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Cleveland Bays (and the Blue Ridge foxhounds) Meet at Farnley

farnley.kleinFifteen Cleveland Bays convened for a celebration of the breed at a special meeting of the Blue Ridge foxhounds at Farnley. / Matthew Klein photo

How fitting that a large contingent of Cleveland Bay horses should convene at Farnley Farm for a special foxhunt with the Blue Ridge Hunt on Saturday, November 19, 2011.

The late Alexander Mackay-Smith, a past Master of the Blue Ridge, and his wife Joan purchased Farnley, near White Post, Virginia, in the 1930s. During Mackay-Smith’s travels in England over that decade he decided that the Cleveland Bay horse made the ideal field hunter. He imported and bred Cleveland Bays and introduced the breed to foxhunters and to other horsemen in this country.

Today the breed is dangerously rare, with only about five hundred purebreds in the world and less than two hundred in North America.

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First Running of the Thornton HIll Fort Valley Hounds Point-to-Point Races

thfv ptp 12Brett Jackson, MFH leads the Junior Field Master's Chase. Erin Swope keeps in touch.

The Thornton Hill Fort Valley Hounds (VA) is the result of a recent merger between the Thornton Hill Hounds (previously unregistered) and the Fort Valley Hunt (registered with the MFHA in 1992). The hunt’s point-to-point races were run for the first time on Saturday, March 3, 2012 at the beautiful Thornton Hill Racecourse near Sperryville, Virginia in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Masters are Jim Kincheloe, Brett Jackson, and the father and son team of Larry and Jeff Lehew.

At the end of the day, Jeff Murphy was top jockey, bringing home two winners—Orebanks in the Open Hurdle Race and Dealer Beware in the Novice Timber.

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Blue Ridge Hunt Point-to-Point Races

brh.witte.12Kellie Witte piloted her Twin Kiss to a second victory in two starts this season in the Junior Field Masters Chase.The sixty-third running of the Blue Ridge Hunt Point-to-Point Races was held Saturday, March 10, 2012 under a brilliant blue sky and over good footing at the Woodley Farm racecourse.

Two horse-rider combinations repeated their winning ways of the previous week at Thornton Hill: Twin Kiss ridden by Kellie Witte in the Junior Field Masters Chase and Mischief with Annie Yeager aboard in the Amateur/Novice Rider Hurdle Race.

Trainer Jimmy Day posted a win and two second place finishes. Top jockey was Carl Rafter with two wins and a second. Rafter rode Day's winner, Trappe d'Or owned by Bruce Smart in the Maiden Flat Race; Zoe Valvo's Triton Light to the wire in the Open Hurdle Race; and posted a second on Red Ghost in the Novice Timber.

Jockey Jeff Murphy rode trainer Teddy Mulligan's The Editor to a win in the Novice Timber Race and posted two second place finishes for the day as well.

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Warrenton Hunt Point-to-Point

warrentonptp12.yeagerAnnie Yeager's Mischief (rt) on the way to winning his third hurdle race in three starts. Mary Motion riding Fogcutter (left) finished fourth.Annie Yeager and Mischief scored a hat trick in the Amateur/Novice Rider Hurdle Race at the Warrenton Hunt Point-to-Point Races on Saturday, March 17, 2012, posting their third win in three starts this year. Mischief passed pace-setter Mariah’s Promise before the last fence to take the lead. Mariah’s Promise challenged in the stretch but had to settle for second place by a head. Mischief is owned by Yeager and trained by Don Yovanovich.

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Piedmont Fox Hounds Point-to-Point

piedmont12.ownerridertimber(l-r) Jeb's Crowner (Bart Poole up) in the Foxhunter Timber Division catches Incaseyouraminer (Ben Swope) riding in the Owner Rider Division. Both were winners of this timber race in their respective divisions.

Considering the superb weather we have been enjoying this season, Piedmont Fox Hounds drew the short straw for their point-to-point races as Douglas Lees’s great photos clearly illustrate. It was a wet day!

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