VOLUME XXX / NUMBER 1 • THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE VIRGINIA STEEPLECHASE ASSOCIATION • WINTER 2018
Huntsman John Harrison, in his first season at Deep Run Hunt, Manakin-Sabot, Virginia, brought to bear experience hunting with the Ullswater Hounds in England, one of the most famous foot-packs of the Fell. On the morning of January 7, 2018, when it was too cold for mounted hunting, more than 70 Deep Run members and friends took part as hunt followers on foot. Bill Sigafoos photos
Old Dominion Hounds Professional Whipper-in Shannon MacKenzie on a point during a December hunting day from Henchman’s Lea. Douglas Lees photo
Warrenton Hunt’s hounds on a run during the Junior Meet on December 2, 2017, with Huntsman Matt van der Woude. Douglas Lees photo
Orange County Hounds on a run at Smitten Farm. Douglas Lees photo
Celeste Vella, MFH, Warrenton Hunt, leading the first field at the start of the day’s hunt from Threkeld Farm, December 23, 2017. Michael Stevens photo Tim Colgan, Field Master for Old Dominion Hounds, prepares to lead a large field of followers from Henchman’s Lea, November 25, 2017. Douglas Lees photo
Orange County Hounds Masters (l-r) Neil Morris and John Coles. Douglas Lees photo
Reg Spreadborough, Huntsman Orange County Hounds. Douglas Lees photo
Jane Covington hunting with Piedmont Fox Hounds, Gap Run, December 21, 2017.
Peter Walsh, Piedmont Fox Hounds, Gap Run, December 21, 2017.
Douglas Lees photo
Douglas Lees photo
IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY â€¢ WINTER 2018
IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • WINTER 2018
SPORTING LIFE HIGHLIGHTS Upcoming Events In & Around Horse Country Spring will soon be blooming with a bouquet of challenging, exciting, and just plain fun events. We encourage you to get out and enjoy the many happenings in Horse Country. Hunt Trail Rides: All the hunts will be hosting trail rides throughout the spring and summer. These are typically leisurely rides, jumping optional, through the beautiful hunt countryside. Lunch or light refreshments are usually included. Hunters depend on these rides to keep their horses fit and socialize with fellow hunters during the offseason. If you’re thinking about giving foxhunting a try, these rides are a great way to get yourself and your horse out in a group in the open country but without the added excitement of hounds and horn. To find contact information for the hunts in your area, go to www.mfha.org. Hunter Pace Events and Spring Races: For contact information and more details, go to www.centralentryoffice.com. Spring Races, Virginia: Saturday, March 17: Warrenton Hunt Point-to-Point Saturday, March 24: Piedmont Fox Hounds Point-to-Point Sunday, April 1: Orange County Hounds Point-to-Point Saturday, April 7: Old Dominion Hounds Point-to-Point Sunday, April 15: Loudoun Hunt Point-to-Point Saturday, April 21: Middleburg Spring Races Sunday, April 22: Blue Ridge Hunt Point-to-Point Saturday, April 28: Foxfield Spring Races, Charlottesville Sunday, April 29: Middleburg Hunt Point-to-Point Saturday, May 5: Virginia Gold Cup Races Spring Races, Maryland: Saturday, March 31: Green Spring Valley Point-to-Point Saturday, April 7: Elkridge-Harford Hunt Point-to-Point Saturday, April 14: My Lady’s Manor Races Sunday, April 15: Fair Hill Point-to-Point Races Saturday, April 21: Grand National Steeplechase Saturday, April 28: The Maryland Hunt Cup Sunday, April 29: Maryland Junior Hunt Cup Saturday, May 5: Howard County Cup Races Sunday, May 20: Potomac Hunt Races Saturday, May 28: Fair Hills Races Hunter Pace Events: Sunday, March 11: Blue Ridge Hunt Saturday, March 24: Piedmont Fox Hounds Saturday, March 31: Orange County Hounds Sunday, April 8: Old Dominion Hounds Saturday, April 14: Rappahannock Hunt Saturday, April 21: Warrenton Hunt Saturday, April 28: Loudoun Fairfax Hunt Other Springtime Happenings: Bull Run Hunt March Madness Hunt Week Sun., March 18 – Sat., March 24 www.bullrunhuntclub.com A Sporting Vision: The Paul Mellon Collection of British Sporting Art April 13 - July 22 National Sporting Library, Middleburg, VA www.nationalsporting.org
Bull Run Hunt Camping Weekend Trail Ride Friday, April 20 – Sunday, April 22. www.bullrunhuntclub.com Museum of Hounds & Hunting North America Members Reception Sat., May 26, 5 pm, The Mansion, Morven Park, Leesburg. Open to current members and members’ guests. www.mhhna.org Virginia Foxhound Club Cocktail Party and Dinner Sat., May 26, 6:00 pm Horning Blowing Contest, 7:00 pm. www.virginiafoxhoundclub.org Hunt Country Stable Tour Saturday, May 26 & Sunday, May 27 www.trinityupperville.org/Hunt-Country-Stable-Tour/ Virginia Hound Show Sunday, May 27, 8:00 am Morven Park, Leesburg. email@example.com Museum of Hounds & Hunting North America Sunday, May 27, 11:00 The Mansion, Morven Park, Leesburg Current exhibits open to the public. www.mhhna.org Foxhunting Art Exhibit featuring The Virginia Hunt Clubs by select member artists of the American Academy of Equine Art May 25 - June 23 In concert with the Virginia Foxhound Club and the Museum of Hounds & Hunting, Morven Park, Leesburg, Virginia Hound Shows For the full schedule of hound shows: www.mfha.org/hounds-showsched.html. Upperville Colt & Horse Show Mon., June 4 – Sun., June 10. www.upperville.com ••••
Karen Kandra Wenzel photo
After serving as huntsman for Maryland’s Potomac Hunt for more than 30 years, Larry Pitts and his wife Peggy “retired” to an intended life of ease in Bedford, Virginia. But when Bedford County Hunt found themselves in need of a new huntsman, the lure of the hunt field was too strong to resist. As of Opening Meet, October 28, 2017, from Olden Acres Farm, Larry began another formal season carrying the horn, with Peggy again serving as whipper-in.
Michelle Arnold www.lumaimages.com Phil Audibert www.audibertphoto.com Benoit Photography Eric Bowles www.bowlesimages.com Coady Photography Douglas Lees firstname.lastname@example.org Joanne Maisano www.joannemaisano.com Dustin Orona Bill Sigafoos www.wlsphoto.com Michael Stevens Karen Kandra Wenzel
Piedmont Fox Hounds Huntsman Jordan Hicks at Gap Run, January 25, 2018. Joanne Maisano photo
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 22, 2018. Payment in full due with copy. Publisher: Marion Maggiolo Managing Editor: J. Harris Anderson Advertising: Kim Gray (540) 347-3141, (800) 882-4868, Email: email@example.com Contributors: Aga; J. Harris Anderson, Jake Carle, Will O’Keefe, Barclay Rives, Virginia Equine Alliance, Jenny Young LAYOUT & DESIGN: Kate Houchin Copyright © 2018 In & Around Horse Country®. All Rights Reserved. Volume XXVX, No.1 POSTMASTER: CHANGE SERVICE REQUESTED
IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • WINTER 2018
Joanne Maisano Photos
Blue Ridge Hunt, Rolling Hills, January 9, 2018 Blue Ridge Huntsman Graham Buston does whatever’s necessary to stay with his hounds Huntsman Richard Roberts, Middleburg Hunt, Glenwood Park, December 21, 2017.
Orange County Hounds looking forward to some sporting fun at Old Whitewood, February 3, 2018. Hounds of the Blue Ridge Hunt off for the day’s sport.
Piedmont Fox Hounds member Jack Helmly, Gap Run, January 25, 2018.
An Orange County hunter ready for the action to begin at Old Whitewood, Feb. 3, 2018.
Blue Ridge Hunt’s “Gina,” a recent arrival from Ireland, gets her feet wet in Virginia creek water during a pause in the action.
IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • WINTER 2018
2018 Spring Steeplechase Season Preview By Will O’Keefe
Steeplechase racing in Virginia will begin this year on Saturday, March 17, 2018 at the Warrenton Hunt Point-to-Point at Airlie Farm near Warrenton. The Blue Ridge Hunt has been first on the schedule in recent years but inclement weather caused them to postpone their meet until April last year. The move was a success, and they will move to Sunday, April 22 this year. The Blue Ridge Hunter Pace Events will stay in March on the 17th but will have a new venue at Trelawny Farm. The Warrenton Hunt Point-to-Point will have their traditional card of hurdle, timber, and flat races. A sidesaddle race will be added to the card and will be run in the memory of former Warrenton MFH, Viola T. Winmill, who was a renowned sidesaddle enthusiast. Post time will be 12:00 PM. The remaining point-to-point and hunter pace schedule will remain the same with events every weekend until the Middleburg Hunt pulls down the curtain on Sunday, April 29. The Piedmont Fox Hounds Point-to-Point on Saturday, March 24 has added a junior pony flat race. If there are sufficient entries, three divisions will go to the post for small, medium, and large ponies. These races are for riders who have not reached their 16th birthday as of the first of the year. The Middleburg Spring Races at Glenwood Park near Middleburg will kick off the season of sanctioned race meets in Virginia on Saturday, April 21. This year Middleburg will offer $200,000 in purses. The purse for the featured Grade II Temple Gwathmey Hurdle Stakes has been increased from $50,000 to $75,000 and will attract the best horses in training. Last year this race was won by Bruton Street-US’ Scorpiancer, who subsequently won the Eclipse Award for the leading steeplechase horse in America. The $30,000 Middleburg Hunt Cup timber stakes is an ideal prep for the Virginia Gold Cup and a strong field is assured. The card also includes the Alfred M. Hunt Steeplethon, which is always a crowd pleaser with its circuitous route over varied obstacles. Additional hurdle races and a flat race round out the card. The Foxfield Spring Races will be run on Saturday, April 28 at the Foxfield Race Course near Charlottesville, Virginia. The Spring Races attract a huge crowd of students and race fans. The feature race is the Daniel Van Clief Memorial. This race is an allowance optional claiming race over hurdles, and the purse has been increased to $30,000. The remaining four races are for non-winners. One of these is over timber and the other three are maiden hurdle races. The Grover Vandevender Maiden Timber Race usually is contested by horses that have been running on the Virginia Point-to-Point Circuit. The Virginia Gold Cup Races on Saturday, May 5 is unique in the spring with pari-mutuel wagering available on the races there and on the Kentucky Derby. You can bet that the races will be highly competitive with $425,000 in purses being offered. The eight race card is headlined by the $100,000 Virginia Gold Cup Timber Stakes. Add to this the prestige of winning the Gold Cup and the best timber horses in training are guaranteed to be on hand. The $75,000 David Semmes Memorial Hurdle Stakes will be contested over the two miles and one furlong course. Everyone is going to want to be on hand early as the second race on the card is the steeplethon over one of the most interesting courses in steeplechase racing. Two additional hurdle races will be run for maidens and nonwinners of two races over hurdles. With the incredible support of the Virginia Equine Alliance, the card includes the 1½ mile $50,000 Secretariat Stakes on the flat. There will be an additional 1½ mile allowance flat race, and a 1¼ mile flat race for horses bred or sired in Virginia.
Old Dominion Hounds Point-to-Point Saturday, April 7, 2018 12 Noon Hunter Pace April 8, 2018, 1:00 pm
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
Complete information for these and other events can be found on the centralentryoffice.com and nationalsteeplechase.com websites. Virginia Equine Alliance Supports Steeplechasing in the Commonwealth The Virginia Equine Alliance (VEA) has been a great friend to steeplechase racing in Virginia in recent years. Their support to the purse structure at the Virginia and International Gold Cup Races has contributed to these meets becoming two of the country’s premier races. Their Executive Director, Jeb Hannum, describes how this has evolved. “The VEA’s mission is to sustain, promote, and expand the horse breeding and horse racing industries in the state. Since the VEA was formed in 2015, we have tried to support all aspects of the racing industry—including point-to-points. In our budget for 2018, we have committed to double our previous contribution to the Virginia Point-to-Point Foundation to help offset the operational expenses of the races. The Board recognizes how important the pointto-points are to the steeplechase industry and they also serve to help get young riders started. The VEA Board is also funding the purse for one race at each of the non pari-mutuel jump meets this year. That includes Middleburg Spring, Foxfield Spring and Fall Races, the Virginia Fall Races, and the Montpelier Hunt Races. We are able to make these additional contributions due to the success of our Off Track Betting Centers. As a non-profit, the VEA is able to put all funds back into the industry.” Upcoming Event: VSA Awards Dinner On Friday, March 9 the Virginia Steeplechase Association’s Thirty-Second Annual Steeplechase Awards Dinner will be held at the Middleburg Community Center in Middleburg. The leading Virginia-based owners, trainers, and riders will be crowned as will the leading hurdle and timber horses. Awards will also be presented to those participants that raced in Virginia but were not necessarily based in Virginia. One of the highlights of the evening will be inductions to the Virginia Steeplechase Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame was created in 2007 to recognize the leaders of the sport in the Old Dominion. Contact Don Yovanovich (540) 270-0115 for reservations.
IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY â€¢ WINTER 2018
5 4 7 t h
R u n n i n g of the
Orange County Hounds Point-to-Point Locust Hill Farm, Middleburg, Virginia
Sunday, April 1, 2018 Post Time 1 p.m. Hunter Pace Event Saturday, March 31, 2018, 9 a.m. Geraldine Peace at YLYfox@aol.com Info at: firstname.lastname@example.org
IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • WINTER 2018
“Kentucky” – Horse From Hell By John J. Carle, II, ex-MFH
The peculiar way time eventually and totally collapses for a hunter, in which memories of a certain hunt…from…years ago, seem to have happened only moments ago, are poised to happen again…in one more breath.
Illustration: Claudia Coleman
I was sitting thinking the other day, not of cabbages and kings but of horses I’ve known, both the good ’uns and the rogues. And, in remembering the many rogues with whom I’ve wrestled, one stands out vividly. Join me in a canter down the winding path to a hunting field in Memoryland, and I’ll introduce you to “Kentucky”—Horse from Hell. Be warned: he’s a wild ride; tighten your girth! It all transpired on a winter weekend in the mid-seventies, when I journeyed to Maryland to visit foxhunting friend and partner-in-crime Gilmour R. Flautt, MFH, and enjoy a day’s sport with his New Market Hounds. Gil’s was a crack pack in those days, drawing Nimrods from afar; and Kendall’s fame as a hostess assured that their lovely farmhouse regularly rocked with revelry. So, of course, on Friday night, a riot of festive foxhunters imbibed uninhibitedly, ate heartily, toasted the ladies, and got into as much trouble as the law allowed. Fortunately, these environs proved to be as lawless as the Old West! Hounds met on the lawn next day—a bit early, were you to have asked me—and I needed all the help I could get tacking up “Pocket Rocket,” my mother’s ex-hurdler and one of the classiest horses I was ever privileged to throw a leg over. Luckily, I had the help of Trisha Strachan, a stunning redhead, with a wicked smile and a sense of humor to match. Not only did she get most of my tack situated correctly, but she also passed along a gem of advice. “Better warm your horse up well,” she whispered, “Gil has a surprise!” Knowing Gil to be a practical joker who loved to get his friends dumped—the better the friend, the harder the fall (just ask George Strawbridge!)—I took her advice. We moved off up the long, steep hill on the back of the farm and, at the top, discovered Gil’s surprise: a coop that resembled the puissance fence at Culpeper’s Commonwealth Park, the infamous “Kong Wall.” New Market had recently joined forces with the Foxcatcher Hounds, and Mrs. Sheehan, MFH, had sent down a flatbed load of prefabricated chicken coops. Four feet high, built of treated 2” x 6” over 4” x 4” frames, each weighed close to a half-ton. This one, with its steep, uphill approach, was made even more formidable by the morning sun glinting off its red-mahogany finish. Gil, mounted on one of his top-notch timber horses, was laughing fiendishly when he yelled over his shoulder, “Hang on tight, Jakie-boy!” Galloping up to the fence, Gil’s horse put in a magnificent leap, throwing down the gauntlet. Luckily for me, “Pocket” was in a seriously competitive mood: he flowed up the hill smooth as silk and, catlike, aired himself like “Idle Dice.” “Damn,” said Gil, “thought I had you. Well done!” I have to admit I felt lucky to just stay aboard. And that was the highlight of the hunt. Hounds hunted hard all day, but without much luck: a few cold trails and an earth marked in passing. One short burst across a brand-new golf course raised the ire of some players, but they were petrified of the hounds, and soon retreated. Despite the lack of a significant run, it was a most pleasant day spent in convivial company. Field Master of the day was that mustachioed jokester, Bill Carroll, former Master at Potomac; and at his knee rode one of the most charming ladies ever to grace the hunting field, his wife Lyn. Happily, dashing Dicksie Boutelle was there on an eventer, her flask full of bourbon and Yukon Jack (“the Black Sheep of Canadian Liquors”) ever at the ready. And everywhere were girls from Gil’s stable, each one prettier than the one before, all well-mounted and beautifully turned out. At one point, I was galloping down a dirt road behind a particularly attractive brunette. I had never seen stretch breeches from this vantage point before, and I was so mesmerized that, when she suddenly stopped, I plowed into her. “What the hell’s wrong with you? Can’t you stop your horse?” she snarled. When I explained how I was enjoying the view, the slap she laid upside my
head with her hunting whip made my ears ring for ten minutes! Gil’s newest Whipper-In, Banky Waters, was a young man with the reputation for sticking like a burr to anything with four legs. And the horse he was on was just the one to test his rep. “That’s ‘Kentucky,’” Gil explained. “He ran last in this year’s Derby.” A long, lean, leggy chestnut with a suspicious eye, he seemed to be in constant motion. I’ve never seen so much hardware on one horse. From a bit lifted straight from a medieval tapestry to a head-chain and drawreins, he had more bling than Madonna. Just looking at him made me so-o-o appreciate “Pocket Rocket.” We eventually hunted home—“drew to the whiskey,” as Mr. Hardaway was known to say—foolishly larking over a couple of Foxcatcher coops en route. Unfortunately, landing in deep mud over one, “Pocket” pulled a shoe, then stepped on a rock and bruised his foot, so we hobbled home. At the barn Trisha and the girls grabbed him. “We’ll do him up,” they said; and the old boy got the royal treatment. Did he ever enjoy it! And was I jealous? Guess! Everyone assembled for feast and frivolity that evening, the revelry escalating as the hours flew. ’Bout mid-evening, I noticed Dicksie and Banky eyeing each other; then, like a mirage, they were gone. (Gone to where, who knows? But Banky didn’t show up for near a week!) About that time Gil decided we’d better go hunting again the next day: hounds and horses didn’t do that much, and we’d make it a short day. Everyone agreed that was a sterling idea, one that deserved several toasts. “I’ll put you on one of my best,” Gil promised. “Trish’ll pick out a good one!” Turned out, Trisha had nothing to say about it… Sunday dawned gray and considerably colder, with the air hunting-day damp. Hounds came out of kennel on their toes. Out of the stable came not one of Gil’s best, but rather… “Kentucky.” And with no bling, adorned only in a flat snaffle, he looked the perfect picture of a disaster on four legs as he rolled his suspicious eye and tap-danced sideways. Turned out, all of his tack was in Banky’s car. And, when most needed, where was Dicksie’s delicious flask? Trisha, looking a little grim, gave me a much-needed leg up and, as I landed aboard, Gil sang out, “Don’t worry, Jakie-boy, he’ll be fine! Just take a deep seat!” The sorry rascal was laughing so hard tears coursed down his cheeks! Well, thank God, he was comfortable: narrow and easy to get a leg on, with a good front; and he felt as balanced as a gymnast. We quickly moved off, with me trying to keep “Kentucky” well to the rear. He’d walk awhile, then jig a bit. When he cantered in place, head swiveling, he felt like a time bomb, his scrambled brain its fuse. He did seem to enjoy the other horses’ company, having been off by himself yesterday—on what I suspect was his maiden voyage.
IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • WINTER 2018
We crossed the highway to a large dairy farm, and Gil put hounds in covert at the bottom of a long, densely-wooded hillside. Then—oh, Lord!—they found immediately, were away rocketing, with a freight-train roar that nearly blew us backward. Up the long hill like Mosby’s Raiders we flew, and burst into the open where loomed three panels of four-rail fence, so new the dirt hadn’t settled ’round the posts, so new it still glowed lemon-yellow. The Third at the Hunt Cup never loomed larger! I managed, somehow, to circle to the rear of the Field, just in time to hear Gil yell, “Don’t worry, I gave him a crashcourse in jumping last week!” Well, he got the crash part right! With everyone ahead safely over, I headed at the center panel. Apparently “Kentucky” imagined himself again in the Derby, and, determined not to play caboose this time, turned on the after-burners…and never let up. We hit the fence so hard that three of the four posts were uprooted and rails flew everywhere. “Kentucky” never stopped galloping—even on his knees—and his head hit the ground so hard his nose bled. But before I could decamp over his head, he bounced up, throwing me back into the saddle. By now there was NO stopping him, and he careened through the field, sideswiping Bill Carroll so hard he was nearly unhorsed. “Dammit, boy, get that—blank—out of here ’fore you kill somebody. There’s a coop down by that barn…go jump it!” A quarter-mile downhill, in this weed-choked, overgrazed pasture, there stood an old barn with a tiny, very narrow coop set against one corner. There was no turning “Kentucky”; he set his jaw, and that was that. So I gave him a love-tap on the left side of his head with my hunting whip, and he veered to the right, careening downhill at warp speed. There was no slowing or stopping him, either. Then, as if in a
nightmare, we were flying through a subdivision of groundhog holes as vast as any prairie dog town. Visions of broken legs blinded me; but miracle of miracles, he never put a foot wrong! That filled my mind with the awful thought that if he was any good at all, he’d have broken all four. Before I knew it, our flight path was taking us nearer the coop every stride, and with steering gone, it was again love-tap-to-the-head time. Surprisingly, we hit the middle of it—literally hit it, clattering over all two feet of it, skidding briefly, nose-first into the gravel beyond. Meanwhile, hounds had run, screaming like banshees, to my left and roughly parallel, and now plunged into a thirty-acre field of unpicked corn. The farm track seemed as if it would circle the field, so I put “Kentucky” on it. “Let him run!” from Gil, still laughing. Oh, yeah, I thought, are you ever gonna run, you sorry sucker! The farm road must have seemed like back-at-the-track to “Kentucky,” for he relaxed a little and settled down to eat up the furlongs. He got his belly-full! As hounds circled inside the corn, sounding like they were harvesting it, we raced ’round the circumference, whip and spur discouraging any thoughts of slackening. I don’t remember how many laps we made, but by the time Charlie exited and fled for his home earth, “Kentucky” had had enough, and we slowed to a walk. In the distance, pulling the steep hill, there struggled the pack, obviously as whipped as my horse. The firstyear hounds, lacking the stamina of their elders, were keeling over left and right. It was the first time I’d seen this phenomenon, but years later, during a Potomac marathon, I was to see it again. In a flash, led by an old dog from Wilbur Hubbard’s kennel, hounds were marking the earth, and I headed in their direction to join the festivities. At the foot of the hill was one last coop—solid, and no two-footer—and I man-
7 aged to inspire a canter. This ain’t gonna be pretty, thought I. But to my utter amazement, “Kentucky” pricked his ears, picked his spot and, with knees kissing his eyeballs, flew it as gracefully as “Tingle Creek.” Never have I been so happily surprised; and I decided he could walk up the hill. However, upon seeing the other horses, he broke into a trot—a slow trot—and happily joined the Field. “Damn, boy, I think you made me a hunter!” yelled Gil, between choruses of “Gone to Ground” on his horn. I was too exhausted to answer. The hack home was a delight. “Kentucky” went “on the buckle,” but with head and ears proudly and alertly up. He proved to have a wonderful walk, the long-striding, effortless sort that makes hounds trot smartly to keep up. It seemed that an entirely different horse returned to the barn than had left it—which seemed to make everyone happy. Me? I was just happy to arrive alive and, truth be told, happy to see the last of the Horse from Hell. And, I gotta tell you, that night I seriously lowered the level of Kentucky’s finest charcoal-aged elixir. A year or so later, when I was making phone plans with Gil for a meet at Keswick, I asked about “Kentucky.” “Oh, I sold him to Sheila Riemenschneider as a lady’s hunter,” he answered with such innocence that I didn’t believe him. Sheila was Master at Middleburg at the time, and a good friend, so I called her. “Oh, I love him!” she enthused. “I think he’s the best horse I’ve ever had! What did you think of him?” Answering honestly, all I could say was, “I couldn’t ride one side of him!”
IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • WINTER 2018
JENNY’S PICKS As of the time this column is begun, we here in Virginia have seen what looks like it may be the beginning of a long, cold winter, a far cry from the previous couple of years, and all this writer wants to do is curl up with a good book, a cup of coffee, and a couple of “big heater cats,” to crib from Garrison Keillor’s “Prairie Home Companion” program of many years ago. Sinclair-Smith, Michael. Don’t Trample the Dogs. Many of you may remember this when it originally came out several decades ago in hardback with delightful cartoons illustrating the author’s experiences hunting abroad. I saw an old copy offered at about $140 on the internet a few days before this writing; but you don’t have to spend that much to get this, because Michael has republished it in paperback, this time including, instead of cartoons, photographs of those “good old days” hunting in England and Ireland. Written with a wonderfully humorous touch, this will have you laughing yourself warm all winter. Paperback, 81pp. $18.85.
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 with the Richmond art scene; beyond that I have no inkling of the plot. Hardcover, 336pp. $27.00 I promised more listings of used foxhunting reminiscences, so let me continue here.
London, 1839. First ed. Illus. by the author’s brother (unnamed). ¾ leather, corners bumped and leather cracked along hinge of front cover. 327pp. Published as 1 volume. $325.00
Acton, C. R. Saddle and Shoeleather. Lincoln Williams & Co., Adelphi, W. C. 1933. Good condition, no dj. Acton’s reminiscences include some wartime service and various kinds of hunting, even a few words on boxing, but mostly center around his foxhunting experiences in England. It is a rambling discourse, not following any timeline, but full of enjoyable remembrances of hounds, horses, and peoGordon, Meryl. Bunny Mellon/The Life of an ple he has known. Hardcover, 288pp. $45.00 #620 American Style Legend. This New York Times bestseller, a biography of Paul Mellon’s lovely wife, Armour, George Denholm. Bridle and Brush. Eyre should interest many in the northern Virginia hunt & Spottiswoode, London, 1937. Good cond., spine country, where Paul had an extensive estate and was slightly cracked. G. D. Armour’s name will be found known for generous philanthropy. It was not a mar- frequently as the illustrator of foxhunting books, but riage without hiccups, but they remained together he was also an avid sportsman whose quarry inuntil Paul’s death. However, this is primarily cluded among others boar and stag as well as fox. Bunny’s story. She was a strong personage who de- Naturally he has illustrated his own book with three serves a biography in her own right, and Gordon’s is color plates and a number of black and whites. His a very readable one. A few b&w photos show Bunny recollections are vivid and cover a wide range of acat various stages of her life. Hardcover, 516 pp. tivities and locales, include his wartime service. Good reading! Hardcover, 385pp. $90.00 #231 $28.00.
Reeve, J. Stanley. Further Fox-Hunting Recollections. The Golden Head, Ltd., New York, 1935. First ed., #76 of 950 printed. Illus. by Robert Ball. Covers Radnor seasons from 1928-1935. Beautiful condition, bound in red velvet. 160pp. $245.00 #4826 Additional copy, #468 of 950; has some moth-holes on cover. #5290. $175.00
Williams, Wendy. The Horse/The Epic History of Our Noble Companion. The horse is one of the few mammals that has a relatively unbroken skeletal record of its development from the dog-sized Dawn Horse “eohippus” to its current form, equus. Williams traces this development, but not exactly in a linear fashion. Weaving back and forth from present-day horses and their behavior to their ancient ancestors with a series of anecdotes, she fleshes out the bones and brings all to life. While reading this as a library book, I discovered much has been added to our scientific knowledge since I first learned about the horse’s history as a teenager reading George Gaylord Simpson’s detailed account, Horses. Indeed, the term “eohippus” seems to have fallen out of favor. Williams’s version is highly readable and may stimulate readers to delve deeper into paleohistory as well as bringing better understanding of the modern version’s behavior. Paperback, 304pp. $16.00 McGraw, Eliza. Here Comes Exterminator! If you liked the story of Seabiscuit, you’ll enjoy this one about the gelding that won the Kentucky Derby in 1918 and became known affectionately as “Old Bones” for his lanky frame, though he does not appear from his photographs to be an ugly horse. Like homely Seabiscuit, he won the hearts of America with his gameness. Exterminator raced during the years of Sir Barton and Man o’ War, perhaps the heydays of racing in the United States. Unlike Man o’ War, Exterminator could never pass his genes on to offspring, and thus his reputation had to remain centered on his racing career. Hardcover, 324pp. $26.99 Due out May 29, taking orders now: Brown, Rita Mae. Probable Claws. The next in the Mrs. Murphy series continues the probe into post-Revolutionary War history as it entwines with the 21st century escapades of “Harry” Haristeen and her intrepid feline and canine companions. All I can glean so far from the advance blurb is that Harry becomes involved
Osbaldeston, Squire George. Squire Osbaldeston His Autobiography. John Lane, The Bodley Head, London, 1926. 3rd printing. Fair cond., cover tearing at spine on front. Illus. are b&w and a few color reproductions of artworks by various contemporary artists, with a chapter written by Theodore A. Cook just on the illustrations. For sheer enjoyment of reading, the hardriding Squire Osbaldeston, who lived from 1786 to 1866, cannot be beat. Don’t be put off by the size of the book; it’s one you’ll regret coming to the end of. Hardcover, 260pp. $100.00 #5380 Additional copy, in better condition, $115.00 #5381 Peters, Harry T. Just Hunting. Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1935. Illus. by Betty Babcock. Peters writes with a great deal of humor in places, aptly supported by Betty Babcock’s often amusing illustrations. Peters rode with the Meadow Brook Hunt on Long Island, but this is not so much a running history of his experiences with that hunt, but rather a rambling recounting of many aspects of hunting, and he does not hesitate to insert verses of a poem or song and a whole section by Harvey D. Gibson describing his experiences during an English hunting week. It’s a delightful hodgepodge of hunting experience. Hardcover, no dj, good condition, 247pp. $110.00. #5336 Additional copy, has a little discoloration inside front & back covers. $100.00. #1962 Radcliffe, F. P. Delme. The Noble Science. George Routledge & Sons, London, 1911, 3rd Edition, 2 Vols. Radcliffe’s views on foxhunting are often quoted by authors of more recent times. While this is not strictly speaking a “reminiscence,” but rather a tutorial, his account is full of his experiences in foxhunting the Hertfordshire hounds. These two volumes also are illustrated with 10 hand-colored and 35 woodcut engravings. Good cond., title page on Vol. 1 is loose, slight foxing. Handsome green cover has gilt embossed lettering and illustration. 331pp. total, $325/set of 2. #3251 Additional copy, published by Rudolph Ackerman,
Reeve, J. Stanley. Radnor Reminiscences. Houghton Mifflin, Boston & New York, 1921. First ed., very good cond. Reeve here covers the seasons of 1912-1921 and illustrated with b&w photos. Very much a hunt journal, with day by day entries, but in very readable prose, not the terse abbreviations most of us would use when recording a day’s events. Read enough of Reeve’s journals and you’ll probably find you’re getting to know his fellow foxhunters, for he doesn’t hesitate to name names. Hardcover, 203pp. $195.00 #5144 Additional copy, nice bookplate inside front cover features dogs. $150.00 #4438 Simpson, Charles. The Harboro’ Country. John Lane, The Bodley Head, London, 1927. First edition. Very good condition, no dj, cutouts depicting two of Simpson’s artworks pasted to inside front flyleaf which may have been from a dust jacket if there was one. Splendid illustrations by the author, 25 in color and others in b&w, plus a map of the country enhance this history of hunting in the Harborough area. Simpson makes frequent use of Tailby’s Hunting Journal, quoting long stretches, which is why this general history is included under the heading of reminiscences. Hardcover, 240pp. $175.00 #2324 Another copy, also in good condition. $125.00. #5382. We also have copies of Simpson’s Leicestershire and its Hunts and Trencher and Kennel should you wish to add them to your library. Smith, Harry Worcester. A Sporting Tour Through Ireland, England, Wales and France. 2 Vol. set. State Company, Columbia, SC, 1925. Good condition, top edges gilt, bookplate in front, bumped corners. Smith takes his Grafton hounds and 17 horses and grooms abroad to test them in the British hunt country. This is another reminiscence well worth perusing, as he writes well. Hardcover, no dj, 437pp total, $135.00 #4990 Surtees, R. S. Hunting Tours of Surtees. William Blackwood & Sons, Edinburgh and London, and Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1927. Very good condition, dj less so with tears, soiling and wrinkling, but pasted-on color illustration is still good. These reminiscences by the author of the popular “Jorrocks” novels featuring a corpulent foxhunter are predictably comfortable to read, albeit somewhat verbose. Eight color plates by George D. Armour and 20 half-tones from contemporary prints illustrate these selections from Surtees’ journals dating from 1829-1832. This is limited edition, #141 of 230 printed. Hardcover, 332pp. #4039. $250.00 Other copies in a regular edition are available at lesser prices.
NEWPORT VASE. Footed porcelain vase. Soft color palette. 7” diameter, 8” tall. #3345-NM138 (HC1B) $169.00
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FOX CACHEPOT. Ceramic with gilded fox heads. White and Gold. 7 ¾”. #1472-382876 (HC1D) $245.00
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IDEAL WINDBREAKERS. Lightweight, packable jacket. Breathable nylon shell. Wind and water resistant. Folds up and carries into an integrated pocket. Sizes XS-XXL. Blue Bit Print. #315-22217. (HC2A) $64.95 Teal. #315-22223. (HC2B) $59.95
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New colors and styles from lots of makers.
BARBOUR® WAX KIRSTIE HAT. Softly rouched cloche style, waxed hat. Added stylish detail of a waxed corsage. Finished with a Barbour Tartan lining. Sizes SM-XL. (HC2H) $69.00 A. Olive. #4-LH0309OL B. Navy. #4-LH0309NY
LIDDESDALE VESTS. Featherweight, diamond quilted vest. Princess back seam for a feminine fit, two-way front zipper with snap closure. Vibrant contrast lining. Two front pockets. Sizes US4-US16. (HC2K) $99.00 A. Blue with White. #4-LQ0235BL B. Black with Turf Green. #4-LQ0235BK
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THE BERWICK. By Barbour®. Ultra lightweight, microfibre sports cap. Curved peak and adjustable back strap. Tartan trim. One Size. (HC3D) $45.00 A. Green. #4-MH0462GN B. Navy. #4-MH0462NY
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CHRYSALIS Tweed covert coats. Made in England. Teflon coated, water repellant. Fine and exquisite details. Other tweeds and models available.
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HUNTER BRIDLE HIP FLASK. Made in England. Stainless steel flask wrapped in top grain, bridle leather. Hinged screw top. Hunter Green. 6oz. #3235-044. (HC3J) $69.95
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SHERWOOD HIP FLASK. Made in England. Stainless steel flask wrapped in buttery soft leather. Hinged screw top. Green, brown and tan camouflage pattern. A. 6 oz. #3235-043. (HC3K) $69.95 B. 4 oz. #3235-046. (HC3L) $58.95
CHESTNUT BRIDLE HIP FLASK. Made in England. Stainless steel flask wrapped in top grain, bridle leather. Hinged screw top. Chestnut Tan. A. 6oz. #3235-041. (HC3M) $69.95 B. 4oz. #3235-044. (HC3N) $58.95
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CAL-REI 3D HALF PAD This English half pad is composed by two interconnected 3D Spacer layers. Inside these layers are designed pockets that can be refilled with extra pieces of 3D Spacer fabric to get the proper adjustment. Holds the properties of breathing, high resistance, flexibility, hygienic and pressure distribution. Sizes: 17", 18", 19" and 20". (HC4K) $160.00 White (shown) #1726-CPWH. Also available in Black. #1726-CPBK
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To WINCHESTER, I-66 & I-81
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IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • WINTER 2018
Wire Haired Meets Wired Air
Illustration: Claudia Coleman
probably keep the deliveries timely and give you a report. I guess you wouldn’t need my help with any of that any more.
Marion called Bunsen and me into the living room. Her pose told me she had an announcement to make. “Aga, Bunsen, listen up. Before I leave on my buying trip, I want to introduce you to a new member of the family in our house. Actually, it’s an adoption. I was at a festive dinner party just before Christmas. At a lull in the conversation, the host introduced us to Alexa. She’s all the rage in the smartest homes and quite the little entertainer. He said, ‘Alexa, play Louis Armstrong,’ and within a second, Louis was belting out a song. Our host said, ‘I don’t like that one. How about switching to “Hello, Dolly” instead?’”
“Oh, Aga, don’t get your nose out of joint. It will all be fine once we all get to know each other. I’m sure you and Alexa will get along splendidly. Well, I’m off to New York, back in a few days. Alexa made reservations for me at my favorite hotel. Even worked an upgrade. You three make nice. Alexa, keep Aga and Bunsen in line; talk to them gently. It’s such a comfort knowing they are not home alone when I travel. I’ll see you all when I get back.”
I told our Marion that I love “Hello, Dolly.” Then I heard Bunsen muttering under his breath.
Well, Bunsen. Let’s give Alexa a try. What is your heart’s desire?
Dolly? The sheep from Scotland? I knew her when...You call that singing? Bleating, more like it.
The pork chops were last week, Bunsen. They’re all gone. Try asking her something else.
You knew Dolly the Sheep?
Ok. Alexa, I want meat loaf!
Well, I’m nae one to nose and tell, but I’ve herded her to the pen more than once. Then, all the fame…the people in white coats…the cameras! Ach, it all went right to her wee little head. She thought her fleece was made of gold.
Music starting playing. At first it wasn’t too bad, kind of a peppy rock song, a duet. But then the tempo picked up and the man and woman began shouting at each other. “Will you love me for ever?” she asked. “Let me sleep on it,” he replied. This kept going back and forth, rising into a frantic contest between them. Bunsen and I stared at each other in stunned amazement.
“At the party,” Marion said, “after we moved into the large reception room for coffee, the host called on Alexa to tell a few jokes. We all laughed ourselves silly at her clever telling and the delivery was spot on.” The dogs in the neighborhood say she does Kimmel better than Kimmel. “You’ve heard of her talent, Aga? She was doing Chris Rock that night. So, here she is, Alexa, our new roommate. Let me place her on the counter, where she has a commanding view. She’s programmed to preheat the oven, adjust the thermostat, turn on the outdoor spotlights, call the police. I can even pay my bills and order online through her. She has Bluetooth connectivity.” That last remark sent Bunsen into full bristling mode. I’ll nae have a bluetick in m’house! Every time Marion leaves for work, that Coonhound’s bawling will be non-stop and we’ll nae get our naps! Not Bluetick, Bunsen. Bluetooth. It’s like those quiet pets Marion keeps tethered on the counter top that do things for her like make coffee and burn toast. But Alexa has no leash. Nae leash! Well, she better not try to nap in my hall carpet spot when the ten o’clock sun shines in! An adoption, you say, Marion? Will she be with us all day or will she go to the store? “Oh, she’ll be with you all day. She’ll keep an eye on you both, and report to me, even when I’m in England or France or Italy.” Speaking of reports, what’s the report for our spring collection? Is there anything on order I helped choose last fall? “Alexa is very interested in what you helped order for the season, too. All those fabulous things we decided on ordering. More than usual, really. Sophisticated hats for Gold Cup, schooling shirts in all the freshest colors, reversible raincoats, shirts for showing and cotton dress-up shirts. OMG, Aga, the new saddle pads are so exciting! Lots of Barbour, of course. Kastel, Ariat, Horseware, Noble, and Toklat brands for those hot summer days. Oh! And we have the latest Italian riding jackets arriving by sea soon.” All the way from Italy? Eatily? Eat a lily? Does everything makes you think of eating, Bunsen? Well, I’d nae eat a lily. But now that I think about it, I did see Dolly the sheep eat one once. Disgusting! “Oh, I wish Alexa was with me in Italy last fall. It would have made the communication so much easier. She speaks almost every language on Earth. Of course, I only speak English, and a touch of Pig Latin. But if she travelled with me to the Continent, she could translate for me as I place the orders. She could do purchase orders for our Roni, keep track of the credit cards for Gwen, send images to Kim, review books for Jenny. She could even advise me, just like you do, Aga.” Just like me or just like Missandei in “Game of Thrones”? Without her soldier boyfriend, I hope. “Exactly, a trusted advisor. So knowledgeable. I would never over stock, order the wrong sizes, pay in dollars instead of euros, misinterpret the European sizing.” Maybe Alexa could help you make sure the cartons arrive at the right door. She could
Alexa, give me a pork chop!
Great Duncan’s Ghost! She’s locked us in the house with a banshee! Alexa, stop! Happily, the musical screaming match ceased. I turned to Bunsen. We need to think about our commands carefully. Mmm, what was it Marion said about ordering online? That gives me an idea. Just one logistical issue we’ll need to work out. Alexa, how can an animal without opposable thumbs open a door? A few days later… “I’m home! Hellooooo! Where is everyone? (Looped music: “Who Let The Dogs Out”?) Aga! Bunsen! Where did all these pizza boxes come from? Yikes! I can’t move. What is all this? BitchNewYork, Harry Barker, Posh Puppy? A cargo container must have unloaded in the front hallway. Alexa! What happened here? (Alexa): Woof!
IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • WINTER 2018
Horsemen-In-Chief By J. Harris Anderson, Managing Editor
“…it is hard to overestimate how far a man can go in America if he looks good on a horse.” Larry McMurtry As this issue coincides with Presidents Day, we thought it would be appropriate to take a look at the relationship between a select group of our Commanders-InChief and the horses that played a significant role in their lives and, perhaps for some, their political fortunes. Of course, from the nation’s founding until the early part of the 20th century, our chief executives (and most everyone else) relied on horses as the principal form of transportation, whether astride or in harness. But not every POTUS who served before the age of the automobile was a true horseman. For most, in fact, horses were but a utilitarian form of conveyance. A few, though, stand out as admirable equestrians, and perhaps even one or two as equestrian-savants. We consider some of them here, in chronological order (with two reserved for special consideration farther on). Thomas Jefferson The Sage of Monticello dabbled in foxhunting and was a notable breeder of fine horseflesh. His best-known horse was the stallion Caractacus, foaled in 1775, named for a British Celtic Chieftain, and a close descendant of the Godolphin Barb, one of the three foundation stallions of the Thoroughbred line. The horse’s sire, Old Fearnaught, had raced in England before being shipped to the Colonies. Not surprisingly, Caractacus inherited his ancestors’ notable speed. That speed proved handy in safeguarding Jefferson from being captured by the British in 1781 when he was Virginia’s governor. He escaped twice, and on at least one of those occasions he’s reputed to have fled on the fleet-footed Caractacus. Accounts by his contemporaries, however, suggest Jefferson was not the horse whispering type. Although widely reputed to have been gentle, soft spoken, gentlemanly, and non-confrontational in his dealings with fellow humans, he could be short-tempered and even abusive in response to any disobedience by a horse. The high-strung Caractacus may have scored some payback when he tossed Jefferson from the saddle while riding at his Poplar Forest retreat, which left The Sage with a fractured arm. Andrew Jackson
makeshift shelters were built. Jackson successfully petitioned Congress to fund construction of a new brick stable, positioned about 100 yards east of the East Wing. Described in an 1834 edition of the National Intelligencer, it was “a fine stable, having a handsome picturesque appearance, calculated to accommodate about ten horses.” It was razed in 1857 to make way for the present south wing of the Treasury Department. Another thing that fueled Jackson’s passion was any perceived slight to his wife, himself, or, apparently, his horses. Such slights often escalated into a demand for “satisfaction;” i.e., a duel. In one infamous incident, the spark began over a horse race. In 1805 Jackson’s horse Thruxton was scheduled to race against a horse owned by Joseph Erwin. Erwin’s horse came up lame and had to be scratched. After some wrangling, a settlement was reached. But through a series of what were likely miscommunications and misrepresentations, mostly involving Erwin’s son-in-law Charles Dickinson, feelings became inflamed to the point where Jackson and Dickinson faced off against each other in May of 1806. Jackson was wounded, and carried the bullet, lodged in his chest, the rest of his life. Dickinson did not fare so well, as Jackson’s aim proved lethally accurate. Thruxton apparently lived into old age as he’s listed among the stock Jackson took to the White House 23 years later. So it would seem Jackson kept both the bullet and the horse that caused it to be there close to his heart. Abraham Lincoln Lincoln may not have been in the same league as other presidents when it came to competence in the saddle. His legacy in that regard is certainly no match for those who rode their mounts into battle or competed in equestrian sports. There is, though, one horse-related connection worth noting. Lincoln owned a driving horse he called Old Bob, of whom he was quite fond. He sold the horse in 1860 prior to assuming the presidency. Old Bob returned to the limelight following Lincoln’s assassination, draped in a mourning blanket, black with silver trim and tassels, and led behind the hearse in Lincoln’s funeral procession. Not ones to miss a marketing opportunity, the folks at Breyer Horses put out a model of Old Bob to commemorative the 150th anniversary of the Civil War (in which Old Bob had no part). The model came complete with the “ceremonial funeral blanket and Lincoln’s top hat.” One other nod to Honest Abe: The White House stable that replaced Jackson’s structure went up in flames in 1864. Several horses and ponies were lost. Lincoln, determined to save the pony that had belonged to his son Willie, who had died, had to be restrained from rushing into the burning building. Of all the memorable events and pronouncements associated with Lincoln, this one act of paternal devotion seems to have become of little note, nor long remembered. William Henry Harrison Similar to Andrew Jackson, the Hero of Tippecanoe operated a major breeding business in Ohio when not winning famous battles against Native Americans or the invading British. He earned his props as a first rate horseman through his storied military career. Unfortunately, unlike Jackson, he never had the chance to continue his breeding interests or other horse-related pursuits once in the White House. Insisting on delivering a two-hour speech at his inauguration, despite a cold, driving rain, he fell prey to pneumonia and died 30 days later, earning the unenviable historical footnote as our shortest-serving president.
A painting by Ralph Earl shows Andrew Jackson and Sam Patch, the horse Jackson rode every morning when his term ended and he retired to The Hermitage. Ladies Hermitage Association It was racing that fueled the passion of Old Hickory. He maintained an extensive breeding operation at The Hermitage, his estate in Tennessee. When he ascended to the presidency in 1829, he brought his complete operation with him. The existing stables at the White House, built during the Monroe Administration, could not handle all of Jackson’s racing and breeding stock, so temporary
Zachary Taylor Old Rough and Ready, like Harrison, made his bones in battle, mounted on his trusty warhorse, Old Whitey. It was said that the horse was unfazed by bullets whizzing around him and carried General Taylor through many skirmishes. Old Whitey was also quite the show-off—at the sound of parade music he would immediately begin to prance excitedly in anticipation of the coming performance. The “Old” part of Whitey’s name was fully appropriate by 1849 when Taylor was sworn in as our 12th president. The horse accompanied the General to the White House where he was turned out to graze on the lawn. The Executive Mansion and grounds were unencumbered by security barriers back then, and visitors would often stop by to pet the horse and pluck a hair or two from his tail as a souvenir.
IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • WINTER 2018
ing humor, Grant named the horse Jeff Davis. He gave him to his son Frederick, but soon had him back and he became one of the General’s favorites. Lyndon Johnson
Zachary Taylor and his trusty warhorse Old Whitey struck a noble pose for this 1848 painting by A.G. Powers. Library of Congress
Although he lasted 15 months longer than William Henry Harrison, Taylor’s administration was also cut short when he overindulged in raw fruit and chilled milk at a Fourth of July celebration in 1850 and died of severe indigestion. Though tragic for the nation, it may have been for the best if it spared Old Whitey from losing all his tail hairs. Ulysses Grant Growing up on a ranch in Stonewall, Texas, Lyndon Johnson worked cattle as a youth. He never lost his love of horses or cowboy hats. Getty Images
Cincinnati, son of Lexington, was a favorite of both Ulysses Grant and Abraham Lincoln. Grant rode the horse to Appomattox Courthouse to accept Lee’s surrender. Matthew Brady Archives
Outstanding horsemanship isn’t a trait that springs readily to mind at the mention of Grant’s name. But according to some sources he may have been one of the best among all those who have served as chief executive. It’s said he had a quiet, confident way with horses, and the ability to work with unruly colts others refused to ride. While not commonly thought of as a cavalry soldier, which technically he never was, his riding skills served him well at West Point and later as Commanding General of the Union forces. Grant maintained a string of mounts during the war, with new ones frequently added. Two stand out among his war-time remuda, the most famous of which was Cincinnati, a 17-hand Thoroughbred sired by the legendary stallion Lexington, and the horse Grant rode to Appomattox Courthouse to accept Lee’s surrender. He may have been the only horse ridden by two presidents, one current and the other future, as Lincoln rode him every day while visiting Grant’s camp. The other horse worth noting was a black pony who had belonged to Jefferson Davis’s brother Joe, captured by Union forces from his Hurricane Plantation in Mississippi. In a gesture of taunt-
Jumping about a hundred years ahead, we come to the lanky, boot-shod, bolo-tie-wearing, Texastwang-drawling LBJ. (Yes, there was one other outstanding equestrian on the POTUS list between Grant and Johnson. We’ll get to him, plus one other even farther back, shortly.) Born on a small farm in Stonewall, Texas, in 1908, Johnson adopted the habit of wearing a cowboy hat at an early age. But, unlike many others, he was not the all-hat-no-cattle type. He worked cattle as a youth, and returned to ranch life in retirement. By that time horses no longer played a crucial role in modern life, whether for transportation or warfare. But Johnson managed to swing a leg over when he had the chance, whether back home on the ranch or anywhere else he was offered a mount. One of his favorites was a Tennessee Walker named Lady B, an obvious homage to his devoted wife, although we’re not sure how Lady Bird felt about sharing her husband’s affection with another “lady” (but that’s a subject for another article). Ronald Reagan
A still from 1947’s Stallion Road in which Reagan played a vet dealing with an anthrax scare, and found time to show off his form over some pretty stiff fences. Reagan Library
11 Among presidents of the modern era, no one can match The Gipper when it comes to fulfilling McMurtry’s quote. Not only did Reagan look good in the saddle, his skills were right up there with the best. It’s safe to say even George Morris would have given his jumping form high marks. After serving as a reserve cavalry officer in the 1930s, Reagan honed his riding skills further in front of the movie cameras, appearing in some mostly forgettable “horse operas” from the late ’30s through the early ’60s. In 1974, as his second term as Governor of California was winding down, Reagan purchased a ranch in the Santa Ynez Mountain Range. Later dubbed “The Western White House,” the ranch became the focal point of Reagan’s equestrian pursuits. One source says he “preferred horses that were longlegged, fast, and athletic.” Being photogenic wasn’t mentioned, but it surely helped. Among his favorites was a flashy gray Anglo Arab named El Alamein, a gift from Mexico’s President Lopez Portillo. Another was an Arabian mare that, in an apparent bipartisan nod to the tradition started by the Johnsons, he named Nancy D after Mrs. Reagan (the former Nancy Davis). Nancy Reagan was frequently seen accompanying her husband on rides around the ranch, often mounted on her favorite horse No Strings. But it was pretty clear to most observers that her level of enthusiasm for such sport fell a good bit short of husband’s. While the use of horses had declined to little more than a sporting pastime by the time Reagan occupied the Oval Office, the presence of presidential security had become a 24/7 necessity. This posed a problem for the Secret Service, particularly given Reagan’s inclination to ride fast and hard, often over rough terrain. Consequently, special training was required and in 1981 the first Mounted Secret Service Unit was created. At the age of 78 Reagan had a fall when the horse he was riding began bucking on a steep slope, lost its footing, and The Gipper came a cropper. His injuries were minor but he was advised to either stop riding or slow down. Slowing down was not an option. Among his many accomplishments, Reagan is credited as a founding member of California’s West Hills Hunt (since merged with Santa Fe Hunt). He and fellow entertainment world luminaries such as Randolph Scott, Spencer Tracy, John Huston, Walt Disney, and others rode to hounds in the hills not far from Hollywood. While Reagan’s involvement in foxhunting may have been but a temporary flirtation, it serves as a transition to the remaining two figures. We turn to them now, albeit in reverse chronological order, more than mere presidents, men we would consider… Foxhunters-In-Chief Theodore Roosevelt The first president of the 20th century, Roosevelt was also the last one to make use of the White House stables. (His successor, William Howard Taft, had them torn down in 1909 to make room for a four bay garage for steam-powered cars. At the sight of the 300-pound Taft, the relocated horses probably heaved a sigh of relief. Congress, with all deliberate speed, did not get around to striking a line for horses and stables from the White House budget until 1951.)
IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • WINTER 2018
Theodore Roosevelt hunted with the Meadowbrook on Long Island as a young man, worked cattle in the Dakota Territory in the 1880s, formed the Rough Riders, and never met a fence he wasn’t willing to jump. Library of Congress
When White House officials suggested TR should use an automobile for state duties, he famously refused, saying, “The Roosevelts are horse people!” Indeed they were, although perhaps none quite so devoted to mounted sport as was the family’s paternal head. He was a man who did nothing by halfmeasure. If anything, whatever he chose to do, he did it tenfold. One of our personal favorite tales is, of course, the time he rode from the White House to the Warren Green Hotel in Warrenton (just around the corner from where Horse Country Saddlery stands today), grabbed a quick lunch, shook a few hands, and rode all the way back to Washington. This exploit, undertaken in January, 1909, was intended to quell a firestorm of criticism over Roosevelt’s order that all military officers be required to undergo a strenuous annual physical fitness challenge. To show that he wouldn’t ask anything of his officers that he wasn’t willing to do himself, he concocted the one day, roughly 100 mile round trip ride. For companions he chose his military aide, Captain Archie Butt; Surgeon General of the Navy, Admiral Presley Rixey; and Dr. Cary Grayson, naval surgeon on the presidential yacht Mayflower. Rixey and Grayson were well known to the local community and familiar with the roads between Warrenton and Washington. Without public announcement or fanfare, the foursome set out from the White House at 3:45 am and headed south. Arrangements had been made to set up two checkpoints along the way where fresh horses would be waiting. Battered at times by freezing rain, they arrived in Warrenton at 11:00 am. In just a little more than an hour after arriving, the riders were on their horses and heading back to DC. Although faced with more freezing rain, plus darkness, icy roads, and poor visibility, they pressed on and arrived at the White House at 8:30 pm. After 17 hours in the saddle in one day, when asked about the ride, Roosevelt replied with a grin and his trademark phrase, “It was bully!” To anyone who knew Roosevelt, accomplishing this feat was no great surprise. His stamina in the saddle, even at the age of 50, harked back to his days working cattle in the Dakota wilds of the 1880s and riding to hounds, mostly on Long Island, through much of his early adulthood.
In addition to being an avid horseman, he was also a prolific writer. He contributed countless articles to a variety of publications, one of which was his essay on foxhunting that appeared in the July, 1886, edition of Century Magazine. The essay presents his view of foxhunting as an excellent example of “the strenuous life.” It features tales of five-foot fences, exhilarating runs, and riders who took hard falls but remounted and carried on to the end (including himself, with a broken arm). He also calls for broader inclusion in the sport, welcoming riders of less bravado who wish to follow at a gentler pace, dismisses snobbish concerns over proper turnout, defines the difference between hard riding and good riding, and concludes with a defense against those who as far back as the 1880s were leveling criticism against the sport. Roosevelt’s meteoric rise from a New York state assemblyman to the presidency limited his time for foxhunting, but he remained an avid horseman even while serving as Commander-in-Chief. His favorite mount in those years was a light bay named Bleistein, a little over 16 hands, who could clear a six-foot jump. Roosevelt himself is reputed to have taken him over a 5’8” fence. “Among the various horses I have owned in recent years,” TR said, “Bleistein was the one I liked best, because of his good nature and courage.” Friends, dignitaries, military officers, and others were frequently invited to join the President on rides through Washington’s Rock Creek Park. The honor did not come without certain points of presidential protocol, as contained in Roosevelt’s Rules of the Road: 1. The president will notify whom he wishes to ride with him. The one notified will take position on the left of the president and keep his right stirrup back of the president’s left stirrup. 2. Those following will keep not less than ten yards in the rear of the president. 3. When the president asks anyone in the party to ride with him, the one at his side should at once retire to the rear. 4. Anyone unable to control his horse should withdraw to the rear. There are, undoubtedly, some hunt field masters who would like to emblazon Roosevelt’s Rules on the clubhouse wall. And, citing the first as the last, we come to… George Washington Was Washington’s passion for foxhunting a possible factor in the outcome of the American Revolution? I postulated that theory in an article I wrote for the Museum of Hounds & Hunting NA in 2006. The principle thoughts from that article are presented here. Washington first rode to hounds at the age of 16, introduced to the pastime by his neighbor Lord Fairfax. His association with the powerful Fairfax family also influenced his appreciation for the manners and proprieties of the aristocracy. The courtly demeanor he learned under Fairfax’s tutelage, as well as his sense of stylish elegance, served him well in adulthood. Only gentlemen of good breeding served in the officer ranks of the British Army and thus they viewed the “rebels” as a mob of commoners, easily dismissed and surely no match for the greatest military force in the world at the time. However, the thought of the Continental Army’s leader as a “commoner” faded the moment they saw him approaching, riding one of his favorite hunters, such as Nelson the bay or the steel-gray Blueskin. No less a fellow
gentleman than Thomas Jefferson called Washington “the best horseman of his age and the most graceful figure that could be seen on horseback.” Washington’s journals reveal the perspective of a dedicated hound man, one who rode to hunt. Entries describe the work of his pack, the course of the foxes, and the outcome of the chase. Other elements of the sport—horses, fences, fellow hunters—are ignored or, at best, given scant mention. Fortunately, others recorded the boldness, energy, and focus Washington demonstrated when on the chase. Riding close behind his long-serving Huntsman, Billy Lee, Washington allowed no obstacle to impede his progress when hounds were running. While others chose gentle fields or cleared trails, Master and Huntsman made their own way through dense woods, heavy brush, or swampy terrain. Wherever hounds could go, Lee and Washington followed. And these were not short bursts of action followed by a leisurely stroll. It was not uncommon for Washington’s hounds to be out for six hours or more, maintaining an aggressive pace as they chased the abundant game throughout the Virginia countryside. The halcyon era of Washington’s hunting activity came during the 1760s and early 1770s, before affairs of state and the spirit of rebellion called him away from his beloved Mount Vernon and his carefully bred pack of hounds. During the winter of 1768 Washington’s journal reports 48 hunting days. A decade later those days, and hundreds of others, arguably influenced a turning point in world history. The General’s horses also benefited from their careers as foxhunters. To suit the Master of Mount Vernon, a horse had to be willing to go forward no matter the obstacles and fit enough to handle long days afield. Such traits translated well from the hunting field to the battlefield. It’s not unreasonable to see elements of Washington’s prowess as a foxhunter in his success as a military leader. His bold riding style, physical stamina, and focused ability to see a chase through to the end, no matter the dangers, undoubtedly contributed to the successful outcome of the war. That these traits, plus the durability of his horses, mirror countless days of sport riding to hounds is likely no mere coincidence. The belief that the Duke of Wellington said, “The Battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton,” is most likely a fiction. But it may not be far from the truth to suggest that the American Revolution was won in the foxhunting fields of Virginia. When we’re gathered at the post-hunt tailgate, singing “Drink, Puppy, Drink” or other well-worn hunting songs, we might give a nod to General Washington, his hounds, huntsman, and such horses as Nelson and Blueskin in appreciation of the fact that we’re not singing “God Save the Queen.”
“First Gentleman of Virginia,” by John Ward Dunsmore (1856-1945), shows Washington on Blueskin following his hounds and huntsman Billy Lee. Fraunces Tavern Museum
IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • WINTER 2018
Dream By Barclay Rives
A bay and white spotted horse appeared to me in a dream. A week or so later, I called my friend Spencer to ask if he had any young horses for sale. He mentioned Pokey’s yearling, a spotted bay and white filly. Pokey was the star of his farm, which was home to outstanding mares and stallions. A chestnut and white paint, Pokey’s pedigree was unknown. The roguish personalities and coarse manes of her descendants suggest some pony ancestry. Pokey was smart and extraordinarily tough. She produced a string of outstanding foals by Thoroughbred sires. She was a keen and brilliant foxhunter for Spencer, even though she was pregnant much of her time afield. The yearling filly, the last of Pokey’s foals, was available at an affordable price for me because she was small, less than 15 hands as an adult. Because she inherited her mother’s determination, the filly would be big enough for me. I had seen her in my dream. Having a horse of her breeding was a dream come true. Her Thoroughbred sire Really Secret had famous ancestors, including In Reality, Bold Ruler, and Man o’ War. I named her Dream. Before I picked her up, Spencer ran her over jumps in a chute and said she was agile as a cat. Dream had not had much handling, so loading her onto my trailer would be a challenge. A German woman named Barb was working at Spencer’s farm, and she took charge. She talked quietly to Dream as she led her to the trailer. She made us back off and cautioned, “Don’t scare her.” After a few minutes, Dream willingly stepped up into the trailer. I do not know how Barb did it, but such calm cooperation is better horsemanship than the forceful persuasion I had in mind. A few weeks later, I was in my pasture splitting up a square bale between my horses. My five-yearold daughter Caroline was watching from outside the fence. “Can I come in there with you?” she asked. “Sure,” I said. Caroline slipped between the rails and ran toward me. Quicker than I could think or react, Dream darted after her. Perhaps pushed by the filly’s nose, Caroline fell flat on the ground, and Dream stepped on her, leaving a hoof print on the back of Caroline’s shirt. Caroline was crying, and, thank heaven, moving by the time I reached her. Her life could have drastically changed or ended. This was nearly a devastating family catastrophe. The fault was entirely mine. Dream had not been around children, and pursued Caroline as a wild horse would pursue a predator. Despite Dream’s hoof having pressed between her shoulder blades, Caroline had somehow escaped serious injury. She still remembers the fright. Caroline suggested, “Let’s call her Bad Dream.” As I did with other hunters I raised, I broke Dream as a two-year-old and rode her for two weeks in the summer, then left her alone until she was three. Her education resumed the following spring, and I started hunting her at four. Her first hunting year was also my first hunting year with Bull Run. My friend Grosvenor Merle-Smith had become Bull Run huntsman and MFH. He developed an outstanding pack, and the hunting was exciting. He invited me to whipin. Some days I hunted Dream with Keswick, where I was also an honorary whipper-in, in the morning, then drove her up the road to the one o’clock Bull Run meet.
Lizzie Rives on Dream, September 2010. AudibertPhoto
Toward the end of the season, I was talking with Jim “Red Dog” Covington, Deep Run MFH, a keen sportsman who enjoyed hunting around as much as possible. When I told him how often I had hunted, he proclaimed in his southern gentlemanly voice, “You are my idol.” My keen young horse was a wonder, but the real idol was my wife Aggie, who was raising our daughters while I was in the saddle. Grosvenor Merle-Smith and his professional staff boldly opened new hunting territory. Their method was: hunt first; panel later. Dream became accustomed to hastily improvised jumps, most often sticks set atop wire. She was indeed agile as a cat. Dream was not inclined to walk in a group. She usually jigged, impatiently clacking her teeth, especially if hounds and other horses were in front of her. Dream was surprisingly nonchalant about racehorses streaking past when I used her for steeplechase outriding. In a stock trailer, Dream had to occupy the rear position. Once when I tried to place another behind her, Dream kicked me in the chest, trying to warn the other horse away from her business end. Dream gave me two foals, a colt and a filly, whom I have been hunting for fourteen and twelve years. The filly originated from a phone call. Spencer called me to say his stallion Mokhieba was heading to another farm. If I wanted to breed Dream to him again, we had to act quickly. Though I had no idea of her cycle, Dream had apparently eavesdropped on the call. As soon as I walked outside, she lifted her tail and whinnied. The filly was conceived that afternoon. I always thought Dream would be a great kid’s horse. I was lucky to be able to share her with two great kids. The first was Hayley Bance, whose mother Polly is Deep Run MFH. Hayley and her mother were hunting with Keswick one day when I noticed Hayley going boldly and well on a black pony she was on the verge of outgrowing. I had a surplus of hunting horses, and I offered to loan Dream to Hayley. Decades ago, Hayley’s grandmother Betty Bance hunted and loved a horse named Prizefighter, whom my father had raised. Dream strengthened the family connection. Hayley wrote me a wonderful thank you note about Dream in 2007. She and Dream had foxhunted and successfully competed in dressage, cross-country, and polo. Hayley and Dream placed second in a pony club show jumping event at Morven Park, which qualified them for championships in Lexington, Kentucky. Facing competition there from every US state, Canada, the UK, Hong Kong, and Australia, Hayley and Dream placed third. Hayley’s older sister Molly, also a skilled rider,
held less affection for Dream. When Molly took Dream for a trail ride, Dream pulled loose after Molly had dismounted at a gate. Dream headed toward the Bance barn, periodically stopping, allowing Molly almost within reach before further retreat. Dream continued her game all the way back to the barn. Dream was suspicious and evasive if approached in the pasture by anyone she saw wearing hunting clothes or whom she sensed was in a hurry. Dream was easy to clip, a trait she did not pass along to her offspring. After a few weeks at the Bance farm, Polly reported that Dream liked foxhunting and eating. Unfortunately, during her second year there, Dream lost appetite and weight due to a mysterious illness. Polly nursed her back to health with attentive care and multiple vet farm calls. Dream came back to my place the following year. Hayley Bance could ride Thoroughbreds or anything else in her mother’s barn by then. My brother Sandy’s thirteen-year-old daughter Lizzie was ready to ride Dream in the Keswick jumping field. When I was whipping-in on Merlin, my gelding out of Dream, I tried to keep my distance from the field to prevent a whinnying fest. Dream and Merlin were quiet side by side, or if they were a mile apart. If they were a hundred yards apart and in sight of each other, they could be deafening. In March 2011, Sandy, Lizzie, and I drove to a Keswick/Middleburg joint meet in Middleburg country. Barry Magner, who is now at Cheshire, was then Middleburg Huntsman. Barry and then Keswick Huntsman Tony Gammell hunted a combined pack of Keswick and Middleburg hounds. At the meet, I explained the Merlin/Dream situation to Barry when I asked him where and with whom I should ride. Barry suggested Lizzie and I ride together with his honorary whipper-in Carey Shefte. Jeff Blue MFH graciously gave us his permission, which resulted in one of the best times I ever had with Dream. Hounds ran a bold fox across pretty country and along Goose Creek. Locals claimed the fox made a four-mile point before turning sharply and re-tracing his route. Dream and Lizzie followed Merlin and me over stone walls, coops, and irregular obstacles, including a tree leaning over wire and a couple of low rickety wooden gates. The gates were leaning toward us. I remembered the advice of former Middleburg, Rolling Rock, and Limerick Huntsman Hugh Robards: “Never kiss a lady leaning away from you, and never jump a fence leaning toward you.” As we followed the huntsmen over the first gate, I said to Lizzie, “We shouldn’t jump this, but we have to.” Dream took care of herself and Lizzie. After becoming separated from the others and navigating through strange territory, we experienced a climactic moment when we met up with Tony Gammell at the most distant point of the run, and heard hounds below us turning back along the creek. Lizzie and Dream enjoyed many good hunts together until the mare’s retirement. Dream is now 27. I still ride her around my pasture most mornings. This past Thanksgiving, my two-year-old granddaughter Libby Hamilton had a short ride on Dream. This was her mother Caroline’s idea. When Libby’s father Patrick lifted her into the saddle, I was secretly petrified, flashing back to the incident with Caroline 26 years ago. This time, Dream was child-friendly, and Libby’s horsemanship looks promising.
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Karen Kandra Wenzel Photos
Middleburg Hunt hosted Rose Tree – Blue Mountain Hunt who brought their hounds down from Pennsylvania for some sport from Fox Meadow, December 7, 2017. (l-r) RT-BM Whipper-in Brady Cully; RT-BM Huntsman Sean Cully, MFH; Middleburg Huntsman Richard Roberts; Middleburg Professional Whipper-in Elizabeth Gilbert.
New Market – Middletown Valley Huntsman Alasdair Storer prepares to move off with his hounds from Monacacy Park on a slightly snowy day, December 10, 2017.
A little snow cover did not bother New Market – Middletown Valley’s hounds, Huntsman Alasdair Storer, or Whipper-in Marie Labaw when hunting from Monacacy Park, December 10, 2017. Ready to move off with Howard County – Iron Bridge Hounds from Annapolis Rock on December 22, 2017 are (l-r) Tori Kaminski, Tracy Diamond, Paula Canova, and Kim Egan Rutter.
Howard County – Iron Bridge Huntsman Kelly Burdge begins the hunting day at Annapolis Rock, December 22, 2017.
A sharp looking fox willing to play the game with Green Spring Valley Hounds at the Jackson Hole fixture, February 3, 2018.
IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY â€˘ WINTER 2018
(l-r) Mike Hankin and Connor Hankin hunting with Green Spring Valley Hounds from Northwoods, January 25, 2018. Green Spring Valley Hounds Huntsman Ashley Hubbard and Professional WhipperIn Timothy Michel working hounds at Northwood, January 25, 2018.
Carrollton Hounds at the Big Woods fixture on January 21, 2018 with (l-r) Karen Magee, Erin Swope, Huntsman Ben Swope.
Huntsman Ashley Hubbard, Green Spring Valley Hounds, hunting from Jackson Hole, February 3, 2018.
(l-r) Jo Meszoly and Brynn Miller hunting with Potomac Hunt from the Pony Club Grounds, January 27, 2018.
IN & AROUND HORSE COUNTRY • WINTER 2018
Horses and People to Watch Virginia Equine Alliance
2017 Virginia Breeders Fund Award Winners Announced Breeders’ Fund Award winners for 2017 have been announced and a total of $525,000 will be distributed among 53 different Thoroughbred breeders. 248 Virginia-bred victories were recorded from 2,231 starts, which translated into $3,926,079 in purse winnings. Highest money earning breeder was the Keswick Stable & Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings at $70,631 thanks to three-time stakes winner and top bonus money earner last year, Stellar Wind. The 6-year-old Curlin mare collected a trio of Grade I stakes wins in the Clement Hirsch, Apple Blossom Handicap, and Beholder Mile. Stellar Wind earned a capped bonus of $25,000 each from the last two, and $20,631 from the first stakes win. In 2017 Stellar Wind won $800,000 in purse monies, and her career earnings now stand at $2,253,200. The leading breeder by sheer number of wins was Mr. & Mrs. C. Oliver Iselin, who had 35 individual awards that totaled $69,447. Their American Dubai was one of two Virginia-breds that had five wins in 2017. The 5-year-old E Dubai horse’s triumph in the Downs at Albuquerque Handicap produced a $13,066 bonus alone. He also prevailed in the Sunland Park Handicap and totaled five wins from ten starts last year, good for $332,310 in earnings.
American Dubai won five races in 2017, tied for tops among Virginia-breds. Coady Photography photo
Mr. & Mrs. Bertram Firestone were next with 22 wins. Their 7-year-old Stroll gelding, Special Envoy, won a three pack of Virginia-bred stakes in 2017—the Edward Evans, Hansel, and Bert Allen Stakes. The combined trio of efforts added up to $14,349 in bonus monies. He completed the year with $129,510 in purse earnings, and has amassed a career bankroll of $287,650. Morgan’s Ford Farm was third highest by wins, with 20. Four of those came courtesy of River Deep, who was bred in conjunction with F and F Stables and won $119,300 in purse monies from nine starts last year. Queen Caroline had wins in the Nellie Mae Cox and Brookmeade Stakes, both for Virginia-breds, and each resulted in a bonus of over $4,000. The 5-year-old Blame mare earned $115,318 from eight starts and now has $375,613 in life earnings. Larry Johnson-bred horses reached the winner’s circle 18 times including Do What I Say, who scored in the Commonwealth-bred Tyson Gilpin Stakes and generated a $4,900 bonus. The 5-year-old Street Magician mare has bankrolled $114,935 from just nine starts. Johnson’s Greek God had four wins, Porte Cochere connected three times, and Street Miz chipped in with a pair. The William Backer Revocable Trust was fifth with 17 wins, followed by Lazy Lane Farms (13) and Audley Farm Equine (11). The Backer-bred West End Gambler had three triumphs to complement a pair each from Nice Try and Alabama Slim. Lazy Lane’s Rapid Rhythm won two stakes in 2017—the Mardi Gras and the Richard Scherer Memorial—good for over $7,500 in combined bonuses. Audley Farm bred the impressive Greyvitos, who was named Remington Park’s Horse of the Year. The 3year-old son of Malibu Moon earned a $25,000 bonus from a win in their $400,000 Springboard Mile. Greyvitos
Greyvitos (blue silks in middle) powers ahead to win Remington Park’s Springboard Mile. Dustin Orona photo
earned $306,345 from just four outings. Another horse in the top ten by award winnings was Just Call Kenny, who captured the Philip Iselin Stakes at Monmouth. The 7-year-old son of Jump Start was bred by Althea Richards, won twice in 2017, and had four additional “in the money” finishes from various stakes. He earned $197,830 last year and has accumulated $479,565 in his career. Five different breeders shared $25,000 in stallion awards from a total of 20 wins and $298,290 in purse money earned. Phyllis Jones netted the highest amount, collecting $10,762 in awards from four wins via their stallion Friend or Foe. Those victories were by On the Fringe and Mr. Buff, both with two each. Lady Olivia at North Cliff was next with $8,449 from seven wins courtesy of their stallion Cosa Vera. Rounding out the top five were Susan Minor ($3,981- Fierce Wind), Sara Collette ($1,006 - Xenodon), and Lazy Lane Farms ($805 - Hansel). Third Virginia Off Track Betting Center Opens; A Fourth Is Slated To Open In March In mid-November, the Virginia Equine Alliance (VEA) opened its third Off Track Betting Center (OTB) at Buckets Bar & Grill in Chesapeake, located in the Great Bridge section of town. Wagering there is available seven days a week from 11 AM thru 11 PM, and up to 20 different track signals are displayed daily. Betting takes place in all three sections of the restaurant—the main dining room & lounge area, an OTB room that has its own entrance and separate bar, and an adjoining room with three pool tables. Work continues on a fourth OTB, which will be located inside the Quality Inn in Collinsville (just outside the City of Martinsville). The site is expected to open in March and will be named the Windmill OTB. The hotel is well known to locals as the “Dutch Inn” and features a giant windmill on its outside façade. Once renovation work is complete, the OTB/Sports Lounge will have 47 televisions, ten wagering terminals, full service dining for lunch and dinner, and a complete bar. The complex is located on heavily traveled Route 220. Progress updates are available at virginiahorseracing.com. The existing two OTBs are located in Richmond at Breakers Sports Grille in the West End, and at Ponies & Pints downtown. Strong Response To New Virginia Thoroughbred Residency Program Is Encouraging When a new Virginia Residency program began in July, there was plenty of reason for industry optimism but nobody could predict how successful it would or would not be by year’s end. Horses who enter the program must board or train at a certified Virginia farm or training center for six consecutive months prior to December 31st of their 2-year-old year. Once certified, they will be eligible for a 25% purse bonus for any non-Virginia restricted win at pari-mutuel tracks in the Mid-Atlantic region. Less than six months later, initial results are impressive. At the December 14th meeting of the Virginia Racing
Commission (VRC), Virginia Equine Alliance (VEA) President Debbie Easter reported receiving 334 applications for the program, the majority of which are from out of town horses that now reside in the Commonwealth. “We probably have ten farms that are maxed out on space as a direct result of the initiative,” said Easter. “It’s the first time in years we’ve had this kind of situation in Virginia. There are smiles on many faces,” she added. Karen Godsey, who owns and operates Eagle Point Farm in Ashland with her mother Donna Dennehy, is one of those who has seen a spike in business. “We’ve been fortunate over the years to stay pretty full but the certified program has allowed us to be more selective in choosing our clients. A year ago we had four weanlings at the farm,” said Godsey. “This year, we have 15. The class of the weanlings is much better as well. They are nicely bred and much better than ones we’ve had.” A year ago, Godsey cut eight paychecks a week to farmhands. During the week of December 15th this year, she cut 13. “We’re getting better clients and as a result, have more revenue and have been able to take care of some much needed projects on the property.” Diana McClure runs the DMC Carousel Stables with her husband Michael Cooney at Walnut Hall in Berryville. “The six month time frame needed to complete the residency requirement seems like the magic number,” noted McClure. “Just getting one additional horse would have improved my business, but I have nine new ones already.” The Certified program is the latest incentive based initiative created by the Virginia Thoroughbred Association (VTA) and the Virginia Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association (VAHBPA). In mid-2016, a Virginia-bred owners bonus program was implemented. Owners of a Virginia-bred or sired horse that wins a pari-mutuel race at Mid-Atlantic tracks earn an additional 25% bonus on top of their purse winnings. “It was a brand new incentive that created some momentum in Virginia,” said Easter. “The program continues to build value for Virginia-bred horses.”
Stellar Wind and jockey Victor Espinoza are shown after winning the Grade 1 Beholder Mile. Benoit Photography photo
Janet Hitchen’s old horse Rex who now lives at Old Whitewood and, we’re sure, misses Janet as much as we all do. Joanne Maisano photo
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Rain dampened the fields but not the appetites of this herd of equines near Flint Hill, Virginia.
JUNIORS Old Dominion Hounds Junior Meet Copperfield Farm Hume, Virginia November 18, 2017 Michelle Arnold (LuMa Images) Photos
Anna Harris, 4 years old.
(l-r) Casey Poe and Lucy Arnold, sophomores at Fauquier High School and members of Old Dominion Hounds Pony Club.
Kayleigh Beaty, age 8.
Catharine Merchant, age 9.
Old Dominion Hounds Junior Connor Poe received his colors, presented by Gus Forbush, MFH, December 23, 2017. Connorâ€™s grandmother, Joanne Cole, was on hand to present him with his new scarlet coat. Old Dominion excels at bringing along juniors; they had 22 in the field this season.
Sophie Bell, 13, a student at Marshall Middle School and a regular hunting junior with Old Dominion.
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