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.
For their first seven years, the Junior North American Field Hunter Championships took place in Virginia, mostly at Old Whitewood, part of Orange County's country in The Plains. However, after Alex Matz won the First Flight (12-and-Under) championship in 2009, the notion of staging the next finals in Mr. Stewart's Cheshire country came to fruition. Blue Ridge Hunt's David Pawlak partnered with the indubitable Paris to ace the individual test in the First Flight and claim their second consecutive 13-18 championship. Makayla Benjamin (Loudoun West) and Butterfly Painting went home with the reserve tri-color.
The Chevy Chase Club in Maryland, the surviving organization of the Chevy Chase Hunt Club, acquired a valuable historical artifact on Wednesday, November 17, when a scarlet hunt coat and canary vest belonging to Brigadier General Charles K. Nulsen was donated to the Club by Charles K. Nulsen III. The coat and vest bear the buttons of the Chevy Chase Hunt and have been hanging in a New Hampshire home belonging to the family for nearly a century.
The Chevy Chase Hunt was active from 1892 to 1916. It was a highly respected hunt of its time, but short-lived because the Master, Clarence Moore, perished on the Titanic in 1912.
Many of the MFHA-registered packs in North America have close associations with Ireland and the UK either through hunt staff, field members, jockeys, or through the many Irish and British field hunters and racehorses that grace their hunting fields. One such well known pack is the Green Spring Valley Hounds in Maryland, USA. They met a few weeks ago at Ned Finney’s farm at Dover and Dark Hollow, which is close to the Maryland Hunt Cup racecourse and Shawan Downs racecourse.
I was an outrider at the Blue Ridge Fall Races on Saturday. Besides the fact that I love sitting on a horse and that outriding is a great way to see the races, it’s also a habit. I’ve been doing it on the Woodley racecourse in Berryville, Virginia for twenty-five years. The sun was shining in a brilliant blue sky, my horse looked handsome, the hospitality tent was filled with delicious food, and all was right with the world. Until it wasn’t.
Cubhunting is now underway in most hunting countries, and the early morning slanting light is a photographer’s wish come true. Some stunning photos are coming our way, and we will be sharing them with you. For a sample of Karen Myers’ photographic art on opening day of the Blue Ridge cubhunting season, click on Photo Gallery, under the Horse and Hound drop-down menu. Watch here for Old Dominion, Mill Creek, and other photo slide shows to follow.
Photographers, we invite you to submit 12–18 of your best shots in your hunting countries, include captions, and we will post them in our Gallery as slide shows with credit to you and links back to your email or website so others may find you.
September 8, 2010