VOLUME XXVIII / NUMBER 1 • THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE VIRGINIA STEEPLECHASE ASSOCIATION • WINTER 2016
IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • WINTER 2016
Douglas Lees photos
Warrenton Hunt Opening Meet, November 6, 2015, The Oaks, Warrenton, Virginia. Huntsman Matt van der Woude moves off with hounds.
Piedmont Fox Hounds, crossing Goose Creek, New Year’s Day, 2016, from Blue Ridge Farm.
Piedmont Fox Hounds, Huntsman Jordan Hicks near a den at St. Brides, December 12, 2015. Warrenton Hunt, Matt van der Woude Huntsman, coming in on Thanksgiving Day, 2015. The meet was from Alan and Debbie Nash’s Hillsborough.
Orange County Hounds, Huntsman Reg Spreadborough moving off from Hickory House, November 14, 2015.
Piedmont Fox Hounds on a run, St. Brides, December 12, 2015.
Orange County Hounds, Huntsman Reg Spreadborough, Glen Welby, January 2, 2016.
Orange County Hounds, Huntsman Reg Spreadborough moves off with hounds from Old Whitewood as the field follows, November 28, 2015.
Orange County Hounds, Huntsman Reg Spreadborough, Orange County Hounds, Huntsman Reg Spreadborough Old Whitewood, at a den near Marshall, Virginia, January 2, 2016. November 28, 2015.
Piedmont Fox Hounds, Huntsman Jordan Hicks, New Year’s Day, 2016, Blue Ridge Farm.
Piedmont Fox Hounds, Opening Day Fox, November 5, 2015, Oakley.
IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • WINTER 2016
SPORTING LIFE HIGHLIGHTS Winter Equestrian Festival While the Mid-Atlantic was digging out from as much as three feet of snow in some places, photographer Isabel Kurek was catching the hot action at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Florida.
Jessica Springsteen riding “Zero.”
Abigail McArdle riding “Harriri” for Plain Bay Sales, Middleburg, Virginia, Katie Prudent trainer.
Sloane Coles takes a break from the action at Wellington with her animal companions.
Molly Ashe riding “Balous Day Date” for Louisburg Farm.
PHOTOGRAPHERS: Bruce Ackerman Phil Audibert www.audibertphoto.com Benoit Photography Sarah Black www.sarahblackphotography.photoreflect.com Michael Bloom Liz Callar www.lizcallar.com John J. Carle II, ex-MFH Equi-Photo Ron Glockner Liz Goldsmith Janet Hitchen Isabel Kurek www.isabelkurek.com Douglas Lees firstname.lastname@example.org Joanne Maisano www.joannemaisano.com Jim Meads 011-44-1686-420436 Middleburg Photo www.middleburgphoto.com Sally Moehring Allene Rachel www.allenerachelphotography.com ON THE COVER: “Covergirls” Hounds of Virginia's Blue Ridge Hunt at Bill Sigafoos www.wlsphoto.com Cathy Summers www.cathysummers.com Kittery Point, January 9, 2016. Elizabeth H. Sutton Photo by Joanne Maisano. Karen Kandra Wenzel
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! Spring Races and Hunter Pace Events: www.centralentryoffice.com. Spring Races, Virginia: Saturday, March 12: Blue Ridge Hunt Point-to-Point Saturday, March 19: Warrenton Hunt Point-to-Point Saturday, March 26: Piedmont Fox Hounds Point-to-Point Sunday, March 22: Bull Run Hunt “Fun Races” & Family Fun Day Sunday, April 3: Orange County Hounds Point-to-Point Saturday, April 9: Old Dominion Hounds Point-to-Point Sunday, April 17: Loudoun Hunt Point-to-Point Saturday, April 23: Middleburg Spring Races Saturday, April 30: Foxfield Spring Races, Charlottesville Sunday, May 1: Middleburg Hunt Point-to-Point Saturday, May 7: Virginia Gold Cup Races Spring Races, Maryland: Saturday, April 2: Green Spring Valley Point-to-Point Saturday, April 9: Elkridge-Harford Hunt Point-to-Point Saturday, April 16: My Lady’s Manor Races Sunday, April 17: Fair Hill Point-to-Point Saturday, April 23: Grand National Steeplechase Saturday, April 30: The Maryland Hunt Cup Sunday, May 1: Maryland Junior Hunt Cup Saturday, May 7: Howard County Cup Races Sunday, May 22: Potomac Hunt Races Hunter Pace Events: Sunday, March 6: Thornton Hill Fort Valley Hunt Sunday, March 13: Blue Ridge Hunt Sunday, March 20: Warrenton Hunt Saturday, March 26: Piedmont Fox Hounds Saturday, April 2: Orange Country Hounds Sunday, April 10: Old Dominion Hounds Saturday, April 23: Rappahannock Hunt Saturday, April 30: Loudoun Fairfax Hunt Other Springtime Happenings: Bull Run Hunt March Madness Hunt Week Monday, March 20 – Saturday, March 26, www.bullrunhuntclub.com Museum of Hounds & Hunting North America Members Reception Saturday, May 29, 5:00 pm, The Mansion, Morven Park, Leesburg Open to current members and members’ guests, www.mhhna.org Virginia Foxhound Club Cocktail Party and Dinner Saturday, May 29, 6:00 pm Horning Blowing Contest, 7:00 pm, www.virginiafoxhoundclub.org Hunt Country Stable Tour Saturday, May 28 & Sunday, May 29 www.trinityupperville.org/Hunt-Country-Stable-Tour/ Virginia Hound Show Sunday, May 29, 8:00, Morven Park, Leesburg email@example.com Museum of Hounds & Hunting North America Sunday, May 29, 11:00, The Mansion, Morven Park, Leesburg Current exhibits open to the public. www.mhhna.org Hound Shows For the full schedule of hound shows: www.mfha.org/houndsshowsched.html. Upperville Colt & Horse Show Monday, June 6 – Sunday, June 12. www.upperville.com
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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: firstname.lastname@example.org Contributors: Aga; J. Harris Anderson; John J. Carle II, ex-MFH; Lauren Giannini; Jim Meads; Will O’Keefe; Barclay Rives; Virginia Equine Alliance; Jenny Young LAYOUT & DESIGN: Kate Houchin Copyright © 2016 In & Around Horse Country®. All Rights Reserved. Volume XXVIII, No.1 POSTMASTER: CHANGE SERVICE REQUESTED
IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • WINTER 2016
Low Country Hunt Week By John J. Carle II, ex-MFH “It was then that the sky shifted to the north east, changing what had been a gentle letting into a billowing black rain, insulting in its punishment and ominous in its enmity.” Bob Cappeletti
Melinda Shambley, MFH, Low Country Hounds.
At “Airy Hall”: (clockwise from center rear) Melinda Shambley, MFH, Low Country Hunt; Sue Blackmore; Martyn Blackmore; three ladies from Virginia: Adrianna Cowan, Rita Kaseman, and Lynn Pirozzoli.
Anne D’Ignazio and Maggie Johnston at “Ravenwood.”
In mid-January I set out upon a voyage of discovery down I-95 to Colleton County, South Carolina, to experience for myself the wonders of the Low Country Hunt’s “Hunt Week.” I soon found out why the lucky foxhunters rave about it, and the smart ones return: it’s the warm, genuinely felt welcome and the extraordinarily generous Southern hospitality that flows nonstop for the duration. In the hunting field and at hunt-related festivities, the delightful residents of The Low Country truly and enthusiastically espouse fellow South Carolinian, sporting author Mike Gaddis’s belief that “…the genteel tradition of the hunt is too sacred to sacrifice.” Ah-men! Begun in 2007 as a fundraiser and called “Historic Plantation Hunt Week,” only the name has changed. Its traditions grow stronger, its popularity more widespread, and the throngs of foxhunters more uncountable each year. Its success has been phenomenal. On Thursday evening, the Limehouse family welcomed us to their charming home, “Airy Hall,” for “Low Country Boil and Oysters.” “Airy Hall” was a 1690 grant to the Hutchison family by Charles II of England and is situated on the Ashepoo River, part of the “ACE Basin”—one of the largest undeveloped estuaries in the United States, formed by the meeting of three rivers, the Ashepoo, Combahee, and Edisto. Dinner was prepared by Martha and John La Roche, who cater the Carolinas’ Hound Show, and it was extravagant and deliriously delicious. Huge clumps of oysters were roasted over open fires and dumped in bushel-lots in strategic spots along a thirty-foot table. Lining both sides, the ravenous horde, glove in one hand, oyster knife in the other, had at it! It was an exceptional experience, and some of the best eatin’ imaginable. Those who have enjoyed the La Roches’ “boil” hold it in reverence; it defies adequate description. On the lips of many a reveler were the words, “I’ve foundered myself!” From the effects of the wonderful food and the flow of liquid libation, no one was shivering on this unusually chilly evening. And those who felt winter’s tinge stayed warm dancing to a band that played everything from Earl Scruggs banjo licks to Gershwin melodies. These people sure know how to live! Overnight the promised rain arrived—with a vengeance. During breakfast the phone rang continuously: the Doubting Thomases seeking cancellation, the hard-core endorsing the “stiff upper lip.” From Virginia, my wife Pat promised clearing skies—miraculously, she proved a true prophet. The rain, Caledonian in its intensity and persistence, pelted the landscape without mercy. However, by “elevenses,” it eased, clouds scudding eastward, teasing with patches of blue; and, but for one brief “fox’s wedding,” it remained clearish all afternoon.
The Meet was at Parker Tuten’s “Hayne Hall Plantation,” not far from the kennels. Parking was in a flat hayfield and, despite their fears, no one got stuck. The sandy soil drains well on slightly higher ground, and ruts soon heal themselves. At noon we feasted on a lavish lunch our genial hosts provided. Parker Tuten is a great bear of a man, brave and ever cheerful, paying but grudging homage to his blindness. His son, Will, is another considerable fellow, blessed with a wickedly sardonic sense of humor. He made welcome one and all. During lunch I chatted up an attractive redhead with a beguiling smile and discovered she was Charlotte Cannon, originally from Culpeper, Virginia, who had, at age fifteen, first hunted with me at Keswick. Later she returned to the Keswick country to work in Teddy Ismonde’s showhorse stable, and lived in my amateur Whipper-In, Spencer Young’s, haunted house (she never saw the resident shade). She is the ex-Master at Mecklinburg, near Charlotte, and was on an annual visit with her significant other, the amiable Tommy Robinson. They were both mounted on very attractive paints. A Field of—by my count—32, far fewer than anticipated, unboxed for the 2:00 p.m. meet. Some locals proved faint-hearted, but the poor visitors stabled at low-lying “Airy Hall” found themselves stranded by high water and were unable to get their trailers out. Martyn Blackmore brought 15½ couple of English, Crossbred, and Old English hounds, of which four couple were young entry. A fit, level pack, among which Belvoir Tan predominates, they are all business; cloaking their eagerness in a veil of serenity, they calmly awaited “leu-in,” when they could showcase the grit and determination they share with their Huntsman. As Sue Blackmore and I set off by Jeep down Tuten Road, a sandy track slicing through dense, swampy woods, Martyn drew northwestward into thick covert abutting the Meet. Hounds worked past an old cemetery and, behind the cacophony of Parker Tuten’s deerhound kennel, jumped a grey fox (very likely a brace, as it turned out). With eager cry and energetic drive, hounds flew northward. After the briefest of checks, at which Martyn found dead their first fox, hounds continued on. However, it soon proved to be the sort of day that exemplified Belvoir Huntsman John Holliday’s assertion that “scent by its nature is consistent only in its inconsistency”; and hounds’ progress, though relentless, was in bursts and checks. They spoke earnestly as they labored at the labyrinthine line their fox’s fertile imagination inspired, the notes of their cry scattered like chaff by the capricious wind. As the wind rose in intensity, the Whippers-In were kept constantly moving, trying to stay in touch. That they were able to do so was largely due to one bitch, whose high, quivering voice had a unique Roy Orbison vibrato to it that cut the wind like a Randall through butter. Hounds’ persistence eventually forced their pilot, unseen, to cross Tuten Road onto more swampy terrain; and here he vanished like “Shergar.” No amount of clever casts could recover the line, so Martyn lifted the pack and hacked down Parker’s Mill Road to try farther eastward. Continued
IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • WINTER 2016
Green Creek Pack at “Ravenwood.”
After a long draw through dense, swampy hardwoods and blocks of longleaf pines, we were rewarded with another fox afoot. Quite possibly it was the hunted fox, for he fled back to the original covert. The air had cooled somewhat, improving scent, and as Somerville and Ross put it, “they drove…along, rejoicing. Their cry was like the joy-bells at a Royal Wedding.” Only one person viewed, eagle-eyed Tot Goodwin, MFH, a car-follower today. “It was a fox,” he said, “but it was too dark to tell if it was grey or red.” Hounds didn’t care which, singing their battle hymn hysterically as they drove Charlie up and down the covert on an exuberant run. Finally, the lengthening shadows rolled across the piney barrens as inexorably as the incoming tide, the sun set beneath a maelstrom of billowing black clouds, and hounds came to a pronounced check, prompting Martyn to blow for home. Down one hound—“Tallulah,” a stalwart who never stays out—he made a wide but unproductive sweep to find her, then hacked to the Meet in the ever deepening gloaming. It seemed to many of us the perfect ending to a difficult but rewarding day to hack home in near-darkness. Upon arrival at the trailers, we were welcomed to a fantastic pig roast with all the trimmings imaginable, including Louisiana “boudin.” With any group of enthusiastic foxhunters so well fed and lubricated, tall tales flow and grow; and so it was this night… endlessly. Jeannie and George Thomas of Why Worry Hounds fame, here on other business, stopped by for dinner and craic, and we enjoyed a catchin’-up. Smiling upon the happy gathering, Will Tuten exclaimed, “I love to entertain; I wish I could have a party every day!” As Arthur Conan Doyle once remarked, “These people make a religion out of hospitality.” As festivities wound down, Martyn and I took to the back roads in search of “Tallulah.” Following her GPS collar, we were able to get within 341 feet, but without flashlights, we’d not have fared well in these swamps, let alone found anything, so we retired for the night. In her wonderful book, A Motley to the View, Marigold Armytage could have been describing Saturday morning when she wrote, “…a blowy, grey and blue and white, curlew-calling morning, wild and fresh, but with a hint of coming warmth in it.” Martyn was up well before curlew-call (more Night Heron hour!) at 4:00 a.m., in a Jeep in futile search before kennel chores. Jefferson “Tot” Goodwin, MFH, was to hunt his Green Creek Hounds this morning. Tot was instrumental in the formation of the Low Country pack, and his hounds are Hunt Week regulars. The 9:00 a.m. meet was at “Ravenwood Plantation,” home of Founding Master Nina Burke. Standing majestically, towering white columns aglow with antiquity, “Ravenwood” is one of only three remaining antebellum plantation houses in Colleton County. In 1830, George Washington Oswald, planter and later state senator, built a two-over-two house for his bride, Jane Styles Rivers. The house, over the years, has been much enlarged. This was originally an inland rice plantation, but in 1850 rice production ended when more dependable coastal irrigation killed the inland rice culture. However, “Ravenwood” boasts the only inland rice fields listed on the National Register of Historic Places in South Carolina. The Burkes have reclaimed most of the plantation’s original grant, in excess of three thousand acres. Frank Burke manages the land for quail and deer, and maintains wide sand roads for carriage driving and foxhunting as much as for the shooting interests. Superb wildlife habitat abounds with quail, turkey, deer, ducks and geese, as well as foxes, coyotes and bobcats—although plantation overseer Benji Polson (also a local lawman) only barely tolerates the predators! Tot brought 12½ couple of very lean and rangy Crossbreds to the lawn meet. “On the muscle” when they unkenneled after a night of sporadic unrest, they relaxed totally at the meet, many rolling with evident relish. A huge Field assembled (I got a hasty, incomplete count of 68 early, but the true number probably nudged 100). Among familiar faces were Middleburg’s Maggie Johnston, riding aside and cutting quite the dash, accompanied by Anne D’Ignazio aboard a pre-
vious Virginia Field Hunter Champion, “Riot’s Maeve.” They made a lovely picture posed beneath a towering, Spanish moss-draped live oak. And here came Deep Run faithfuls Robert and Marsh Davis on two four-year-olds. Marsh’s flashy brown youngster danced a piaffe at covertside, while Robert’s equally green chestnut relaxed like a veteran. There stood Charlotte Cannon and Tommy Robinson on placid paints, perfectly turned out. It was a colorful Field, with numerous paint horses of various conformation, and a preponderance of greys. Greys are especially popular here, partly because the sandy soil washes right off without staining, unlike Virginia (and Georgia) red clay! There were youngsters on ponies (LCH Whipper-In, JoAnna Lacey rode her daughter’s pony), and one man on a Tennessee Walker that seemed unable to decide in which gear he wanted to travel! Everyone was smiling. At the appointed hour, Tot moved off, trailed by a veritable parade of horses, to draw toward the back of the property and out to the Deer Camp (where the Burkes’ son hangs his hat when he’s home). Here we checked awhile, waiting for several late arrivals to tack up and catch up. One lady’s huge trailer had a flat tire en route, and another evidently overslept. By the time three Fields had fleshed out, my count became obsolete. All about the big pond and marsh beyond was evidence of September’s devastating duo of nor’easter and hurricane: flattened vegetation and piles of driftwood. But the roads had been graded into good shape. The next draw was a vast block of seemingly endless pines that stretch from the Deer Camp to distant Maybank Road. It parallels Spoil Bank Road, a wide, raised farm track built by the Burkes, bordered on each side by “borrow ditches.” It runs to Maybank as well, and rivals county roads as a dependable thoroughfare. What evolved proved to be a very long, frustrating draw for Huntsman and hounds. As Martyn earlier noted, this fixture can be feast or famine because of periodic predator control. To compound the difficulties, sound often carries strangely or not at all in dense pines, resulting in hounds getting scattered, as happened this day. And then car-followers viewed a red fox over Maybank Road! However, trying to get word to Tot, and for him to gather his hounds, took forever; and by the time he’d corralled the majority of his pack and gone to the view, it had been determined the fox had crossed into forbidden territory! I’m sure Tot was thinking that some days it just don’t pay to get out of bed! Car-followers reported that two hounds had crossed the road, but two had come back. Undoubtedly three had crossed, because by 6:00 p.m. Tot was still down one hound…and it appeared early Monday morning at the Tutens’! So, while some of the Whippers-In scoured the nearby woods and swamps, Tot held hounds at roadside on Maybank. Car-followers were very generous with refreshments, ranging from cold beer to ’shine. One lady offered red solo cups of lethal Bloody Marys. Spiced with jalapeños and garnished with stalks of spiced asparagus, a limit of one was the order! Well refreshed, we headed back to the Meet. Tot and whatever hunt staff remained hunted home. With several couple missing, Tot spent the rest of the day on the search. The rest of us convened at the Burkes’ splendid stable for a ribstickin’ lunch. Thoughtfully planned and beautifully appointed, the stable houses the hunters and Nina’s Haflinger driving ponies. Adjoining is the carriage shed, filled with vintage vehicles from the 1890s, and including a 1930 miniature replica of a road coach—all pristine and operable. Behind is the bird dog kennel, chock-a-block with pointers and a couple of setters. All under one rambling roof, it’s a workable arrangement for everyone. With reluctance, we bade adieu to return to the kennels. After Martyn had done up his young horse—who had performed admirably—he and I set out in search of “Tallulah.” We tramped into the swampy woods until the GPS unit announced we were within three feet; but there was only a big log: no hound, no collar. We drove the labyrinth of roads, calling and blowing, but got no answer. Driving down one stretch, we encountered over two feet of water. Evidently high tide was in, which backed up the Edisto River and all its many tributaries. It surely is hunting country the likes of which I’ve never even imagined. That evening, the ladies put on the posh, the gents donned coat and tie, and we sashayed off to the Bedon-Lucas House in nearby Walterboro for a lavish cocktail party. The pretty bartender, clad in the scantiest of shorts, proved generously heavy-handed with the amber restorative; and the hors d’oeuvres were too varied to count and too delicious to deny. So, as the corner pianist earnestly labored over her repertoire of show tunes, everyone unashamedly overindulged. I was told the house was a museum, but in honor of what I could never decipher. There were a couple of unremarkable paintings scattered about and, from a corner behind the front door, a portrait of three gargoyle-ugly children glowered into the hall. But even their malignant stares couldn’t dampen the merriment or chill the atmosphere of warm camaraderie that pervaded. At one point, a lady who had well memorized the path to the bar looked up at the cracked walls and bellowed, “Oh, Gawd, lead paint…we’ll all go blind!” However, any blindness suffered this evening came from the bar, not the paint; and we all wobbled our way safely home, ready for the morrow’s hunt at “Airy Hall.”
IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • WINTER 2016
Perhaps we’d somehow slighted the sensitive goddess Diana; Sunday dawned dimly, awash in unrelenting rain, tarnishing beyond hope the glow of last night’s optimism. The rain soon brought to Martyn’s phone the dreaded phrase, “Hunting is cancelled due to the weather.” According to Buck Limehouse, “Airy Hall” was once again under water; enough so, at least, to afford no parking for trailers. There were no contingency plans in place to move the Meet should the weather break, nor were any likely. But the luncheon was on for noon. Too late, as if in Ireland, the weather changed suddenly, when a cold front came parachuting in from the north, clearing skies, boosting the wind, and rather drastically dropping the mercury. Cancellation had sent many guests homeward, or abroad in search of more hunting, but a sizeable crowd accepted Frankie and Buck Limehouse’s hospitality. A wonderful meal awaited, anchored by the epitome of Southern fried chicken and wickedly scrumptious gumbo; and in the sunwarmed shelter around the pool, we partook heartily. It is a lovely setting: the 1920s manor house aglow with the soft patina of old brick, great beards of Spanish moss swaying in the freshening breeze from the protective canopy of magnificent live oaks; and, stretching to the horizon, the awe-inspiring vista across the ACE Basin. All too soon we had sponged up all of our hosts’ hospitality, and ’twas time to leave. As we traveled the long driveway that tunnels under overspreading oaks, we were reminded that this was, at one time, a quite well-known vista. It is alleged, but not confirmed, that down this road ran Forrest Gump! Home, then, to the Blackmores’, where, after kennel and stable chores, we relaxed to cheer home Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers in the NFL playoffs. Being at Sue and Martyn’s is more closely akin to being snugly at home than any place I’ve ever visited. Indeed, they make me feel like family, relaxing together in perfect harmony. Only huntin’ folks can do that. In the 1908 Badminton Magazine, describing members of the South Dorset Hunt, the author could have had Martyn in mind: “You see at once what they are, the sinews of England, the best fellows you ever met, hospitable, generous, hard riders straight in word and deed.” And Sue is his perfect partner, sharing in everything shoulder to shoulder. She and I cemented our bond of friendship, enjoying good sport (and bad) and laughing uproariously at our shared foibles. Monday I awoke to hounds singing in the kennel, “Reuben Cockbird” crowing a welcome to the dawn, and ice on my windshield. A long, uneventful drive north was filled with unforgettable memories of a unique and magical visit to a
wonderland where everything seems to be done with an air of old-time gentility, courtliness, and courtesy. It promises to be a favorite stopping spot on journeys down Memory Lane and hopefully will become an annual visit in real time. To everyone responsible, a deeply heartfelt “Thank you!” I arrived home to the news that Martyn had found “Tallulah”—unconcernedly sunning herself beside one of the sand roads down which we’d searched. ’Twas living proof of Nina Burke’s lovely adage that the two most beautiful words in a foxhunter’s vocabulary are not “tally-ho” but “all on”! Note: According to ancient British country folklore, when rain falls from a clear sky, somewhere a fox is getting married.
Martyn Blackmore with hounds on Tuten Road, followed by Whipper-In Erin Kinner.
IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • WINTER 2016
Potomac Hunt • The Race Course, December 20, 2015 • Liz Callar Photos
A typical wily fox who knows how to sneak past the staff.
Huntsman Brian Kiely and staff move hounds to the next covert.
Hounds of the Potomac Hunt pursue their quarry who has tried to throw them off by using a creek to foil scent.
Bull Run Hunt • Arrowpoint, January 7, 2016 • Liz Callar Photos
Huntsman Charles Montgomery moves off with hounds.
The Field waits and listens intently at a brief check.
Clair Stinnett races to a point.
Joint-MFH Rosie Campbell. Lindy Sanford who along with her husband Billy owns the expansive and highly appreciated Arrowpoint fixture.
Bull Run Hunt Honorary Whipper-In Boo Montgomery watches the action closely during the joint meet with Howard CountyIron Bridge Hounds, December 13, 2015. Karen Kandra Wenzel photo
This fox gave a good chase with hounds close on his trail during the Bull Run/Howard CountyIron Bridge joint meet, Mt. Airy, Maryland, December 13, 2015. Karen Kandra Wenzel photo
IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • WINTER 2016
Virginia’s Bull Run Hunt and Maryland’s Howard County-Iron Bridge Hounds combined their packs for a joint meet from the HCIBH Kennels, Mt. Airy, MD, December 13, 2015. (l-r) BRH Huntsman Charles Montgomery and HCIBH Huntsman Kelly Burdge. Karen Kandra Wenzel photo
Huntsman Geoff Hyde moves off with the hounds of Elkridge-Harford Hunt for a joint meet with Green Spring Valley Hounds at their Jackson Hole Farm fixture, December 12, 2015. Karen Kandra Wenzel photo
Old North Bridge Hounds
Over 100 riders turned out on December 12, 2015, for the joint meet with Elkridge-Harford Hunt at Green Spring Valley Hounds’ Jackson Hole Farm fixture, home of GSV joint-MFH Sheila Jackson Brown, Upperco, Maryland. Leading the field as they move off are (l-r) Franklin Whit Foster, MFH, Green Spring Valley; Sheila Jackson Brown, MFH, Green Spring Valley; Elizabeth Voss Murray, MFH, Elkridge-Harford; and Robert Kinsley, MFH, Elkridge-Harford. Karen Kandra Wenzel photo
Old North Bridge Hounds (MA), Thanksgiving Day, 2015, at The Old Manse. Liz Goldsmith photo
Staff and hounds returning from Farmington Hunt’s outing on December 19, 2015, at Springhaven Farm. (l-r) Huntsman Matthew Cook, honorary whippers-in Carolyn Chapman and Deborah Wray. Cathy Summers photo
Thanksgiving meet is the annual ceremony of awarding Farmington Belgian Blue colors by the Masters. Here MFH Liz King awards junior button to Isabella Karr. Elizabeth H. Sutton photo
Farmington Hunt’s 2015 Thanksgiving meet at Mint Meadows: (l-r) Ken Chapman (on foot); Liz King, MFH; Joy Crompton, MFH; W. Pat Butterfield, MFH; and Robert Ashcom. Elizabeth H. Sutton photo
IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • WINTER 2016
Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation First Out of the Gate & Leading the Way By Lauren R. Giannini
Energy Flow, Jaystone, and Ultimate Journey enjoy turnout at Wallkill Second Chances. Michael Bloom photo
A successful TRF adoption: Merlin, while still a resident at the James River chapter of TRF, competed with Brooks Lyon Clement. The duo placed third in the $1,500 Take2 Jumper Stake at the 2012 Thoroughbred Celebration Horse Show at the Virginia Horse Center. Sarah Black photo
Shake You Down retired too unsound to be a riding horse, but has been worth his weight in gold at Lowell, where the women detainees fall in love with him and learn how to be genuine and honest with this classy, gorgeous millionaire ex-racehorse. Sally Moehring photo
Song of Greatness gets hay from Second Chances participant Tammy Spear at Lowell in Florida. Bruce Ackerman for Ocala Star-Banner photo
The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation broke from the gate with innovative plans to give exracehorses a chance at new lives. One year later, in 1984, TRF took in its first OTTB and launched Second Chances, the trailblazing vocational horsemanship program at the Wallkill Correctional Facility in upstate New York. TRF’s first ever retiree, Promised Road, 9, was a sterling example of a mediocre racehorse, whose final start was a 6th place “also ran” finish in a $3500 claiming race. The grandson of stakes-winning Hasty Road ($541,402) had earned only $39,547 in 65 career starts, but found his true value as a schoolmaster for men serving time: Second Chances was off and running. “The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation was the original organization created to help horses who were in need of a home after racing,” said Diana Pikulski, TRF Director of External Affairs. “The Wallkill Correctional Facility farm for TRF was built by the incarcerated men. There were stall gates donated by Meadow Farm where Secretariat was born. We knew that this was a magical moment where the spirit of the greatest horse was there to help all the other horses and the downtrodden men who would provide care for them. It proved true. TRF and Second Chances opened the gate for all the other programs using horses that have been developed for veterans and civilians with troubled lives.” Second Chances is well named. Its recipe for success is simple: fresh air, healthy exercise, common sense horsemanship classes, ex-racehorses and inmates. The OTTBs and inmates, male and female, have some sort of record. Both species act out because of fear, anger, mental and/or physical pain. Yet, when horse and human connect, miracles can and do happen. The ex-racehorses arrive at Second Chances with “glamour” from their pedigrees and track records. Yet, not all OTTBs are happy campers, grateful for hay, feed, water and TLC. Time and again, inmates see their own attitudes and behaviors expressed by a horse—striking out, lunging with bared teeth, ready to pop a lightning-fast hind leg. On the other hand, it’s the sensitivity and great heart of a Thoroughbred that gets through to an inmate, breaking down walls and acquired defensive mechanisms, liberating the human to lean on the horse’s shoulder, cradle that big beautiful head in their arms, bask in all that horse-ness, own their sorrows and shame. Once an inmate’s heart opens to a horse, the healing—for both—begins. Touched by a Racehorse How many lives have been changed by TRF Second Chances? Rough guesstimates place the number at more than a thousand humans who have participated in TRF Second Chances since its inception. Graduates have the best second chance, but even participants who receive early parole and don’t finish the program discover that they have better attitudes and a different approach to life. It’s what you do with what you learn that’s important. The Second Chances California program in conjunction with Healing Arenas is open to qualified inmates “post parole” and also to veterans.
Second Chances personnel help graduates to find housing and job opportunities. Some continue to work hands on with horses or in a related branch of the industry; others become skilled craftsmen and repairmen. They all carry with them memories of learning love, trust, caring and compassion from the ex-racehorses as they get on with their new lives. Former Wallkill detainee Jay Schleifer, who went on to work as an alcohol and substance abuse counselor for the State of New York Corrections Department, spoke for many Second Chances graduates when he said, “Working with the horses saved my life.” TRF and the Virginia Department of Corrections established the James River Work Center in 2007, but Tamio Holmes had to be persuaded by other inmates to participate in the inaugural Second Chances program. Once involved, he found salvation and honed his talent for trimming hooves under the mentorship of the program’s farrier. Holmes learned the theory of farriery from an expensive textbook on shoeing bought for him by a TRF supporter. After his release in 2010, he received TRF-related help with housing until he could get his business going. It wasn’t long before word went around that Holmes had started shoeing horses for a nearby vet and was doing a good job. In the summer of 2015, TRF celebrated a major milestone when Nelly Salk became the firstever graduate of the TRF Second Chances program to become a licensed groom for a Thoroughbred trainer based at Laurel Racetrack in Maryland. Salk had participated in Second Chances, which in 2009 at the Central Maryland Correctional Facility became the first program of its kind in Maryland. Salk described Second Chances as “the experience of a lifetime that touched my heart” in Off Track Thoroughbreds, the blog presented by TRF, written by Susan Salk. These are just a few of the success stories told by the men and women whose lives were turned around by a racehorse in the Second Chances program. They are unanimous about crediting the horses with saving their lives, healing their pain, and helping them to find their way into a better tomorrow. Long ago, in 5th century Greece, Hippocrates, the “father of modern medicine,” was the first to suggest the healing power of horses, specifically in the exercise and rhythm of riding a horse. As every horseperson knows, proximity to horses is good and has therapeutic benefits for whatever ails mind, body and spirit. All things considered, TRF and Second Chances served as a forerunner for the various equine assisted psychotherapies that today benefit children, adults and veterans suffering from PTSD, etc. The Second Chances program rehabilitates inmates and horses about equally. Over the years, the vocational horsemanship program has grown by leaps and bounds with 10 Second Chances programs in 10 states nation-wide in 9 correctional facilities and one special facility in California for probationers. The men’s programs outnumber the women’s, 9 to 1, but they’re living proof that Second Chances really do work.
IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • WINTER 2016
Second Chances Lowell Correctional Institute outside Ocala, Florida, began in 2001 as a men’s program, but few made it through the year-long program to earn their vocational certificate in equine care technology. That was one of the first things noticed by horseman John Evans in 2006 when he signed on to oversee the care of the TRF herd at Lowell. He also saw the women’s facility being constructed across the road and suggested that the program be opened to women only. It is the only program of its kind for female detainees. At Second Chances Lowell, 15 women in prison blue put on their muck boots when they get to the barn to spend the day taking care of 40 to 60 horses. Because Ocala is a major Thoroughbred and horse area, some know how to ride, but many have never been near a horse. Under Evans’ tutelage, they learn the skills. They learn to work honestly, to trust and be trusted especially while handling horses for vet or farrier or to have injuries tended. They start to regain confidence they lost in the dehumanizing experience of being a prisoner. Several videos made at Second Chances Lowell, featuring interviews of Evans and various women in the program, are on youtube.com—they provide eye-opening glimpses into why the program is so successful. TRF Second Chances: saving horses, saving lives. Inspired by A “Hungry” Horse In the late 1970s, Monique S. Koehler learned of the fate that met tens of thousands of Thoroughbreds each year—slaughter for human consumption. She knew she had to do something to help them. Aware that she knew very little about horses, she read profusely. She recruited people, such as Penny Chenery, Allaire DuPont, and Martha Gerry, who would join the TRF board. Learning to ride seemed the best next step. Koehler went to a hunter-jumper stable near where she lived in New Jersey for lessons, but after she got in the saddle, she wouldn’t pull up her horse’s head when he started grazing. She told her instructor, Diana Pikulski, that he was hungry. “That horse knew exactly where Monique was coming from, and you know how horses can be—pull up their head and they’re right back to munching away—nothing I said persuaded Monique to insist that her horse stop eating long enough for her lesson,” said Pikulski. “It wasn’t long before Monique figured out that the horse had figured her out. She never did learn to ride, but she came to the barn every week to spend time grazing that horse and came up with the concept for the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation. I was just out of school, teaching riding at that barn. I went to work for Monique, and I’ve been with TRF since the very beginning.” Koehler’s mission for the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation was simple: “To save Thoroughbreds no longer able to compete on the racetrack from possible neglect, abuse and slaughter.” She came up with a plan and pitched it to the State of New York Department of Correctional Services. It involved an exchange: NYDCS would provide land use and labor at the Wallkill Correctional Facilities and the TRF would design, staff and maintain a vocational training program in equine care and management. It was winwin from the start. Galloping Into The Future Last August, at the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation’s Board of Directors meeting, the dedicated group of horsemen—owners, breeders, track executives, veterinarians, trainer, former jockey—elected Lenny Hale as Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President (totally volunteer jobs), succeeding John C. Moore III, who moved to Chairman Emeritus. “I made my living with horses and there comes a
(l-r) Wallkill Farm Manager James Tremper with Energy Flow (aka “Boodles”) and Jose Sotomayer, Billy Douglas, and Zachary Clemons. Michael Bloom photo
time when you give back,” said Hale, who joined the TRF board in 2013. “My main goal for TRF is to continue to rescue these horses. We’re working on getting more prison facilities into the Second Chances program and we want to expand employment opportunities for the graduates of Second Chances. We’re also working on fundraising, because horses are grazing animals—the Australians call their racehorses hayburners for a reason.” Hale fits right in with TRF and its mission. Crazy about horses since his earliest memories, he grew up riding and showing. He got hooked on foxhunting, which he enjoyed whenever he had the opportunity until a few years ago when he hung up his tack. Hale spent the first two years of his working life as a whipper-in at Green Spring Valley Hounds in Maryland. For the next three years he judged shows and held licenses at Charles Town, one year as a groom, then as a trainer when he also galloped racehorses. In 1966, Hale embarked on his career as an official in the racing industry. He wore many hats from assistant starter to starter at various tracks up and down the East Coast, judge (paddock, patrol, placing), racing secretary (New York Racing Association), PR, negotiator with AFL-CIO (1985), years of track maintenance, Racing Secretary (Colonial Downs, VA), Vice-President Racing Maryland Jockey Club. At some tracks, he worked with both Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds (harness racing). “When I was in charge of track maintenance at Aqueduct, Belmont and Saratoga, I preferred to sit on a horse to see the horses work and observe the track conditions,” said Hale. “You can see more on a horse.” Hale served as executive director of Charles Town Racetrack’s Horseman’s Benevolent & Protective Association from 2007 to 2011 when he allegedly “retired”; however, he’s still going strong in various facets of the racing world. He watched Secretariat, Affirmed, Seattle Slew, and American Pharoah make history as Triple Crown Champions. His career spans 50 years, but he’s not counting, because work has always been about the horses, and it ain’t over by a longshot. “In 2016, I want to get back out to all of our farms and see all of our TRF horses,” said Hale. “I already did a 2-month tour up and down the East Coast, and to the Midwest and to Kentucky, checking out the horses—their feet, teeth, body condition— and they’re looking great. We have dedicated people, who give great care to the horses. That’s the key.” Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation has more than 900 Thoroughbreds at 14 farms or facilities in 10 states where they are fostered in retirement or in training for adoption or playing vital roles in Second Chances. TRF gets them from rescue efforts, racetrack retirement programs, and from private donors
9 who contribute to help defray the expenses of horse care. In 1998, TRF’s Board of Directors opted to change the charter to allow sound horses to be retrained and adopted by people as riding horses. More than 600 horses have been adopted out, and they excel in everything from trail riding to the advanced level of eventing. Many are foxhunters. Skilled riders do the re-training at TRF Montpelier (James Madison’s estate), James River Correctional Center (both in Virginia), at Second Chances Lowell (Florida), and through TRF’s partnership with the Secretariat Center at Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington. The TRF is steadfast about taking back their horses if the adopter can no longer care for them or simply chooses to give them back. TRF won’t ever desert them. “If you adopt one of our horses and can’t keep him, that horse comes back to us,” said Hale. “We follow through and make sure we get the horse back. It’s written into the adoption papers. The more I learn about TRF, the more I understand why it has such loyal supporters.” The Bottom Line: A Very Worthy Cause TRF’s horses thrive because TRF picks its locations based on pasture and access to good hay. It’s the healthiest and most efficient way to keep horses. Plus, daily turnout makes it much easier to keep a Thoroughbred sound in body and mind, rather than being locked up in a stall. Still, it costs millions of dollars each year to keep TRF’s programs going, and special events each year help to raise funds and increase awareness of TRF and Second Chances. Their annual events include auctions of stallion seasons; Hay, Oats and Spaghetti Dinner during the Saratoga race meet; 5K Run/Walk For The Horses; Derby Day fundraiser parties held by TRF supporters across the nation; and a dinner dance the night before the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Sales. TRF is also working to grow their base of smaller supporters. One way they accomplish this is to connect more people directly to a horse. At TRF you can attach yourself to a horse for life with an annual contribution. There are various levels of sponsorship. In 2011, TRF, the nation’s largest and oldest rescue, was under investigation by the New York Attorney General, accused of misusing proceeds from a generous trust set up in the will of one of their major benefactors. TRF stated their innocence in no uncertain terms and stood their ground against the allegations. The Attorney General arranged for veterinarians and investigators to make numerous visits to all the TRF farms, but they found nothing wrong, just retired racehorses getting the best of care and a few geriatrics who looked as good as they could, given their advanced ages. Eventually, the suit was dismissed. It was most unfortunate that the flurry of press coverage when the news broke about the lawsuit filed against TRF didn’t produce any headlines when the case was dismissed. TRF members are still explaining to people that the allegations were empty and the case was dropped. “With any organization, during tough times, the core people who support you and know you is where you need to go,” said Pikulski. “When our operations were stressed dealing with the New York Attorney General, just following the collapse of the economy, our strongest supporters stayed with us and increased their donations to help us get through. It means a lot. It makes you stronger.” The definitions of Thoroughbred: a. breed of horse b. outstanding quality, first class person or organization. TRF, first out of the gate and still setting the pace, start to finish. For information: www.trfinc.org
IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • WINTER 2016
2016 Spring Steeplechase Season Preview By Will O’Keefe The Spring Steeplechase season is fast those participants who raced in Virapproaching with a hunter pace event ginia but were not necessarily based the first Sunday in March and pointin Virginia. One of the highlights of to-point races the following Saturday. the evening will be inductions to the The Thornton Hill Fort Valley Hounds Virginia Steeplechase Hall of Fame. will not run a point-to-point this year, The Hall of Fame was created in but their hunter pace events will be 2007 to recognize the leaders of the contested on Sunday, March 7, at sport in the Old Dominion. Thornton Hill Farm near Sperryville. The National Steeplechase AssoThis year the Blue Ridge Hunt ciation’s Promotion and Growth will start the point-to-point season Committee will host its second with races on Saturday, March 22, folOwner-Trainer Symposium & Select lowed by their hunter pace events on Jumpers in Training Sale on Sunday, Sunday. Both events will be run at April 10, at Great Meadow, The Woodley Farm near Berryville. Plains, Virginia. This will be a great After the opening weekend the opportunity to learn more about the schedule includes a point-to-point and steeplechase sport from many of its a hunter pace almost every weekend. leading participants. For more inforThe only gap in the point-to-point semation visit www.gojumpracing.org. Virginia Gold Cup, 2015. Douglas Lees photo ries is on April 24, the day after the Middleburg Spring sanctioned races. The spring sanctioned series of three 2016 VSA Calendar Correction: There is a mistake in the numbering of the weekly races begins with the Middleburg Spring Races on April 23 at Glenwood days in the month of December. The correct first day of December is on ThursPark near Middleburg. day with Christmas on Sunday. The sanctioned meets will offer record purses again this season. The historic Temple Gwathmey Hurdle Stakes will be the featured race at the Middleburg Spring Races, and this year will offer a $50,000 purse. Many of the best timber horses in training will go to the post in the $30,000 Middleburg Hunt Cup Timber Stakes, which is always one of the major prep races for the Virginia Gold Cup the first Saturday in May. Always a crowd pleaser, the Alfred M. Hunt Steeplechase will head the remainder of the card of races over hurdles and on the flat. The Foxfield Spring Races will be run on Saturday, April 30. Once again a huge crowd of racing and partying fans is expected to be on hand. The feature race this year will be the Daniel Van Clief Memorial. This $25,000 race will be run as an allowance optional claiming race over hurdles. The remainder of the five race card will give horses an opportunity to break their maidens. Three of these races are over hurdles for straight maidens, maiden claimers, and maidens, fillies, and mares. Timber maidens will take their turn in the Grover Vandevender Memorial. The Virginia Gold Cup Races on May 7 will once again offer pari-mutuel wagering on the races at Great Meadow as well as on the Kentucky Derby. You can bet that the action will be exciting because the total purse money ($445,000) offered is a new record for racing at the hunt meets in Virginia. The $100,000 Virginia Gold Cup over the challenging four-mile timber course will once again attract a stellar field. The $75,000 David Semmes Memorial Hurdle Stake will have its second running and appears on its way to becoming a fixture. Two more hurdle races will be run, one for maidens and the other for limited winners. The Steeplethon, run over the varied and unique obstacles on the course and through Swan Lake, will be run for a $40,000 purse. Once again the Virginia Equine Alliance will partner with the Virginia Gold Cup, and there will be three flat races on the card. The inaugural running of the $50,000 Secretariat Stakes at a distance of one mile and one half heads that rich trio. Virginia-breds and maidens will also have an opportunity to race on the flat for lucrative purses. The Virginia-bred race will be run for $35,000 and the maiden race will offer a purse of $30,000. Complete information for these and other events can be found on the centralentryoffice.com and nationalsteeplechase.com websites. Upcoming Events On Friday, March 11, the Virginia Steeplechase Association’s Thirtieth Annual Steeplechase Awards Dinner will be held at the Blackthorne Inn, near Upperville, Virginia. The leading Virginia-based owners, trainers, and riders will be crowned as will their leading hurdle and timber horses. Awards will also be presented to
IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • WINTER 2016
Old Dominion Hounds Point-to-Point Saturday, April 9, 2016 12 Noon Ben Venue Farm, Ben Venue, VA 16 miles west of Warrenton on U.S. 211 Seven Races featuring Leeds Don Open Timber Information: 540-364-4573, 540-636-1507
4HE -IDDLEBURG (UNT 0OINT 4O 0OINT SUNDAY, MAY 1, 2016 POST TIME 1:00 P.M.
GLENWOOD PARK, MIDDLEBURG, VIRGINIA General admission $10 per person in advance or $15 at the gate. Parking $5 per car in advance or $10 at the gate. Information: Mrs. Liam Tuohy (540) 454-2991
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IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • WINTER 2016
Hunting Action Images By Doug Gehlsen and Karen Monroe of Middleburg Photo
Huntsman Hugh Robards and staff move off with hounds from Dr. Betsee Parker’s Huntland when Middleburg Hunt met there December 19, 2015.
Kelsey Briggs with Middleburg Hunt at Utopia Farm, December 12, 2015.
Snickersville Hounds move off from Banbury Cross, Middleburg, Virginia, December 27, 2015. (l-r) Joint-MFH Gregg Ryan (far background), Whippers-In Gale Cayce and Mo Baptiste, Joint-MFH and Huntsman Eva Smithwick, Whipper-in Kathy Broaddus.
Junior Haley Fitzgerald waits for the action to begin when Snickersville Hounds hunted from Banbury Cross, Middleburg, Virginia, December 27, 2015.
Fences in Mr. Stewart’s Cheshire Foxhounds’ country can pose some stiff challenges as shown here by Jennifer Arms and Todd McKenna.
Barry Magner will be taking over as Huntsman at Mr. Stewart’s Cheshire Foxhounds (PA) when Ivan Dowling retires at the end of this season. Here he negotiates a challenging hedge while whipping-in to Dowling on January 2, 2016.
Mr. Stewart’s Cheshire Foxhounds Huntsman Ivan Dowling will be retiring at the end of this season.
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IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • WINTER 2016
The Great Hound Match of 1905 By Martha Wolfe
Reviewed by J. Harris Anderson The core events chronicled by Martha Wolfe in The Great Hound Match of 1905 took place during a twoweek period in November of that year. But through meticulous research, Wolfe’s account encompasses antecedents as far back as 1629 through outcomes as recent as 2013. Moreover, she depicts the major players in such telling detail that their humanity, along with their motivations and manipulations, comes into clear focus. As a John H. Daniels Fellow at the National Sporting Library in Middleburg, Virginia, the author made excellent use of the resources available to her to paint a colorful, informative, and entertaining account not only of this one contest but of the controversies that led up to it and the outcomes that reverberated for decades after. The two central figures, Alexander Henry Higginson and Harry Worcester Smith, not only mirrored the personalities of the hounds they favored but symbolized the tension between the English penchant for reserved gentility, expressed through an assumption of superiority, and the emerging American can-do, egalitarian spirit. Wolfe begins by bringing the year of the match into historical perspective. To the extent that the nation’s character at any point in time is reflected by the occupant of the White House, 1905 favored the American spirit. Theodore Roosevelt, himself a foxhunter, a man described by Henry Adams as “pure act” and by Mark Hanna as “that damned cowboy,” led the charge to make the United States a force in the world. At the same time, while Britannia still ruled in many ways, the sun was starting to set on some outposts of the British Empire. Into this ebb-and-flow of national power and personality came Smith, a selfmade millionaire and advocate of the energetic, semi-feral, as-yetunrecognized American hound, and Higginson, born to wealth and leisure, avowed Anglophile, and staunch devotee of English hounds as the only proper way to chase foxes. Personal and national pride aside, what was at the heart of this contest was the question of whether there was only one type of hound suitable for hunting foxes under any conditions and in any country or if hound type should be suited to terrain, quarry, and riding style of the followers. Boiling the issue down further to its ultimate crux was whether a huntsman should maintain a tight control of his hounds (Higginson’s style) or keep a light touch, if any at all, and let his hounds hunt as they will (Smith’s preference). Anyone familiar with hound breeding will appreciate the detailed background provided on the development of Smith’s American pack. As the line is traced, names familiar to hound aficionados appear: Bywaters, Trigg, Walker, Bunning, et al. Wolfe provides similar lineage for Higginson’s English hounds. Interestingly, while the American “type” varied depending on breeder preference, quarry, and hunting conditions, at the same time the English hound was moving toward a more standardized form referred to by some as the “Peterborough” hound. Wolfe, who lives in the Blue Ridge Hunt territory, does not shy away from holding up the Virginia Piedmont as the pride of American hunting country, certainly as it was in 1905 but no less so today. That position is well justified by the choice of both men to bring hounds from their home territories in Massachusetts all the way to Virginia to stage this contest. The logistical efforts to move hounds, horses, equipment, and people over that distance given the transport options then available were nothing short of Herculean. As The Match proceeds, Wolfe’s chapters alternate between day-by-day accounts of the action and relevant background details. Each day’s hunting is rendered with factual precision but presented with a bit of fictional license to give voice to the various participants. The result is a more vivid portrait of the action embellished with the imagined conversations and emotions of those who were there. And those were some tough people. As anyone who foxhunts today can attest, joint meets are always likely to be longer, faster, harder days afield. That’s simply the result of friendly clubs trying to show good sport. Now imagine that competitive spirit escalated to the point where personal pride, indeed the very validity of one’s sporting existence, is at stake and on display for an entire nation. (Reports from The Match were carried in many major newspapers at the time. It may be only a modest exaggeration to say that The Great Hound Match was followed by many with the same zeal that attends today’s World Series or Super
Bowl.) With such oceans of testosterone aflow, the mettle of followers was put to the extreme test. More than one hunt ended with no one, not even the huntsman, able to stay with hounds. Others had only a bare few present at the day’s end. Falls were commonplace, several that left rider, horse, or both unable to continue. Higginson arrived already sporting broken ribs and Smith broke his foot early in The Match. Yet neither missed a day of hunting. The etiquette of 1905 dictated that all ladies rode aside. And many did so to follow the action. Wolfe devotes a full chapter to “The Amazons,” determined women such as Marguerite Davis, whose husband Westmoreland became Virginia’s governor in 1918. As many as half a dozen ladies, described by Allen Potts as “crack” riders on “crack” hunters, rode on any given day. At least two more decades would pass before it became commonplace for women to ride astride in the hunt field. The aftermath of this event had repercussions for the local area far beyond the consequences of which pack of hounds was declared the winner (a detail we will not reveal here other than to note that as Wolfe portrays the judges’ deliberation, a split decision is not an impossibility). All that news coverage, further fueled by word-of-mouth when the visiting participants returned home to various parts of the country, sparked an interest in the Virginia Piedmont. Many local families, still recovering from the effects of a disastrous war that had ended only forty years earlier, barely more than one generation, were only too happy to see an influx of Yankee dollars as wealthy Northerners became the new landed gentry. Wolfe cites a deft quip by Ogden Nash: “The Virginians from Virginia have to ride automobiles because the Virginians from Long Island are the only ones who can afford to ride horses.” Few would argue today that there is only one type of hound suitable for mounted sport, especially in North America where terrain, climate, and quarry can vary widely. But that doesn’t mean devoted hound men and women have lost their enthusiasm for their own breed of choice. If The Great Hound Match of 1905 did not conclusively settle the issue—one that arguably eludes conclusion anyway—Wolfe takes the reader on an entertaining and informative ride that spans not only two weeks of amazing sport conducted by contentious personalities, but expands the relevance to historical and international proportions. It’s a ride well worth taking.
IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • WINTER 2016
Essex Visits Keswick, A New Era Begins at Thornton Hill
The Essex Evolution Keswick Hunt stalwarts William and Inga Rogers hosted the visiting Essex Fox Hounds from Peapack, New Jersey, at their lovely “Errigal Farm” on Monday, December 7, 2016. “Errigal Farm” was once home to that colorful, sporting character, David L. “Zeke” Ferguson, Old Dominion’s charismatic exmaster, enthusiastic polo player, and owner of steeplechase superstar “Leed’s Don.” The Rogerses do proud Zeke’s foxhunting legacy. An extremely heavy frost fell overnight, looking in places like light snow; but by 10:00 a.m. it had burned off under an azure sky and warming sun. Professional Huntsman Bart Poole, in his second season carrying the horn (having previously turned hounds to John Gilbert for several years), brought 15½ couple of mostly lemon-and-white American hounds to test the mettle of the local foxes. Somewhat smaller in stature than many of the Essex showring competitors of recent years, they were hard-fit, agile and graceful movers, with that presence that says, “we’re huntin’ hounds,” and they proved it. Among the hounds present was Keswick “Wilson,” who paid his former Huntsman Tony Gammell and Kennelman Mike Poindexter a perfunctory “good morning,” then displayed his loyalty by shadowing Bart at the Meet. Another hound with Keswick connections was “Elijah,” sired by Keswick “Biker.” There was also one purebred English Fell hound in the pack, “Recoil,” an individual who so closely resembled his American kennelmates that his lineage was somewhat of a surprise. In his first season, Bart says he’s settled right in, and shows great promise. Outstanding first-year hound, “Intro,” bedecked in a tracking collar, and darkly-marked “Nickle” were to prove outstanding throughout the day. As mist rose from the hollows of the distant Southwest Mountains, where a bank of clouds hinted at never-realized relief, it was with a sense of urgency that Bart hustled his hounds to draw the densely thicketed fox-haven below the house and stable. Hounds went quickly to work with similar urgency and almost immediately opened with a crashing chorus. A fox was away northward, wasting no time with half the pack glued to his brush. Unfortunately, his meanderings in covert (probably watching with relish the goings-on at the Meet!) detained the other half. But Bart and professional whipper-in Mary Taylor Miller, a familiar face from Barry Magner’s Middleburg days who promises to become very familiar at Keswick next season when she replaces Sommers Olinger, got them united in the woods above the Rogerses’ house. The pack crossed Raceground Road headed west through the extensive Border Woods dividing prime fixtures “Jacqueline Hall” and “KenWalt.” In the words of the old-timey country song, they were “settin’ the woods on fire!” But deteriorating scenting conditions and unforgiving wire fences slowed and strung them out somewhat, so when videographer Phil Audibert (who is always in the catbird seat!) viewed “Wily O’Reilly” crossing winter wheat in “Jacqueline Hall,” he had a comfortable lead. Rallying his pack, Bart laid them on the line, only to find that warming air had lifted scent. Led by “Nickle,” and calling on the noses inherited from the old-time Bywaters hounds so beloved by legendary Virginian and Essex Huntsman, the late Buster Chadwell, the pack worked into a shaded midfield ditch,
John J. Carle II, ex-MFH where they recovered the line. Rather than return to his home covert as everyone expected, their sporting pilot veered in a large right-handed circle through “Jacqueline Hall,” past the busy feedlot, and back through the Boundary Woods. Eventually, this red rambler rambled back to “Errigal Farm,” followed distantly by a struggling pack; and when viewed from Route 231 by Keswick whipper-in Barclay Rives, he was nonchalantly walking, his mask wreathed in a hugely self-satisfied, tongue-lolling grin. And by the time hounds had worked northward to the “KenWalt” driveway, he’d shown them a clean pair of heels. Hunting westward through “Ken-Walt,” Bart tried “The Mountain,” a gentle hill to the east that plummets precipitously to the wide bottomland along the Rapidan River; a covert that in pre-coyote days invariably held foxes. Sadly, today only turkeys were in residence—and they were everywhere. Hounds got somewhat scattered at this point, and at the far western edge of the Boundary Woods, a hound spoke with authority. By the time Bart rallied his forces, there was only silence. Suddenly a lady Master (who, and from which hunt, shall remain ever anonymous!) holloaed away at a dark shape crossing a distant, cutover cornfield: a turkey! In the spirit of the moment, and without looking, this writer added his voice to the babble; then, when corrected by a laughing Tony Gammell, instantly felt the fool—unfortunately, an altogether too familiar state of being! When the hilarity subsided, Bart put his hounds to work, and they hunted up to another fox, sending him hightailing eastward. But en route, Tony viewed him, and told Bart, “I know this bugger, and he’s headed straight to Tatum’s. Better stop hounds at the road.” After a flat-out race, the staff held up the pack at Route 231—a good decision given the hour, since Tatum’s lies several miles distant. The unfamiliar country, in which sound often carries strangely, had scattered hounds, but by the time everyone had polished off the Rogerses’ delicious lunch, all were on. Bart Poole is settling into the Huntsman role with youthful enthusiasm. Following the stern dictates of the Masters and the lesser needs of a two-day-a-week country, he has halved the number of hounds in the kennel. Luckily, there has been a clamoring for hounds of John Gilbert’s breeding, and hunts everywhere have upgraded their packs. The Essex is now a very young pack and, as always is the case in such situations, it will take time and experience to mold them into the cohesive unit for which Essex is renowned. Enthusiasm and determination will get the job done, and young Mr. Poole has plenty of both. All eyes were on Bart today as much for his horse as for his hounds. “Raider Brigade,” an absolutely stunning chestnut Thoroughbred, ran most successfully over timber in the colors of the late Betty Merck, longtime Essex Master, who hunted him well into her nineties. At the Meet, Huntsman, horse and hounds made a classic picture, and their performance as a team proved equally impressive. All at Keswick look forward to sharing in their development and good sport in the future.
From Essex P. A. Weimer-Trapness.
“Raider Brigade” and Essex Huntsman Bart Poole.
Essex Professional Whipper-in Mary Taylor Miller.
NOTE: “Wily O’Reily” is borrowed from author Patrick Taylor, whose character, veterinarian/sleuth Dr. Fingal Flahertie O’Reily, bears the same moniker. William and Inga Rogers, our hosts at “Errigal Farm.”
IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • WINTER 2016
Mark Thompson, KHC, and the Field on the power line near Tatum’s School Road.
Keswick Huntsman Tony Gammell and Whipper-in Sandy Rives, ex-MFH, bring hounds from the earth near Cave’s Ford Road.
From Essex: Lura Fazio, Jacquie Juntilla.
Keswick Jt. Masters Nancy Wiley, Charlotte Tieken.
The fog-bound Field.
Fog-Bound at Keswick In contrast to Monday’s balmy breezes, Wednesday, December 9, dawned damp, foggy and cold. Fog lay densely in low-lying areas, and only slightly thinner atop hills. It was a fog of an unsettled nature: briefly it would rise, then descend again. Wood smoke from farmhouse chimneys hung suspended. Keswick’s 10:00 a.m. meet at “Glenwood” was lightly fog-shrouded, and prospects for their patiently waiting 17½ couple seemed uncertain: “Falling fog brings no mirth/Rising fog, tighten your girth.” As the day unfolded, it was good that a large, enthusiastic Field of Essex visitors and Keswick regulars had heeded the latter advice. Tony Gammell took the pack across “Glenwood’s” cutover corn and beans to draw eastward along the Rapidan River. Just before leaving “Glenwood,” hounds opened, and after a spot of confusion, settled on a rapidly-retreating red resident. Flying northward, they quickly outdistanced both Staff and Field, crossing Tatum’s School Road near the wide powerline right-of-way and racing to Buggy Lane. As the mounted followers came “’ammerin’ up the ’igh, ’ard road,” hounds turned back, crossing east of the powerline to shoot over Tommy Weaver’s corn back to “Glenwood,” where their quarry sought earthly refuge. Lifted from the earth, they immediately rousted a brace, and retraced their previous line in reverse. However, as they crossed Tatum’s School Road, they split: the main pack headed for Buggy Lane, while 2½ couple, including superstars “Sequin” and “Ranger,” rocketed northeastward and out of hearing. They were gone for some time, pushing their pilot to the limit until he finally went to ground on Jimbo Tucker’s distant farm, where kennelman Mike Poindexter found them marking with enthusiasm. Meanwhile, the main pack swung lefthanded this time, running parallel with and perilously close to Route 231, then veering back to “Glenwood,” to mark under a big brushpile. Gathering his pack, Tony drew downriver through Weaver’s—a rather slow journey, as falling fog muddled scenting conditions. At the dead end of Cave’s Ford Road, Tony lifted hounds, welcomed back “Sequin” and company, and drew up through the Lohrs’ “Uno Farm,” where once that keen foxhunter, the late
Newton Lohr, kenneled his small pack of fine American hounds. In the woods adjacent to the rubbled remains of the antebellum family home, hounds announced another find, and were away like a whirlwind northeastward toward the Tucker farm. Turning back at a sharp bend in serpentining Tatum’s School Road, they pressed their leader hard across the Berry farms, forcing him/her to ground along an overgrown fencerow near the top end of Cave’s Ford Road. There might have been a brace afoot, for another fox was viewed entering a nearby thicket just before hounds accounted for their fox. Tony and Whipper-In Sandy Rives, ex-MFH, went afoot to get hounds away from the earth. Then, remounting, galloped back to the thicket. In a heartbeat, another red raider was “in the wind.” Running to the river and upstream, he checked his pursuers’ progress at Tommy Weaver’s sprawling hoglot. This is a favorite ploy of local foxes, and it took hounds awhile to solve the puzzle; but solve it they did, rudely unkenneling their complacent comrade within a quarter-mile and sending him racing for “Glenwood” with renewed vigor. Along the river, near the day’s original find, hounds put him to ground in a cliffside earth overlooking the rambling cornfields of “Tetley Bottom,” where many a young Keswick hound has begun his education. As “home” was blown, fog once again began to fall The Essex guests provided a sumptuous tailgate, one that kept at bay the damp, insidious cold that defeats both union-suit and goosedown. Having Essex visit was a delightful occasion, one everyone hopes will be an annual event.
Keswick Professional Whipper-in Sommers Olinger.
IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • WINTER 2016
Fieldmaster Jeff LeHew, MFH, leads the field.
New Thornton Hill Huntsman Beth Opitz, MFH.
Our host at “The Shade” Rob McKee.
Resurrection at Thornton Hill On December 20th, for the first time in many a year, the Thornton Hill Hounds met at that historic fixture, “The Shade,” near Woodville, Virginia, guests of the sporting new owners, Alex and Rob McKee. Ex-pats from Mr. Stewart’s Cheshire Foxhounds in Unionville, Pennsylvania, the McKees found rural, relaxed Rappahannock County to their liking and, with youthful vigor and enthusiasm, set about rescuing this lovely old farm from the ravages of time and neglect. The task has been, and continues to be, monumental, but the results so far are incredible. Once again, the charming farmhouse smiles a warm welcome, and the newly cleared land reveals gems long hidden. Well done, McKees! Like “The Shade,” the Thornton Hill Hounds have undergone a major change following the retirement of Huntsman Billy Dodson. Beth and Erwin Opitz have joined Jeff LeHew in the mastership; and hunt founder Larry LeHew has retired as Joint Master to assume the role of President. In order to realize the avowed intent to hunt coyotes as well as foxes, Beth Opitz, who carries the horn, has had to restructure the pack. The speedsters of old have been replaced by slower hounds of similar breeding from her father Dr. Todd Addis’s Warwick Village Hounds, from whence sprang the core of the original pack at its inception. As the day unfolded, it seemed evident that this will prove a workable and sensible solution, given time. The makeup of the Field has changed somewhat as well. Some of the “old guard” and the core of the whipper-in cadre have gone elsewhere; but it was encouraging to see Jim and David Massie back in the fold. The Field, twelve strong this day, was composed of members of the Addis/Opitz family and their friends, a few holdovers, and new members. Rebuilding subscriber numbers will take time, but enthusiasm is in abundant supply. Alex McKee, a Maryland Hunt Cup veteran, was afield on a typey youngster, accompanied by Donna Hollinshead from the Cheshire country, aboard another resident of “The Shade’s” stable. After a warm welcome, hounds moved off to draw the overgrown creek banks and the front fields, then swung to the west to explore the thick, foxy covert that parallels Rudicil Mill Road. At the northern edge of this vulpine paradise, near the back of “High Thicket,” hounds opened. Hesitant at first, puzzling a line not helped by December’s unusually warm weather, they gradually gained momentum and cry. Only 12 couple strong, their baritone chorus soon made Turkey Mountain ring as they worked upward and westward. Their progress was such that the Field, led by Joint Master Jeff LeHew, was able to stay in relatively close touch, even while negotiating the debilitating gyrations of the infamous “roller-coaster trail.” However, on the upper reaches, a sudden silence marked the end of this hunt. It was never ascertained whether this fox had gone to ground, scent had evaporated, or if, in scaling the near-vertical flank of High-Top Turkey, the pack had simply “run out of puff.” Whatever, it was to the Field’s relief when Beth lifted her pack and took them off the mountain to draw Bobby Foster’s woods, a covert fecund with foxes over the years. Eschewing the center woods, Beth drew the upper edge, then crossed Natalie Emory’s hayfield to try “Five Forks Thicket.” Here hounds unkenneled a determined red runner and, with escalating cry, drove him in persistent circles until he crossed Rudicil Mill Road into Rappahannock Hunt
country at Manwaring’s. Across open pasture their pilot ran, then circling in the open woodlot near the fixture known as “Manwaring’s Gate,” he returned to his home thicket. Although he was able to catch a brief rest here, Charlie was soon persuaded to return to Manwaring’s open fields. From here he took to the impossibly sheer slopes of Red Oak Mountain. Rambling partway up the precipitous shoulder and, feeling no desperately urgent pressure, he returned to Manwaring’s, intending to take the Thornton River route homeward; but car-followers turned him. Detouring westward across the river and through Martha Lou O’Bannon’s eastern pastures, he was turned again by the truck brigade. Circling tightly through a dense sapling thicket, he finally recrossed Rudicil Mill Road into Timmy Falls’ uncut corn. With a fifteen minute lead, he was in a nonchalant amble by now; however, when hounds crossed the road, they got on better terms and hustled across Goodman’s to the Opitz farm at the foot of Mason Mountain. Here, with the hour grown late, a long hack back to the Meet in prospect, and the McKees awaiting our return, “home” was reluctantly blown; and Beth hacked the pack a mile back to the kennel. It had been a most interesting and enlightening day. Gone are the dashing dervishes of the Dodson days, replaced by a pack whose hunting style is far more deliberate, although just as resolute. All day, the Field was able to stay in close contact with hounds, always a bonus. The style suits the demanding country, the quarry (especially if it is coyote), and the needs of the Field. It’s a perfect venue to introduce new riders and green horses to our beloved sport. Times they are a-changin’ and, to their great credit, the Thornton Hill leadership has had the foresight and courage to change with them. Good luck and good hunting! I had the great pleasure of having an old friend, Alex McKee’s mother, Nanette Robertson, as my hunting companion. Often my dance partner at holiday extravaganzas around Philadelphia during the 1950s, we had a lot of catching up to do. All day my truck rocked with laughter. The McKees put on a delightful hunt breakfast—or “tea” as they termed it— lavish, yet low-key. Among those in attendance and most appreciative of the restoration work done on her childhood home was Louise Eastham. Lovely, charming and gracious, this true Southern Lady now lives at “Ben Venue,” where she hosts the annual Old Dominion Hounds Point-to-Point. To see the resurrection of “The Shade” must have seemed like watching a dear friend’s miraculous recovery from a terminal illness. Indeed, she never stopped smiling all afternoon! And so, on several fronts, a new era has dawned. Long may it flourish!
THH Whipper-in Erwin Opitz, MFH
IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • WINTER 2016
FOXHUNTING Joanne Maisano photos
Paul Wilson, MFH, Loudoun Fairfax Hunt, leads the field toward the ford at Beaver Dam Creek, December 11, 2015.
Loudoun Fairfax Huntsman Andy Bozdan and honorary whipper-in Heather Heider lead hounds from the meet at Rolling Meadows, December 11, 2015.
Hounds of Loudoun Fairfax Hunt eagerly await their huntsman’s commands (and perhaps a biscuit from his pocket). Rolling Meadows, December 11, 2015.
Happy Huntsman, Happy Hounds. Blue Ridge Hunt’s Graham Bustin hunting from Kittery Point, January 9, 2016.
IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • WINTER 2016
Father Michael’s Eight Seconds By Barclay Rives • Artwork by Claudia Coleman
Father Michael was not a great sportsman, but he was a good person. He assisted and comforted a multitude of souls. A Catholic priest who first came to Charlottesville in the 1960s, Chester Paul Michael (19162014) was also known as “Father Chet” and “Monsignor Michael.” Monsignor is an honorary title bestowed by the Pope for special service. When he learned my parents had a horse farm, Father Michael told them he had ridden throughout his youth and would love to ride with them. He accepted their ensuing invitation and drove up on a summer day with his sister in a car full of nieces and nephews. My fellow Catholic school inmates had welcomed Father Michael’s taking the reins of the parish and its school because he had the reputation of being kid-friendly, unlike his solemn predecessor. Father Michael was friendly to all ages, and he was most effective in adult education. My parents enjoyed his evening presentations, which combined religion with Jungian psychology. He addressed school assemblies in cheerful, avuncular Art Linkletter style. Father Michael came to ride on a day when my father was not home. My father was a better horseman than my mother, and he might have heeded warning signs, which my mother noted afterwards. Claims of riding expertise do not always withstand testing. As a neighbor of mine says, “Ain’t nothin’ like a hoss or a dog to make a liar out of you.” My mother had already encountered Father Michael on the tennis court. When Father Michael told her how much he enjoyed the game, my mother invited him to play with her at the Farmington Country Club courts. He insisted on commencing a game as soon as they stepped onto the court, without any warm up. He lost 6-0, 6-0. My brother Bill was painting the house on Father Michael’s riding day. Father and his relatives had just emerged from their car when Bill’s ladder slid beneath him and fell. He escaped serious injury, and suffered minimal spillage; however, the mishap was portentous. Father Michael was wearing everyday priestly clothes: long black trousers, leather shoes, and a black shirt with white clerical “dog collar.” He told my mother he would like to change into “riding clothes” he had brought. As he was changing, the oldest of his nephews pounced on our piano with virtuoso technique. In an unusual speaking voice, he announced
he was playing, “Grieg’s Concerto, Opus Sixteen.” He asked my mother, “Do you know the habitat of Marjorie Mitchell?” Mitchell was a Charlottesville area concert pianist. Meanwhile, Father Michael had changed into shorts and tennis shoes, which are unsuitable and uncomfortable riding attire. Afterward, my mother said she should have limited the activity to leading Father Michael and his oldest niece around on our steady old pony Glory Be. Instead, she tacked up my brother George’s young hunting horse Tom Thumb for Father Michael. He climbed into the saddle and rode around the pasture while my mother tacked up Glory Be for his niece. Generous, but overconfident, Father Michael asked his sister to hand up his grade school age nephew, whom he perched on the pommel in front of him. He then kicked the horse into a trot, haphazardly bouncing in the saddle. An unsteady rider can unsettle a horse. Either the pair tottering on his back, a horsefly, or mischievous youth caused Tom Thumb to start bucking. Rodeo riders must stay on eight seconds to earn a score. I did not time the event. I was 9 years old, watching from outside the pasture and wondering if what I saw was really happening. The boy’s mother screamed. Man and boy launched into the air then slammed onto the ground. Fortunately the nephew escaped injury. Contact with the boy’s head broke Father Michael’s nose, causing blood to gush. After the visitors departed, my mother berated herself for everything she had done wrong to cause the disaster. Father Michael bore his misfortune with good humor. He wore a device on his nose for a few months. The mishap did not damage his friendship with my parents. He counseled them through illness and other difficulties, as he counseled hundreds of other parishioners. One parent remembers Father Michael telling her that her teenaged son had a hyperactive conscience, which was causing excessive guilt. He advised that the boy take time away from religion, which the mother said showed the priest’s remarkable confidence and good judgment. The boy’s anxieties subsided. Father Michael founded Spiritual Direction Institute (SDI), which offered a two-year course. Over 600 “Spiritual Directors” passed his course, including my mother. The “Spiritual Autobiography” she
wrote for the course includes stories and insights about herself, her parents and their relationship, which I had not previously known. I think of Father Michael every year at Christmas time. My mother died December 21, 1992. My brothers and I wanted to get the funeral over with before Christmas. The family burial plot is in the cemetery of Grace Episcopal Church, Cismont. Grace’s rector kindly offered the church sanctuary for the service. Grace was a more convenient and more spacious location than the smaller distant church my mother had been attending. However, the Catholic priest from that church objected to holding a service inside a Protestant edifice. Father Michael came to the rescue. He readily agreed to celebrate a Funeral Mass in Grace Church on December 23. We quickly selected readings and hymns. He suggested Proverbs 31:10-31 about the Good Wife, which includes a line about her household having no fear for the winter because, “She hath clothed them in scarlet.” My mother had just given my brother and me bespoke scarlet hunting coats. Some attendees appreciated that the service was ecumenical, reaching across religious differences. In his eulogy, Father Michael spoke of his admiration and affection for my mother. My brother Sandy had recently acquired a fractious thoroughbred named Spruce. Compared to Spruce, Tom Thumb was a hobbyhorse. We gave Father Michael an honorarium for presiding over the funeral. We did not offer a ride on Spruce.
Misty Morning Hounds, Florida • Allene Rachel photos
Florida’s Misty Morning Hounds includes some interesting obstacles during the course of a day’s drag hunt. Here Suzanne Peters takes Prince Charming over something other than your conventional hunt country jump.
January 23, 2016, was unseasonably cold for central Florida when Misty Morning Hounds hunted from The Homestead behind Mallory Robertson. Alexis Macaulay, Joint-MFH and Huntsman, suffered a nasty fall at the gallop on Opening Day and the resulting injuries will likely have her sidelined the rest of this season. Jim Meads and the Horse Country staff wish her a full and speedy recovery.
IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • WINTER 2016
Horses and People to Watch Virginia Equine Alliance
Congratulations go out to Virginia-bred Stellar Wind, who was named one of three 2015 Eclipse Award finalists in the 3 Year Old Filly division along with Found and I’m A Chatterbox. Bred by the Keswick Stables & Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings, LLC, the daughter of two-time Horse-of-the-Year Curlin won the Grade I Santa Anita Oaks, the Grade II Summertime Oaks, and a pair of Grade III’s—the Santa Ysabel and the Torrey Pines. She also finished fourth in the Kentucky Oaks, 4¾ lengths behind the victorious Lovely Maria. Her most memorable outing though was in the $2,000,000 Breeders’ Cup Distaff, where she came within four feet of winning after a thrilling stretch duel with eventual victor Stopchargingmaria. Stellar Wind is trained by John Sadler, owned by Kosta Hronis, and is out of the Malibu Moon mare, Evening Star. Peggy Augustus owns Old Keswick Farm and has operated her breeding business—Keswick Stables— since 1963. She has bred 48 stakes winners over that time including a four-pack of million dollar earners (in addition to Stellar Wind) that include Simply Majestic, Eishin Guymon, Sabin, and Alwuhush. “A million dollars was considered a lot of money back when these horses were winning races, but not so much now,” said Ms. Augustus. “All four are special to me but Simply Majestic is a little extra special because he was such a tough horse. He traveled and raced all over the place and probably should have received mileage points from the airlines.” One of her all time favorites is a now 26 year old horse named Husband, whom she bred and owned, and still resides at Old Keswick Farm today. “He’s much nicer than anyone I ever dated,” joked Ms. Augustus. “He’s so well mannered and his name fits perfectly.” Husband may not have won a million, but he did deliver a Grade I stakes victory as a three year old in Canada’s Rothman’s International Stakes. Virginia racing fans may remember Bop, also bred by Keswick Stables, who won the Punch Line Stakes at Colonial Downs three consecutive years, from 2001-2003. The son of Rahy earned $365,766, won 12 of 23 starts, and set track records at the five furlong distance in three of them (at Penn National, Gulfstream, and Colonial). Stellar Wind is the last offspring of the last mare bred by Keswick Stables and even though Ms. Augustus has never met the Eclipse Award nominee’s owner (Kosta Hronis) in person, they have an e-mail relationship. “He absolutely adores that horse very much,” exclaimed Ms. Augustus. Stellar Wind’s 2015 successes earned Keswick Stables & Stonestreet a breeders award of $45,373, tops among Virginiabred performers who shared in bonus monies totaling $500,000. A total of 64 different breeders, whose horses won a combined $5,289,439 in purse monies, will receive bonus checks. The Estate of Edward P. Evans led the way with $63,770 in breeders award monies. Keswick Stables and Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings, LLC were second in bonus earnings followed by Mr. & Mrs. Bertram Firestone with $32,667 (from 21 wins), Morgan’s Ford Farm with $30,792 (from 18 victories), and Larry Johnson with $25,965 (from 24 wins). In addition to Stellar Wind, top bonus earning Virginia-bred horses were Valid from the Evans Estate, who had top three finishes in five graded stakes; Albert Coppola’s One Go All Go, whose victory in the $400,000 Commonwealth Derby (Grade II) translated into $22,232 in award money; Go Blue Or Go Home, bred by Morgan’s Ford Farm & Winstar Farm, who earned $9,021 in extra monies from a Grade II victory;
Virginia-bred Stellar Wind was one of three 2015 Eclipse Award finalists in the 3 Year Old Filly Division. Benoit Photography
and Long On Value, bred by Snow Lantern Thoroughbreds, who received $8,087 from a Grade III score. A total of $25,000 in Stallion Award monies were also distributed in 2015 and shared by five different stallion owners. Susan Minor earned $8,400 in bonuses for her stallion Fierce Wind, while Lady Olivia at North Cliff was second ($7,430) with Cosa Vera. Rounding out the five were Lazy Lane Farms, LLC’s Hansel ($4,654), Bop ($2,947), and Warren Owens’ Up the Periscope ($1,566). ••••• After hosting live Thoroughbred and Standardbred events for the first time in 2015, the Virginia Equine Alliance (VEA) is moving forward and has set both short term goals for 2016 and longer term goals for years that follow. The first and most obvious one is to conduct more days of live pari-mutuel horse racing in the Commonwealth, and a permanent home for each breed is now being established—the Standardbred site is at the Shenandoah County Fairgrounds in Woodstock and the Thoroughbred site is at Morven Park in Leesburg. Negotiations are currently under way with both to secure lease agreements and to determine renovations and upgrades needed to create safe racing surfaces and first class facilities. Renovations at Woodstock are expected to be finished in time to conduct an 8 day harness race meet this fall over 4 weekends in September, and 12 days over 6 weekends in 2017. Renovations at Morven Park will take a year to complete to ensure a first class turf course, so no Thoroughbred races are planned for 2016 but a 14-day meet is being proposed for 2017. Once these venues are established, the VEA will reinvest monies generated from Advance Deposit Wagering (ADW) partners and future Off Track Betting (OTB) Centers right back into the industry to create new live racing opportunities at other venues around the state. The VEA’s unique racing model is to feature a high quality product with the utmost integrity, in scenic settings around the Commonwealth, all while creating new racing and wagering enthusiasts. To keep Virginia-bred horses in action this year, the VEA will again offer a fall program at Maryland’s Laurel Park and will partner with the Virginia Gold
Cup to host pari-mutuel flat races in conjunction with the steeplechase races at their annual spring and fall race days. The VEA will also support potential future racing initiatives at the Oak Ridge Estate in Nelson County, though no firm time table is set. Looking to the future, three signature graded stakes races that had been run at Colonial Downs for years will be contested at Laurel again in 2016 to keep their graded status in tact. In order to accomplish these goals, the VEA needs to grow existing revenue streams and create new ones. The goal in 2016 is to open two or three OTB Centers in existing restaurants or bars in the Richmond and Chesapeake markets. Since Oak Ridge held Standardbred racing in 2015, a future OTB opportunity may also exist in Lovingston, or somewhere in Nelson County near where the Oak Ridge Estate is located. The VEA will also roll out a new website in 2016 at www.virginiahorseracing.com. The site will cater to horsemen, bettors and race attendees, and when combined with social media aspects, will make it easier to reach and update a wider audience of potential horseplayers. Changes in last year’s legislation that went into effect July 1st have made these opportunities become reality. Efforts have just begun though. The VEA looks forward to working in unison with all stakeholders and the Virginia Racing Commission to sustain and grow horse racing in the Commonwealth.
Valid, bred by the Estate of Edward P. Evans, had top three finishes in five graded stakes last year including a pair of wins. Equi-Photo
IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • WINTER 2016
ACROSS THE POND
The Tanatside Hunt and a Winter Hound Show By Jim Meads
The Tanatside Hunt, under various names, has been in existence for a great many years, while as long ago as 1754 it was known as the Confederate Hunt, with harriers. However, for the past 90 years they have used foxhounds, which hunt in England and Wales, as a mounted pack. In Mid-November, I was invited to a meet near Llanfechain, where huntsman since 2007 Richard Evans arrived with 15½ couple of Welsh and English cross foxhounds, followed by a mounted field of 26. There are three Joint MFH’s: Stephen Morrison, who no longer rides; Chairman John Jones, who is injured; and Andy Higgins, in scarlet, riding a super gray hunter. Soon, the keen pack moved off to draw for the first trail, on the lowlying grass meadows, with much timber to jump. Later, the trails led to the hill country, with its solid stone walls, which tested the fitness of horses and riders! The only winter hound show in the UK is held on the Royal Welsh Showground, at Builth Wells, with classes for Welsh, English, Hill, and Fell Foxhounds.
Champion Welsh Hound and Supreme Champion, Plas Machynelleth “Fanwi” and Huntsman Aled Jones.
Luckily, it is held indoors, because monsoon-like rain fell so heavily that a nearby river burst its banks, submerging 20 parked cars. Entries were down because of flooded roads, but many loyal supporters still made it safely. Here judging began in the Welsh ring, with classes being won by the Llanwrthwl, Towy & Cothi, and the Plas Machynlleth, with the latter pack’s well-known bitch “Fanwi” taking the Championship. In the English classes, the Banwen Miners dominated with their mottled dog “Grafter” named champion. The Carmarthenshire took the Hill tricolor with the almost white dog “Lonely.” The Conwy Valley’s long journey was made worthwhile when their “Matchem” and Huntsman Jason Jones took the Fell championship. Then came the highlight, when, in front of national TV cameras, the four breed champions ran off together for the Supreme Championship, which went to Plas Machynlleth “Fanwi” and Huntsman Aled Jones, to partisan cheers from the Welsh supporters.
Champion English Hound, Banwen Min- Champion Hill Hound, Carmarthenshire Champion Fell Hound Conwy Val- Best Couple of Welsh Hounds, Towy ers “Grafter” and Huntsman Huw Green. ley “Matchem” and Huntsman & Cothi “Elyn” and “Brenig” and “Lonely” with Asher Jenkins. Jason Jones. Huntsman John Hughes.
Huntsman Richard Evans taking his 15½ couple of Joint Master Andrew Higgins leading the field. hounds to draw.
Over a solid fence goes Sue Jones.
Misty Morning Hunt (USA) Joint Master and Huntsman Alexis Macaulay jumping a coop with Irish Visitor Aiden O’Connell.
Zara Owen jumping a stone wall in the hill country.
888-979-5615 Four riders enjoying a hunt in the hills.
IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • WINTER 2016
JENNY’S PICKS By the time you read this, for many the hunting season will be over. Severe winter weather in the north shuts the door on foxhunting for them, while those of us in more southern climes can still enjoy going out with hounds until spring starts to wiggle her toes and the fox cubs and baby bunnies arrive. But there are many chances for all to pick up a good book and settle down for a few days, or snuggle up with a cup of hot chocolate and work on our lovely fox puzzle. For those of you who have heard that George Morris has an autobiography coming out, we will be carrying it. It is due out in March, is titled Unrelenting, and will cost $35.00. Order now—no charge until it comes out—so we will be sure to have enough to satisfy our readers. Titillating warning from the publisher—“This book contains some explicit material.” I would guess we aren’t talking horse breeding here! Rita Mae Brown fans, unite! We need to convince the people at Penguin Random House that there is an annual market for our much-loved Sister Jane series. I know more of our readers buy the Sister Jane mysteries than the Sneaky Pie series, but evidently the numbers don’t add up to the publishers, so she’s constantly pushing to get them to allow her to write another Sister Jane. Please contact Tracy Devine, whose e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org, and tell your similar-minded friends to contact her and beg for more! Foster, Dennis. Whipper-In. Good news for those who haven’t bought a copy yet! We just got in a box of this hard-to-find book that we are told will not be reprinted. When they’re gone, they’re gone, so act fast! Written by a former MFH who has also been a huntsman and whipperin, the knowledge accumulated by having experienced all three positions is invaluable. Many of the old authors give advice on whipping-in, but to my knowledge this is the first entire book devoted to the skill of whipping-in. Lavishly illustrated with both photographs and some charming cartoons, it is spiked with anecdotes about Dennis’s experiences. Hardcover, 310pp. $135.00 Folse, Melinda. Riding Through Thick & Thin. Few of us have perfect bodies, and in this country we are far more likely to be a bit too heavy rather than too thin. This may also be a problem for our mounts as well. In this volume, the author addresses the problem of weight and how to manage it on a horse. You can carry a lot of weight and
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 still ride lightly. But there’s much more to this book than dealing with excess avoirdupois. Calling on the expert advice offered by many other authors, such as Joyce Harman, Wendy Murdoch, Sally Swift, Jane Savoie, and Mary Wanless, Folse discusses many approaches to easing your impact on your horse and vice versa. Of course, there is lots of information that is beneficial to any rider as well. Paperback, 418pp. $24.95 Parker, Boyd. The Confederate Chronicles, No. 1 – Ghost of a Chance. What happens when an over-eager group of ATF officials decides that a unit of Confederate cavalry reenactors is actually a terrorist cell? This new author has envisioned just such a situation involving the 43rd Battalion of Virginia Cavalry—better known as Mosby’s Rangers—in which the men at a reenactment in Aldie, Virginia, find themselves, on horseback and armed only with period weapons. What most of the men don’t know, however, is that their commander, Robert White Barnes, is associated with the underground Confederate government, which surreptitiously continued operation after the surrender of Lee, Jeff Davis, and other Confederates. But their goal is not the same: they are mostly a benevolent organization anonymously supporting worthy Southerners, black and white, who need a little financial assistance. And they are also acting as watchdogs to protect the entire country. Concerned with the growing terrorist threat, they arrange an order of modern firearms just in case of need, and that order is what tips off the ATF to research the organization known as the Virginia Dare Foundation. Meanwhile, entwining into the plot is a real terrorist group of Islamic militants located outside Leesburg who intend to set off an atomic bomb in Washington. Follow the action as the Rangers flee from their encampment at Aldie, Virginia, north to cross the Potomac, where they discover the evil plot and go after the extremists—all the while with the ATF on their own tails. I couldn’t put this one down! Paperback, 187pp. $15.00
Bee, Vanessa. Over Under Through. Keep your horse from being bored even if conditions prevent you from riding! Great for youngsters that haven’t been ridden yet, too! This new book on obstacle training offers “50 effective, step-by-step exercises for every rider” that will help make your horse a steadier mount. A lot of the obstacles can be easily created with poles and cones that you may already have on hand or are naturally occurring should you go out on trails (logs, gates, streams) and can be incorporated into training sessions as well. Others you will need to buy or borrow (streamers, flags, swimming noodles). Narrow spaces, overhangs, animals, noisy vehicles, even trash bags and covered round bales are addressed. There are many other items you may add to the pot that aren’t mentioned here. I discovered on one ride that horses can really freak out over hikers with backpacks! We were on the towpath and a fellow with a tall pack came our way. Our horses wouldn’t pass until he had kindly stepped off the path and removed his back pack; only then did they realize it was just a human being! Anyone who shows should accustom their mounts to umbrellas being raised and lowered. These exercises are generally begun on foot until the horse is calm, then continued under saddle. Exercises are illustrated step by step with color photos. This is useful for any equine sport! Paperback, 164pp. $27.95 Carlson, Beth. Fox Tales/Beth Carlson’s Art. Beth Carlson’s artwork has been featured in Sporting Classics, The American Brittany, Garden & Gun, The Chronicle of the Horse, and Gray’s Sporting Journal. Two of her paintings are in the National Bird Dog Museum and three bequeathed to the AKC Museum of the Dog. But it is foxes, not dogs for the most part, that frolic between the covers of this charming book. Though she lives in Maine, the landscapes her foxes inhabit could be anywhere there is forest and field. Hardcover, 32pp. $39.00
Sally Spilman Tufts Carol O. Easter
James Edward Covington, Jr.
December 17, 1938 – November 3, 2015 MFH, Farmington Hunt, 1995-2015; District Director, Masters of Foxhounds Assn., 2006-2012.
February 23, 1935 – January 21, 2016 MFH, Deep Run Hunt Club, 19801985, 2001-2016.
Cathy Summers photo
Bill Sigafoos photo
November 19, 1924 – January 1, 2016 MFH, Warrenton Hunt, 1978-2000. Douglas Lees photo
Hugh Douglas Camp Motley January 30, 1955 – January 9, 2016 MFH, Keswick Hunt Club, 2000-2005. Phil Audibert photo
IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • WINTER 2016
The Battle of the Bowls Janet Hitchen photo
Now that the holidays are over—and a short season it was!— many of you are articulating New Year’s resolutions. Humans on the whole have very personal goals, like wanting to fit in a favorite tweed jacket or breeches again, or pledging to cap with two different hunts this season, re-up membership in the Museum of Hounds & Hunting NA, or, taking the plunge, to get measured for Dehner Boots or scarlet evening tails this year. We dogs have way more complicated resolutions than humans. There’s a private resolution that’s been in my head for the last few years. This year, the time came to right an injustice. You see, as long as Bunsen has been allowed in the house with me, I am sure my Marion has given him food with extra special goodies. Yes, he is obviously bigger and should get a bit more kibble than me. I don’t want to carry on, but, with gross unfairness, he gets better addins. I can only imagine the tastier pieces of beef he gets from the leftover boxes in the refrigerator. I can’t stand him going on about “bouef,” as he calls it. The other morning, an opportunity arose I can only refer to as a perfect storm. Blackbirds in the yard held Bunsen’s attention, longer than any of us who know him could imagine. My Marion was in the kitchen preparing our two bowls for breakfast, preoccupied singing the new Adele song, without knowing all the words, just singing “Hello, it’s me,” and then humming the tune. She normally puts the bowls down on our respective floor mats at the same time. So this morning, I sat quietly very near her feet so she couldn’t easily see me if she looked down and, hence, the perfect storm. With Bunsen still in the yard, she put both bowls down at the same time and absentmindedly hummed her way into the living room. Seizing the moment, I made my dash across the kitchen and threw my face into his large bowl. OMG! It was New Year’s fare from the dining table: pork, mashed potatoes, and peas! I was transported to canine culinary heaven. My head was swimming and I was weak in the knees. I ate every morsel, even licked Bunsen’s bowl. Then, I felt eyes on my back. I raised my head and slowly turned, Bunsen was standing in the doorway. “A dog’s bowl is sacred, lassie,” he said, with grave indignation. “Ye have crossed a line.” “Oh! Is this your bowl?” I innocently replied. “Ye know ’tis,” he snarled. “Why, I must be confused. Whose bowl is over there?”
muzzles when the spring grass comes in. Are your show and stable halters looking a bit worn? How about toweling and new-fangled ionic sheets for early spring training? We have our largest selection of colorful saddle pads, even bamboo ones, and complementing fly bonnets and poms, half pads with memory foam in stable colors, and specialty pads including custom baby pads. Personalize them with your farm logo or initials. We stock colorful bell boots just for you. Colorful indeed, m’lass! Ah was dazzled at the sight o’ them. But…really? Orange bell boots! Royal blue, now. Are ye sure we’re not going a wee bit overboard with the colors? And that Italian gum rubber color? Oh, no, Bunsen. These are very popular. They really put the “fun” in “functional.” When you stop by, don’t miss our show bridles in Italian leather and our curated selection of padded stirrup leathers. If you’re looking for something fun and different, and like to set your own style, visit us. You’ll be amazed! •••• Since Bunsen and I were so stressed through the holiday season—what with greeting everyone at the front door, sniffing visiting dogs, and dealing with our cheerful return policy in January—one of my Marion’s resolutions was to leave us with Pam Dickson at Fursman Kennels, near Middleburg, several times during the year. This is a great adventure for us—even the baths, all four of them, which you readers know I dislike. Your distaste for baths is a mystery to me. Ah find the plunge most refreshing. An’ the light massage and belly tickle that follow are pure delight. Well, I’m afraid I find them tedious at best. But I enjoy everything else about staying at Pam’s. It’s funny, though. She gets phone calls from all over the world, people checking on their dogs in her care. But when we ask if our Marion has called, the answer is always the same. “No,” Pam says as she puts little treats in our bowls and reaches down to pet us, “she hasn’t called to check on you. Haven’t heard a word from her, really. Strange, isn’t it? ” Oh, maybe not so strange when I think about it. Bunsen and I have heard about these trips away Marion takes. Remember those stories she told, such as the recent one to New York City where she got to see the Naked Cowboy singing in Times Square? With distractions like that, I suppose it’s no wonder she doesn’t have time to call and check up on us.
With that, he walked across the room to my bowl and did something I truly hate. Not only did he eat from my bowl, he ate and sniffed at the same time. It’s called snuffling. He snuffles every time he eats.
’Tis fine with me if she dinnae call. Ah count m’self one of Pam’s favorites. Ah must be…she puts chicken in m’bowl.
“Faith an’ bejabbers!” he exclaimed, with food dripping from his whiskers. “Pork, mashed potatoes, peas, chondroitin-glucosamine, and gravy!”
•••• PS: The Guest Book is open. We welcome dogs to the front of the store for water and treats. Bunsen asks them to sign in. First, a Scottish Terrier puplet named Lulu (having a bit of trouble getting the meaning of house breaking, just like Aga); Ryder, a white standard Poodle; Lucy, a Schnauzer; Zephyr, a black Schnoodle; Lily, a Jack Russell; and Winnie, a Welsh Springer Spaniel. A special hello to our friend Boo. Come visit us…with or without your dogs!
“Gravy? Did you say gravy?” With that, Marion walked into the kitchen and shushed Bunsen from my bowl. “BUNSEN! You cannot eat Aga’s food. And you know I would never give you gravy. Go on, go on. Out!”
Whaaaat? Chicken? In your bowl?
“Lassie, ye’ve done me a huge injustice,” he muttered as he walked out the door and into the yard. “Poor Aga,” Marion cooed. “Let me make you a new bowl. That Bunsen, you can’t turn your back on him for one second.” •••• Marion confided to me her shop owner’s set of resolutions for the spring season: Mo’better, Mo’useful, Mo’style. She tells Bunsen that the Mo, Mo, Mo plan has kept him in kibbles. Already this year, her passion for buying beautiful goods for the store has taken her near and far. Back from the markets, she told us she found beautiful woven breeches with hot pink, teal, white, black, purple, and aqua piping, sharp denim schooling breeches and knit riding tights. We now have even more side zip model tan breeches for the show ring. She found real cotton shirts since we had so many calls for them. But our smart Ice-fil shirts are at the ready in new colors and details. The riding gloves have been restocked along with hot weather socks that wick away moisture. We have those great printed belts from Mango Bay. Why not have a helmet fitting to see if the new helmet dimensions are right for you? In the Saddlery, we can be practical and have fun, too. You’ll need grazing
Meadowbrook Farm at Huntly Equestrian Center Home of the Wakefield Country Day School Equestrian Team
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JOANNE MAISANO PHOTOGRAPHY “Specializing in Horse Sports, Events, Families, Pets and Memory Albums.”
www.joannemaisano.com Cole Attick, son of Maryland's De La Brooke Foxhounds W joint master Tom Attick, receives the Best Turned Out Junior award from Ellie Slater, ex-MFH, at the club’s opening meet at Mt. Victoria on November 7, 2015. The award is named in honor of the late Pat Taylor, a longtime member of De La Brooke Foxhounds.
Richard Clay Photography
Ron Glockner photo
Correction In our Holiday 2015 issue, it was mistakenly noted in Jake Carle’s piece on Piedmont Fox Hounds new Huntsman Jordan Hicks that he had served in the military. While Jordan’s résumé includes several notable achievements, military service was not one of them. We apologize for the misstatement.
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Junior North American Field Hunter Championship finalists with judges and organizers. Liz Callar photo
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