The Blue Ridge Hunt was organized in 1888, but this gently rolling grassland in the Valley of the Shenandoah echoed to the music of hounds, the huntsman’s horn, and the rhythm of galloping horses long before that time. A youthful George Washington regularly followed the hounds of his friend and employer Thomas, sixth Lord Fairfax nearly three hundred years ago over the very same hills and fields and along the same twists and turns of the Shenandoah River as do the Blue Ridge hounds today.
History and tradition are synonymous with the Blue Ridge Hunt (VA). The hunt was established in 1888 and has been an enduring, influential, and visible institution in Clarke Country ever since.
On Saturday, October 30, 2021, the hunt’s Opening Meet will once again, after a hiatus of twenty-six years, take place at Carter Hall. Opening Meets had been held at Carter Hall since the mid-1930s.
The schedule of Foxhound Performance Trials for the 2021/2022 foxhunting season has been released by Trial Chairman Fred Berry, MFH, Sedgefield Hounds (NC). Nine qualifying trials will be run across the country, and the tenth and final trial will crown a Grand Champion and the top ten performance hounds in North America.
"'Pretty is as pretty does' really applies to foxhounds," says Fred. The Brits invented mounted foxhunting and hound show, but they shouldn’t have stopped there.
The Art of Making
I read a report recently in The Sunday Times that ‘Fast Fashion,’ a term for the impulse buying of clothes online and in stores that people wear just a few times and then discard, contributes 1.2 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year into the atmosphere. In the USA alone, 13 million tons of clothing are thrown into landfills or burned. In the UK, 300,000 tons of clothing end up in landfills, an interesting statistic in that the public is often led to believe, incorrectly, that farmers are to blame for all the unwanted emissions.
Those in the hunting fields, however, used to see family after family who wore hunting attire passed down from prior generations. What was their secret?
As I close my bookshop and open a new chapter in my bookselling career, Norm has asked me to say a few words about my almost half century of selling horse books.
Ever since I received Somebody’s Pony for Christmas 1952, I’ve cherished and collected horse books. After earning an M.A. in art history and starting a publishing career, I began selling out-of-print books in my two fields of interest, horses and art. I named the business Blue Rider Books after a group of German artists who often painted horses. I found some books in nearby book barns, ran some classified ads, mailed out a list, and so it all began—100-plus catalogues, dozens of trade fairs and horse shows, and tens of thousands of books ago.
When the COVID pandemic and executive orders from the Governor of Virginia forced cancellation of Orange County Hounds’ primary annual fund raising event—the barn party held at Board President Jaqueline Mars’ legendary home—OCH Board leaders Jane Bishop and Emily Hannum put their heads together and scheduled instead a Vixen’s Meet. Given the strong showing October 15, 2020 at Stonehedge in The Plains, Virginia, the ladies like it.
Ladies from a dozen hunts turned out in support of Orange County: Belle Meade Hunt (GA), Mr. Stewart’s Cheshire Foxhounds (PA), Cloudline Hounds (TX), and De La Brooke Foxhounds (MD). From Virginia were ladies of the Blue Ridge Hunt, Casanova Hunt, Loudoun Fairfax Hunt, Middleburg Hunt, Piedmont Fox Hounds, Rappahannock Hunt, and Snickersville Hounds.