Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Old Dominion Hounds

olddominion

Fauquier County, Virginia

Website: facebook page


mildred riddell.leesDouglas Lees photo

Mildred Gulick Riddell, MFH of the Old Dominion Hounds (VA) from 1982 to 1992, died on December 4, 2021, at the age of 97. Born in 1924 at the Columbia Hospital for Women in Washington D.C., she lived most of her life at Redwood in Casanova, Virginia, the farm bought for her mother as a wedding gift by her grandfather, James Strother of Carrington in Delaplane.

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odh2021.maiden hurdle viv2 aloneMaiden Hurdle Race, second division: Gostisbehere (Graham Watters up) leads the field over the last fence and is first at the wire. /  Douglas Lees photo

Old Dominion Hounds (VA) held their spring Point-to-Point races once again in springtime! What’s unusual about that?” one might ask. Last year, Old Dominion was the first of the Virginia hunts to stage their spring races in the autumn, after Covidstopped our lives in March. Warrenton’s point-to-point last year on March 14th, its usual time, was the last of two spring races (Rappahannock on March 7th) until Old Dominion gave horsemen a day of racing on September 12th followed by Blue Ridge on September 19th. Without spectators, however.

So this spring has been a welcomed return to semi-normalcy. We’re not completely there yet, but we’re close enough to consider this spring special...and to appreciate it as such. The turf was good and entries were healthy enough for the ten-race card of hurdle, timber, and flat racing.

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odh20.maiden hurdle 1Maiden Hurdle, Division 1: Last fence (l-r) He'll Do (Parker Hendriks up), 2nd; You're No Better (Archie Macauley up), 1st.   /   Douglas Lees photo

With the 2020 events calendar at sixes and sevens for sporting events worldwide, Old Dominion Hounds’ annual Point-to-Point Races at Ben Venue came off on September 12th in the fall of the year rather than in the spring. The good news that some point-to-points are coming off at all is testament to the fact that we are trying to learn how to co-exist with a new reality. Not ideally, to be sure, but we are testing boundaries and, hopefully, learning what works and not what doesn’t.

The fact that most of the ten races on the day’s card were well-filled with entries demonstrates a heartfelt desire for a return to normalcy, but the many horses pulled up during the course of so many of the jump races also demonstrates the training difficulties encountered this year.

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live oak challenge award

De La Brooke Pony Club topped seven North American Pony Clubs in the annual United States Pony Club Foxhunting Challenge Award. Marty and Daphne Wood, Joint-Masters of the Live Oak Hounds (FL), established and funded the annual Challenge Award to reward those Pony Clubs and hunts across North America that work together proactively in giving Pony Clubbers the opportunity to foxhunt.

Last season seven Pony Clubs and their local hunts accepted the Challenge, accounting for more than 420 days in the hunting fields for the young riders. In order of the Award placings, the Pony Clubs are: De La Brooke Pony Club, hunting with the De La Brooke Foxhounds (MD); St. Margaret’s, hunting with the Marlborough Hunt (MD); Ochlockonee, hunting with the Live Oak Hunt (FL); Blue Mountain, hunting with the Rose Tree-Blue Mountain Hunt (PA); Old Dominion, hunting with the Old Dominion Hounds (VA); Cedar Knob, hunting with the Cedar Knob Hounds (TN); and Portneuf Valley, hunting with the Red Rock Hounds (NV). The top participating Pony Clubs receive cash awards donated by the Woods.

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steve farrin.amwell valley.pa natl2013Huntsman Steve Farrin, parading Amwell Valley hounds at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show (2013).

It’s time for our annual report on the recent moves of huntsmen across North America. The huntsman is my hero. From the time we mount up and for the few hours that follow, it is he or she most directly responsible for the day’s sport. How the huntsman has bred, trained, deployed, and communicated with his troops—the hounds—has everything to do with the satisfaction of our day in the field.

The moves have been numerous this season, and, in a two cases, we have experienced whippers-in finally achieving their dream of a pack of their own to hunt. We’ll catch up with Alasdair Storer, Andrew Bozdan, Kathryn Butler, Stephen Farrin, Danny Kerr, Emily Melton, and Timothy Michel.

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