishes. They are a pack able to hold their own anywhere, including the rolling hills of Virginia. After all, as my mother was wont to say, “God wouldn’t have invented temptation had he not meant us to yield to it.” To top off this fun day, we tucked into a lavish and delicious old-fashioned hunt breakfast which, after only morning coffee, went down a treat. Later, a good nap restored us all. Old Friends George and Jeannie Thomas, my cojudges, arrived in the p.m., and a party of ten assembled at the restaurant “Hog-Snappers” for an epicurean extravaganza. Seafood more delicious I’ve never experienced, and I’ll wager that opinion was unanimous. We all attacked our meals with cormorant gluttony. Personally, I recommend the shrimp-crusted snapper! Thank you, Bob Pelio! Luckily, Sunday began in a most relaxed fashion, for puppy-show day evolved into a madcap marathon. As so often is the case with puppy shows, the festivities got off to a delayed start: the crowd swelled slowly, but happily reached a near-record number, filling the ringside chairs and one tree-shaded corner. With only 1½ couple of young entry, Noel had decided to showcase most of the pack by bringing them into the ring one or two couple at a time for the judges to critique. Hounds of somewhat contrasting types kept it varied: from the English stamp of Belvoir tan “Rifle” to “wooly” brothers “Nudge” and “Nuntio,” Welsh crosses, to exquisite first-year brothers “Watchman” and “Wager,” there was quality in abundance. What evolved was a lively and interesting exercise for the judges; and, from their response, an entertaining and (hopefully) enlightening experience for the audience. For sure, Jeannie, George, and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The show was concluded by a spirited puppy auction. There was only one litter to auction, but what a lovely lot they are. Next year’s show will see some tough judging. The crowd thought so as well, and their enthusiasm was electric, the bidding furiously competitive, and the final result an enormous boost for the hunt treasury. Carol Anne Hurtid-Marcy, whose plate evidently was already piled high, cheerfully volunteered for the daunting task of providing food, and an awesome job she and her minions made of it. There seemed enough food to satisfy a starving army, yet it disappeared as miraculously as if by a bit of David Copperfield legerdemain. And liquid refreshments in all shades of amber soon put the judges back on their sea legs. Then, out of the blue, I was asked to judge the hat contest. Looking around at a bevy of lovely ladies in fabulous creations, I panicked, and almost bolted for the car! However, I needn’t have been so fainthearted, for it was great fun. After considerable contemplation, it was Liz Esimol in her sporty hunting-themed chapeau who popped the champagne. Now, with high-jinx in high gear, the party rolled on, the hardcore managing to keep it lively until the wee hours. I fell into bed at 5:00 a.m.! The reality of Monday hit especially hard: time to leave Fantasy Land. Never have I enjoyed a visit more. For snowbird foxhunters looking for good sport and good times, here is where they’ll find it. The generosity and warm welcome of the masters and the members of the Palm Beach Hunt was extraordinary, as was Noel Ryan’s, afield and in kennels. And Melanie Snowhite was the most thoughtful and caring hostess ever. Garden & Gun’s Bill Heavy could have been thinking of her when he wrote, “She is one of those effortlessly warm and elegant hostesses who flourish below the Mason-Dixon Line.” As I rode her
Mini down the sand road one last time, I had this overwhelming feeling: here is a place where I could happily drop anchor! *Editor’s Note: For those whose knowledge of antiquated terms is not as extensive as the erudite Mr. Carle, “Shank’s Mare” refers to ambulation via the use of one’s own legs.
Liz Esimol and her puppy. Melanie Snowhite photo
Dr. H. Scott Traphagen, MFH. Melanie Snowhite photo
Palm Beach Huntsman Noel Ryan. Melanie Snowhite photo
IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • SPRING 2017
Tejon Hunt Week John J. Carle II, ex-MFH
It’s a mighty long way from Rappahannock County, Virginia, to Lebec, California; and from the Charlottesville airport, it takes considerable time to get there. The process entails frog-hopping all over the country, always seemingly in the wrong direction, often packed like crated chickens into ancient commuter jets, dancing the Shiggy Bop in the arms of impertinent turbulences, and pogo-sticking from gate to gate, desperate to catch the next connector flight. And always looms the questions, “Will my luggage make it?” But, with the Tejon Hunt Week on promise, all minor pains in the nether regions were well worth it. After leaving Virginia at 5:00 a.m., I finally touched down at Burbank’s friendly Bob Hope Airport at near noon, Pacific time; and—whew!—there sat my luggage! A pleasant surprise awaited my arrival: I was met by former West Hills Master-turned-team roper Mitch Jacobs, whom I’d first met many years ago when he was my apprentice judge for the New England Hound Show, held at the Myopia kennels, and with whom I’ve since shared the ring and assorted misadventures at performance trials. Our conveyance was Mitch’s pristine new Ford truck, Platinum Edition, big as a jumbo jet and packed with more bells and whistles than either of us could count. The seats can even give a massage: when Mitch threw the switch, it felt like I was in the embrace of a lovely masseuse! A Bentley thinly disguised in bib overalls, it’s lovely…but it ain’t no country boy’s truck. Mitch knows well the way to Tejon from his hunting days, and the hour’s trip up Interstate 5 was a scenic climb into the Tehachapi Mountains, where snow blanketed sheltered exposures of the highest peaks. At the Tejon Equestrian Center we were greeted by Hilary Mothershead, whose husband Tyce is Huntsman. Hilary is a whirlwind of efficiency, whose plate runneth over. She is responsible for the hunt horses and a remuda of hirelings, arranges stabling for a never-ending stream of visitors, plans and supervises a plethora of year-round equestrian events, both Western and English; and she did all the planning for Hunt Week, ensuring every detail was spot-on. Not only does she handle the intricacies of her job, she combines them with the demands of motherhood, handling everything with aplomb…and looking beautiful doing it. Tyce is one lucky young man! Uniquely, Tejon is a “corporate hunt,” a concept I’d never even imagined; and as a hidebound traditionalist, I found at first to be unpalatable. The Tejon Corporation is a huge, publicly-traded entity (something I know zilch about), and the hunt exists as an attraction to investors. As I understand it, plans are afoot for a couple of villages, clusters of what we’d consider “farmettes” in Virginia, which should appeal to equestrian-minded buyers, including hunting people. They would occupy only a miniscule share of the ranch’s 270,000 acres, but are integral to long-range planning. Furthermore, the hounds are expected to significantly contribute to the control of the huge coyote population, which represents a plague to the ranching elements, for veal is a specialty on the coyote menu. In a word, Tyce has to placate the cowboys by proving the worth of his hounds; and, despite riding in a “pancake” saddle and wearing “sissy-britches,” he’s done a remarkable job. This self-proclaimed “Iowa country boy,” who is also a good hand on a horse and a talented team roper, has been fully accepted into the closed company of cowboys. When Tyce arrived, we traveled a short way up the mountain to the kennels, and here I was in for as delightful and eye-opening experience as I’ve ever enjoyed. The Tejon pack is like no other I’ve ever seen…and I fell in love with them. Following the lead of fellow innovator, his friend Peter Wilson, Huntsman of the Grand Canyon Hounds, Tyce has added lurchers to
Jake Carle and Lynn Lloyd, MFH, with her Red Rock Hounds.
his pack. To the uninitiated, lurchers are sight hounds (a type, not a breed), first bred by gypsies and peasants in Europe and England to hunt game silently, and mostly at night, when poaching was a hanging offense. Greyhounds, deerhounds or wolfhounds were crossed with more biddable breeds such as collies, and their get pursued game silently and retrieved it for their owners. Tyce uses foxhounds crossed on Salukis, a desert-bred sighthound known for their superior heat resistance and incredible stamina. Whereas the aforementioned crosses have tremendous speed over a short distance, they are rather like cheetahs, short on stamina. These Saluki crosses can, and have, coursed coyotes for three miles or more before accounting for them. To boot, they are some of the most stunningly attractive and friendly animals I have ever encountered. I was first met by “Stevo,” a lurcher who runs loose much of the time, and he immediately came up and did the “lurcher lean” against my leg. Sweet nostalgia it was, reminiscent of the halcyon at “Newstead,” when lurchers and Border Terriers were beloved members of the family. My first visual impression of this pack was “speed and grace personified,” then awe at how level they are. And friendly—not a standoffish hound in the kennel—all overjoyed to welcome visitors, and peace-loving amongst each other. Tyce pointed out North Hills “Kid Rock” ’13, and I immediately recognized him as the Crossbred champion I’d pinned at the Southwest Hound Show four years ago. A pack leader, he still looks young and fit. There is some Potomac blood, a “woolie” (Welsh cross) with Midland roots, one Walker bitch from Red Rock, and some foxhound-cross lurchers. The most unusual member of the pack is a family pet as well: “Rip” is a Black-Mouth Cur, who looks rather like a large, very leggy yellow Lab with a heavy-jawed head and a black mouth. He is a happy dog, very affectionate, with a wry sense of humor. He runs up with the pack every day afield, and eagerly closes with any coyote. With a chore to do for next day’s hunting, Tyce asked if we’d like to go for a quick tour of the fixture; and, of course, Mitch and I fell over each other getting into the truck. The chore was to haul a trailer-mounted porta-potty, here considered a necessity for the ladies at a Meet in any country devoid of sagebrush. What the ladies do mid-run I didn’t ask! The journey involved negotiating the Grapevine Grade 3500 feet to the Central Valley. The Grapevine is infamous for the wintertime “Tulie Fogs” that suddenly and often blanket its winding passage, producing white-out conditions and, invariably, causing devastating multi-car pileups. “I did the Grapevine” is the local boast. We did it, too, but with clear sailing. The country around the Meet, which seemed to stretch forever, was almost overwhelming in its beauty. Usually brown this time of year, it was verdant as Ireland thanks to this winter’s unusual abundance of rain. Grasscovered, steeply-ridged foothills spread like an endless
array of fingers and form a vertical line of sight to the horizontal horizon of snow-capped Tehachapis beyond. Everywhere grazed sleek black cattle; and everywhere overhead, “cleaving the western sky in sturdy flight,” to quote Martin Bovey, was an omnipresence of ravens. We drove ranch roads for several miles, while Tyce explained the fauna and flora. Myriad holes are the refuge of ground squirrels of various species and sizes, and badgers are occasionally seen. Incidentally, “Tejon” means “badger.” Bobcats and cougars are not unusual, but are (unreasonably) protected by California law. Much of the greenery is filarie grass, an amazingly nourishing variety, the benefit of which was apparent from the appearance of the cattle, for they were as fat as if grain-fed. Foxtail is also everywhere abundant, but unlike Virginia’s counterpart, which is a wild barley, this variety is a deadly threat to hounds in the spring when the heads wither to brown. Seeds inhaled into the pyrothorax migrate out of the lungs into the chest cavity, causing massive infection, impacting and compressing the lungs. Infected hounds can barely breathe and won’t eat; few survive. A minor plague are “goat’s head” briars (next day, Tyce spent some post-hunt time extracting them from a few hounds’ pads), similar to what we call in Virginia “sand briars,” which, in my childhood, were “the bane of the barefoot boy.” Most everywhere, the gently rolling land was an unbroken carpet of green, but suddenly veritable “gardens” of rocks appeared. Some were aligned as straight as ancient walls, while others appeared grouped as vertical protrusions, not unlike Ireland’s “Giant’s Causeway.” In all cases, they demand circumnavigation when on horseback. While driving along, watching a marsh hawk, or harrier, plane across the landscape, Tyce announced, “There’s a coyote!” A large, reddish fellow rocketed away, aimed for a distant zip code. Trucks to coyotes mean guns, and the appearance of one sends them hightailing. A bit farther on, we disturbed another coyote feeding on a recently killed calf, and he, too, fled. As we returned to the highway, we passed a bald eagle, perched in lonely, regal splendor atop a dead tree. In retrospect, our exploratory voyage proved a bad choice, for next day, the country was woefully short of game. We returned then to Tyce’s attractive Victorian-filigreed farmhouse at the kennels, and there I had a reunion with North Hills Hunt Joint Master Monte Antisdel, whom I’d first met at Sherman Haight’s original Foxhunting Study Weekend, held at the Keswick Hunt Club, when Monte was a founding Master of the Moingona Hunt in Iowa. Although forty years have passed, our friendship rekindled immediately, and warmer than ever. It was a great pleasure to meet his new wife Diane, who is Hilary’s mother—although she herself appears barely out of her twenties—and young Finlay Mothershead, the most lovely, vivacious and articulate three-year-old imaginable. This precocious young lady and budding hunter is destined to break uncountable hearts! Monte, who is an awesome cook, and Diane had dinner ready for any and all arrivals; and they came in a continuing stream as the party blossomed. How I’ve lived all these years without Monte’s chicken taco soup, I know not; and Shari Hopkinson’s apple pie is in a class all its own! Refreshments and conversation flowed, and laughter shook the walls till time to retire. Tyce took me to my digs, a rustic and rambling “cottage” used by visiting elk, hog and bird hunters, which I shared with three guides whom I never saw and barely heard. Tejon Ranch is renowned for its trophy elk, which every year top the state’s statistics. The state record may very well have come from here, judging from the rack over the great-room fireplace, which is mind-boggling in its immensity. It looks almost prehistoric.
IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • SPRING 2017
A predawn call from Hilary had me out and about in time to join cross-street neighbors Ally and Greg Kadanyk, who were babysitting Finlay, and were to be Mitch and my guides as we truck-followed. Mitch and I left early for the Meet at Arvin, California, referred to only as “Farming,” stopping en route at the Black Bear Diner (on Tejon land) for a gargantuan breakfast. Driving to the meet, we crossed the California Aqueduct, in healthy flow from recent rain and snowmelt, as it slices across Tejon land. Farther along there were extensive orchards of almonds, pistachios and walnuts. Tejon also has vineyards, and this year first bottled and labeled its own wine. It had rained lightly overnight, and at the Meet the ground was damp, but skies had cleared. Here I met Tejon’s Master of Foxhounds, Michael Campeau. The Master must be an employee of the corporation, and Mike is Head Guide at Tejon’s High Desert Hunt Club, their bird-shooting operation. A cowboy, he rode in a stock saddle. Today was informal, with attire ranging from tweeds to jeans. There was an electric air of anticipation among the Field of 23, from whom Field Secretary Christine Hollis was busily collecting signed releases (even from us truck followers). At 8:30 a.m. the porta-potty was a popular rendezvous! John Lacy, one of California’s largest and most respected ranchers, holds the cattle lease here, primarily a cow-calf operation. Mr. Lacey is equally well known for his horses, who won the 2003 “Western Horseman” Best Remuda Award. In the adjacent pasture a cowboy on a fourwheeler and assisted by two cowdogs was busily—and very noisily—herding cattle to move to a nearby section. He seemed to prolong the process for the pure fun of it, but finally finished just before Tyce and 13½ couple of hounds moved off. Drawing the country we’d traversed yesterday, but at the lower end of the foothill “fingers,” and in a rambling, right-handed circle, hounds covered much of the available land, trying every likely nook and cranny, every tumbleweed-choked ditch and fencerow. Tyce viewed only one coyote, and he was atop a foothill ridge and bound for the high Tehachapi slopes. On an ordinary day, hounds might have been laid on his line, but with so many guests, it wasn’t practical to tackle the high country, and Wiley was awarded a free pass. Tyce hunted hard till well past noon, even trying the fringes of one large orchard en route back to the Meet. Although hounds worked meticulously, relentlessly, there had been too much activity throughout the area, and coyotes had moved out. Had game been afoot, the day’s settled conditions promised a serving scent. Oddly, the temperature sat on 56o all day until dusk. Mitch had to return to Los Angeles to attend a “Cowboy Lawyers” dinner, whatever that is. Most of us conjured up images of stuffy barristers costumed as cowboys and looking like that hapless dude clad in angora chaps featured in the “Farmers Only” television ad. Mitch was not amused! We got an early start for Sunday’s hunt, at a Meet called “Three Hundred,” again in the valley, but on land less steep, with more of a roll to it and its hills more rounded. Earlier in the week, the hunting had been cast in doubt when ranch hands had discovered a human skull, but evidently the mystery had been solved and the case closed. Lynn Lloyd was to showcase her Red Rock Walkers today, and knowing the sport the Red Rock shows, a large Field assembled. This was a formal day, with appropriate dress predominating. The only exception was towering Ken Westfall, riding in a stock saddle and resplendent in handsome chaps…but with a hard hat. Visitors from afar were Cathy Evans, an Amwell Valley (New Jersey) regular, but a Red Rock aficionado (where she’s hailed as “Gimlet”); and Martina Lucci from Vermont’s Green Mountain Hounds, here for the week. It was interesting to note that the Red Rock regulars’ horses were shod all ’round to cope with Nevada’s more rocky terrain, in contrast to those of the Tejon followers, who usually only wear front shoes; and
some go barefoot. Tyce explained that the footing here is so forgiving (save for the rockier “High Desert”) that their horses seldom have sore feet. Tyce suggested a promising draw, and Lynn moved off promptly. Lindsay Morgan, DVM, a Red Rock regular I’d met at the Virginia Hound Show, young Marc Westfall, and I purloined Tyce’s truck and fell in behind. Not 20 minutes into the hunt, Tyce viewed a brace and capped them away. Where the brace split, quick staff work got the pack united on the left-handed runner, and off they were, flying with that Walker drive, well packed up and accompanied by stirring music: a classic start. Lindsay proved to be the perfect cross-country driver, with a keen sense of where hounds were and how they might run, and the nerve of a Baja-racer (we were airborne a lot!). We managed to see and hear much of this furious chase; and when we got “throwed out” near the end, Lindsay’s radio put us right. This coyote was not short of tricks, and he made hounds work. Whoever rents this section had filled it with truckloads of Mexican cattle. Of all sizes, shapes and colors, they share one attribute: they’re wild as antelope. Just about the time Whipper-In Whitney Vaughan shouted over the radio, “The coyote is 40 yards ahead of hounds!” he ran into and with a small herd that stampeded like mustangs. They didn’t take too kindly to hounds either, and the ensuing chaos gave Old Wiley a short respite. Again the radio: “The coyote’s turned north!”; and hounds were straight away on an unfoiled line, turning up the turbos and shortening their quarry’s lead abruptly. And, as Marigold Armytage described it, “…the high screaming for blood had come into their voices.” Then, at the 2½ mile mark, they rolled him in a tiny trickle of a creek. A small, emaciated, three-legged male, his off hind leg a grotesquely deformed stump, he was plainly in the early stages of starvation. It was a righteous kill. With all on, and after a short rest, Lynn decided to call it a day, and blew for home. With no tailgate planned, we all repaired to a local Mexican restaurant. However, with no advance warning, there was only the harassed bartender and one bumbling, part-time waitress on duty, so service was painfully slow. But, oh, man! When the food finally arrived, was it ever delicious! And a steady flow of Coronas kept the party afloat. That night, I accompanied Tyce and Hilary to the home of their friends, Darren and Claudia Hagar, for a Super Bowl Party, where quite a few Hunt Week visitors swelled the ranks. With two televisions, lots to eat and drink, and partisan support for both teams, the festivities got fairly lively. Only the game’s outcome was a disappointment!
Huntsman Claire Buchy-Anderson and the Santa Ynez Valley French Hounds.
Monday morning it was the turn of the Santa Ynez Valley Hounds to strut their stuff, a pack I’ve been dying to see hunt since I judged them at the Western States Hound Show. Theirs is a pack made up of mostly French hounds of two strains, the Blanc et Noir and the Gaston-Saint Angou, with some Crossbreds thrown in for propriety’s sake. Neither Master made the trip down from Los Alamos, but Huntsman Claire Buchy-Anderson, widow of my old friend and former Tryon Huntsman, Chip Anderson, brought a pack of 14½ couple.
17 Claire is a charming, sultry French lady, whose unique specialty is the dispatching, with a sort of short-sword, any feral hogs bayed by her hounds. I was delighted to see Whipper-In Merol Liquori, who’d added greatly to that show’s ambiance, and to savor her “wel- Whipper-in Merol Liquori and the Santa come-to-CaliforYnez Valley pack of French Hounds. nia” kiss! These hounds are a striking lot: big, mostly black and white, they most closely resemble PMDs on steroids. I was particularly taken with Gaston’s mahogany eyebrows, a feature prominent on the produce of two Goodman bitches I had years ago. It had rained overnight, and predicted showers fell occasionally early on. So, although a formal day, raingear predominated. The topography for the day more closely resembled Oregon’s Palouse region, with rolling hills seeming to fold over each other in places, but with vertical bluffs cut by steep arroyos in others. After Tyce had described some features of the country likely to be encountered, Claire began drawing the nearby floodplain that embraces a small stream. Hounds went to work with Trojan industry, swinging left and right; and soon some began squeaking in anticipation. As the line freshened, their voices swelled to the crashing crescendo of a symphony orchestra plunging into Wagner, the deep French horns complimented by the soprano fluting of the Crossbreds. They rambled upstream, then turned up a very steep spot to the top of a high ridge, where the Field was briefly skylined. What they lack in speed as compared to the Walkers, these hounds make up with voice and determination. Following in Monte’s truck, we were restricted to ranch roads which, unfortunately, took us nowhere near the action. Later we learned that half a mile into the hills, hounds had bayed a pregnant feral sow. Since the ranch sells hog hunts, there was to be no sword-play today, and she was left as breeding stock. Monte then reversed field, driving deep into country where, during a previous hunt, the action had unfolded. After waiting and hearing nothing, he took a chance of maybe turning game and drove to the highest spot accessible by ranch road. Here, with stunning views all around, we were finally reunited with the pack as they hunted our way. Second flight wandered by Monte’s truck to sample the liquid refreshments from his trusty Yeti Tundra; and, with clearing skies and warming air, to shed raingear and assorted outer garments. The calm was suddenly shattered by a blood-curdling scream: Merol Liquori had viewed a coyote away, and let the world know it! Hounds and Huntsman were galvanized; but as they raced to the view they ran into six more coyotes, and all hell broke loose! Coyotes scattered, the pack split three ways, and in their efforts at reuniting, the staff must have felt rather like the Keystone Cops. But finally all were settled on one quarry, and hounds enjoyed a brief run, making what they could of most difficult conditions. With the atmosphere now warming rapidly, rising air currents carried scent aloft, outpacing the pack, until there was naught left but to blow for home. We returned to our earlier listening-post, and gradually the Field came riding back toward the Meet, everyone satisfied and smiling broadly. Sadly, the Santa Ynez contingent had a fixture to meet at home, so after enjoying a bountiful tailgate, headed northward.
18 Back at the kennels, Tyce and Hilary served up yet another delightful surprise. “Anyone want to chase some jackrabbits?” Tyce asked, and of course got a unanimous affirmative. He hunted a “mixed pack” in the extreme sense of the word: his two beagles, two pet foxhounds, one German Shepherd, one German Shorthaired Pointer, one Jack Russell, one Ellis Decker-bred “Decker Hunting Terrier,” and one pug (Lynn Lloyd’s “Pessoa”)! Jackrabbits abound here—in fact, most nights up to 15 congregate on Tyce’s irrigated lawn and keep it closely mowed—and, drawing the sagebrushcovered mountainside above the huntsman’s house, hounds had one going within five minutes. It was chaos until the “pack” was reduced to the beagles and one foxhound. Los Altos “Ranger” declined to hunt, looking evermore despondent, but for Red Rock “Deputy” (called “Big B” originally, in honor of Whipper-in Amy Lessenger’s husband), it was an epiphany. He’d been terrified of the pack and never hunted; but the moment the beagles spoke, he joined in joyously, his lovely, baritone bellchimes bouncing off the hillside. Several jacks were run, but “Deputy’s” enthusiasm had him running over Lynn Lloyd, MFH, Red Rock Hounds, the beagles and inabout to move off. terrupting each chase until, after an hour, he collapsed in the shade of Tyce’s truck—exhausted, but grinning proudly. Then the beagles settled and ran well, switching to cottontails lower on the slope. The assembled crowd had repeated views and enjoyed excellent work, until the heat rose, the beagles began to flag, and “home” was blown. Returning, Lynn Lloyd recounted an amusing incident. One day her foxhounds were in full cry on a jackrabbit when a golden eagle swooped and stole their quarry. Struggling mightily, the jack broke loose, but unfortunately landed in the middle of the pack and became hasenpfeffer! Back at the Equestrian Center, another surprise awaited: there was to be a practice team roping, with local hands bringing some green horses to school. While waiting for the roping steers to be assembled, we watched Dean Voight work an attractive Andalusian in the outdoor arena. Suddenly, above the hillside where we’d beagled, a pair of golden eagles appeared and immediately plunged after game—presumably rabbits. From our perspective, we couldn’t see whether they were successful. When the steers were ready, practice began, with Tyce heading for Dean Voight on a cute chestnut and Will Green on a grey. The green horses got a good workout, and Tyce never missed a catch, which was pretty impressive. Dinner was at “Casa Grande,” the Red Rock’s compound whenever they visit, and the ladies put on the posh: the only thing better than the food was the company. Amy Lessinger, Whitney Vaughan, and Cathy Evans form the nucleus of Lynn’s posse of pretty partiers, and their antics greatly enlivened the gathering. And, after a very convivial evening, it was only a short walk up to my lodgings. The Meet next morning was again at “Three Hundred,” where a heavy but brittle overcast was soon blown asunder by stiff southwest gusts, revealing the higher peaks wrapped in a miasma of mist. Terrell E. Paine, MFH and Western District Director, was scheduled to hunt the Santa Fe pack of English and Crossbred hounds; and another goodly crowd appeared to enjoy the privilege of following. Terry brought a small pack of only 8 couple and was ably assisted by his Kennel
IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • SPRING 2017
Terrell E. Paine, MFH, and the Santa Fe pack.
Helper and First Whip Chloe Smyth, with Honorary Whip Jeff Uhlik helping. Jeff’s wife Julie was mounted on a mountainous Amish draft horse, a blue roan she proclaimed to be “a registered American Draft.” That seems to be an increasingly popular term, but one that, as far as I can see, signifies very little. I asked Terry what his English breeding was and learned that it went back to the Duke of Beaufort’s and the College Valley. He didn’t say what his outcross was in the Crossbreds. They were fairly level in size and conformation, but had a predominance of curly sterns. As people were enjoying a stirrup cup and hounds were as yet unboxed, Tyce viewed a coyote in the near distance. With viable quarry nearby, expectations were upped a notch. However, when hounds moved off, Terry dismissed the coyote with puzzling disdain and chose to go in the opposite direction! Immediately he set off at a brisk trot, cheering and sounding his horn, which soon had hounds racing away in reckless abandon, speaking sporadically. In no time, the pack, Huntsman, and staff vanished among the folds of the landscape, leaving First Flight struggling to stay in touch. The rest of the Field scattered about, taking their own lines. Monte raced parallel along the ranch road and, two miles on, at the mouth of an Tejon Huntsman Tyce Mothershead blows for arroyo where home at the end of the day. flash-flooding had deposited a delta of rocks and debris, we intercepted hounds as they poured off the higher ridges, blown from their efforts and ready for a rest. I later asked Terry what they’d been running, and he replied, “Nothing. I do that to settle them down for serious hunting.” After a rest, hounds moved off again, and soon were specks in the distance. They appeared to have several short runs, swinging toward the distant highway and the Aqueduct; then, later, serpentining toward the Meet. Meanwhile, much of the Field paused at Monte’s truck for refreshments. Hilary was among them, on an attractive Thoroughbred x Percheron first-timer of Peter and Amanda Wilson’s, and chose not to take him on any mad dashes. He seemed very sensible and quiet and has the stamp of quality about him. When we returned to the Meet, Lynette Bowman and her cadre of industrious ladies had awaiting appropriately decorated tables laden with a lavish array of gourmet delights. Everything within reach was delicious, and I admit to gorging myself beyond any semblance of good manners. At least I wasn’t in the minority. Thank you, ladies! In rehashing the day’s sport, what appeared to some of us more charade than hunt was perhaps not, for the Santa Fe faithful seemed mightily pleased with the result. Said Whipper-in Jeff Uhlik, “They hit several lines, and ran well together. Not too fast, not too slow!” Different strokes, I guess, but if it makes people happy, that’s what hunting is meant to do. And we all did have fun.
Far too soon departure day dawned, for I was due in Florida to judge the Palm Beach Hounds’ Puppy Show. I left with a deep feeling of appreciation to Tyce and Hilary for their boundless consideration in accommodating my every wish, their warm welcome, and most of all, their genuine friendship; to Monte and Diane for their hospitality and chauffeur duty, not to mention our very special bond; to the Red Rock ladies for the spectacular camaraderie, unending laughs and hospitality (to Whitney, also, for the visual delights!), and lastly to Michael Campeau, MFH: “Thanks, Mike, for making all this possible.” And, most of all, I left with an abiding feeling of awe and admiration for Tyce Mothershead and his extraordinary pack. Not since Ben Hardaway’s earlier days has the hunting world seen hound breeders with such innovation, genius and daring as Tyce and his mentor, Peter Wilson. They have the imagination to try something radically new, and the guts to make it work. To any narrowminded detractors, all I can say is, “Wash the starch out of your collars, and open your eyes!” Tejon is the perfect illustration of the old adage, “Breed your hounds for your country and your quarry”; and in Tyce’s case, to meet, as well, the mandates of corporate dictatorship. Monte and Diane Antisdel. I’m determined—if they’ll have me—to return for some intensive hunting with these wonderful hounds. To Tyce, Hilary, and Mike: thanks, and good hunting! Postscript: I left California on a Thursday (a day off), but on Friday Red Rock, with Joint Master Angela Murray carrying the horn, faced impossible conditions: a bitterly cold, relentless gale and a constant deluge. But hounds found a coyote and hunted it hard for a solid hour. Saturday Tejon hunted and, jumping a coyote within ten minutes from a calf so freshly killed that the carcass was still warm, put on the best hunt of the week. Tyce’s good hound “Chinks” got off sharply and led the pack all day. After a three-mile circle up steep ridges and into deep valleys, their quarry turned down a long dirt road. With “Chinks” five yards behind, the bulk of the pack riding his slipstream, and Tyce in close touch, they coursed for 2½ miles to roll the livestock marauder under an oil derrick. Heading back, and within ¼ mile of the trailers, another song dog jumped up, but headed for high country. The Field retired, leaving Tyce and Hilary gathering hounds alone for a long time. On Sunday, on a hot day (65o at the Meet and rising) Red Rock and Tejon joined packs. The Red Rock hounds draw wide, the Tejon closer and more meticulously, but after 45 minutes they got better acquainted; and when they jumped a coyote, really jelled as a pack. Hunting together with mutual trust, they battled the heat for 45 minutes of runcheck-run-again action, never hard, but with unflagging determination, until scent took a permanent sabbatical. Sorry I Julie Uhlik on her “Registered missed it! American Draft.”
IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • SPRING 2017
ACROSS THE POND
A Boxing Day Meet and Hunting With Two Welsh Packs By Jim Meads In the “good old days” of foxhunting in the UK, the traditional Boxing Day meet was when hunt members donated money to the huntsman as a “thank you” for showing such “good hunting.” Sadly, this no longer takes place, but Boxing Day meets are more popular than ever, despite the “antis” (anti-hunting group), as people love to see tradition maintained. This year, I drove to the Tanatside Hunt, founded in 1754, who hunt in England and Wales, to see Huntsman Richard Evans bring his hounds to the Royal Oak Hotel in Welshpool, where he was joined by 38 horses plus thousands of supporters on foot. In charge of the mounted field was Hunt Chairman and Joint Master John Jones, while Hon. Sec. Laura Smith was elegantly riding side-saddle, another link with tradition. After a convivial meet, hounds moved off through a wall of people, who cheered themselves hoarse.
Tantatside Hunt Boxing Day 2016 The huntsman’s eye view of the huge roadside crowd.
On New Year’s Eve, the David Davies held a mounted meet at their Llandinam Kennels, built in 1905, when 30 riders and many foot followers turned out for a day’s hunting and exercise after Christmas. Huntsman Jonathon Gittoes had hounds in fine form, and they were soon in full cry on the low ground, and then later, high up on the 1500-foot Llandinam Hills. Two weeks later, the same venue was the meeting place for the Eryri Hounds, visiting from Snowdonia, some 200 miles to the north. This foot pack was formed in 1968 by Pyrs Williams whose grandson Richard has been MFH since 1987. Trails had been cleverly laid so that all followers had close-up views of these Welsh hounds in full cry before we again made for the hills for the rest of the day.
Tantatside Hunt Boxing Day 2016 Huntsman Richard Evans’ young son Archie with mom Jules.
Tantatside Hunt Boxing Day 2016 Huntsman Richard Evans leading hounds from the meet in Welshpool. David Davies Hunt New Year’s Eve, 2016 The next generation of foxhunters!
David Davies Hunt New Year’s Eve, 2016 Joint Master Eldrydd Lamp (daughter of Lord Davies) and her son Oscar leading the field.
David Davies Hunt New Year’s Eve, 2016 Huntsman Jonathon Gittoes and veteran whipper-in Neville Owen, taking hounds to draw.
IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • SPRING 2017
Horses and People to Watch Virginia Equine Alliance
Virginia Thoroughbred Association Award Winning Horses For 2016 Announced Virginia-bred champion Thoroughbred horses for 2016 have been announced, and their respective breeders will receive trophies at the annual Virginia Thoroughbred Association awards ceremony to be held trackside at Great Meadow on Friday, May 5th. The annual Virginia Gold Cup Races will be contested there the next afternoon. Horse of the Year honors will be awarded to Stellar Wind for the second consecutive year. The now 5-year-old Curlin mare only made four starts in 2016, but they were all in Grade I stakes races. The first three were highlighted by a showdown with archrival Beholder. After a runnerup finish to Beholder June 4th in Santa Anita’s Vanity Stakes, Stellar Wind turned the tables and got the upper hand in her next pair. She won by one-half length in the Clement Hirsch Stakes July 30th at Del Mar, then prevailed by a neck in a thrilling Zenyatta Stakes October 1st at Santa Anita. Since finishing fourth in the Breeders’ Cup, she has earned some welldeserved time off. Out of the Malibu Moon mare, Evening Star, Stellar Wind was bred by Peggy Augustus’s Keswick Stables and Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings LLC. She earned $540,000 in 2016 alone and has a lifetime bankroll of $1,453,200 from 12 starts. She won the Eclipse Award as Champion 3-Year-Old Filly in 2015. Valid, another million-dollar plus earner, was named Top Older Horse for the second consecutive year. The 7-year-old Medaglia d’Oro gelding raced four times last year, all in graded stakes at Gulfstream Park. His lone victory came April 2nd in the Grade 3 Skip Away Stakes. That victory followed second place finishes in the Grade 3 Hal’s Hope Stakes and Grade I Donn Handicap, and a third in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap. Valid, who was bred by Edward Evans, earned $268,070 in 2016 and has amassed $1,101,647 in his 37 career starts. The Marcus Vitali trainee is out of Grand Prayer by Grand Slam. Long On Value put an exclamation point of sorts on his selec-
tion as Champion Turf Sprinter with a close runner-up finish in the Grade I, $1 Million Al Quoz Stakes, part of the Dubai World Cup under card held March 25th. Even though that race did not factor into 2016 voting, the 6-yearold Bill Mott trainee continued a steady career path with that effort. Last year, Long On Value earned $118,270 from 7 starts, highlighted by a victory in the Lucky Coin Stakes July 25th at Saratoga. He was bred by Snow Lantern Thoroughbreds and is by Value Plus out of Long Message by Orientate. Rapid Rhythm was named Champion Female Turf Sprinter after collecting five wins in eight starts last year. The 5-year-old daughter of Successful Appeal bankrolled $153,617 from key victories in the Oakley Stakes at Laurel and the Battle of New Orleans Stakes at Fair Grounds. She kicked off 2017 with another stakes win, her third straight, in the Mardi Gras Stakes. The Mike Stidham trainee was bred by the Lazy Lane Farms, LLC. Eight-year-old Rose Brier, named Champion Turf Horse, captured four races in 2016 and finished either second or third in his other three. Earnings from the seven totaled $180,560, which helped push his career total over the $500,000 mark. Bred by William Backer and trained by Jane Cibelli, the Mizzen Mast gelding won the Bert Allen Stakes for the third straight year in addition to the Henry Clark and Edward Evans Stakes. In the 3-year-old category, Sticksstatelydude was named Champion Male while Queen Caroline took Champion Female honors. The former had an allowance win at Belmont July 15th then won the Grade 3 Discovery Stakes at Aqueduct in mid-November. Bred by the Canyon Lake Thoroughbreds, the Kiaran McLaughlin trained colt earned $243,540 in ’16. Queen Caroline won four straight beginning with a maiden special weight score at Pimlico May 21st followed by three stakes triumphs. The Blame filly crossed first in the Nellie Mae Cox, TaWee, and Indiana Grand Stakes before ending the year with an eighth in the Grade I Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes at Keeneland. She was bred by the
Lime House Louis captures the $60,000 Jamestown Stakes at Laurel on September 24th. Photo courtesy of Jim McCue
Morgan’s Ford Farm and is owned by Virginia based Amy Moore. Lime House Louie and Taleoftheprincess were named Champion 2-year-old male and female horses respectively. The former captured a maiden special weight race at Charles Town July 23rd then won the Jamestown Stakes at Laurel in September. He has been off since October. The latter, a Tale of the Cat filly, collected a maiden claiming win at Keeneland and an allowance optional claiming triumph at Fair Grounds November 27th. Lime House Louie was bred by Carlos S.E. Moore and Gillian GordonMoore and is out of Mystic Boy by Housebuster. Taleoftheprincess was bred by the William Backer Revocable Trust and is out of the Waquoit mare, Frost Princess. A Special Achievement Award will be presented to Tough Weather, a 6 year old Wiseman’s Ferry mare who won eight races in 2016. She amassed 13 “in the money” finishes from 15 starts and bankrolled $119,989 last year. The wins came from three different tracks—Delaware Park (3), Penn National (3), and Laurel (2). Tough Weather was bred by Sam English II and is trained by Scott Lake. Additional awards will be presented at the May 5th gathering. For a complete list and recap, visit www.vabred.org or www.virginiahorseracing.com.
Rapid Rhythm won the 2016 Oakley Stakes September 24th at Laurel. Photo courtesy of Jim McCue
Rose Brier won the Bert Allen Stakes in 2016 for the third straight year. Photo courtesy of Jim McCue
Stellar Wind holds off Beholder to capture the Grade I Zenyatta Stakes at Santa Anita October 1st. Photo courtesy of Benoit Photography
Calendar of Events
Other Springtime Happenings: Bull Run Hunt Camping Weekend Trail Ride
Hunt Trail Rides: All the hunts will be hosting trail rides throughout the Friday, April 28 – Sunday, April 30. www.bullrunhuntclub.com 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: For contact information and more details, go to www.centralentryoffice.com.
Spring Races, Virginia: Sunday, April 16: Loudoun Hunt Point-to-Point Saturday, April 22: Middleburg Spring Races Sunday, April 23: Blue Ridge Hunt Point-to-Point Saturday, April 29: Foxfield Spring Races, Charlottesville Sunday, April 30: Middleburg Hunt Point-to-Point Saturday, May 6: Virginia Gold Cup Races
Spring Races, Maryland: Saturday, April 15: My Lady’s Manor Races Sunday, April 16: Fair Hill Point-to-Point Races Saturday, April 22: Grand National Steeplechase Saturday, April 29: The Maryland Hunt Cup Sunday, April 30: Maryland Junior Hunt Cup Saturday, May 6: Howard County Cup Races Sunday, May 21: Potomac Hunt Races
Hunter Pace Events: Saturday, April 15: Rappahannock Hunt Saturday, April 22: Warrenton Hunt Saturday, April 29: Loudoun Fairfax Hunt
Museum of Hounds & Hunting North America Huntsmen’s Room Induction, Saturday, May 27, 4:00 pm Members Reception: Saturday, May 27, 5:00 pm The Mansion, Morven Park, Leesburg Open to current members and members’ guests. www.mhhna.org Virginia Foxhound Club Cocktail Party and Dinner, May 27, 6:00 pm Horning Blowing Contest, 7:00 pm www.virginiafoxhoundclub.org Hunt Country Stable Tour Saturday, May 27 & Sunday, May 28 www.trinityupperville.org/Hunt-Country-Stable-Tour/ Virginia Hound Show Sunday, May 28, 8:00 am Morven Park, Leesburg email@example.com Museum of Hounds & Hunting North America Sunday, May 28, 11:00 The Mansion, Morven Park, Leesburg. Current exhibits open to the public. www.mhhna.org Hound Shows The full schedule of hound shows: www.mfha.org/hounds-showsched.html. Upperville Colt & Horse Show Monday, June 5 – Sunday, June 11. www.upperville.com
Save the Date! Dehner Days at Horse Country, April 25 & 26 Jeff Ketzler of Dehner Boot Company will be at Horse Country Saddlery, Warrenton, Virginia, to measure custom riding boots Tuesday & Wednesday, April 25 and 26. Appointments are necessary. Please call Horse Country Saddlery to schedule an appointment. 800-882-4868.
F.T. “Tommy” Clark, MFH, James River Hunt, Surry, Virginia, recently Middleburg Hunt hosted the October 3, 2016 qualifier from Goodstone Inn. celebrated his 90th birthday. Clark Master Penny Denegre (front, right) with Judge Snowden Clarke, led the field of has been a member of the Hunt since 60 plus entries. Liz Callar photo 1955 and has served as Master for over 25 years. He is shown here Theodora A. Randolph Field Hunter Championship aboard his trusted horse Flash at last Save the Dates: October 9-14, 2017 November’s Blessing of the Hounds Entries are already coming in for the 2017 Theodora A. Randolph Field Hunter held at historic Bacon’s Castle in Championship. Scheduled for October 9-14, 2017 in Northern Virginia, the week Surry. Deb Kerns-Anderson photo features four days of hunting with Middleburg Hunt, Old Dominion Hounds, Loudoun Fairfax Hunt, and Piedmont Fox Hounds, punctuated by evening social events. Horses and riders will be judged by an illustrious panel of eminent foxhunters during each hunting day. Qualifying finalists are announced at the conHorse Blanket TO GET YOUR clusion of each meet and those horse and rider combinations then gather on AD IN THE Cleaning & Repair Saturday morning at Glenwood Park to contest a mock hunt and individual test. NEXT ISSUE, Awards are divided into two categories: horses ridden by their owners and horses CALL ridden by someone other than their owners. Championship and placings are Brenda Milne HORSE awarded in each section. Additional awards also include recognition for Best (540) 937-2099 Turned Out, Most Suitable Horse/Rider Pair, and a Sportsmanship Award. COUNTRY Cel. (703) 609-7200 Registration for the 2017 competition is $300. The field is limited to 60 (540) 347-3141 contestants. 18691 Springs Road Entry forms and information are available from the Virginia Fall Jeffersonton, VA 22724 Races website: www.VAFallRaces.com.
Mrs. Vicki Crawford, MFH, Potomac Hunt. Pat Michaels photo
Potomac Hunt & Farmington Hunt Joint Meet, March 4, 2017 Hidden Fox Farm, Albemarle County, Virginia
Potomac Hunt took their hounds to Hidden Fox Farm in Farmington Hunt Club’s Albemarle County territory on March 4th, 2017. (l-r) Farmington Huntsman Matthew Cook, FHC Whipper-in Carolyn Chapman, PH Huntsman Brian Kiely, PH Whipper-in Catherine Hanagan, FHC Whipper-in Deborah Wray. Larry Schaudies photo
Farmington Hunt’s Jeanette Fellows, riding Elizabeth McGovern Brann’s “Burrito,” takes a coop as her sister Taylor prepares to follow on Trina Player’s “Hank.” Pat Michaels photo
Green Spring Valley Hounds Closing Meet, March 30, 2017, The Kennels, Westminster, Maryland Karen Kandra Wenzel Photos
Larry Pitts (left), now retired after 30+ years as Potomac’s Huntsman, gives the fistbump salute to current huntsman Brian Kiely. Larry traveled up from his home in Bedford, Virginia, to join in on the day’s sport and hunt with his daughter Laura who serves as an Honorary Whipper-in for Potomac. Pat Michaels photo
Green Spring Valley Hounds await the signal to begin the season’s final hunt. Green Spring Valley Joint-Masters Sheila Jackson Brown and Franklin Whit Foster.
Blue Ridge Hunt Lilia Abeles Sharp with Blue Ridge Hunt on Junior Day from Farnley, February 18, 2017. Joanne Maisano photo
Green Spring Valley Huntsman Sam Clifton moves off with hounds.
The Official Publication of the Virginia Steeplechase Association