Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Piedmont Fox Hounds

piedmont

Loudoun County, Virginia

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Hall of Fame jockey Eddie Arcaro

eddie arcaro.citation.ky derbyCitation, Hall of  Fame jockey Eddie Arcaro up, wins the Kentucky Derby, May 1, 1948

Eddie Arcaro (1916–1997) is regarded by many as the greatest jockey in the history of American Thoroughbred racing. He tallied more wins in classic stakes races than any other jockey and is still the only jock to have won the Triple Crown twice—Whirlaway (1941) and Citation (1948). He has the most wins of any jockey in the Belmont (six) and the Preakness (six) and is tied with Bill Hartack for Kentucky Derby wins (five). He won 4,779 of his 24,092 races and earned a record-setting $30 million in purses.

On November 23, 1954 Arcaro experienced his first foxhunt when he appeared at a meet of the Piedmont Fox Hounds in Philomont, Virginia, as reported by Liz Smith in Sports Illustrated’s December 27 issue of that year:

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The late Erskine Bedford, Piedmont's consummate Field Master for twenty seasons through the late twentieth century, explains how to lead and educate the field.

erskine bedford1Erskine Bedford, MFH and Field Master, Piedmont Fox Hounds, 1979-1998

The Field Master’s job has five simple rules: first, have a great pack of hounds; second, have a great huntsman; third, have a great horse; fourth―getting serious now―know your country; and fifth, make it fun.

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voss2Franklin Brooke Voss (American, 1880–1953), Tom Allison, Huntsman of Meadow Brook Hounds, 1934, 12 x 16 1/8 inches, National Sporting Library & Museum, Gift of Katrina Hickox Becker, 2020

Franklin Brooke Voss counted among his patrons a Who’s Who of some of the most successful and affluent people in the United States in the early-to-mid-20th century, including the likes of John Hay Whitney, J. Watson Webb, Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney, Alfred Vanderbilt, Walter Jeffords, F. Ambrose Clark, and Emily T. DuPont. These patrons, however, had something other than wealth in common. They were all equestrians in a golden age of turf and field sports, and just as importantly, they were supporters of the arts.

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bailys picPhotograph discovered by Baily's in a biscuit tin, dated 1905 on the back, and appearing American.

The historic and well-documented Great Hound Match of 1905 was a face-off between A. Henry Higginson’s Middlesex Hunt (MA) with its English Foxhounds and Harry Worcester Smith of the Grafton Hunt (MA) and his American foxhounds. The Match was held in the then hunting country of the Piedmont Fox Hounds (VA), with each pack alternating hunting days.

Despite the substantial coverage by the press and public interest in the Match at the time―and ever since―something has been missing.

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There’s something about horses that makes smart people stupid.”  -James Wofford

Our main story in this edition tells in part how foxhunting played a role in helping a teenager become one of the leading young endurance riders in the country. Conversely, we have seen how other equestrian disciplines can help foxhunters get more enjoyment out of hunting by becoming better riders. What follows is extracted from an article we published ten years ago in which Olympian and Coach James Wofford addressed “What Foxhunters Can Learn from Eventers.”

James Wofford on Carawich1978.GamecockJames Wofford on Carawich,1978 / Gamecock photo

For most of us field members, one of the greatest single factors influencing the joy we experience during a day’s hunting is closely associated with our riding ability. The more competently we are able to cross the country on our horse, the closer we come to a totally fulfilling experience.

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piedmontptp2021.ladies timberLady Rider Timber: Cocodimama (Chloe Hannum up) battles down the stretch to hold his slim lead over Bridge Builder (left) ridden by Erin Swope. Aggressive (center, rear) finishes third under Skylar McKenna.  /   Douglas Lees photo 

The Piedmont Point-to-Point Races at the Salem course in Upperville, Virginia, was the venue for Chloe Hannum and Teddy Davies to notched their first career wins racing horses over fences. The date was March 20, 2021.

Hannum won two races this day—Lady Rider Timber and Maiden Flat. Davies won the Amateur and Novice Rider Timber for his milestone.

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