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VOLUME XXVII / NUMBER 1 • THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE VIRGINIA STEEPLECHASE ASSOCIATION • WINTER 2015


HUNT MEETS Snickersville Hounds (Virginia) and Elkridge-Harford Hunt (Maryland) Joint Meet from Snickersville MFH Gregg Ryan’s Creekside Farm, Middleburg, Virginia, December 21, 2014. Douglas Lees photos

Gregg Ryan, MFH, Snickersville Hounds, and Liz McKnight, ex-MFH, Elkridge-Harford Hunt.

Chloe Hannum, Elkridge-Harford Hunt.

Tad Zimmerman, MFH, (on the gray) leads the Piedmont Fox Hounds field along Delaplane Grade Road, near Upperville, December 18, 2014. Immediately behind the master are (l-r) Milton Sender (sunglasses), Michele Rouse (head turned), and Peter Walsh (miraculously recovered from a horrific crash last season, demonstrating how nicely his horse goes on a loose rein).

Teddy Davies, Elkridge-Harford Hunt, a likely future Hunt Cup rider. Blythe Miller Davies, Elkridge-Harford Hunt, winner of the 2011 Maryland Hunt Cup, follows her son Teddy over a wall. (Teddy, having already taken his bay pony over the wall, came to the aid of another young rider and showed the way over on the gray pony.)

Joe Davies, Elkridge-Harford Hunt, three-time winner of the Maryland Hunt Cup.

Eva Smithwick, Jt-MFH and Huntsman, Snickersville Hounds.


IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • WINTER 2015

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HUNT MEETS

Warrenton Hunt – Old Dominion Hounds Joint Meet, December 13, 2014, Alanthus Gate, Brandy Station, Virginia. (l-r) Ross Salter, Old Dominion Hounds Huntsman, and Matt Vanderwoude, Warrenton Hunt Huntsman, moving off from the meet. Douglas Lees photo

Orange County Hounds, December 20, 2014: Huntsman Reg Spreadborough moves off with hounds from The Covert. Douglas Lees photo

Viviane Warren hunting with Orange County Hounds, December 20, 2014 from The Covert. Douglas Lees photo

Orange County Hounds, Neil Morris, MFH. A dedicated master, no matter the weather. Richard Clay photo

Piedmont Fox Hounds, January 1, 2015, Blue Ridge Farm Professional Whipper-in Neil Amatt, serving as acting Huntsman, encourages hounds at Oakley as hounds were on a fox. Douglas Lees photo

Orange County Hounds Huntsman Reg Spreadborough appears to be expressing his opinion of the sudden change in the weather. Richard Clay photo

Orange County Hounds, Locust Hill, January 21, 2015. The morning began clear, but snow moved in before the hunting day was done. (l-r) Karen Carlson Russell, Whipper-in; Huntsman Reg Spreadborough; Whippers-in Natalie Wales and Fiona Anderson. Richard Clay photo


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IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • WINTER 2015

SPORTING LIFE HIGHLIGHTS Rose Tree Hunt Blessing of the Hounds New Park, Pennsylvania, November 1, 2014. • Eric Schneider photos

Museum of Hounds & Hunting NA Inducts Three Barclay, Haight, and White to be Honored in Huntsmen’s Room On May 23, 2014, the Museum of Hounds and Hunting of North America will hold a ceremony to induct three preeminent North American huntsmen to the Huntsmen’s Room: John White, Huntsman, Brandywine Hounds, Pa.; Sherman P. Haight, Jr., ex-MFH and Huntsman, Litchfield County Hounds, Conn.; Andrew Barclay, Huntsman, Green Spring Valley Hounds, Md. The ceremony will take place at 3:30 pm at the front portico of the Mansion at Morven Park, Leesburg, Va. The public is invited to attend the ceremony. Attendees may join the Museum, tour the exhibits and the Huntsmen’s Room at 5:00 pm that same day. Members and guests may attend the Museum’s annual members reception. The three inductees join 35 distinguished huntsmen who have been recognized for their immense contributions to the sport, from its earliest days to the present.

Deep Run Hunt A toast to the new season. (l-r) Mr. Mervin “Bud” Thomas; Mr. Michael Shupp, MFH; Pastor James Schuler; Mr. Justin Shupp, Huntsman; Dr. Edward Franco; and Dr. Drew Stoken.

Deep Run Hunt joint meet with Bull Run Hunt from Arrowpoint, Woodberry Forest, Virginia, November 29, 2014. Professional Whippers-in Ashley Mozingo (scarlet) Deep Run; Boo Montgomery, Bull Run. Bill Sigafoos photo Justin Shupp, Huntsman.

Side Saddle Chase at Loudoun Hunt Point-to-Point Two Middleburg side saddle riders, Maggie Johnston and Devon Zebrovious, have organized the Esther Everhart Memorial Invitational Side Saddle Chase to bring a part of point-to-point horse racing back to its traditional roots. The race will be held as part of the Loudoun Hunt Point-to-Point at Oatlands, Leesburg, Virginia, on April Alva Gimbel jumping side saddle, c. 1930-1935. Photo courtesy of Greenwich Time. 12 and is open to women, men, and juniors riding aside on horses or ponies. For more information: maggiejohnston@gmail.com or devon.zebrovious@gmail.com.

ON THE COVER: Tori Colvin, riding Dr. Betsee Parker’s Patrick, winner of the Maclay Finals, National Horse Show, Lexington, Kentucky, 2014. See story beginning on page 6.

COVER PHOTOGRAPHER Shawn McMillen Photography PHOTOGRAPHERS: Liz Callar www.lizcallar.com John J. Carle II, ex-MFH Richard Clay www.richardclayphotography.com Ken Graham Austin Kaseman www.austinkaseman.com Isabel Kurek Douglas Lees Shawn McMillen Photography Jim Meads Middleburg Photo www.middleburgphoto.com Emily Riden/Phelps Media Group Eric Schneider Tony Shore www.tonyshoresportingart.com Bill Sigafoos www.wlsphoto.com Rebecca Walton/Phelps Media Group

Deep Run Hunt joint meet with Bull Run Hunt from Arrowpoint, Woodberry Forest, Virginia, November 29, 2014. (l-r) Professional Huntsmen Richard Roberts, Deep Run; Charles Montgomery, Bull Run. Bill Sigafoos photo

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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 Spring issue is March 15. Payment in full due with copy. Publisher: Marion Maggiolo Managing Editor: J. Harris Anderson Advertising: Kim Gray (540) 347-3141, (800) 882-4868, Email: hckimbtc@aol.com Contributors: Aga; John J. Carle II, ex-MFH; Lauren Giannini; Jim Meads; Will O’Keefe; Virginia Thoroughbred Association; Jenny Young LAYOUT & DESIGN: Kate Houchin Copyright © 2015 In & Around Horse Country®. All Rights Reserved. Volume XXVII, No.1 POSTMASTER: CHANGE SERVICE REQUESTED


IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • WINTER 2015

Upcoming Events In & Around Horse Country Spring will be here soon (we hope!). Hunter paces and point-to-points, hound shows, informative presentations, museum displays – lots to do! Here’s a list: Hunter Pace Events and Spring Races: For contact information and more details on the Hunter Pace Events and Spring Races, go to www.centralentryoffice.com. Hunter Pace Events: Sunday, February 15: Casanova Hunt Sunday, March 1: Thornton Hill Fort Valley Hounds Sunday, March 8: Blue Ridge Hunt Sunday, March 15: Warrenton Hunt Saturday, March 21: Piedmont Fox Hounds Saturday, March 28: Orange County Hounds Sunday, April 5: Old Dominion Hounds Saturday, April 11: Bull Run Hunt “Fun Hunter Pace” Saturday, April 18: Rappahannock Hunt Saturday, April 25: Loudoun Fairfax Hunt Spring Races, Virginia: Saturday, February 28: Thornton Hill Fort Valley Hounds Point-to-Point Saturday, March 7: Blue Ridge Hunt Point-to-Point Saturday, March 14: Warrenton Hunt Point-to-Point Saturday, March 21: Piedmont Fox Hounds Point-to-Point Sunday, March 22: Bull Run Hunt “Fun Races” & Family Fun Day Sunday, March 29: Orange County Hounds Point-to-Point Saturday, April 4: Old Dominion Hounds Point-to-Point Sunday, April 12: Loudoun Hunt Point-to-Point Saturday, April 18: Middleburg Spring Races Saturday, April 25: Foxfield Spring Races, Charlottesville Sunday, April 26: Middleburg Hunt Point-to-Point Saturday, May 2: Virginia Gold Cup Races Spring Races, Maryland: Saturday, March 28: Green Spring Valley Point-to-Point Saturday, April 4: Elkridge-Harford Hunt Point-to-Point Saturday, April 11: My Lady’s Manor Races Saturday, April 18: Grand National Steeplechase Saturday, April 25: The Maryland Hunt Cup Sunday, May 17: Potomac Hunt Races Bull Run Hunt March Madness Hunt Week Monday, March 22 – Saturday, March 28 www.bullrunhuntclub.com National Sporting Library Saturday, February 21, 2015, Conversations with Daniels Fellows, 2 pm Elizabeth Tobey, editor and translator discusses the publication of Frederico Grisone’s The Rules of Riding: An English Edited Translation of the First Ren-aissance Treatise on Classical Horsemanship. www.nsl.org Mosby Heritage Area Association Eventing Panel Discussion February 15, 2015 at 1pm, Foxcroft School This annual gathering focuses on the history of and the current trends in equine sports. www.mosbyheritagearea.org Museum of Hounds & Hunting North America Members Reception Saturday, May 23, 5 pm, The Mansion, Morven Park, Leesburg Open to current members and members’ guests. www.mhhna.org Virginia Foxhound Club Cocktail Party and Dinner Saturday, May 23, 6 pm, Horning Blowing Contest, 7 pm. www.virginiafoxhoundclub.org Hunt Country Stable Tour May 23-24 www.trinityupperville.org/Hunt-Country-Stable-Tour/ Virginia Hound Show Sunday, May 24, 8 am, Morven Park, Leesburg rferrer@patricioenterprises.com Museum of Hounds & Hunting North America Sunday, May 24, 11 am, The Mansion, Morven Park, Leesburg Current exhibits open to the public. www.mhhna.org Hound Shows For a full schedule of hound shows: www.mfha.org/hounds-showsched.html. Upperville Colt & Horse Show Monday, June 1 – Sunday, June 7. www.upperville.com

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REMEMBRANCE Ken Graham photo

Peter Hitchen, MFH 1938-2015 Peter Hitchen, joint master of Maryland’s Potomac Hunt since 1987, passed away on January 12. His death, at the age of 76, resulted from complications related to injuries suffered while foxhunting on December 11. Born in New Moston, a suburb of Manchester, England, Hitchen’s boyhood experiences included the German bombing of this industrial city during World War II. The family was evacuated to Cheshire and after the war Peter went to work on the three family farms located in that area. He developed a deep appreciation early in life for the rural countryside and the importance of land stewardship. To fulfill the requirement for a minimum of two years National Service, Hitchen enlisted in the British Army in 1956. He signed on for an additional three years, which entitled him to overseas duty. Rising to the rank of Full Bombardier and charged with managing the Royal Artillery’s Signal Corp, he saw service in Malaysia and Hong Kong. In 1962, following his discharge, he moved to the US where he settled in the Washington, DC, area. He paid his way through Ben Franklin University, where he earned a degree in accounting, by working nights at Clyde’s, a popular restaurant and bar in DC’s Georgetown section. It was during this time that he met his future bride, Nancy Tilton Orme of Leesburg, Virginia. An avid foxhunter and member of Loudoun Hunt, she introduced Peter to the sport. It became his lifelong passion. The couple married in 1965 and had three children: Hilary, Peter, and Brad. The marriage ended in divorce, as did a second marriage to Janet Goldberg Holloway (whose photographs have enlivened the pages of this publication since its inception.) Anne Ragland Finney was Peter’s devoted companion for the last 15 years of his life. In 1971 Peter’s credentials as a CPA led to a job offer from the Francis O. Day Company, a Maryland-based paving and excavating contractor. He rose to become Vice President and Chief Comptroller. He retired in 2007 after 35 years of service. Once infected with the foxhunting bug, Peter immersed himself in that world. He served for many years as a whipper-in for New Market–Middletown Valley Hounds and then for the Potomac Hunt. In 1987 he joined Irvin L. (Skip) Crawford as joint master at Potomac. With Huntsman Larry Pitts, the threesome developed what many consider to be among the premier packs of American foxhounds in the United States. Anyone who has hunted behind Peter, Skip, and Larry—and certainly those who have competed against them on the boards at hound shows—would agree with that sentiment. Peter also was instrumental in organizing and running the Potomac Hunt Races, held every year in May. He enjoyed his own success as an owner of steeplechasers, among them Daily Desire. Thanks to that horse’s performance, Peter was named the 1991 Maryland Steeplechase Owner of the Year. His role in the racing world also included service as treasurer for the Maryland Steeplechase Association. Memorial donations in Peter Hitchen’s memory may be made to The Potomac Hunt Club, 21315 Peach Tree Road, Dickerson, MD 20842.


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IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • WINTER 2015

HOUNDS It’s All About the Hounds

Orange County Hounds, Kinloch, December 15, 2014. Bull Run Hunt, joint meet with Rappahannock Hunt, Arrowpoint, December 13, 2014.

Richard Clay photo

Elkridge-Harford Hunt, Monkton, Maryland, Boxing Day, December 26, 2014. Tony Shore photo

Liz Callar photo

Piedmont Fox Hounds, Kirkby, November 25, 2014. Richard Clay photo

Middleburg Hunt, Foxcroft, November 22, 2014. Middleburg Photo

Loudoun Fairfax Hunt, Blessing of the Hounds at Farmers Delight, December 14, 2014. Austin Kaseman photo

Deep Run Hunt, Sabot Hill, Thanksgiving Day, November 27, 2014. Bill Sigafoos photo

Piedmont Fox Hounds, Kirkby, November 25, 2014. Richard Clay photo

Piedmont Fox Hounds, Kirkby, November 25, 2014. Richard Clay photo

Orange County Hounds, Hillmount, November 29, 2014. Richard Clay photo

Orange County Hounds, High Meadow, December 1, 2014. Richard Clay photo


IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • WINTER 2015

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HUNT MEETS

Piedmont Fox Hounds professional Whipper-in Neil Amatt, serving as acting Huntsman while Spencer Allen was out of action following a bicycling accident, blows “Gone to Ground”. Liz Callar photo

Huntsman Hugh Robards blows “Gone to Ground”. Middleburg Photo

Betty Oare hunting with Warrenton Hunt, December 27, 2014, from The Kennels at Elway Farm, Warrenton, Virginia. Liz Callar photo

Amy Brown. Middleburg Photo

George Kuk, filling in for injured first field leader Penny Denegre, MFH, moves off from Robert Mihlbaugh and Rachel Harshman’s Tarleton, Middleburg, Virginia, December 27, 2014. Middleburg Photo Dr. Csaba Magassy. Liz Callar photo

Lana Parvizian and Leonard Proctor.

Rose Marie Bogley and Joe Fargis.

Liz Callar photo

Liz Callar photo

Thornton Hill Fort Valley Hounds at Larry Levy’s The Hill, Culpeper, Virginia, January 26, 2015. Billy Dodson, Huntsman. Liz Callar photo

George Kingsley over a coop in fine style. George and others have been filling in as first field leaders while Penny Denegre, MFH, recovers from an ankle injury suffered early in the season. Middleburg Photo

Professional horsewoman Mo Baptiste over a Piedmont coop. Liz Callar photo

Warrenton Hunt from The Kennels, Elway Farm, Warrenton, Virginia, December 27, 2014. Huntsman Matt Vanderwoude. Liz Callar photo


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IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • WINTER 2015

PERSONALITIES

Dr. Betsee Parker:

Patron of the (Show Hunter) Arts & More By Lauren R. Giannini Lifelong equestrian Dr. Betsee gram and adhering to it. She Parker has earned the distinction of matches riders to the horses, which being the most successful owner in is easier said than done. That Tosh, the annals of Show Hunter history. Stewart, and Colvin are similar, In 2014’s last two AA-circuit Inyet very different, contributes to door shows, her horses and ponies why Parker’s team concept works. earned five championships at Success boils down to dedication, Washington International in the commitment, and effort, as well as heart of DC and reprised that feat being able to get along with the the following week in Kentucky other people on the team. when her hunters won five titles at “Your team’s got to have chemthe National Horse Show and, in istry,” said Parker. “You have to the process, retired five major troweed your team of people that are phies. She broke the show hunter not giving 110%, which is not easy record at Devon in 2012 with six to do. Sometimes the ones that major hunter championships and give even more than anyone else The stable yard at Dr. Betsee Parker’s Huntland, Middleburg, Virginia. Richard Clay photo one reserve championship and then aren’t the right combination. Peotopped that feat the next week at ple have to work together and get Upperville with seven major championships and winning the Hunter Derby. along. You have to believe in your team and commit to it—George Morris will tell “I do say a lot of prayers,” said Parker, an ordained Episcopal priest who you that. The best of all that I have is because of George and my training with him served in England, Kenya, and the USA for many years. and his students as a junior and as a young adult. If I didn’t have that, I don’t Most of all, she does a lot of homework when it comes to her show hunters think I would understand why I couldn’t solve certain problems or why things as well as for her other enthusiasms, which include philanthropy, conservation, weren’t coming together for me in a certain way. George was always able to anhistorical preservation, and faith. She and her husband, Irwin Uran (who passed alyze the tiniest problem and split hairs on it and get it addressed.” away in 2007), happened to be living in New York City when 9/11 took place. Parker spent two years at Ground Zero, working with the International Red Cross as a pathologist for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of New York City. She was head of a team of more than 70 workers. She was a constant presence at the morgue site and at the collapsed South Tower in Ground Zero, and examined victims’ remains, including recording their DNA to expedite identification. Her work in the aftermath of 9/11 was rewarded with two Honorary Doctorates in the Humanities and Medicine. For the past 10 years, Parker has enjoyed building her AA-team of horses, ponies, trainers, riders, and grooms. The Indoor champions at Washington in 2014 were: A Million Reasons, Grand Green Hunter Champion, 2nd Year Green Hunter Champion; Canadian Blue, Small Junior Hunter Champion; All My Love, Large Pony Hunter Champion; Inclusive, Grand Junior Hunter Champion, Large Junior Hunter Champion; and Lucador, Green Conformation Hunter Champion. At the 2014 National Horse Show, Parker’s title earners included: A Million Reasons, 2nd Year Green Hunter Champion; Casanova, 1st Year Green Hunter Champion; Cold Harbor, Regular Conformation Hunter Champion; Lucador, Grand Champion Overall, Green Conformation Hunter Champion (he won all five classes); and Ovation, Grand Champion Junior Hunter, Small Junior (16-17) Hunter Champion. Plus, Cold Harbor retired the Eleanora Sears Trophy and Inclusive retired the Whiskey Before Breakfast Trophy. “Even the owners I admire the most—Theo Randolph, Eleanor Sears, Sallie Wheeler, Liz Whitney, Mary S. Braga, Jane Forbes Clark — these tremendous owners from the past in our sport had never done this in the show ring hunters,” said Parker. “It was not intentional on my part. It happened, because we’re diligent and we do the best we can each time we go in. We don’t plan ahead that we want to do x, y, and z, because you never can tell with these four-leggeds. They don’t know a 4-H show from a National Final, so I don’t ever guess that I’m going to be champion or get anything whatsoever. We simply enter the ring prepared. It’s all about teamwork, preparation, and focus.”

No “I” In Team “What makes a successful owner is your team,” said Parker. “I have three distinct teams. Scott Stewart has my pony hunters and High Performance Working and Green Hunters. Hunt Tosh is my young emerging professional rider whom I sponsor with my friend Douglas Wheeler. And he has High Performance, Regular Conformation Hunters, and my Green Working Hunters. I also sponsor Rising Junior Tori Colvin, who is transitioning from Juniors next year into a big professional career. These riders are all similar and yet all different.” Parker pointed out the importance of having total commitment to your pro-

Dr. Betsee Parker. Liz Callar photo


IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • WINTER 2015

Parker is a thinking horseman and articulate, intelligent, reserved, albeit with a good sense of humor. She is pleased about her equestrian triumphs, yet quite humble, donating all prize money to such charities as Danny and Ron’s Rescue for dogs. She maintains her cool by following the teachings of her favorite trainer. “George Morris always taught us that nothing is ever helped by going berserk, but a lot of things are helped by being a cool reactor,” recalled Parker, who prefers calm types to excitable, nervous people, on the ground and in the saddle. “Give me someone with desire and intellectualism, who is willing to work and be part of the team, and I’ll give you a good rider. That matters more than what body type they are or how naturally athletic they may be.”

Know Thy Divisions Parker takes showing seriously. She uses her intellect to apply an academic approach and studies every aspect of each division, because, she says, “each one asks different questions.” She studies the horses as well. Her efforts help to reduce the difficulty of finding the equine most suited to be competitive in a particular division. “If all you did was spend a lot of money on horses, which a lot of people do, it doesn’t mean that you would pick the individual that has the best suspension or animation or compression of stride or bascule [arc in their spine over a fence] or proper snap [tight knees over a fence]—you aren’t guaranteed any of those things,” said Parker. “You have to train your eye to find that particular horse. People see me at ringside when I have no one competing. I am watching the division, paying attention, working my eye, and I’ve always done this. If you don’t continue to work your eye, your eye will not stay fast and accurate to interpret what you’re seeing, and you become a lazy horseman.” When it comes to setting the facts straight, Parker shoots from the hip. “No matter what kind of money you have to spend on these four-leggeds, if you don’t do your homework, it’s not going to happen,” Parker said. “People say, well, who couldn’t win on Betsee Parker’s horses?—that just isn’t the case! All of my horses are complicated. They have to be ridden, and you’ve got to get them around the course. If your skill and talents aren’t up to it, they’re not going to be all they can be. I have put lesser talent on some of my horses and seen what that leads to—it leads to nothingness. It leads to a mismanaged career for a horse. You have to be very careful that you put the rider and horse together properly. We do our homework. It’s all hard work. It’s not easy.”

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A Few Insights About Show Hunters “It isn’t easy to win championships in Small Pony Hunters. The riders are on the same horsemanship level more so in the smalls than they are in any other division. They’re beginners, they make beginner mistakes, they’re very young,” said Parker. “Their reflexes aren’t completely developed for the sport and they don’t really comprehend the abstractions they need to ride a course properly. Also, you have a very clever small animal that often learns one-third faster than horses. You have to put the green but clever pony and inexperienced rider together—that’s never a good combination. Talent starts to solve out in the medium and large ponies.” Colvin was only 8, catch-riding ponies in Wellington, when she caught Parker’s eye. “Tori has been showing for me ever since,” said Parker. “She is very gifted and has a mind and temperament just like her father, Jim Colvin. He’s very soft-spoken, an observer, a cool reactor. That’s what Tori is and, like her father, she has a very calm presence and stays very quiet if things go wrong. Tori is such a good sport. She never says anything negative about her horses or trainers or competitors. That’s the kind of rider I can work with best. That’s how I picked little 10-year-old Sophie Gochman to ride my small ponies when I no longer had a rider for them. Sophie is very studious and quiet. She’s a cool reactor, too. I could see a pattern emerging with Sophie’s very great desire to learn and apply knowledge.” Junior Hunters, on the other hand, are where young riders start to come into their own. “You have to have a strong, athletic horse that can jump 3-foot-6 with a proper bascule,” said Parker. “You don’t really want that strong, powerful, arcing jump in equitation and medal divisions, but when you get into Junior Hunters on the AA-circuit, your riding is getting quite sophisticated. “Another division that’s tough to call is the Regular Conformation Hunters [four-foot] and I’ve had a very good track record there,” continued Parker. “It’s tough, because the judges ask different questions. How long has the horse been showing in this division? How much of a Barbie doll is it? They want a new face—it is like the catwalk, they don’t want to keep the same horse winning in the Regular conformation division. You have to really move through that division and take your accolades quickly when you can, because horses don’t remain ‘hot’ in the judges’ eyes for long. Continued

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IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • WINTER 2015

Tori Colvin and Patrick, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker, on course to win Tori’s first national equitation title at the 2014 ASPCA Maclay Final at the National Horse Show.

Tori Colvin won the 2014 ASPCA Maclay Finals at the National Horse Show, riding Patrick, owned by her sponsor, Dr. Betsee Parker, alongside the Heritage Farm team – Patricia Griffin, owner and head trainer Andre Dignelli, and Brady Mitchell. Tori’s parents, Jim and Brigid Colvin, are at Patrick’s head. Rebecca Walton/Phelps Media Group photo

Shawn McMillen photo

“What I have found is that you have to be prepared to answer the questions that every class demands of you in order to win,” summed up Parker. “That’s why I have three distinct teams.”

The Best Of The Best Parker has built an all-star roster of talent, equine and human. She relies on two professionals and one junior to show all of her hunters. Stewart partnered with Lucador and A Million Reasons and their championships at the National last November contributed to him earning his 8th Leading Professional Rider title. “I can’t say enough about Scott—he’s unique and in a category of his own,” said Parker. “He is an analytical trainer who studies his sport hard at every level, reads and trains intensely. He doesn’t miss a stitch. He knows something about every horse out there—not just the ones he’s riding. Scott is the winningest hunter rider our sport has ever had—he has gone way past Rodney Jenkins, Charlie Weaver, Patty Heukeroth, or Cappy Smith. I think it was fortuitous that Scott trained Tori through the ponies and junior hunters. She looks poised to do the same thing he has done in the hunter divisions, as years go by. But it will be exceedingly difficult to equal or break Scott Stewart’s record, because he really stands alone in the history of our show ring hunters. ” Tosh has been showing Cold Harbor in the Regular Conformation Working Hunter for four years and they’re still winning. “Talk about a fluid, supple, soft, gentle, automatic rider who rides by feel completely—Hunt Tosh is one of the softest, most elegant riders out there,” said Parker. “He really represents the very pinnacle of what the American Hunter style is all about. The great stylists that really rode the hunters—Scott Stewart, Patricia Heukeroth, Joey Darby, Richard Zimmerman, Emerson Burr, Gen. Chamberlin, Charlie Weaver, Peggy Augustus, Bobby Burke, John and Kitty Barker—they all demonstrated our wonderful effective American Hunter style which our sport must hold onto at all costs. Betty Oare and her brother Bucky and father J. Arthur Reynolds—these are the stylists in our Hunter Hall of Fame and Hunt Tosh is at the top with them.” Another milestone for Parker took place at the Devon Horse Show last June when Colvin retired the Best Child Rider Trophy for the fourth time, another first in the show’s history. Then, at the Pennsylvania

Dr. Betsee Parker’s Lucador and Scott Stewart won all five classes for the Green Conformation Hunter Championship and were named Grand Champion overall at the 2014 National Horse Show in Lexington, Ky. Emily Riden/Phelps Media Group photo

National in October, Colvin and Ovation made history by winning their fourth consecutive Small Junior Working Hunter championship and the Tindall Perpetual Trophy. This was their first time to compete in the 16 to 17 division with their first three titles earned 2010 to 2013 in the 15 & Unders. Ovation won the EMO Agency Junior Hunter High Five Award for earning the highest numerical score in the Junior Hunters and Ovation’s groom, Marco Delara, won the Groom’s Award.

In A Class Of Her Own “I think that the most spectacular win of my entire career with horses was to see Tori Colvin, the junior rider I sponsor, win the Maclay Final at the 2014 National Horse Show in November on Patrick, the horse I picked out for her,” said Parker. “It was a very special moment for me. It reached right back into my childhood—one of those things that you yourself hoped to do and had not done. I never won the Maclay Final, but I got to the finals at Madison

Square Garden. I got as far as the flatwork. I was good over fences. I wasn’t so good on the flat, because I did not train enough in the essentials of dressage, without which it is not even possible to win at that level.” Parker’s academic approach came in handy to select Patrick. “To win in Equitation, it takes a very specific athlete that does his job, is unusually obedient, and won’t rub a rail. He has a flatter jumping style than the hunters,” said Parker. “It was also better to team teach Tori. Scott Stewart, Missy Clark, and George Morris were giving her lessons so we could hone in on important equitation matters. When Tori left Scott’s barn last summer, my easy choice was Andre Dignelli to polish her up and he did. Andre also properly analyzed the course and the rideoff and Tori followed Andre’s careful instructions and went in for the win. The trainer must be bold in the Finals, and Tori knew then the Finals is no place for being conservative.”


IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • WINTER 2015

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eclipsed Rodney Jenkins when she was 14. We’re talking about the greatest junior rider that has ever been.’”

Preserving Traditions

Grand Champion Junior Hunter Ovation, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker, and Tori Colvin show their form over fences en route to winning the Small Junior Hunter Championship (16-17) at the 2014 National Horse Show. Ovation was also Grand Champion Junior Hunter at the National Horse Show. Emily Riden/Phelps Media Group photo

Patrick is currently the most decorated equitation horse in history. “Patrick has won both the Maclay Final and the Medal Final two times with two different riders, and he won the Washington International Horse Show Medal Final one time for yet another rider,” said Parker. “Missy Clark did tremendous things with Patrick and deserves the credit for all the work that went into that horse.” Colvin has also enjoyed great success with Way Cool, Parker’s Large Junior Hunter. “That is a very quirky, strange horse we all know rears up and spins. I think that Tori is like Monty Roberts—she has a unique talent to help horses feel that they can be good and do their best,” said Parker. “She puts her confidence into a horse. You can watch Way Cool draw it from her. He goes into the ring tentatively and she rides him around the ring once and you see this animal just transform into a relaxed, capable athlete that is about to do his best. He has become the winningest Large Junior Hunter in history.” Then there is Ovation, the winningest Junior Hunter of any size or age group in history, and Colvin’s Small Junior partner for four years. Parker first spotted the horse at Upperville. At the time, Molly Ohrstrom owned Ovation, doing 1st year Green Hunters with Stewart. Parker asked if he was for sale. “Molly said absolutely not,” recalled Parker. “When Molly took him out of competition early on to put him into retirement in The Plains [Virginia], Scott got wind of this and called her. Molly said, okay, if you think you can re-purpose him for something, I’ll let you have him. The minute Scott got Ovation back to the barn, boom, I bought him even though he was a bit sore. I had a strong belief in our team that we could do maintenance on him and keep him sound and that he would be a very great champion for Tori. I knew that Ovation would be the best ride the girl’s ever going to sit on and I wanted that horse. Scott said he’s not going to be very expensive, because he isn’t always sound. I said, ‘This is going to be Tori’s horse,’ and the rest is history.” Parker emphasized that one of the things that helped Ovation is the fact that they never over-show their horses. “We show them only to get them qualified for what they have to go to and beyond that, they don’t show,” she said. This means that Ovation showed maybe six times last year, earning championships at Devon, Harrisburg, Washington, and the National. That sort of light schedule makes it easier for Parker’s team to maintain a horse and assure their mental and physical well-being. Plus, Colvin herself has such finely tuned feel, she knows when they aren’t right. She knows there’s always another day. “George Morris told me that Tori is the greatest talent he has ever laid eyes on,” said Parker. “Jimmy Torano and Geoff Teal, who are great judges and horsemen, were commenting on Tori going around in one of the finals and Geoff said, “Why are we talking about how she is the Rodney Jenkins of our era? She

Parker is hands on as an owner and attends most shows. She hangs out ringside, watching hunter rounds for hours, observing and analyzing. She turned to owning show hunters, because she had to stop riding when the consequences of breaking her neck at the age of 12 in the hunt field came back to haunt her as an adult. She requires regular physical therapy for the rest of her life in order to keep some flexibility in her spine. “What is left when you can no longer get up in the irons except to become an owner or the best trainer you can be? I have a lot of knowledge of the different aspects of our sport which helped me to be an owner,” Parker said. “My heroes include Jimmy Lee, Sallie Wheeler, Patrick Butler, Carole Maloney, Peggy Augustus, and Bucky Reynolds and his sister Betty Oare. These are great owners in our sport for all time. I have certainly drawn a lot from them and from their knowledge—from talking with them and studying how they did things.” Parker loved to ride and enjoyed competing. As a working student, she got to show horses based on how much work and how much braiding she got done. She has extensively hauled horses across the country and even helped with repairs when the trailers broke down. She was captain of the Intercollegiate Show Team at Wellesley College. After being show trainer for students at Dana Hall School in Massachusetts, she went out on her own to train for a few years. She rode with George Morris and his students Frank Conway and Michael Harts III. She has hunted in the USA and in England, Wales, and Scotland. “For an owner to be successful I really do think they have to have done a lot of the things their team members are doing,” said Parker. “I have done everything in my world of horses that anyone on the team has done. I have done the sport on all levels from mucking stalls and being in Pony Club all the way up to being a trainer at the national level.” Most of all, she loves the world of the hunters and the American Hunter style, because it has its roots in foxhunting. “I don’t want to see the show hunters jumperfied,” Parker said. “Many of us want to keep the tradition of foxhunting in the hunter style of riding. I love what foxhunting teaches riders—how to properly gallop, to be balanced cross-country. It’s the older horsemen who showed and hunted their horses. Most riders under 45 don’t remember those days, but I think it’s important to do everything we can to encourage people to hunt. You learn so much in the field—courtesy and respect, but also about animals and riding at a bold gallop in company with hounds and the staff.” Parker’s conservation and preservation efforts reflect her love for rural traditions. In 2014, she was named the Loudoun County Preservationist and Unison Preservationist of the Year. She purchased Huntland, outside Middleburg, Virginia, and oversaw the complete restoration and renovation of the now 180-yearold historic estate. She turned her home into a foundation to share with future generations after she dies. She opens Huntland for small rural community functions, which are green, local, historical, or preservationist oriented. In 2013, Parker purchased the contiguous 216-year-old Farmer’s Delight, established by Ambassador George McGhee, who died in 2005. She is committed to utilizing her properties to benefit rural conservation and preservation by supporting various organizations, including the Goose Creek Association, Land Trust of Virginia, Piedmont Environmental Council, and Virginia Outdoors Foundation. She also is a Patron of the Arts and Education with endowments she created at Wellesley College, Harvard University, Columbia University, Virginia Tech, and many others. Parker serves on the Board of Governors of the Piedmont Fox Hounds and the Middleburg Hunt. She is on the board of the Museum of Hounds and Hunting North America and also on the board of directors of the National Sporting Library & Museum. She also serves on boards at her alma maters, Wellesley and Harvard. Her charitable works range from Africa to Sri Lanka to Haiti and beyond. She has been traveling back and forth to Guinea in West Africa to assist in the Ebola crisis with her African team based at Columbia University, NYC, and Conakry, Guinea, in the President’s Offices there. “I believe in being a public benefactor and public servant—that’s a theme in Christianity and Judaism,” said Parker. “I strive to be grateful and to give back to the community. And community is local, national, and global.” Towards this end, she has donated the historic Unison Store to the Unison Historic Preservation Society and a 200-year-old house to become the Middleburg Museum. Parker might not climb into the saddle anymore, but all things considered, her life has been one heck of a ride.


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IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • WINTER 2015

FOXHUNTING

Sharing the Bounties of “Brandy Rock” Article and Photographs by John J. Carle II, ex-MFH The Masters, staff, and members of the Warrenton Hunt have traditionally been warm and welcoming hosts, making foxhunters from all over the world feel uniquely at home. This autumn they showcased that respected tradition at its best when they hosted Fieldmaster Rick Laimbeer leads first flight. first Deep Run and then Old Dominion at a truly awesome fixture, Dr. and Mrs. Stock’s “Brandy Rock” near Brandy Station, Virginia. It is a foxhunter’s—and especially a huntsman’s—dream fixture: beautiful rolling open land upon which to watch hounds work, laced with tight coverts, swamps, cornfields, and rambling woodlands. It has ponds and a lake, is bordered by the Hazel River, and is a safe distance from major roads: a fox’s paradise. Unfortunately for lovers of Sir Charles James, Brer Coyote favors it as well. Deep Run Huntsman Richard Roberts loves to take his hounds to hunt new country, and the setting he found on Saturday, November 22nd had to set his heart a-racin’! Unfortunately, Mother Nature was not in a sporting mood, providing high Whippers-in Ashley Mozingo, DRH and Clydetta Talbot, WH. skies, a dense blue haze, and a fierce north wind. Many lesser packs would have been daunted by these conditions, and merely gone through the motions, but not this handsome pack of rangy Crossbred hounds. They went to work immediately with a fierce passion, working relentlessly from “Lieuin” to “Going Home.” Observed veteran foxhunter Mac Hayes, who watched closely until his bridle disintegrated, ending his day, “That boy oughta be mighty proud of those hounds. They never quit huntin’.” At the meet, hounds were relaxed but alert, exploring a bit, visiting foot-folHuntsman Richard Roberts draws the covert. lowers, yet ever with an eye on Richard. It was interesting to learn that the “Bentley,” a Kerry Beagle type. Kerry Beagle lines, introduced from the Scarteen during Tommy Kneipp’s excellent tenure as Huntsman, is thriving, the black and tan color still dominant, the hounds still the racy, fox-catchin’ sort. And there’s still Farley Plantation, c. 1790. some Bywaters American from Keswick “Predator.” However, the English stamp is still evident; Major Bayliss would be proud! Following the warmest of welcomes by Warrenton Joint Master Rick Laimbeer, Richard, with Warrenton Huntsman Matt Vanderwoude acting as his guide, jogged his pack out the back driveway and, turning east up Zion Church Road, threw in right-handed amidst dense promising covert, drawing it meticulously southward. The Field followed, shaking any jitters over the first, very inviting coop, in far better style than is usually seen these days. After thoroughly Hoovering a half-mile of dense covert, Richard was just leaving the most tangled part below the Threlkeld House (named for Riley Hogan. former owner and now farm manager Joe Beddow’s

home) when the strangest of voices rang out—it sounded like the bugling of a bull elk!—and Richard hustled back in response. Unfortunately, the fox that “Luggage” had found went immediately to ground. So Richard lifted hounds and headed westward to draw the usually productive coverts all ’round the meandering lake below the Stocks’ house. Finding in the lakeside tangle, hounds, as Richard said, “put serious pressure on the fox,” from thicket to cornfield; so much so, in fact, that timid Charlie went to ground. Trying westward, the pack put up in the woods a more deviously-minded opponent, who ran in a big loop all through the muddy, fallen-tree-littered devastation left by loggers, stringing the pack out in the gusting, biting north wind, before attempting to lay his pursuers off on a coyote. 1½ couple were seduced, but their jaunt was aborted by Warrenton Whipper-In, Clydetta Poe Talbot’s quick action. When this ploy failed, their red rascal had another: he set his mask for “Beauregard,” closed to hunting for fifty years. Speculation has it that the closure was due to Teutonic prejudice against the British-oriented sport of foxhunting, but who knows? The good covert behind the main house at “Farley Plantation” (in 1790 the center of many thousand surrounding acres) was the next draw, and a fox from here ran to the Hazel River, where hounds were again stopped at a nearby road because of unhuntable land beyond. Would the frustrations never end? Drawing back toward the meet, hounds opened with a crashing chorus that ended as it reached its peak: another faint-hearted fox, gone home early. At least Matt could hope that it was a heavy vixen; and Richard blew for home, warmed by the glow of pride in his pack for their determination, effervescent enthusiasm and hard-earned measure of success on a most difficult day. The day ended with a full measure of wonderful Warrenton hospitality: a groaning board overflowing with Epicurean delights, featuring lipsmackin’ refresheners. And…an invitation to return in December! This entire day featured hunting as it should be, a tradition alive since 1887, and as fresh today as it was then. Amazing!

Happy huntsmen Richard Roberts, Deep Run, and Matt Vanderwoude, Warrenton.


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IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • WINTER 2015

Come December, and the Warrenton Hunt hosted yet another joint meet, this time welcoming to “Brandy Rock” their neighbors from Rappahannock County, the Old Dominion Hounds. And with what enthusiasm was their invitation answered! Trailers crammed into every available level spot, and foxhunters of all levels of experience unloaded horses and ponies. One young woman, on her first hunt and on a borrowed horse, wore a miniature video camera strapped to her chest to capture the excitement. What other excitement she captured isn’t known, but her borrowed paint horse rolled her in the mud twice later in the day! Under a high, bluebird sky, the horizon heavy with haze, and an occasional southwest wind, Huntsman Matt Vanderwoude unboxed 17 couple of Crossbred hounds. Large, solid individuals for the most part, many showed an Old English stamp in conformation and demeanor. They seemed a serious lot: there to do a job and eager to get to it. One large, Belvoir-tan doghound, “Oxford,” got quite vocal as the appointed time neared, urging Matt to get on with huntin’! As Matt and ODH Huntsman Ross Salter sat quietly, hounds flowed around them with a grace and lightness that belied their size. Several lemonand-white, more American types with obvious Potomac heredity, looked likely to be lightning-fast. At last Matt was able to hustle his pack up the driveway and get to hunting. Behind him, from Alanthus Gate to past the last trailers, the Field overflowed the driveway, as uncountable in their mass as a flock of starlings. Coming back from Zion Church Road, Matt drew toward the small pond just downhill from the Meet. At his ODH Huntsman Ross Salter. approach, a pair of mallards spiraled skyward, and soon, along the pond’s edge, “Oxford” spoke. Evidently a fox had stopped for a drink in the wee hours, for his line was so faint that only “Oxford’s” incredibly cold nose could register its presence. Drawing onward, hounds unkenneled a fox from the dense cedars and pushed her (quite likely a vixen) eastward. With their fox well-found, they ran with serious purpose, but only for a short way to a newly opened earth. Matt then took the pack to the good covert about and below Joe Beddow’s house, where they soon opened in earnest, working a line downhill toward the adjoining hayfield, and the promise of a good run. But it was not to be, for the Field — all 91 strong—coming up from the east thundered around the end of the covert to congregate in the field to the west. They seemed to go on forever; then, when it seemed all had passed, here came 30 more! Hounds abruptly turned back and quickly began marking an earth. Matt then drew toward the big lake, hounds giving the swampy, gamey looking covert along the gravel farm road a thorough scrutiny. Then, near Dr. and Mrs. Stock’s house, they opened joyously and pushed a fox all through “Doctor’s Woods” and through the bamboo patch. Matt viewed their pilot from the woods into standing corn. There was no scent in the open, and little in the corn, but the pack refused to be denied, working every foot and getting on increasingly better terms. But alas, their quarry was likely the trickster who had bedeviled Deep Run, for he headed for “Beauregard’s” forbidden fields, and hounds had to be stopped. Hacking his pack down to the lake covert, a diminished Field strung out behind him like a freight train, Matt threw in and was rewarded immediately by a find. Unfortunately, it was only a stale line that hounds belabored southward to “Cathouse Woods,” where they surprised a turkey. The nickname for this covert refers to one of the uses to which Farley House was put in its long and varied history; it was not a feline sanctuary! Although hounds acknowledged a fox’s passing, not even a cat could be found, so the pack tackled The Big Woods. As a small buck bothered four does into the open, and a bald eagle circled overhead, silence reigned. On it was then to Hitt’s Woods, where two third-year hounds found their first fox. Confirmed immediately by the veterans, their baptism was complete, and they led the pack on a sharp run to the Dump Pile, where their quarry was marked to ground. Drawing upward through dense cedars east of the pond that marked this day’s start, hounds once again found and, in the shadow of the woods where scent held, pushed along right sharply until brought to their noses in the open pasture, and here scent all but vanished. Trusting “Oxford” and a couple of other cold-nosed veterans, they carried the line to the pond, and here were away southward with increasing optimism. However, once Reynard crossed the field near the old faded-white silo, scent evaporated completely. Gathering and praising his handsome, hardworking hounds, Matt blew for home. Only a small vestige of the Field—the true foxhunters—remained. Given the almost insurmountable scenting conditions that plagued this day, no Huntsman could have been more proud than Matt Vanderwoude was with the Herculean effort put forth by his Warrenton pack, and the remarkable success they achieved. Most of the Field seemed to share that sense of pride, and the tailgate atmosphere was festive indeed. The Luculian banquet soon vanished, the indescribably delicious brisket either devoured or taken home for dinner. It was obvious to the Old Dominion visitors and everyone else in attendance that the Warrenton folks have achieved the ideal balance between good sport and festive revelry. Well done, and thanks!

Rick Laimbeer, MFH; Matt Vanderwoude, Warrenton.

Part of the field of 91.

Old Dominion Joint Masters Douglas Wise-Stewart and Gus Forbush.

Clydetta Talbot and Matt Vanderwoude at day’s end.


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IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • WINTER 2015

HUNT MEETS Elkridge-Harford Hunt, Monkton, Maryland, Boxing Day Hunt, December 26, 2014 Tony Shore Photos

Steve Ricklefs.

Jade Hubbard.

Scarlet Davies on Danny Boy.

(l-r) Adair Stifel and Alex Leventhal.

Marlborough Hunt joint meet with De La Brooke Foxhounds W From Fendi Clagett’s Mary’s Mount Farm, Harwood, Maryland, December 14, 2014.

Representing Larking Hill Farm, home of Marlborough MFH Christy Clagett. (l-r) Crystal Hardesty on Ashes, Angela Armheim on Prince, MFH Christy Clagett on Naval Officer, Mary Beth Webster and Lexi Kruger riding “The Cowgirls.”

James Faber, Huntsman for Marlborough Hunt Club, followed by a large field during a joint meet with De La Brooke Foxhounds W from Mary’s Mount Farm, Harwood, Maryland, December 14, 2014.

Isabel Kurek photos

Christy Clagett, MFH, Marlborough Hunt, opted for some additional outerwear and then hunted on in the snow, January 21, 2015 from Moreland Farm, Lothian, Maryland.


Horse Country® (540) 347-3141 • 800-882-HUNT (4868) 60 Alexandria Pike, Warrenton, Virginia 20186

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Dehner Boot

EXTRAVAGANZA MARCH 10 AND 11, 2015 Make your appointment today!

Jeff Ketzler from Dehner will be on hand to measure custom riding boots on Tuesday and Wednesday, March 10 and 11, 2015 at the store. As a special incentive, Dehner will give $50 off and Horse Country will give $50 off ($100 total savings) and Dehner will honor the 2014 price list. Appointments are necessary. Please call 800-882-4868 to schedule a fitting. Walk-ins will be measured as time allows. Boots will be ready by cubbing season. Plan ahead, make your appointment today and be sure to bring your own breeches and socks. $400 deposit to be paid at time of order. Balance due when boots arrive. Refreshments will be served. Call today 800-882-4868 or 540-347-3141. Photo: www.JanetHitchenPhotography.com

For Your Pleasure ASale from Horse Country

We’re making room for spring clothing. We are offering reduced prices on selections from our country clothing and outerwear departments. A nice selection of scarves, show shirts and gift items are also reduced for your pleasure. For ladies: Brands include Barbour, Thermatex, Shires, Asmar, Arista, FITS and other well-known makes. For men: Brands include Barbour, Thermatex, Outback, Relwen, Viyella and others. Look for reduced prices in our sweater, jacket, vest, raincoats, sweatshirt, ties, gloves and shirt departments. We also have a small selection of tweed jackets reduced. Sale date extended until Saturday, March 7, 2015, due to the weather. All sales are final and reduced prices cannot be combined with other offers or mark-downs. Some items will be listed on our e-commerce site www.HorseCountryCarrot.com. Type in "last call" in each category's search box. To order by telephone call 800-882-4868 during regular business hours.

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A DASH TO THE FINISH

Racing starts Saturday, March 7, 2015 at Blue Ridge Hunt Point-to-Point, Woodley Farm, Berryville, Virginia

Horse Country stocks all the equipment trainers, jockeys and horses need. Jockey silks • Race dickeys • Fingerless gloves • Race pants in regular, rain, in-boot and over-boot styles • Jockey Lycra shirts and Lycra rain shirts • Sheepskin toe rubs • Approved bats • Goggles • Bridles, Reins with extra long rubber, Shadow Rolls, Blinkers, Forks, Yokes, Cavesons, Lead Weight, Figure 8s plain and with sheepskin and Figure 8 corded nosebands • Overgirths, Undergirths and Double Buckle Girths in regular and extra long lengths • Bits and Boots • Race leathers in several lengths • Saddle cloths ready made and in custom colors • Girth channels and timber shins • Quilted pads • Rubber pads • Boot-rub pads • Chamois • Quarter sheets • Paddock sheets • Custom embroidery Trophy coolers

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IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • WINTER 2015

13

FOXHUNTING

Blue Ridge: Back-To-Back Article and Photographs by John J. Carle II, ex-MFH

Blue Ridge Joint Master Brian Farrell.

Thornton Hill Senior Master Larry Lehew and his wife Pam.

Three Masters: Anne McIntosh, BRH; Brian Farrell, BRH; Jeff Lehew, THH.

Huntsman Guy Allman and Whipper-in Mary Cosenza.

December promised to be a busy month for the Blue Ridge Hunt, who opened by hosting two joint meets. But they didn’t plan on hosting them back to back; that was Mother Nature’s contribution: dicey weather. On December 3 Thornton Hill was welcomed at Susie and Wayne Chatfield-Taylor’s “Morgan’s Ford Farm” for what has become a traditional meet, one eagerly anticipated by the visitors. Over the years they have alternated packs, with Guy Allman showcasing his crack English and Crossbred hounds at home this season. As stripped and fit as any Thoroughbred timber-toppers, this level pack was the very picture of grace and athleticism at the Meet as they flowed around Guy’s tightly-wound hunter that seemed rather unsure in its first crack at the role of Huntsman’s horse. Huntsman, horse, and 25½ couple were more than eager to move off on this cloudy, raw, real hunting morning. Guy drew the woods on the perimeter of this picturesque farm, circling to the left around acres of board-fenced paddocks. Deer had browsed clear a lot of formerly dense covert, leaving little secure sanctuary for foxes; so Guy wasted very little time, sweeping downriver along the quietly flowing Shenandoah to the wonderfully thick woods that stretch eastward to the Von Gontaard’s “Ox Bow Farm.” Here he made a sudden about-face, drawing back, then lifting hounds to try the always-productive woods behind and below the hunter barn. From along the creek near the old and abandoned barn-red house, there suddenly arose a wild squeal, sounding as astonished as a young girl goosed: “Kiwi” had unkenneled a fox. Her find was confirmed by “Tanyard’s” baritone bellow; and then a multi-noted chorus took over, their crescendo rising and falling as they negotiated the steep ridges and deep hollows in this stretch of country. Their fox proved to be a wily veteran at eluding hounds, and he made this pack work for every inch. And work they did, never relinquishing their task, no matter how frustrating their pilot’s trickery. This dedication is the result of the self-confidence that Guy has instilled in his hounds who, in return, have developed a great trust in their leader. Their quarry was likely a dog fox reluctant to abandon for long his lady love, for he kept circling back to the find. On a couple of occasions he ran to the edge of “Ox Bow” —out of earshot of the car-followers—only to come racing back, hounds at his heels. The large Field followed, repeatedly covering much of the same ground, an occurrence that Charlie used to his increasing advantage. Mason Houghland maintained that horse-foil is hounds’ most difficult deterrent, and so it proved today, as their fox began running the trails behind the Field, each time causing the pack to check longer and struggle harder to recover his line. Finally, despite their diligence, hounds were defeated, and “Home” was blown. It had been a most interesting and enjoyable day for participants and observers alike. The improvement in this pack Guy Allman has wrought in only three years is a lovely thing to watch. How sad it is that this is to be his last season; but how fortunate for Graham Buston, his successor to inherit this vibrant pack. Guy and Fran are returning to England, where Guy has landed the job of Huntsman to the Bicester, one of the very best positions in all of British foxhunting. Our hunting world will miss this extravagantly talented, personable young man, his strikingly beautiful wife Fran, and his lovely tow-headed children, Olivia and Angus. Their contribution has truly been monumental, and we wish them the dazzling, history-making future they so richly deserve. Barely had the Blue Ridge faithful caught their collective breaths when their country was invaded by an extraordinarily sporting, often rowdy but always exuberant mob from Maryland’s Green Spring Valley Hounds. Led by Joint Masters Sheila Jackson Brown (arguably foxhunting’s First Lady), Wildman George Mahoney, and quietly elegant Whit Foster, the visitors represented as enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and well-mounted a group of foxhunters as are likely to be found this side of “The Pond.” Their Huntsman, the fiery and talented Sam Clifton, one of today’s young lions in American foxhunting, brought to Mark and Eileen Read’s picturesque “Stonefield” 18½ couple of awe-inspiring Crossbred hounds. With bitches as lovely and graceful as ballerinas, and doghounds as agile as gymnasts, they have the stamp of greatness about them. They lived up to their looks and reputation. Sam pointed out several exceptional hounds at the Meet, among which was a Dumphrieshire-looking bitch, coal black with chestnut eyebrows (showing the American Hound’s ancestral French influence); “Bounty” is a granddaughter of Keswick “Byway,” and she did a great deal of useful work during the day. Another was a mostly-white “Wooly” named “Nasa,” who carries a healthy measure of the wonderful Curre blood used so successfully in England by revolutionary hound-breeder, American Ikey Bell. And standing front and center was the superstar, a lean, leggy tri-colored bitch wearing a GPS collar. “Poppitt” has a falcon’s grace and speed, coupled with an extraordinary nose, all of which talents she showcased today. Mounted on a flashy bay mare that horse show people would call “too pretty to be a field hunter,” Guy Allman was Sam Clifton’s guide. His mare glided over the ground as lightly as the shadow of a passing cloud, showed an amazing turn of toe when called upon, and jumped like a stag (or, perhaps, a hind!). At the appointed hour, everyone hustled off to draw Showground Woods.


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IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • WINTER 2015

Blue Ridge Hosts Thornton Hill Sondra LeHew, THH.

Blue Ridge Hosts Thornton Hill Visiting Huntsman, Alasdair Storer, New Market-Middletown Valley Hounds.

Blue Ridge Hosts Thornton Hill Larry LeHew, MFH, Thornton Hill Hounds.

Blue Ridge Hosts Thornton Hill Host Wayne Catfield-Taylor.

Blue Ridge Hosts Thornton Hill Huntsman Guy Allman.

Homeward bound.

Blue Ridge Hosts Thornton Hill Huntsman Guy Allman blowing for home.

Whippers-in Charlie Brown, THH; Catherine Stimson, Blue Ridge.

Blue Ridge Hosts Thornton Hill Anne McIntosh, MFH.


IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • WINTER 2015

The first bit of excitement appeared in the form of an attractive brown mare, riderless, bridleless, and flying, thoroughly enjoying herself! Then, abruptly, as if sated with shenanigans, she stopped for Fran Allman to catch. Her rider (whose name and hunt affiliation have conveniently blown downwind) soon appeared and, laughing good-naturedly at her predicament, quickly re-tacked, remounted and dashed off to join the Field…and finish the day in fine style. Meanwhile, hounds had a fox on his feet, apparently a real home-body who was only content to make circuits around Showground Woods. About the time he ran perilously close to forbidden land, where sheep reside, a fresh fox bounced up, catching the fancy of two couple, and prompting Sam to hark on the bulk of the pack. “A more enterprising fellow, this ’un,” said Guy, as Sir Charles set his mask for the Dunnings’ farm. Nick Dunning was out feeding horses when hounds blasted through, headed for Larry Hollar’s. Wasting little time, they were soon traversing Airdoe’s covert, where they were brought to their noses. As they came to the verge of Pyletown Road, a bit strung out, “Poppitt” was calling them on urgently from the front and, with “Wicklow” at her flank, she negotiated the difficult board-topped wall into Hobie Baughan’s. Hounds honored her en masse, most scrambling over in her wake. After Fran Allman dropped two boards, the remainder followed Sam over the wall and flew in their packmates’ wake toward “Walnut Hall.” Their pilot came rocketing down the “Walnut Hall” driveway, shot across Somerville Road, and raced into Somerville Farm. Circling ever left-handed, Sir Charles recrossed Pyletown Road back to Hollar’s. Here he managed to elude hounds briefly, enough time to get a second wind, which he must have sorely needed. At Guy’s suggestion, Sam put hounds into “the stickpile,” a mammoth, very dense brushpile that has often been the haven for hunted foxes…but not today. Another cast and their pilot’s respite was over, as hounds refound and sent him hightailing past the spot where he was found and back through Airdoe’s covert. Once again he crossed Pyletown Road, higher this time, and raced through Baughan’s once more, this time with an eleven minute lead. Cheering his hounds on, Sam—on Whipper-In Shannon Roach’s horse, his having lost a shoe— jumped into Baughan’s. Coming along later, Whipper-In Ned Halle, ex-MFH, and George Mahoney jumped in nearer Somerville Road. “They can’t get out that way,” warned senior Blue Ridge Master Linda Armbrust, arm in a sling and car-following. But a short while later, out they popped … in Sam’s pocket. “How’d you get out?” someone asked. “Jumped,” they replied. The hunted fox again shot out the “Walnut Hall” driveway and plunged into Somerville Farm, bearing righthanded just enough to put hounds into virgin covert, then continued on his by now familiar circuit, where he was viewed by Shannon Roach over Pyletown Road. Behind on his line, hounds en-

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countered a fresh fox and—maybe fortunately—switched. Their new pilot had no heart for the chase and went straightaway to ground. “The pack was only fifteen seconds behind him!” exclaimed an amazed Field member, unaware that they’d switched. “How did they catch up so fast?” Neither Sam nor Guy corrected her, naturally, just grinned. By now the hour had grown late, horses had done a long day, and the visitors faced a hike back to Baltimore; so “Home” was blown. With the exception of one veteran bitch, who was completely knackered and rode back to the Meet in a truck, hounds seemed more than eager to resume the chase. Their pilot’s circle was nearly a mile in diameter, so the pack had covered many miles in the four hours they were out; yet their conformation and level of fitness is such that they scarcely showed any fatigue. Bet they slept well, though! Young Sam Clifton has done a remarkable job in rebuilding this Green Spring Valley pack. By judicious breaking and superb handling, the hounds he brings afield these days, and the sport they show, mirror—to the joy of his followers—the halcyon days when Les Grimes and Andrew Barclay carried the horn. Huge boots to fill, but Sam seems comfortable. May he continue to till he needs to stretch those boots…but NOT his hunting cap!

Green Spring Valley Joint Master Whit Foster.

Green Spring Valley Joint Masters Sandra Jackson Brown and George Mahoney. Green Spring Valley Whipper-in Shannon Roach.

Sam Clifton harking hounds down Pyletown Road.

R U N N I N G of the

Orange County Hounds Point-to-Point

Green Spring Valley Whipper-in Ned Halle, ex-MFH.

Doris Stimson, ex-MFH, leads 2nd flight.

Old Dominion Hounds Point-to-Point

Locust Hill Farm, Middleburg, Virginia

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Sunday, March 29 2015

12 Noon

Post Time 1 p.m.

Ben Venue Farm, Ben Venue, VA 16 miles west of Warrenton on U.S. 211

Hunter Pace Event Saturday, March 28, 2015, 9 a.m. Race Chairman & Pace Entries: Rab Thompson (540) 687-5552 Pair Race Chairman: Leslie Hazel (540) 253-5566 ochpointopoint@verizon.net

Seven Races featuring Leeds Don Open Timber Information: 540-364-4573, 540-636-1507


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IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • WINTER 2015

AGA’S SAGAS

Get That Cowboy a Coat! Hello ff-ff-ff-friends. Ss-ss-sorry for my chattering teeth but it is so cold! It seems like temperatures above 40° were months ago! I hope you and your four legged friends have been staying out of the wind and have all the clothing you need to enjoy the snow. If you don’t, well, you know where to come or call, I’m sure! This morning was once again bracingly cold, so cold that Bunsen and I didn’t want to get out of our beds on the floor. Marion had to cajole us to the back door where we looked over the fields of snow and decided a bathroom break could wait. Maybe until March. We returned to our cozy beds but Marion was insistent. She was rushing around with a fervor that did not bode well. I was beginning to suspect something. “Hey, Bunsen,” I said. “What day is it?” He pretended to be asleep. “Bunsen, Bunsen, Bunsen! What day is it?” He cracked open one eye and replied, “Ye are nae a camel, lassie, and ’tis nae Hump Day. I believe ’tis Fri… Oh, faith and bejabbers! ’Tis Bath Day!” Bath Day: The scourge of well-loved dogs everywhere. This is the day we jump excitedly in the car, wondering what fabulous place we’re going to visit, only to end up at the groomer’s. Now don’t get me wrong. Our groomer is a lovely person and she takes great pride in making sure we look our best when we arrive at the store. Which is only proper as we are the reason people come to Horse Country. Ahem, lassie, I think our Marion might take exception to that. I’m fairly sure the merchandise and the service are the reasons people come in. Well, we’re the icing on the cake then, because I’ve heard people ask for us the moment they walk in. In short order we were bathed, blown dry, and groomed. Marion retrieved us with our “after bath” coats so we looked simply grand (and warm!) as we walked through the door at the store. We worked hard the rest of the day, escorting customers to the wonderfully warm selections in our Country Clothing department. We especially enjoyed watching them try on stylish hats, barking our approval when the right choice was made. Bunsen modeled some scarves because a woman said she didn’t know why but Bunsen reminded her of her husband. When he asked me what she meant, I told him maybe the man has a fine beard. (Or, just between you and me, maybe he’s really short but has a greatly inflated impression of himself, like a certain Scottie we all know.) By the time we left for home, the temperature had dropped like a rock again. Our potty break was accomplished very quickly. We had our dinner and Marion had hers. I was hoping she would share the last bit of lamb chop, but noooo! As I watched keenly, she cut it into tiny pieces and finished it up. We climbed on the couch and watched a gripping thriller. Well, Marion and I did. Bunsen was sleeping. The one good thing about Bath Day is that we get to sleep in Marion’s bed again for a few nights until the reason for Bath Day reoccurs. We snuggled under the covers and Marion turned out the lights. It was some time later when all was quiet and suddenly WHAM! I’m flying through the air as Marion flung a leg out from under the covers. Harrumph. I jumped back up and no sooner got resettled when WHUMP! There went Bunsen off the other side. ’Twas a frightful way to be awakened! I was deep into a lovely dream. I’d just discovered a juicy steak on the bright green lawn at Morven Park. There was no one else in sight. It was all mine. And then, just as I opened my mouth to taste it, the ground came rushing up to meet me! The rest of the night was like being in a carnival funhouse where things pop out at you or the floor drops away. I don’t know what Marion was dreaming about, but I can tell you Bunsen and I got no sleep that night. The next morning being Saturday we were up early so Marion could open the store. Boy, were our butts dragging. On the ride in Marion remarked, “Well, at least you two are well rested this morning. I’m exhausted. I can’t remember what I was dreaming last night, but it was crazy. I might’ve been at a half off sale at Neiman Marcus or counting inventory at Horse Country. I should never eat chocolate before bed.” I told her she shouldn’t have eaten that last lamb chop.

No sooner did we open the store and get out of our coats then we hit our beds. We didn’t get up until some savory aroma wafted out of the microwave. Fifteen minutes of fruitless begging and we were back in our beds fast asleep. We were so tired—groggy, really—we didn’t even go out on the floor when a customer came in just gushing how she couldn’t wait to go to Florida for the Bunsen looking out a hotel window. circuit. Usually we would have loved to help her pick out warm weather breeches and hi-tech shirts that wick away moisture keeping you cool in the hot Florida sun. We have such a wonderful selection. Normally we would have enjoyed escorting her downstairs for new polo wraps and fly scrims, but we just snored on. When she came upstairs and decided that—what the heck—she needed new zip up boots, we didn’t stir as she exclaimed in delight how well they fit and how good they made her legs look. Occasionally, Marion would walk through the kitchen and disturb us just enough for each of us to open an eye. “I can’t believe you two!” she exclaimed. “What were you doing last night? I was the one tossing and turning.” Bunsen replied, with an indignant tone, “We were the ones flying and falling.” A week later, it was still cold and we had yet another bath. At least this time, for all our pain, we were going somewhere exciting. All three of us, dressed for success, jumped in the Jag and headed up to New York City to visit the showrooms. We checked into our favorite hotel where we were greeted like the royalty we are. We love the Palace! We ordered room service and—finally!—I got my lamb chop! Bunsen got a petit filet mignon that he didn’t stop talking about for the rest of the trip. ’Twas wonderfully delicious, nicely seared outside and so rare on the inside. The kitchen staff cut it into small, easy to inhale, er, eat pieces and it was well presented in a ceramic bowl. I loved every morsel. And I must admit I’ve never had a finer lamb chop. The next morning Marion headed off to appointments after handing us off to one of the Palace staff, or as I call them, the Palace footmen. First Charles took us for a bracing walk around the block. Bracing? Bejabbers, lassie, ’twas freezing! The wind was whipping down the concrete canyons and when we turned the corner, it whipped up the back of m’coat and chilled me arse! While walking we saw several dogs I thought I recognized. One looked like the dog from the Travelers Insurance commercial, but as he wasn’t carrying a bone I wasn’t sure. Then we stopped at the corner and there was the cutest Jack Russell in a Ralph Lauren coat. She eyed my cerise and navy Thermatex dog coat. When she barked at a Chihuahua across the street, I thought I recognized her voice from Royal Pains. She smelled delightful. An earthy mix of squirrel, leaves, and coconut. ’Twas a pity she crossed t’other way. I would’ve followed her for blocks. Hmm. Well, back at the Palace we made our way to the Pampered Pets Play area. I felt so country! Every other dog had some sort of jewel or precious metal collar. A whippet had on an exquisite leather and fur jacket. The Pekingese could’ve been wearing a platinum collar, but who could tell with all that hair? Being polite, we introduced ourselves and despite the other dogs being all blinged out, they were quite nice. We had a small language barrier with the Peke; he only woofed in Mandarin. They were all quite the world travelers and we all agreed the Palace was our favorite place to stay. A few of them remarked they had


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IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • WINTER 2015

Charles et al took us all for walks at midday and again at 6, just before Marion returned, exhausted yet exuberant at all the new things she’d found. We ordered hot roast beef sandwiches all around and while Bunsen dozed in front of the TV, Marion and I went through the orders. “Oh, this designer had such wonderful jackets! What do you think of this for our 45th anniversary? I met the artist who created these table linens!” Marion likes to go over her purchases with me while she still remembers what they are. Of course, by the time the goods actually arrive at Horse Country, they are a complete surprise to both of us. For Marion, the absolute best part of staying at the Palace is that she can get in her jammies right after dinner and wave good-bye to us as the night footman takes us outside for a last late night walk. We woofed at our new friend the whippet who looked absolutely miserable even in her extra fur coat. I tell you the wind carried us along at a ripping pace. We were glad to get back and turned in immediately, burrowing deep into our blankets. Marion didn’t have any problem sleeping soundly, so neither did we! The next morning we repeated the program. This time, however, our walk was much more exciting. We went into the park and saw a pack of wolves! Now, lassie, they were nae real wolves. They were! And there were dozens of them! Ach, you’re becoming such a drama queen. They were German Shepherds and there were only five of them. They’re famous. You can see them on Facebook and YouTube. They were LOOSE! They were off-leash, m’dear, not “loose.” They were under the complete control of their owner. I must say they were much better behaved than we would be if we were off-leash. I told them they better not mess with us! Aye, and they were so well trained that I’m sure you did nae hear them laughing at you as you hurled insults at them. They didn’t come near us, did they? They were scared of me. I know they were. I’m sure they were, lassie. Just petrified of your wee self.

Bunsen was snickering at me so I chased him around the room and bit him. I told Marion all about how I’d saved us, but I don’t think she was really paying attention because all she said was, “I’m glad you had a nice day, Aga.” Before we went over that day’s wonderful finds, Marion told me she’d had some celebrity sightings of her own. She told me their names but they meant nothing to me, besides I hate name-droppers. I did, though, find it odd that she mentioned something about a cowboy without any clothes on. Ach! Have ye nae heard of New York’s famous Naked Cowboy? Well, Marion did pink up a bit when she mentioned his name. And I expect he was right pink himself, being in the buff in such cold weather. Humans! I don’t think I’ll ever understand some of their silly ways. There was nothing silly about the rest of the orders Marion placed. They looked quite interesting with everything from cashmere sweaters and shawls to cotton scarves and horsey jewelry, leather goods to lamps, pillows to linens, art pieces, and a few other things I’ve forgotten, but I know I liked. She does go overboard in New York. The next morning we all had bagels before climbing back into the Jag for our ride home. It was still freezing, but the heater in the Jag works beautifully so we fell asleep while Marion was rocking out to the ’50s on 5 on Route 95 for five hours. Now we’re back in Virginia getting ready for the Counting of All the Things. There are so many things! Bunsen and I try to help but we only have sixteen toes each so we’re useless at large numbers. I know that Marion is looking forward to the numbers to help decide what to put on sale, what to donate to the different organizations we support, and what is to be moved to the front of the store. So while we are counting inventory, and waiting for warming weather, we hope you will come in and see us. We’ll be the ones smelling pretty sitting at the front of the store. Shiveringly yours, Aga PS: The Naked Cowboy was not wearing a coat. But if he needs one, he’s welcome to pay us a visit.

HUNT MEETS Loudoun Fairfax Hunt, Blessing of the Hounds Farmers Delight, Middleburg, Virginia, December 14, 2014. Dr. Betsee Parker, who recently purchased Farmers Delight, which adjoins Huntland, her other Middleburg property, performed the Blessing ceremony and officiated over the award of St. Hubert Dr. Betsee Parker, owner of Farmers Delight, medals to all present. Photos by Middleburg Photo

Loudoun Fairfax Hunt member Karyn Wilson properly turned out for this special day.

found a hunt whip to be handy tool for arranging the St. Hubert medals.

Donna Rogers, MFH.

Loudoun Fairfax hounds focus on Huntsman Andy Bozdan during the Blessing.


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IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • WINTER 2015

RACING

Virginia Steeplechase Assocation

News & Spring Racing Preview By Will O’Keefe

Demonstrative Wins the 2014 Eclipse Award Jacqueline Ohrstrom of the Plains, Virginia, brought home the 2014 Eclipse Award from Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, Florida, on January 17 where the racing world crowned their finest. Her Demonstrative continued a brilliant career racing over hurdles this season for trainer Richard Valentine, and this honor was extremely well deserved. In his second start of the season at Saratoga Springs in New York, he lost the $100,000 Alfred P. Smithwick Stakes on the nod, but that signaled a return to form, and he was unbeatable in his next three starts all of which were Grade I stakes. He won the $150,000 New York Turf Writers Stake at Saratoga in August, the $150,000 Lonesome Glory Stake at Belmont in September, and the $250,000 Grand National Stake at Far Hills in October earning $362,500. He was ridden by Robbie Walsh in all of his races this season, and has been trained by Richard Valentine throughout his career. Valentine also had a great year finishing second in the National Steeplechase Association’s leading trainer money won competition. Demonstrative has been a model of consistency at the highest levels since being imported from England in 2010. He won over hurdles at first asking as a three year old at the Virginia Fall Races and won three-year-old hurdle stakes at Far Hills and the Colonial Cup. That year he was the National Steeplechase Association’s threeyear-old champion. He also won stakes in his 2011, 2012, and 2013 campaigns making this his fifth stakes winning season. Along the way he won the Jonathan Kiser, New York Turf Writers, and Colonial Cup in 2012, and the Iroquois in 2013 among others. He won the Eclipse Award in a landslide. He received 206 first place votes to 12 for William Pape’s Divine Fortune, who was last year’s recipient. See additional coverage of Demonstrative’s Eclipse win in Lauren R. Giannini's profile of Richard Valentine, page 19.

Virginia Steeplechase Association Awards The Virginia Steeplechase Association will crown its 2014 champions on Friday, March 6, 2015, at the Emanuel Episcopal Church Parish House in Middleburg, Va. Reservations are required and can be made with Don Yovanovich at 540-270-0115. In addition to the many series champions that will be recognized, the Virginia Owned Steeplechase Horse of the Year and the VSA Steeplechase Horse of the Year will receive awards. This will be the third year in the last four that Demonstrative will be the Virginia Owned Horse of the Year. Irvin S. Naylor’s Irish-bred Decoy Daddy, the hero of the Middleburg Spring’s Temple Gwathmey and Montpelier’s Noel Laing, will match that record as the VSA Steeplechase Horse of the Year. It was a great season for Magalen O. Bryant whose Casual Creeper and Dakota Slew were the VSA leading hurdle and timber horses. Doug Fout will receive the award as the leading Virginia-based trainer, and Kieran Norris will be recognized as the VSA leading rider. There are additional champions in open divisions and on the flat as well. One of the greatest honors in Virginia steeplechase racing is its Hall of Fame, and there will be two new inductees announced.

Virginia Point-To-Point Preview The point-to-point season may have ended last April, but the leaders of the sport have been busy meeting numerous times in the offseason hoping to change the product in an attempt to boost participation in certain areas. There have been changes of eligibility in several series including the Seven Corners Amateur and Novice Rider Series, which will now be open to novice riders. The definitions for novice rider and amateur rider eligibility have also been changed. The conditions that are affected follow:

Seven Corners Amateur and Novice Rider Timber Series For five-year-olds and up, which have not won a timber race under rules since 1/1/2013 other than maiden and are ridden by amateur or novice riders, who hunt with any recognized or organized foxhunting or beagle packs whose entry is acceptable to the Seven Corners Committee. An amateur is defined as a rider who has not accepted compensation for riding in races since 2010. A novice is defined as a rider who has not won ten sanctioned races over fences prior to January 1 of the current year under any racing jurisdiction. Riders and horses must have hunted six or more times and for at least half of the hunting day with any recognized foxhunting pack during the current season. Proper certification of the rider is the responsibility of the rider and is to be kept chronicling one’s hunting days and signed by the Master(s). Proper certification of the horse is the responsibility of the owner and is to be kept chronicling one’s hunting days and signed by the Master(s). The horse and rider do not necessarily have to hunt together. Minimum weight as established by conditions of each race, the minimum carried to be not less than 175 lbs. (excepting maiden allowance of 10 lbs. and mare allowance of 8 lbs.) or such lower weight as may be agreed in the paddock by unanimous consent of all riders, competing for Seven Corners points and approved by the Hunt Race Committee. An additional 3

lbs. is to be assessed for each Seven Corners win during a given season, up to a total of 6 lbs. over the base weight. No rider allowances. In the event that a base weight of less than 175 lbs. is set by the entered owner/riders in a given race, the assessed 3 to 6 lb. handicaps will be added to the reduced base weight. Maidens over timber are allowed 10 lbs.

Novice Rider On The Flat For riders who have not won five sanctioned races prior to January 1 of the current year under any racing jurisdiction (NSA, ARCA or Fegentri or any other recognized racing jurisdiction excluding junior, pair and old-fashioned races). COURSE WALKS ARE MANDATORY.

Novice Rider Over Fences For riders in non-series races over fences who have not won ten sanctioned races over fences prior to January 1 of the current year under any racing jurisdiction. Points earned in the Amateur/Novice Rider Series and the Novice Timber Series will be counted.

Pageland Amateur/Novice Rider Hurdle Series For four-year-olds and up, which have not won under rules since 1/1/13 other than in maiden, claiming races or amateur rider only races and that are ridden by an amateur or novice rider. An amateur is defined as a rider who has not accepted compensation for riding in races since 2010. A novice is defined as a rider who has not won ten sanctioned races over fences prior to January 1 of the current year under any racing jurisdiction. Weight 165 lbs. Maidens allowed 10 lbs. An additional 3 lbs. is to be assessed for each win by the horse during a given season, up to a total of 6 lbs. over the base weight. In the event that a base weight of less than 165 lbs. is set by the entered riders in a given race, the assessed handicaps will be added to the reduced base weight. No rider allowances will be allowed. Points will be awarded to horse/rider combinations. Only five best starts to count toward season championship.

Thornton Hill Fort Valley Hounds Point-To-Point The Thornton Hill Fort Valley Hounds will start the 2015 Virginia Point-to-Point season on Saturday, February 28. The race meet is held on one of Virginia’s most picturesque race courses at Thornton Hill Farm near Sperryville, Virginia. Post time for the first race will be at noon, and the card features races on the flat and over hurdles and timber. The finale will be the popular hound race. (In Order To Be Eligible For Year-End Awards Horses And Or Riders Must Make At Least Two Starts And Must Win At Least One Race.)

Virginia Hunter Pace Series The 2015 hunter pace series will start with the Casanova Hunt Hunter Pace Events on February 15 near Warrenton, Virginia. This year most of the hunts have added open divisions, which welcome post entries and riders, who may be ineligible in the series events. Another change will allow teams of three riders in addition to pairs to compete in the open events.

Mark Your Calendars Since the VSA Calendar came out there have been three date changes. The Dogwood Classic Races on Saturday, April 4, will not be run this season, the Virginia Fall Races will be run on Saturday, October 10, and the International Gold Cup will be run on October 24. For more information contact centralentryoffice.com.


IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • WINTER 2015

PERSONALITIES Demonstrative Runs Away With Steeplechase Eclipse Award By Lauren R. Giannini

The excitement peaked, after several months of speculation by enthusiasts and the racing media, at the 44th Annual Eclipse Awards dinner on January 17 at Gulfstream Park in Florida. The celebration in Gulfstream’s Sport of Kings Theatre attracted the stars of the racing world and the air Richard Valentine, trainer of Demonstrative, a man who buzzed with anticipaclearly loves his work. tion; later in the Douglas Lees photo evening, the place rocked when California Chrome won Horse of the Year and Best 3-Year-Old Male. This year, the presentation of the Eclipse Award for Steeplechase Horse of 2014 took place third on the program—not a moment too soon for owner Jacqueline Ohrstrom, trainer Richard Valentine, and jockey Robbie Walsh. “We are all excited, it’s a bit surreal in some ways, and I really hope that Demonstrative wins— it’s such a huge honor to get here,” said Valentine, a few days before the awards dinner. “I think he should win, but I do worry because Jonathan Sheppard, Divine Fortune’s trainer, is so well-known in the flat racing world.” Valentine needn’t have worried. That night at Gulfstream, sitting with Ohrstrom and Walsh, hearts thumping as if it were an actual race, they waited while the presenters introduced finalists Demonstrative, Divine Fortune (2013 Eclipse winner), and Makari, then watched the video highlights. It took only a few minutes, but it must have felt like forever before the presenter opened the envelope and announced that Demonstrative had won. Cheers and applause accompanied the trio, who accepted congratulations on their way to the stage. Valentine took the podium and said, “On behalf of Mrs. Ohrstrom and myself, we’d like to thank the NTRA, it’s a huge honor and we’re delighted and look forward to 2015 and good luck to you all. Thank you.” This simple, humble and heartfelt acceptance speech is typical of Valentine. Standing nearby, beaming a thousand-watt smile, Ohrstrom cradled the iconic statue named for the undefeated 18th century British racehorse and sire. Winning the Eclipse was a glorious finale to a very successful season. Ohrstrom has placed among the National Steeplechase Association’s top five leading owners in the final standings since 2011. In 2014, Ohrstrom finished second with earnings of $381,175 from 14 starts that produced 4 wins, 1 second, and 2 thirds. Her star was Demonstrative, who ran in all six Grade 1 hurdle races for 3 firsts, 1 second, and 1 third. Just to highlight Ohrstrom’s achievement, Irvin S. Naylor claimed his fifth leading owner title with his horses making 92 starts for 17 wins, 20 seconds, 8 thirds, and top earnings of $531,840. “It is such a great honor to win the Eclipse,” said Ohrstrom. “It’s because of my husband George L.

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Trainer Richard Valentine “Hearts” Horses Ohrstrom, Jr (1927-2005) that I’m doing this and having a great time with my horses. George brought Richard to train at Whitewood. It was my husband’s greatest wish to win the Maryland Hunt Cup. Richard did it twice, and we all wish that George had been there to see Professor Maxwell win in 2013. Now we wish that George had been here to see Demonstrative win the Eclipse. It’s certainly our first.” Eclipse Awards winners are decided by a jury of 265 voters from Daily Racing Form, National Turf Writers and Broadcasters, and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association. Demonstrative earned 206 votes out of 225 (40 abstained) to score a most impressive victory over Divine Fortune on 12, Decoy Daddy (IRE) on 5, and Makari (GB) on 2 votes. For Valentine, the Eclipse was fair reward for Demonstrative, who proved beyond any doubt that his brilliance over hurdles was not a fluke. Bred by Gainsborough Farm in Kentucky, Demonstrative ran on the flat in England, winning one race in 11 starts. Sire Elusive Quality earned $413,284 in 20 career starts and traces his lineage back to Native Dancer. Loving Pride, his dam, was a Group-placed winner in France and her sire Quiet American boasted black type (stakes) with career earnings of $754,419. Demonstrative had inherited racing genes. Valentine went to the July 2010 Tattersalls Sales, bought the young horse for Ohrstrom, shipped him back to Whitewood and discovered that he had a very nice young horse who loved running and jumping hurdles—a horse after his own heart. “I love the jumping. I love to jump. I love to watch jumping. I love schooling them myself,” said Valentine years ago. “I love teaching horses to jump and I love taking horses off the flat track and teaching them to jump.” He was blown away by Demonstrative that summer and did something he had never done before: he ran him in 3-year-old hurdle races. Jump racing is where Valentine’s background has played an essential role with the horses and their training. For years, he went to Ireland after the NSA season ended for a month of R&R—his brand of relaxation was catching up with friends and riding to hounds. With more horses to train, he finds it difficult to get away for several weeks. “I ride out every day, but I’m too heavy for the novices,” said Valentine. “I think it’s really important to use all your senses, really watch them so that you know your horses.” One given: Valentine’s love for riding and for jumping has been a key element in his success.

Mrs. Ohrstom’s Demonstrative was named the 2014 Steeplechase Horse of the Year. Douglas Lees photo

Roots In Unionville, But Not That Valentine

Ireland to work instead of being a ski bum and living beyond his means. “I chose Lambourn, but Mrs. Fanning disagreed. She had the perfect place for me to go,” said Valentine. “Mrs. Fanning got me a job with Chris Ryan, MFH of the Scarteen in Ireland.” It turned into the opportunity of a lifetime. Valentine got thrown in at the deep end, picking up the ride on a horse scheduled to compete in two Novice events. The kicker being that Novice across the big puddle is a couple of levels higher than Novice in the USA. “When I walked the cross-country, I thought that the fences looked bigger than what I was used to,” he said. “I rode that horse in the Novice championships, which was pretty much an Intermediate track in Ireland.” He loved all of it: living and working with the Ryans, hunting their young horses, pitching in with their hounds and helping Chris with his point-topoint horses. “It was great,” said Valentine. “We exercised hounds on bicycles—cracking a whip while you pedal is amusing. I got a whole new appreciation for hunting over there. Hunting in Ireland spoiled me.” For five years, Valentine worked in Ireland from August to May, essentially in the hunting and jumpracing seasons. During the early summer months he spent stateside, he freelanced, riding for Rusty Carrier and others. He met Mrs. Miles Valentine whose distinctive heart-emblazoned white silks visited many winner’s circles. “After I worked for Rusty, I went to Ireland again and Michael ‘Mouse’ Morris, a trainer in County Tipperary, hired me instantly—he probably thought I was Mrs. Valentine’s grandson,” said Continued Valentine.

Valentine makes it clear he isn’t a member of the Valentine family of foxhunting and racing fame. His parents had no interest in horses and yet they moved to a farm in Southeastern Pennsylvania where Valentine got hooked on horses for life. “I didn’t ever want for a horse. I hunted with Brandywine and did Pony Club,” he said. “When we moved to West Grove, I started hunting with Mr. Stewart’s Cheshire Hounds and worked for different people.” He obtained his equestrian education from some of the best in the horse world, names from the record books such as Fanning, Carrier, and Bird. When Valentine finished high school, he wanted to go skiing at Squaw Valley (Olympic Valley, Ca.) with two affluent friends. He was advised to go to England or

(l-r) Trainer Richard Valentine, owner Mrs. George L. (Jacqueline) Ohrstrom, and jockey Robbie Walsh at this year’s Eclipse Awards ceremony where Mrs. Ohrstom’s Demonstrative was named the 2014 Steeplechase Horse of the Year.


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IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • WINTER 2015

He had the best of the horse world on both sides of the Atlantic, but a job opportunity in the states beckoned, thanks to riding for the late Betty Bosley Bird. “I worked for Betty Bird for a tiny period of time and I walked away learning more from her than any other place I worked,” said Valentine. “She was the most amazing, knowledgeable horsewoman and her attention to detail was incredible.” Bird knew George Ohrstrom, Jr. He was keen to win the Maryland Hunt Cup and needed a trainer because Mike Elmore was leaving. She recommended Valentine, who was 27 when he started in September 1996 at Ohrstrom’s Whitewood Farm in The Plains, Virginia. The following March, he saddled his first winner at Warrenton Hunt Point-to-Point where Fassfern, piloted by Gregg Ryan (now Jt-MFH Piedmont Fox Hounds and Snickersville Hounds) won the Open Timber.

“I arrived at Whitewood when Mr. Ohrstrom didn’t ride anymore, but during my first few years at Whitewood, he was in the barn at least once or twice a day, watching his horses work and school,” said Valentine. “He was very good to me. One day, it must have been in 2001, Mr. Ohrstrom said, ‘You need a job when I die.’ I said, ‘You’re not allowed to die!’ But he was insistent and encouraged me to become a public trainer. I’m grateful to his children who afforded me the opportunity to be able to train on the family farm after their father passed away. Even though they don’t have the same enthusiasm for racing that Clarke does, they’ve been great.” Clarke Ohrstrom shared his father’s passion for breeding and racing. One of his most successful starters, Kisser N Run, ran over hurdles under Valentine’s tutelage and earned the 2013 NSA Filly & Mare Championship. Mauritania, bred by the late Mr. Ohrstrom under Whitewood, Inc., continued racing for his children, including Clarke. The homebred started 47 times under rules and at local point-topoints between 2002 and 2007 for career earnings of $187,028 with 8 firsts, 5 seconds, and 12 thirds. In Mauritania’s final season, Clarke and amateur jump jockey Gregg Ryan co-owned the horse. Mauritania retired racing and went home with Ryan to start his new career as a Master’s horse, hunting with Snickersville. Whitewood Farm, located strategically in the rolling countryside traversed by Orange County Hounds, is an ideal place to train horses. Valentine has become savvy about which horses need to run at the local point-to-points to boost their conditioning and/or to gain experience. It’s always a treat when he saddles a runner, whatever the race meet. His goal depends on the horse and its suitability for the sanctioned circuit, especially the high caliber of competition found in the six Grade 1 hurdle stakes. The NSA also cards timber races, but those purses aren’t as big. What’s similar about sanctioned hurdle and timber racing is that the horses capable of being competitive don’t work as hard as most of their Thoroughbred brethren on the flat track. Racing over timber and hurdles is more about the horses and the sport. Oh, these people enjoy winning, but they also want to have their ’chasers around for a long, long time.

Thoroughbreds & The People Who Love Them Laird George has worked as Valentine’s assistant trainer for the last six years of his three decades with Thoroughbreds. When asked what’s so special about Valentine as a trainer, George replied, “Richard’s at-

$150,000) after Walsh, Demonstrative’s regular rider, and Matt McCarron, his back-up jockey, both sustained injuries in an earlier race. Valentine chose not to run the 5-year-old with an unfamiliar pilot.

Wind Problem

Demonstrative in his paddock at Whitewood. Douglas Lees photo

tention to detail—no stone goes unturned. He treats the least talented horse in the barn just as well as the best horses and I think that has something to do with the lesser horses showing more potential. They all get treated like Demonstrative. “The Eclipse is very exciting, partly because we’re a smaller stable, but here you know you’re appreciated for the accomplishments of the horses,” he continued. “Don’t get me wrong—the award is great, but even more is that you know you are appreciated. We have a lot of horses in the barn, and Mrs. Ohrstrom has a small racing stable of four or five. You don’t see Mrs. Ohrstrom that she doesn’t thank you for all of your hard work. She’s very grateful. Richard is easy to work for. You know what he expects of you and he’s a hard worker, definitely a leader in the barn.” Rather than go to Gulfstream for the awards dinner, George stayed home to hold down the fort, so to speak, at Whitewood. He and his wife Natalie Wales planned to have some friends and make an evening of watching the live stream of the awards. “It will be fun to see,” he said at the time. “I think for sure it’s Demonstrative’s Eclipse—I don’t see how there can be any argument.” There wasn’t, and Demonstrative won the Eclipse voting by a landslide. His 2014 season answered the questions that followed his loss of form in 2013. The Hollywood version goes something like this: horse proves a dud on the flat in the UK, spotted at Tattersalls by savvy American trainer who likes what he sees, purchased for a relative song, flies the Atlantic like a trooper, loves to jump and continues to impress owner and trainer. Valentine doesn’t run three-year-olds over hurdles, but that’s what he did with Demonstrative, whose debut unfolded as a four-length romp to victory in a big field of the three-year-old hurdle at the Virginia Fall Races, Glenwood Park, Middleburg, on October 3, 2010. Next, he lost his jockey when bumped at the start of the Foxbrooke at Far Hills. In November he won going away in the Raymond G. Woolfe Memorial 3-year-old hurdle at the Colonial Cup. Two big wins earned Demonstrative the 3-yearold NSA novice hurdle championship. Demonstrative, 4, earned his keep, starting 8 times in 2011 for two wins, four seconds and two thirds. In 2012, three mediocre spring starts preceded two wins at Saratoga, the Kiser Novice Hurdle Stakes and New York Turf Writers (Gr.1). At Belmont in September, Valentine scratched him in the paddock before the important Lonesome Glory (Gr.1

Demonstrative’s fourth racing season, 2013, began brilliantly. Now 6, he won his first outing, a flat race in late April, and two weeks later proved a head better than Divine Fortune in the $150,000 Iroquois Gr.1 hurdle stakes in Tennessee. He was on course for the remaining Grade 1s, starting with Saratoga. On August 1, Valentine scratched him before the A.P. Smithwick Memorial; it had been wet and rainy, and the trainer thought he heard a cough. Demonstrative bounced back and seemed fine, but ran sixth in the NY Turf Writers. In September, Demonstrative finished 4th in the Lonesome Glory at Belmont Park, then rallied for 3rd place in the richest Grade 1 of the season, the $250,000 Grand National at Far Hills. In the season finale, he ran 5th at the Colonial Cup. “Richard always knew there was something, a whiff of something, because Demonstrative made a bit of noise racing,” said Walsh, who started riding him at the start of 2011. “At Far Hills (in October 2013) in the Grand National, I heard a different noise galloping out, but not during the race. Then he ran at Camden and took his shot at the end of the year race, the Colonial Cup, and the noise he made was worse than at Far Hills.” Walsh shared all this with Valentine. After he got the horse back to Whitewood, he called in the vet. They gave the horse a strong gallop with an Over Land Scope and learned that Demonstrative had a problem with his soft palate. “The vets said that he was partially paralyzed on the left side of his larynx, which compromised his breathing by 60 percent,” said Valentine. “It was suggested we take him to Cornell University for corrective surgery by Dr. Ducharme. We went up and had the procedure done in December.” Valentine is honest about being a bit neurotic and he worries constantly about “his” horses. Demonstrative missed two months of training while he recuperated on stall rest. Late that spring, he finished out of the frame in the flat race and at the Iroquois. He was not the brilliant closer he had been and yet Valentine felt optimistic.

Richard Valentine trained Professor Maxwell for Mrs. George L. Ohrstrom to win the 2013 Maryland Hunt Cup. It was Richard’s second Maryland Hunt Cup win. (l-r): Richard Valentine, Jacqueline Ohrstrom, and rider Mark Beecher. Douglas Lees photo


IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • WINTER 2015

The Comeback Kid “After the Iroquois, we continued with a regular work schedule to build on his condition—he’s used to doing a lot and he got a little fat from not doing anything,” said Valentine. “He’s a big horse and it takes a lot to get him fit. He thrives on work, but I didn’t want to be hard on him when he started back. We monitored his breathing last winter in Camden. The jury’s still out [about the procedure], but everyone says it’s the most incredible job they have ever seen. Dr. Ducharme is very, very good. When we got to Saratoga, Demonstrative’s works were getting better and better.” So was his form. At Saratoga, Demonstrative missed winning the AP Smithwick by a nose to Makari (GB), but his second place was impressive. He made up for it in the NY Turf Writers, posting a one-half length victory over Barnstorming, ridden by runaway NSA champion jockey, Willie McCarthy, followed by Italian Wedding, both horses owned by Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard. That was on August 25. On September 18, Demonstrative scored his second consecutive Grade 1 victory in the $150,000 Lonesome Glory at Belmont Park. On October 18, at Far Hills, Demonstrative romped to a 7¾length rout in the $250,000 Grand National, motoring for home, trailed by Divine Fortune and Parker’s Project. The kid was totally back. Walsh has piloted Demonstrative in all but two of his races since getting the ride in 2011. Former NSA champion jockey McCarron rode Demonstrative in his first three career starts for two wins and the NSA 3-year-old title. When Walsh was sidelined by injury in 2012, McCarron had two rides, including Demonstrative’s win in the Colonial Cup. Valentine does everything he can to make sure that the jockey

and horse are well matched. The fairy tale would have included a win in the season’s finale, the prestigious Colonial Cup, but that isn’t the way horse racing works. Demonstrative’s 2014 accolades include the NSA’s Lonesome Glory Champions Award and the Virginia Steeplechase Association’s Virginia Owned Steeplechase Horse of the Year. He also won the VSA title in 2011 and 2012. “Demonstrative’s the best I’ve ever ridden and I’ve sat on some great horses,” said Walsh. “Richard is top notch. It’s all about the horse. He’s highly professional, the horses are turned out to a high degree. They’re fit, fantastic and well-schooled. Richard lives and breathes horses, and it shows.”

Training—Not A Job, A Labor Of Love Everyone agrees that Demonstrative deserved his Eclipse and that he is a special horse in the hands of a special horseman. “The credit goes to Richard. He is a talented trainer,” said Ohrstrom. “Betty Bird adored him. He’s modest. I don’t think he realizes the wonderful things he has accomplished. He loves his horses and he loves what he does. We have a great working relationship. We confer on every detail and I leave all the decisions to him. I don’t believe in second-guessing my trainer. We weathered a few storms, but we have had luck, success and a lot of fun. We have a great team and we really have a good time.” Valentine has a good time after “his” horses come home safely. “I get really nervous,” he said. “We love the game and we love the horses. Winning is an added bonus, but you don’t ever want anything to happen to them. The Eclipse was great. Demonstrative had a great season and we’re just going to play it by ear, get him ready for the flat race at Queens Cup and then the Iroquois. See how he does. He’s a really special horse.”

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21 The Eclipse hasn’t gone to Valentine’s head. In fact, he is more humble than ever and sincere about sharing the glory. “The success I have is directly equated to the people I have working for me, especially Laird George, my assistant trainer,” said Valentine. “I’m highly strung and he’s completely the opposite. For me, Laird is the human form of Prozac. In the spring we split up and go to different meets, but he never gets annoyed with my constant phone calls. Some might say the calls are micro-managing but Laird doesn’t mind me checking on the horses. “Robbie and Demonstrative have matured together and formed a great partnership,” he continued. “Robbie is riding with a huge amount of confidence that he has gained from Demonstrative. He’s maturing into a big, strong horse. We’re looking forward to seeing what this season brings—I have 19 horses in training right now. I’m incredibly lucky to have such great owners and the support from them and their horses. We all care deeply about the horses and help each one to be the best physically and mentally that they can be. I’m always rooting for the underdog. It seems sometimes the horses with the least talent or desire can blossom if you give them enough time at the level they’re competing. At our barn, winning a hurdle or timber stake and winning a maiden claimer are achievements and the horses deserve the credit.” So does Valentine, even though he passes the buck right back to his team and the Thoroughbreds. “Training horses isn’t a job,” he said. “For me, it’s a lifestyle. I love the horses and being able to spend every day with them.” See additional coverage of Demonstrative’s Eclipse win in Will O’Keefe’s Virginia Steeplechase


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IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • WINTER 2015

ACROSS THE POND

A New Foxhound Pack, Winter Hound Show, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day Hunts By Jim Meads Unbelievable though it may seem in view of the disgraceful foxhunting ban forced in by our Labor government in 2005, a new pack of foxhounds, named the Moorlands, has been formed in Derbyshire and held its first opening meet on November 3, 2014. The founder Master is Gerard deVille, who served as a Joint Master to the Meynell for five seasons, to the Staffordshire Moorland for 12 seasons, and 34 seasons with the Derby, Notts & Staffs Beagles. He has the new pack kenneled at his home, while Dick Chapman, an experienced professional, will hunt hounds. The celebratory meet was held at Swainsley Hall, a pretty house built in 1867, and a large crowd of wellMoorlands Hunt 1st Opening Meet, November 3, 2014 wishers on foot and a mounted field of Jumping an old iron gate in fine style is Andrew Mason. 32 gathered for a splendid hunt breakfast. After a blessing, hounds moved off to hunt trails in a hilly grass country of the Peak District, with many stone walls to jump. At the day’s end, we all adjourned to a local pub for tea, while I was all “smiles” having been out with my 501st different pack. The annual Royal Welsh Winter Fair, which also includes a foxhound show, this year attracted 18,700 visitors, not all of whom came to see hounds, where TV cameras were in evidence. There are classes for Welsh, English & Hill Foxhounds, judged in separate rings. In the Welsh, classes were won by the Llanwrthwl and the Towy & Cothi, while the Tivyside were shown by former Farmington, Virginia, huntsman Daron Beeney. English classes were dominated by the Banwen Miners and the Llandeilo Farmers, while in the Hill hounds top places were won by the Banwen Miners, Llandeilo Farmers, and the Irfon & Towy. Then the three champions— Llanwrthwl “Merlin,” Llandeilo Farmers “Gaddesby,” and Llandeilo Farmers “Footman”—were judged in an exciting finale, with the Welsh Champion Llanwrthwl “Merlin,” shown by twelve-year-old George Jones, son of Huntsman Mark Jones, taking the Supreme. Welsh Winter Hound Show, Deember 2014 Champion English Hound Llandeilo Farmers “Gaddesby” with Huntsman Colin Evans, MFH.

Welsh Winter Hound Show, Deember 2014 Champion Hill Hound Llandeilo Farmers “Footman” with Huntsman Colin Evans, MFH.

Moorlands Hunt 1st Opening Meet, November 3, 2014 at Swainsley Hall.

Moorlands Hunt 1st Opening Meet, November 3, 2014 The Founder, Master Gerald deVille, with hounds during a check.

Moorlands Hunt 1st Opening Meet, November 3, 2014 Moving across country are Lisa Brooke, Jayne Hughes, Richard Fazarkerly.

Welsh Winter Hound Show, Deember 2014 Champion Welsh Hound and Supreme Champion Llanwrthyl “Merlin” shown by 12-year-old George Jones.

Moorlands Hunt 1st Opening Meet, November 3, 2014 Huntsman Dick Chapman taking hounds to a fresh draw.


IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • WINTER 2015

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HORSE COUNTRY BOOKSELLERS Specialists in New, Old & Rare Books on Horses, Foxhunting, Eventing, Polo, Racing, Steeplechasing & Sporting Art 60 Alexandria Pike, Warrenton, VA 20186 • 800-882-HUNT • 540-347-3141 Tanatside Hunt, Boxing Day 2014 Huntsman Richard Evans with 16 1/2 couple of hounds.

Boxing Day dawned cold and misty, but nothing daunted, I set off on the one-hour drive to the little market town of Welshpool, where the Tanatside Hunt was to meet. Although I was early, already the streets were lined with multitudes of warmly-clad supporters ready for the traditional pageant. By the time Huntsman Richard Evans arrived with 16½ couple of Welsh-English Cross Foxhounds, followed by Joint Masters Andy Higgins and Alison Harper and 43 horses and ponies, there wasn’t room to move! Mulled wine and sandwiches were handed ’round as more and more people arrived, while I spotted the youngest mounted follower, the Huntsman’s 2-yearold son Archie, with his mom Jules. At 11:15 the mighty cavalcade moved off through a narrow gap between cheering crowds all along the main street. National TV said that some 250,000 people attended meets organized countrywide, so foxhunting is alive and well in the UK! On New Year’s Day, I went out with the David Davies Hounds, who met in a typical farmyard close to their kennels, built in 1905. Huntsman Steve Bradley and Whipper-In for 50 years Neville Owen brought along 16 couple of Welsh and Fell Hounds. Master since 1963 Lord Davies was on foot, but his eldest daughter Eldrydd, returned from Australia, was making her comeback on a horse and led the mounted field of 24. Some of the foot followers had “headaches” from celebrating the New Year, but still came to enjoy the day’s hunting. Gale force winds kept hounds on the low ground along the Severn Valley, but it was great to be out in the cold fresh air! David Davies Hunt New Year’s Day 2015 Heading the field are Lord Davies’s daughter Eldrydd, Jenna Sherrard, Annie Fairclough.

JENNY’S PICKS We had a very busy autumn quarter of the year, what with four booksignings and the Christmas rush, and disposed of nearly all our 2015 calendars. We still have a lot of sale books available; check out the listing on our website, www.horsecountrycarrot.com, for a good bargain. New books are filtering in with the new year as well.

Goodwin, Daisy. The Fortune Hunter. This novel 2015 Wall Calendars, limited quantities: Foxhunting Life. (6 left) Beautiful photographs was requested by one of our customers, and I can’t wait to read it myself. Set in 19th century from Norman Fine’s shop. $19.00. Europe, it focuses on the relationship between an Millbrook Hunt. (9 left) You don’t have to be a heiress and a dashing young officer of the Guards, member of Millbrook to enjoy the photos of their which is jeopardized when he is assigned as eshunt! I ordered a few just for something different. cort to Empress Elizabeth of Austria. Plenty of $16.95 riding and foxhunting in this one! Hardcover, Steeplechase Calendar. (5 left) Catherine 473pp. $26.99 French’s large color photographs from various Jung, Dr. Heike. Even Unicorns Need to Learn steeplechases around the country will enliven How to Fly. Jung offers a series of horse-inspired your tack room wall if your house is already full! lessons about health, wealth, and relationships Leading horses such as Irv Naylor’s Decoy Daddy that is just fun to read. There are many references and Magalen O. Bryant’s Dakota Slew and jock- to Pat Parelli’s games with horses as the author eys Paddy Young and Jody Petty compete from tries—not always successfully—to implement Aiken to Saratoga. This one is also new to us and them with the horses she works with. The lessons, didn’t arrive until too late to get into the last issue. however, can be applied to human relationships $14.00 as well as horses. Paperback, 137pp. $14.95 Basset Hounds (2 left) and Basset Hound Pup- MacPherson, Charles. The Butler Speaks. Every pies (1 left) will enchant you with their lugubrious once in a while we get a book that has absolutely expressions. $14.99. no pertinence to foxhunting or horseback riding but which proves fascinating to our readers; this is Books: Abbott, Gareth, ed. Hollywood Dogs. During the one of them. The author has over 24 years of ex“Golden Age” of Hollywood, a number of pub- perience as the major-domo for one of Canada’s licity photographs were taken of popular actors most prominent families and opened North Amerand actresses with dogs—either their own pets or ica’s only registered school for butlers and housestars in their own right, such as Lassie and Rin hold managers. He has compiled a volume of Tin Tin. Almost exclusively in sepia tone, these information on the art of butlering—but even if large photographs are not snapshots but profes- you do not have a butler to instruct or wish to besionally set up portrait shots. Makes a great gift come one yourself, you may just enjoy reading all for those who love reruns of the old movies. (I just about how to do it properly anyway, in case you question the ID of the German Shepherds on pp. do formal entertaining and want to do it properly. 37 and 95—clearly not the same dog, but both He deals with the tradition of service, basic howidentified as “Flash.”) Hardcover, 168pp. $45.00 to information such as tray carrying and door Brook, Jane. Horsey Wit. This little volume of opening, the etiquette of entertaining, table manpithy quotations from a number of sources did ners, and the art of good housekeeping. Also invery well for us as a gift book over the holidays. cluded are a glossary, suggested pairings of wine I like this one by Winston Churchill especially: with different foods, and a suggested reading list. “No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the sad- Hardcover, 247pp. $27.95 dle.” Hardcover, 206pp. $14.95

David Davies Hunt New Year’s Day 2015 Welsh Hill Farmer Neville Owen has whipped-in for 50 years!

all their glory—except for one, Pope Villa, which was suffered to lapse into decay but still has the “bones” of a grand house ripe for renovation. Text to accompany the photographs was compiled by a number of different people. Add this to your collection of coffee-table historic house books and you won’t be disappointed. NB: The final chapter is the Iroquois Hunt! Hardcover, 256pp. $60.00

Estersohn, Pieter, photographer. Kentucky/Historic Houses and Horse Farms of Bluegrass Country. Like Loudoun and Fauquier Counties in Virginia, the area around Lexington, Kentucky, is known for its “horsiness” and elegance of lifestyle. Estersohn reaches from Henry Clay’s home in downtown Lexington outward to the Shaker village at Pleasant Hill south of town to reveal stately homes from previous centuries in

Meyners, Eckart. Rider + Horse = 1. Riders all know that the most effective and beautiful equestrians seem to be molded to their horses so they function as one unit. The author here, who also wrote Rider Fitness: Body & Brain, tries to help you achieve “the fluid dialogue that leads to harmonious performance,” including 60 exercises for rider and horse. Loaded with color photos to illustrate the exercises. Hardcover, 190pp. $29.95


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IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • WINTER 2015

HORSE RACING

Horses and People to Watch Virginia Thoroughbred Association

New Association Aims to Help Virginia’s Racing and Breeding Industry Legislative Changes on the Horizon for Virginia Racing As most readers of this column know, last fall Colonial Downs voluntarily surrendered its license to operate its New Kent racetrack and its nine off-track betting parlors. That was a significant blow to the Virginia horse industry. In response, the state horsemen’s groups (the Virginia Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and the Virginia Harness Horse Association), our breeders (the Virginia Thoroughbred Association), and the Virginia Gold Cup formed a new non-profit organization—the Virginia Equine Alliance—to maintain and expand racing and breeding in the state. The Alliance is exploring the possibility of leasing Colonial Downs as well as racing at other venues in the state. The latter includes expanded use of steeplechase courses, the Middleburg Training Center, and other sites like Oak Ridge (south of Charlottesville), which in the past have run both Thoroughbred and harness meets. Under the direction of VEA Executive Director Jeb Hannum, the Alliance has been working with legislators in Richmond to try to secure key changes to the Racing Act to foster its vision of growth. According to Hannum, if the Equine Alliance is to succeed, amendments to the state Racing Act are necessary. The amendments supported by the VEA redirect wagering revenue that formerly went to Colonial Downs, as the only unlimited license holder in the state, to the Equine Alliance. To that end, the VEA’s chief patrons, Senator Jill Vogel and Delegate Ed Scott, have introduced SB 1097 and HB 1826. The VEA is calling on Virginia horsemen to contact their local Delegate and Senator by phone, email, or letter to express support for SB 1097 and HB 1826. Contact information for local representatives can be found at www.whosmy.virginiageneralassembly.gov. As the Alliance urged horsemen in a recent letter, this year’s legislative session is a short one, so it’s important that you act now. The message to your legislators can be as simple as: “I support SB 1097 and HB 1826 because I want our native horse industry to survive and grow. Horses are a proud part of our state heritage. They provide thousands of jobs and preserve farms and green space for our children.” One final point: Even though Colonial Downs gave up its license, track ownership is trying to keep the wagering revenue it received when it ran an eightweek summer meet. Colonial wants to use the money to run a weekend or two of “high end” races with large purses, like the Virginia Derby and the Virginia Turf Cup. Four to six days of “high end” will do nothing for Virginia racing. Not only does Colonial’s legislation cut race days, but their proposal will cut the funding to the Virginia Breeder’s fund by 37 percent. If ADW wagering remains consistent in 2015, the Alliance’s legislation would provide $940,000 in breeders funds versus $350,000 provided in Colonial’s legislation. Colonial’s legislation, sponsored by Senator Thomas Norment and Delegate Barry Knight, is SB 1313 and HB 2224. When you write or call to support our legislation please add a sentence or two saying you oppose SB 1313 and HB 2224 because “they send money raised in Virginia to the horse industry in other states.” There is a good chance we will need to call on supporters of the VEA’s efforts in the coming weeks to meet with representatives individually or to make an appearance in Richmond. The window to meet with these legislators may be small, but the opportunity will be vital to our lobbying effort.

An Executive Director with a World-class Racing Background VEA Executive Director Jeb Hannum is a lifetime horseman with a background in racing legislation. A native of Unionville, Pennsylvania, Hannum has worked in the barns of steeplechase giant Jonathan Sheppard and English Derby-winning trainer Peter Jeb Hannum, Executive Director Walwyn. In 2007, he was nominated to the Penn- of the the newly formed Virginia Equine Alliance.

sylvania Racing Commission and served for three years. He was later hired to run the Pennsylvania Breeders Association, one of the biggest in the country. “As the Executive Director I was responsible for the administration and promotion of the $20-million fund,” Hannum said. “I worked closely with the horsemen, track operators, and the Commission, as well as meeting with legislators to make the case that a vibrant racing industry benefits the state’s agricultural economy. “I have a lot of experience in both flat and steeplechase racing and understand the pressures facing the industry,” Hannum said. “My political experience will be important here as much of the future of racing in Virginia (and in the region) is in the hands of elected officials. We need to make our case that racing matters and show that the economy in rural communities benefits when racing is expanding.” If you would like further information on either the VEA or its legislative efforts, please feel free to contact Executive Director Jeb Hannum, jeb.hannum@virginiaequinealliance.com, 484-238-6290; VTA Executive Director Debbie Easter, debbie.easter@easterassociates.com, 434-531-2480; or VHBPA Executive Director Frank Petramalo, fpetramalo@msn.com, 703-999-7491. ••••

Bob Powell, Snow Lantern Thoroughbreds, breeder of GSW Long On Value, a 2014 Breeders Award recipient.

Virginia Breeders’ Awards The Virginia Thoroughbred Association is pleased to announce the recipients of Virginia Breeders Fund awards for 2014. The Fund is a financial incentive program to encourage Thoroughbred breeding in Virginia, funded by a one percent take-out of all live and simulcast pari-mutuel wagering conducted in the Commonwealth. “Virginia breeders received more money for 2014 wins than any time in the recent past,” said VTA Executive Director, Debbie Easter. “If the handle stays consistent for 2015, we anticipate breeders will receive bigger payouts in the coming year.” Virginia is the only state in the Mid-Atlantic region that pays breeders awards for wins at every racetrack in the United States, and that will not change going forward. Registered Virginia-bred and Virginia-sired horses are eligible for a 100 percent bonus in all open races held in the Commonwealth of Virginia— and through the work of the Virginia Equine Alliance, the VTA hope to grow these racing opportunities in 2015. In addition, there are five Virginia-bred stakes races with various conditions on the turf that will run at Laurel Park, with purses of $60,000 each. You can find a full list of 2014 awardees at www.vabred.org. The VTA anticipates that checks will be mailed by the first part of February. Awards recipients should contact the VTA office to verify that they have a 2014 W-9 on file.


GEORGE WHITE FENCING AND SUPPLY

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Installation • Repairs • Fence Painting Portable Barns and Sheds

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REMEMBRANCE David Semmes David Semmes. MFH, Old Dominion Hounds 1984-1995, race rider and owner, a true gentleman and a popular figure in the horse world—passed away on January 1, 2015, a few days short of his 87th birthday.

JANET HITCHEN PHOTOGRAPHY 540-837-9846 www.janethitchenphotography.com janethitchenphotography@gmail.com

CLASSIFIEDS REAL ESTATE

HORSEFARMSANDCOUNTRYHOMES.COM Cindy Polk, 703.966.9480, David O’Flaherty Realtor specializing in country properties from cottages, land and hobby farms to fine estates and professional equestrian facilities. Washington Fine Properties. 204 E. Washington St., Middleburg, VA.

David Semmes finished third in the 1978 Casanova Cup on his At The Spa. Douglas Lees photo

David Semmes’ Endless Mountain won the Lady Rider Timber, with Mary Motion up, at the 2012 Blue Ridge Hunt Point-to-Point. Douglas Lees photo


In & Around Horse Country Winter 2015  

The Official Publication of the Virginia Steeplechase Association

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