Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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A Good Day for Runners at Old Dominion Point-to-Point hurdleIn the Open Hurdle (l-r) is Prima Facie (Jeff Murphy up) and Kingofalldiamonds (Jacob Roberts up), the winner.  /  Douglas Lees photo

The turf was good, the day cloudy and cool, and, for a few moments of variety, a snow shower floated down upon the Old Dominion Point-to-Point Races at Ben Venue Farm, Virginia, on Saturday, April 9, 2016. The eight-race card included hurdle, timber, and flat races, most of them well-entered.

Noble Stables’ Kingofalldiamonds won the Open Hurdle race for the second consecutive year over the Old Dominion course. It was trainer Neil Morris’s second win of the day, and the horse’s second win in as many races this season. (Kingofalldiamonds won the Open Flat race at the Warrenton Hunt Point-to-Point last month.) Jacob Roberts was in the irons for both outings this season as well as for last year’s hurdle win—this day substantially repeating his winning strategy from the earlier flat race. Roberts allowed Daybreak Stables’ Manacor to set the pace and, with three fences remaining, took over the race and won by four-and-a-half lengths going away.

Potomac Hunt Master’s Horse Wins Maryland Hunt Cup

mhc16.ownersPotomac MFHs Irvin “Skip” Crawford, owner of Maryland Hunt Cup winner Senior Senator (left) and Vicki Crawford, cradling the hunt cup, with John Coles, MFH, Orange County Hounds (a three-time rider over the Maryland Hunt Cup course in the 1980s). / Douglas Lees photo

Skip Crawford, MFH, Potomac Hunt (MD) left his golfing buddies and flew home to watch his horse run in the Maryland Hunt Cup. A good decision, as it turned out. With young Eric Poretz in the irons, Senior Senator won the stiffest timber race in the world by half a neck in an exciting finish. The date was April 30, 2016 at Worthington Farms, Glyndon, Maryland.

From the start, Poretz allowed his horse to go to the front and set his own pace, a pace which gave him a lead of as much as twenty-five lengths over much of the four-mile course. “That’s the way Senior Senator likes to run,” said Skip’s better half, Vicki Crawford, MFH. “He likes to be in front.”

The horse sure looked like he makes a lot of his own decisions. On the course, at whatever speed he was running, he seemed to judge distances on his own, meeting every fence well, jumping cleanly, and going away without a hiccup. Maybe Poretz was helping, but if so, it was so quietly and sympathetically, that this scribe couldn’t see it.

Aintree Grand National, Maryland Hunt Cup, and...Velka Pardubice?

For race enthusiasts our Irish correspondent Noel Mullins introduces us to a venerable steeplechase race in the Czech Republic, where a few Irish and English bloodstock agents, trainers, and jockeys have found good markets.

taxis ditch.pardubice.mullins2The famous Taxis Ditch on the Velka Pardubice racecourse in the Czech Republic / Noel Mullins photo

A steeplechase race in the Czech Republic, with its roots in foxhunting, is recognised as one of the three most challenging steeplechases in the world, the others being the Aintree Grand National in Liverpool and the Maryland Hunt Cup in the U.S. The 126th running of the Velka Pardubice Steeplechase took place on October 9, 2016.

Irish Horses Treasured in New Zealand Hunt Field

Gavin.ballineenBen Lott hunts Gavin and Tracy Crossan's Brian (aka Ballineen Blue Mountain by Bealagh Blue ex Ballineen Glen Abbess), a 16.2-hand Irish grey stallion imported from England in 2011.

In the beginning there was Thady Ryan. Master and huntsman of the three-hundred-year-old family-owned Scarteen hounds of County Limerick, Ireland, Thady retired in 1986 to Temuka, South Island, New Zealand with his New Zealand-born wife Anne. The following summer, Thady and Anne imported Kingsway Diamond (King of Diamonds x Bawnlahan Beauty), a chestnut 17-hand Registered Irish Draught (RID) stallion from Ireland.
To their surprise, another RID stallion arrived, consigned to Glyn and Edwina Morris of Wynyard Lodge Stud in Christchurch, also South Island, New Zealand.

“Laughton’s Legend (Lahinch x Starlight), a 16.2-hand chestnut, was on the same flight to Christchurch as Kingsway Diamond,” said Lesley Spence of Christchurch, secretary of the Irish Draught Horse Society of New Zealand (IDHSNZ). “On that flight was also a King of Diamonds mare, Kilmarna Queen. Suddenly, there was a competition: both men thought they would revolutionize the New Zealand sporthorse breeding industry.”

The Making of Frankie

brunnen on frankieLori and Frankie

Day 1
September 10, 2014
A moderate two hours of hunting and I have been fighting to stay awake the past four hours. My brain is pooped. I feel like I carried Frankie around the fixture rather than vice versa. Emotionally I guess I did. A shower helped but I did have a bit of a shock when I thought I was bleeding under my arm. It was a just piece of red fuzz from my polo shirt.

Having finally cracked my ten-year-old Wintec leathers through to the nylon core (probably still strong enough but not confidence inspiring), I purchased the only pair I could find yesterday—in black. No way am I going to buy leather ones for a hundred dollars only to swim in them all summer long. The fact that they were not more traditional brown didn’t bother me. Riding a glow-in-the-dark pale horse with bubble gum-pink skin and transparent eyes, no one is going to notice the color of what my stirrups are hanging from. Sporting his new hunt bridle, I figured at least he would look the part. My philosophy: even if you fail miserably it is somehow better if you are dressed appropriately.

Sergeant Reckless: A Beloved Fellow Marine

sgt reckless memorialNew Memorial to Marine Staff Sergeant Reckless is dedicated in ceremonies at Camp Pendleton, Oceanside, California, on October 26, 2016.

Of the many images still stuck in Harold Wadley’s head from his combat tour in the Korean War, there’s one scene he’ll never forget: the silhouette of a 13.1-hand pack horse, Corporal Reckless, climbing the steep ridge with recoilless rifle ammunition strapped to her back for the Marines as incoming fire and return fire exploded around her. Then he’d see her picking her way back down, alone, carrying wounded marines. One day, during the Battle of Outpost Vegas, she made fifty-one trips, mostly alone, covering thirty-five miles.

Reckless was separated from her youthful owner during the Korean War and became one of the Marine Corps’ greatest heroes. In 1997, when Life Magazine published a special Collectors Edition titled “Celebrating Our Heroes,” the story of Reckless was included alongside the stories of other heroes such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, and Mother Teresa.

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