by Betsy Burke Parker
Farmington Hunt rider Carolyn Chapman and her paint-cross mare Mariah claimed the coveted title of Virginia Field Hunter Champion on Sunday, October 25, 2015. In victory, she bested seventeen competitors, the best of the best, according to organizers, sent by ten of Virginia's marquis foxhunting clubs.
The Virginia Championship is widely considered the most competitive of a handful of hunter trial events offered around the nation each fall. The event was hosted at Old Whitewood Farm by the Orange County Hounds. Last year's winner from Orange County, Neil Morris, MFH, said he began organizing this year’s competition soon after his victory in October of last year.
Chapman partnered her black and white eight-year-old to earn the nod from the judges after three phases. “We both picked her out as a contender in the hack phase,” said judge Norman Fine, editor of the online magazine, Foxhunting Life. Co-judge Tommy Lee Jones, huntsman of Fauquier's Casanova Hunt, agreed. “She stood out. Great mover, perfect manners.”To read more, a subscription is required. Log in or click here to subscribe.