christmas logo
  • 1

Three Tries, the Charm, for Field Hunter Champion

trfhc18.wittenborn.leesJohn Wittenborn and Soccer, representing the Smithtown Hunt (NY), win 2018 Theodora Randolph Field Hunter Championship in Virginia.

John Wittenborn and his fourteen-year-old Clydesdale-Thoroughbred cross, Soccer, returned home to Long Island and the Smithtown Hunt with the Championship Trophy and ribbon from the Theodora Randolph 2018 Field Hunter Championship in Virginia. Three tries was the charm for Wittenborn and Soccer. Last year the pair made a good showing, placing third.

It was the first team from a northern hunt to have won the coveted prize in thirty-five years of competitions. And it was fitting; Mrs. Randolph was a northerner, though from Boston’s North Shore.

Going in Front

going in front.robin williams

One time when I was temporarily horseless, the huntsman offered me a mount. The horse, an ex-chaser with a lovely disposition and a big confident jump, was for sale because, according to the huntsman, “He won’t go in front.” After a vigorous day of hunting during which the horse in question certainly acted as though he wanted to go in front, I soaked my sore, stretched arms in liniment and remained curious about the huntsman’s assessment.

Not long after riding the ex-chaser, I had the privilege of hunting up front with huntsman Tony Gammell, where I got a lesson in the meaning of “going in front.”

Once-In-A-Lifetime

solo.huntSolo Lord and Michael Hoffman in the hunting field.A dear friend was lost today. We have known each other since he was two. There was an immediate friendship and connection. We did a lot of firsts together, and when we were both home you knew the other was there. He was an international traveler, visiting the Cheltenham Festival in the spring of 2002. He loved to foxhunt but was just as happy doing grid work and flat work.

The late Bay Cockburn and Gordie Keyes introduced us in Olney, Maryland. He was tall and skinny with a devilish gleam in his eye and a scar around his right ankle. And you knew right off there was something special about him. He was tough, but a quick learner and a graceful athlete. He took to field sports immediately and nothing was beyond his reach.

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).

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.

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.