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Gaining Confidence Outside the Comfort Zone with Chris Ryan

woodford.2012.2Chris Ryan sets exercises to benefit horses and riders of all levels. / Alys Emson photo

For the second consecutive year, Chris Ryan, MFH of the Scarteen Black and Tans in Ireland crossed the Atlantic to impart some of his knowledge and experience to participants in the Woodford Hounds Hunt Clinic held over the Labor Day weekend at the kennels in Harrodsburg, Kentucky. Chris has been Master of the Scarteen since 1987, and the hounds have been in the trusted care of the Ryan family for over 350 years.

The clinic was held for three days with divisions for the open horse and rider as well as for green horses and for hilltoppers over the three-day period. Overwhelmingly, the results were positive. Chris's teaching style leaves one a more positive, confident rider. He pushes and pushes and gets results. He even had some of the participants jumping wire, after explaining that we must be prepared to jump what is encountered in the hunting field.

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Virginia Field Hunter Championships

batterton.callar.3893.1Barbara Batterton, riding Linda Armbrust's Nicki-Z, is 2012 Virginia Field Hunter Champion / Liz Callar photoBarbara Batterton, riding Nicki-Z for the Blue Ridge Hunt, won the Virginia Field Hunter Championships on Sunday, November 11, 2012. Nicki is owned by Blue Ridge MFH Linda Armbrust, who often leads the field on him. An Argentina-bred Dutch Warmblood, Nicki did some showjumping in that country before finding his home in Virginia’s hunt country.

Kathleen O’Keefe, riding for the Casanova Hunt, was Reserve Champion. Best Turned Out was won by Helen Brettell of Middleburg Hunt.

The Virginia Field Hunter Championships were hosted this year by the Fairfax Hunt at Winter Farm in Middleburg, as a result of Fairfax member Karyn Wilson's win last year.

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Thoroughbreds: Kings of the Hunting Field

steppenwolferNina Siepel on Steppenwolfer, out with the Cheshire hounds this year

Consider the happy life of Steppenwolfer (by Aptitude out of Wolfer): lots of treats; a big field with clover and buddies; and, from September to March, running around the countryside with a lot of other horses chasing a pack of hounds. A far distance from running third to Barbaro (by Dynaformer out of La Ville Rouge) in the Kentucky Derby and second in the Arkansas Derby in 2006.

Gelded and purchased by Gail and Dixon Thayer as a steeplechase prospect, his short steeplechase career wasn’t as stellar as hoped for. But he’s one happy puppy now. And Nina Siepel, who hunts him with Mr. Stewart’s Cheshire Foxhounds (PA), always wears a big grin, as if she still can’t really believe her good fortune. I’m not sure who is the luckier of the two.

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Thornton Hill Fort Valley Hounds Kick Off Virginia Race Season

thfv2 ptpIn the Junior Field Masters Chase, Brett Jackson, MFH leads (l-r) Erin Swope on Jordan, Kelly Witte on Missy (small pony winner), and Emme Fullilove on Sparta (large pony winner). / Douglas Lees photo

Thornton Hill Fort Valley Hounds opened the Virginia point-to-point season on Saturday, March 2, 2013 at Thornton Hill Farm in Sperryville. The first race, the Field Masters Chase for horses and small and large ponies, was followed by four races over hurdles, two flat races, and three timber races.

Kelly Witte on Missy, last year’s leading small pony, came to the wire six lengths behind the large ponies and won her division. Last year’s large pony champion Jordan ran just behind the Field Master but lost his rider Erin Swope at the last fence, giving Sparta the win with Emme Fullilove aboard. Emme also won the division for horses on GR’s Prize, holding off Erin Swope's Sweet Talking Guy in the stretch. Bay Cockburn saddled both winners.

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Trainer Jimmy Day Sweeps Open Races at Warrenton

warrentonptp.13.open hurdleOpen Hurdle winner Sulwaan (#8) ridden by Paddy Young leads second place finisher Sporty (#3) ridden by Mark Beecher over the last fence. / Douglas Lees photo

Jimmy Day-trained horses swept both Open Races at the Warrenton Hunt Point-to-Point at Airlie Race Course, Warrenton, Virginia on Saturday, March 16, 2013. With Paddy Young in the irons for both races, Sulwaan owned by Magalen O. Bryant and Triple Dip owned by Daybreak Stables won the Open Hurdles and the Open Timber Races respectively.

With a half mile to run over hurdles, Sulwaan and Sporty left the field behind and made it a two-horse race, but Sulwaan drew away after the last fence and won easily. In the timber race Zulla Road led after the last fence, but Triple Dip put on a burst and prevailed by a nose.

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A Brilliant Day at the Piedmont Races

pfhptp13.amateur highweightAmateur Highweight Timber (l-r): Dr. Alex (Teddy Zimmerman) will beat Justpourit (George Hundt) after a hard-fought duel in the stretch.

The Piedmont Fox Hounds 2013 Point-to-Point Races went off under brilliant skies on Saturday, March 23, 2013 with some exciting racing over the big, rolling timber course that includes stone walls, drop fences, and reverses of direction. Here are a few highlights, with complete results just a click away.

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