Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Strong Showing for Trainer Neil Morris at Orange County

och13.1Old Timer gives jockey Jacob Roberts and trainer Neil Morris their first wins of the day in the Novice Timber Race.

Trainer Neil Morris made a bold statement on his home turf at the Orange County Hounds Point-to-Point Races on Sunday, March 31, 2013 by saddling four winners on the card. The day’s racing was run at Locust Hill Farm in Middleburg, Virginia.

Morris-trained horses won three races for Kinross Farm, home to his training stables: Old Timer ridden by Jacob Roberts in the Novice Timber, Sand Box Rules (Chris Read) in the Open Timber, and King Ting (Jacob Roberts) in the Maiden Hurdle.

Smithwick Saddles Four Winners at Old Dominion

odhptp13.1Fogcutter gives Woods Winants his first of three winning rides and trainer Eva Smithwick her first of four wins on the card in the Amateur/Novice Rider Hurdle Race. / Douglas Lees photoEva Smithwick-trained horses won four of the eight races on the card at the Old Dominion Hunt Point-to-Point held on Saturday, April 6, 2013 at Ben Venue Farm. Woods Winants drove home three of her winners: Fogcutter in the Amateur/Novice Rider Hurdle, Coturnix in the Maiden Hurdle, and Rutledge Classic in the Foxhunter Timber Race.

Smithwick’s other win came with Dr. Alex, owned and ridden by Teddy Zimmerman, in the Amateur Highweight Timber Race. This was the second win for Zimmerman and Dr. Alex in this year’s series, their previous victory coming at the Piedmont Point-to-Point.

Morris/Roberts Team Dominates Loudoun Races

DSC 3261Magalen Bryant's Triplekin (Jacob Roberts up) wins the second division of the Novice Timber for trainer Neil Morris. The Bryant/Roberts/Morris team won the first division Novice Timber as well with Classic Bridges ./  Liz Callar photo

Trainer Neil Morris and jockey Jacob Roberts teamed up at the Loudoun Hunt Point-to-Point to win four of their five races over fences at Oatlands in Leesburg, Virginia, Sunday, April 14, 2013.

After a fifth place showing in the first division of the first race (Maiden Hurdle)—won by Silverado Beach, rider Jeff Murphy, trainer Doug Fout—Morris-trained horses with Roberts in the irons swept the four remaining brush and timber races on the card.

Blue Ridge Runs Postponed Point-to-Point

brh13.whodoyoucallit.callarWhodoyoucallit (Woods Winants) wins Novice Timber. / Liz Callar photoThe Blue Ridge Hunt Point-to-Point Races, originally scheduled for Saturday, March 9 but postponed due to a snowstorm, were finally held on a sunny but cool Sunday, April 21, 2013—six weeks later. A good crowd of spectators enjoyed a brilliant day out-of-doors, but entries were down with the sanctioned Middleburg Spring Races having been run the day before.

Eva Smithwick—2012 leading trainer in Virginia—saddled two winners for Indian Run Farm, both ridden by Woods Winants. Fogcutter, with two previous hurdle wins at Thornton Hill and Old Dominion, won the Amateur/Novice Rider Hurdle, and Whodoyoucallit, with a win earlier in the season at Thornton Hill, won the Novice Timber. Neither horse was seriously challenged.

Professor Maxwell Wins Maryland Hunt Cup

mhc13.profmaxwell.leesLook, Ma, no stirrups! Mark Beecher flies four timber fences without stirrups on his way to victory aboard Professor Maxwell in the 117th running of the Maryland Hunt Cup.

In a gutsy performance, Mark Beecher rode Mrs. George Ohrstrom’s Professor Maxwell to victory in the Maryland Hunt Cup despite a recently broken collarbone and a lost stirrup.

The collarbone was broken only two weeks earlier at the My Lady’s Manor races. Fortunately, the horse is a careful jumper and, according to Beecher, requires only that the rider sit quietly and do nothing. Beecher did just that without stirrups over four of the imposing solid timber fences.

Trainer Richard Valentine called Beecher’s ride “remarkable.”

Legendary Show Jumper Snowman Took the Kids Foxhunting

SnowmanAndHarry300dpiSnowman and Harry de Leyer. Painting by Joan Porter Jannaman, courtesy of the International Museum of the Horse, Kentucky Horse Park

Harry de Leyer’s first look at Snowman was between the slats of the truck bound for the killers. Harry had had trouble with his old station wagon, and he arrived late to the horse auction in the Pennsylvania Amish farming country. It was over, and there was only one trailer left in the parking lot. It was always the last trailer to load.

Midst the fearful and fidgeting horses crowded together on the bare floor for their last journey, one plain-looking gray stood apart for his calmness and self possession. Harry had driven to the auction in the hope of finding an inexpensive school horse for his riding students at the Knox School on Long Island, so he asked the trucker if he could see the gray. The gelding was missing a shoe, had bloody knees, and rubs on his chest from a heavy harness, but he was well-made and had a kind eye. The trucker had paid the “killer’s price” of sixty dollars. Harry was indecisive, but something in the horse’s composed demeanor spoke to him. Harry paid the man eighty dollars—the most he had planned to bid for any horse—and took him home.