Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Piedmont Fox Hounds

piedmont

Loudoun County, Virginia

Website:


falling off

No fear, suspended
in slow time.
Afterward,

recite your name,
say you’re fine.
Believe it.

Climb back on to prove it.
Ride along, wondering
how you got to Goose Creek –

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Literature

falling off 

No fear, suspended
in slow time.
Afterward,

recite your name,
say you’re fine.
Believe it.

Climb back on to prove it.
Ride along, wondering
how you got to Goose Creek –

if that’s the creek you’re crossing –
dressed in hunting clothes
on your good horse.

Obviously out hunting,
a member of the field –
know you should not ask

which pack – Piedmont?
Fairfax? --the yellow collars mean,
so you concentrate

on tracing back and get
to galloping piney woods,
the rail fence one stride out,

then remounting at the log
working to remember
until back at the trailers

you see it’s Lenah Farm
and Fairfax
you have been hunting with

and that’s when you remember
the peculiar squeak
of helmet around your skull.

Posted January 6, 2020

From a collection by the author being prepared for publication with the working title, Stride for Stride.

cb19Twelve of the seventeen Cleveland Bay purebreds and crosses pose at the annual Cleveland Bay reunion before Farnley house in White Post, Virginia.  /  Karen Kandra photo

Cleveland Bay owners, breeders, and fanciers were privileged to travel back in time to recreate the heyday of this handsome, versatile, yet endangered breed of equine on November 16, 2019. The reunion combined with a meeting of the Blue Ridge Hunt is so appropriate at Farnley Farm in White Post, Virginia.

In the 1930s and 1940s the late Alexander Mackay-Smith bred both pure Cleveland Bay horses and partbreds at Farnley for use as field hunters. He remains the only North American breeder to have exported a stallion back to the UK from whence the breed originated. His stallion, Farnley Exchange, still appears in the pedigrees of most Cleveland Bays living in the world today.

Mackay-Smith’s daughter, Hetty Mackay-Smith Abeles, and her family welcomed the Blue Ridge Hunt subscribers, guests, and seventeen purebred and partbred Cleveland Bays to Farnley for the annual event. Mackay-Smith was a Master of Blue Ridge in the mid-twentieth century. Mrs Abeles and her family continue to breed their well-known Farnley Ponies there, based on bloodlines started and proven as early as the 1930s.

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Horses

cb19Twelve of the seventeen Cleveland Bay purebreds and crosses pose at the annual Cleveland Bay reunion before Farnley house in White Post, Virginia.  /  Karen Kandra photo

Cleveland Bay owners, breeders, and fanciers were privileged to travel back in time to recreate the heyday of this handsome, versatile, yet endangered breed of equine on November 16, 2019. The reunion combined with a meeting of the Blue Ridge Hunt is so appropriate at Farnley Farm in White Post, Virginia.

In the 1930s and 1940s the late Alexander Mackay-Smith bred both pure Cleveland Bay horses and partbreds at Farnley for use as field hunters. He remains the only North American breeder to have exported a stallion back to the UK from whence the breed originated. His stallion, Farnley Exchange, still appears in the pedigrees of most Cleveland Bays living in the world today.

Mackay-Smith’s daughter, Hetty Mackay-Smith Abeles, and her family welcomed the Blue Ridge Hunt subscribers, guests, and seventeen purebred and partbred Cleveland Bays to Farnley for the annual event. Mackay-Smith was a Master of Blue Ridge in the mid-twentieth century. Mrs Abeles and her family continue to breed their well-known Farnley Ponies there, based on bloodlines started and proven as early as the 1930s.

Blue Ridge Hunt Masters, staff, and hounds set the scene for a fantastic day of hunting through the fields at Farnley and neighboring properties. The Mid-Atlantic Cleveland Bay Network started its annual foxhunting reunion for Cleveland Bay horses in 2009 near Frederick, Maryland with the New Market–Middletown Valley Hounds. Each year, approximately twenty of these grand horses gather to celebrate their heritage. This year foxhunters traveled from Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina to participate. Nine of the Cleveland Bays were new to this annual celebration of the breed.

cb19.bustonsBlue Ridge huntsman Graham Buston and whipper-in Cheri Buston showed excellent sport to the field this day. / Karen Kandra photo

Cleveland Bays have been in America since the late 1700s when Lord Dunmore, the last Colonial Governor of Virginia, brought one of his Cleveland Bay horses from England. The year 1820 marked the first commercial importation of a Cleveland Bay stallion upon the arrival of Exile at John Carroll’s estate south of Frederick, Maryland. In the 1850s, Col. Dulany, MFH of the Piedmont Fox Hounds, imported his noted Cleveland Bay stallion Scrivington to Welbourne in Upperville, Virginia. Dulany inaugurated the Upperville Horse Show to showcase his offspring. The breed gained favor in the Mid-West and West through the later 1800s, and the celebrated “Buffalo Bill” Cody established a breeding program on his Scouts Nest Ranch in Nebraska in 1897. Mechanization of farming and WWI escalated the decline of the breed, and today fewer than 800 purebred Cleveland Bays remain in the world.

cb19visitorsSarah Kirk and Breanna Jewell traveled from the Genesee Valley Hunt (NY).  /  Karen Kandra photo

The Mid-Atlantic Cleveland Bay Network organizes a series of shows each summer, including a Cleveland Bay Division at the Upperville and Warrenton Horse Shows, and a dedicated Cleveland Bay Hunter Show as part of the Howard County (MD) Fair. The group also sponsors horses to appear at expos and other public displays. Click for additional information about the Cleveland Bay horse.

Posted December 23, 2019

aaea2019.linda volrath.mburg photoLinda Volrath from White Post, Virginjia, with one of her oils, a handsomely mounted huntsman, Jordan Hicks, and his Piedmont foxhounds  /  Middleburg Photo

The American Academy of Equine Art, after an absence of thirty years, has returned to its original home, Middleburg, Virginia, with a delightful exhibit of equine art. The works chosen for the AAEA 39th Annual Open Juried Exhibition will be available for viewing until October 26, 2019 from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Saturday, at the newly occupied headquarters of the Masters of Foxhounds Association, 301 East Washington Street (U.S. Route 50), Middleburg, Virginia 20117.

The MFHA headquarters is “a beautiful facility inside and out, fully restored and expanded,” writes AAEA President Booth Malone. “The Academy plans to give them a show they can be proud of.”

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erskine bedfordThe late Erskine Bedford led the field brilliantly for the Piedmont Fox Hounds for many years.

A good Field Master is a blessing for any huntsman. The converse is equally true.

Have you ever wondered why your Field Master follows closely upon the huntsman and hounds at times, yet at other times keeps you further back than you, as a keen field member, would like? A good Field Master is always dancing between what he or she knows you want and what he/she knows the huntsman needs.

Good Field Masters ride well, of course, and are confident in their ability to jump whatever comes their way. They also need to be well mounted. I have seen many a good-riding Field Master made to look pretty poor because they were on horses that were simply not cut out to lead across country.

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