Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Blue Ridge Hunt Point-to-Point Moves To April, and Spring

woodley.linda volrathThis oil painting by Linda Volrath is a reminder of the cruel winds and sometimes worse weather that prevailed at the Blue Ridge Hunt point-to-point on that first weekend in March every year. With the new late-April race date, such days on this excellent viewing racecourse are now just a memory...it is sincerely hoped.The Blue Ridge Hunt’s point-to-point course at Woodley has long been one of the favorite venues for race watching as far as view ability of the races are concerned. But the early March date on the Woodley hillside has had an equally long history of unforgettably uncomfortable weather, as Linda Volrath’s wonderful painting reminds us. The hunt’s new April date, which fell this year on Sunday, the 22nd, promises now to substantially improve the comfort aspect of the equation for viewers and participants alike. This year, it was a picture-perfect day for both horses and people, and a new look greeted spectators with vendor and sponsor tents, a food stand, stick pony races for the children, spring temperatures, and blessed sunshine.

Senior Senator Captures Second Maryland Hunt Cup

mhc18.crawfordsdaviesSkip and Vicki Crawford, MFHs, Potomac Hunt, celebrate their horse's second winning of the Maryland Hunt Cup with trainer Joe Davies (center). / Douglas Lees photoAfter winning the Grand National Steeplechase in Butler, Maryland on April 21, 2018, Senior Senator marched to the starting line of the legendary Maryland Hunt Cup at Worthington Farms on the following Saturday, April 28. The eight-year-old bay gelding with the long white blaze must have reminded himself, ‘I won this race two years ago, and I can do it again.’ And he did. Two prestigious wins in two successive weeks. Senator is now two legs up on the three wins necessary to retire the cup for owner Skip Crawford and his wife Vicki, MFHs of the Potomac Hunt (MD).

Loudoun Hunt Point-to-Point Races

loudoun18.open hurdle.hower(Center) Greg Ryan's Three Kingdoms (Kieran Norris up) won the Open Hurdle Race. / Lesley & David Hower photoLoudoun Hunt opened a day of point-to-point racing at Oatlands Plantation in Leesburg, Virginia on Sunday, April 15, 2018, with two exhibition side saddle races—one over fences, the other on the flat. King of Hearts trained by George Kuk and ridden by Devon Zebrovious was the winner over fences. The sixteen-yerar-old bay gelding alternated the lead with Little Lady, Amy Jo McGee up, in the two-horse field and prevailed in the stretch.

Hail Yeah was the winner by a neck in the Side Saddle Flat race in a field of seven. Winning owner was Terri Ehrenfeld, and Kathryn Cowles was trainer and rider.

Old Dominion Point-to-Point at Ben Venue

odh18.lady timberTrained and ridden by Amber Hodyka, Manacor returns to the races as a timber horse, and wins. / Douglas Lees photoManacor is back. Remade into a timber horse and now trained and ridden by Amber Hodyka, Manacor won the first race, Lady Timber, at the Old Dominion Hounds Point-to-Point Races on Saturday, April 7, 2018.

The bay ten-year-old was brought to the U.S. from Ireland by trainer Jimmy Day and was a frequent winner over hurdles out of Daybreak Stables for four years. He disappeared from the point-to-points last year and is back in the capable hands of Hodyka, a friend of the Days.

Manacor led throughout most of the race, held off a bid by Erin Swope’s Sweet Talking Guy, and won comfortably. Sweet Talking Guy—another familiar horse on the point-to-point circuit with a regular habit of winning Lady Timber races—was one of the top six Leading Horses in Virginia in 2017. Just off a Lady Timber win at Piedmont this season, he came up short against Manacor.

Fout-Norris Dominate at Orange County

och18.kieran norris.leesWith four wins and two seconds of ten races on the card, Kieran Norris was leading rider at Orange County. / Douglas Lees photoKieran Norris had an outstanding day on the racecourse at beautiful Locust Hill Farm—timber, hurdle, flat—whichever course he rode. Norris, Virginia’s Leading Rider in 2017, rode four winners at the Orange County Point-to-Point on Saturday, April 1, 2018. He finished the day with two seconds as well, making it first or second in six of the ten races run.

Entries were reasonably strong, with the Maiden Flat and the Maiden Hurdle Races being split. Trainer Doug Fout saddled four winners as well, three of them with Norris aboard.

Timber Horses Show Up to Race at Piedmont

piedmont.davies family.leesTeddy Davies, shown between (l-r) father Joe Davies and grandfather Bruce Miller, won two pony races. Trainer Joe Davies is a Maryland Hunt Cup winning rider. Trainer Bruce Miller is ex- MFH of Mr. Stewart's Cheshire Foxhounds (PA) / Douglas Lees photoTwo of the four timber races at the Piedmont Point-to-Point on Saturday, March 24, 2018, were split, giving race goers six well-filled and exciting races over the beautiful timber course at Salem. Turf conditions were good.

Dakota Slew, a multi-winning timber horse was back. Slew had the honor of retiring the Rokeby Bowl here two years ago after his third consecutive Open Timber win at Piedmont. Still trained by Richard Valentine, the old favorite that for a time practically “owned” the course settled for a second place finish under McLane Hendricks in the first division of the Amateur/Novice Rider Timber Race.