Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Piedmont Fox Hounds

piedmont

Loudoun County, Virginia

Website:


The sheer beauty of a level pack of foxhounds is indisputable. There is a uniformity of appearance and traits, and such a pack tends to run well together. But isn't there another option?

Why not a pack consisting of foxhounds of various types, welcoming the unique attributes of each hound type? Breeders know that no single type offers all the best attributes we want in a pack; hence the English-American Crossbred. But within those two categories there are still more individual types with more concentrated attributes that could allow each type to contribute at the appropriate stage of any hunt just when needed.

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trfhc18.wittenborn.leesJohn Wittenborn and Soccer, representing the Smithtown Hunt (NY), win 2018 Theodora Randolph Field Hunter Championship in Virginia.

John Wittenborn and his fourteen-year-old Clydesdale-Thoroughbred cross, Soccer, returned home to Long Island and the Smithtown Hunt with the Championship Trophy and ribbon from the Theodora Randolph 2018 Field Hunter Championship in Virginia. Three tries was the charm for Wittenborn and Soccer. Last year the pair made a good showing, placing third.

It was the first team from a northern hunt to have won the coveted prize in thirty-five years of competitions. And it was fitting; Mrs. Randolph was a northerner, though from Boston’s North Shore.

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amatt and houndsNeil Amatt will hunt hounds at Loudoun Fairfax.Having been a member of many fields in many hunting countries, the huntsman has always been my hero. From the time we mount up and for the few hours that follow, it is the huntsman who is most directly responsible for our day’s sport.

One might well argue that the hounds have something to do with it, and this I grant. But the pack is the product of the huntsman, and, since the level of sport depends on how hounds perform in the field as a pack, it all comes back to the huntsman.

Here’s our annual report on the recent moves of huntsmen Neil Amatt, Martyn Blackmore, Tony Gammell, and Sam Clifton.

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loudoun18.open hurdle.hower(Center) Greg Ryan's Three Kingdoms (Kieran Norris up) won the Open Hurdle Race. / Lesley & David Hower photoLoudoun Hunt opened a day of point-to-point racing at Oatlands Plantation in Leesburg, Virginia on Sunday, April 15, 2018, with two exhibition side saddle races—one over fences, the other on the flat. King of Hearts trained by George Kuk and ridden by Devon Zebrovious was the winner over fences. The sixteen-yerar-old bay gelding alternated the lead with Little Lady, Amy Jo McGee up, in the two-horse field and prevailed in the stretch.

Hail Yeah was the winner by a neck in the Side Saddle Flat race in a field of seven. Winning owner was Terri Ehrenfeld, and Kathryn Cowles was trainer and rider.

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Mouseover image and click play to view the entire sequence.  /   Douglas Lees photoEclipse Award winning photographer Douglas Lees shot this harrowing sequence of Elizabeth Scully when her horse Girlsruletheworld refused near the officials’ stand at the Piedmont Point-to-Point Races on March 24, 2018. The incident occurred nearly in front of Alexandra McKee on Alert N Ready, that pair making an amazing adjustment to avoid a pileup, get over the fence, and finish the race. The sequence is all the more dramatic for Scully’s calm demeanor on her way to the turf contrasted with the electrified expressions on the faces of the officials.

Scully and Girlsruletheworld won the Restricted Young Adult Flat Race at the Blue Ridge Point-to-Point in 2016 and were a competitive combination in the 2017 Lady Rider Timber point-to-points. McKee is a past winner of the Grand National Steeplechase on Narrow River in 2003 and placed second in the 2004 Maryland Hunt Cup behind Blair Waterman on Bug River.

Lees used a Nikon D5 camera body with a Nikon 70-200 mm lens for the shots.

Posted April 22, 2018

vafhc.moe.jump.summersMoe Baptiste and Fifty Grand representing the Piedmont Fox Hounds negotiate a seven-board coop during the individual test on their way to winning the Virginia Fied Hunter Championship. / Catherine Summers photo

Mo Baptiste’s handsome bay Thoroughbred, Fifty Grand, has played the role of bridesmaid for years. He was Reserve Champion to Virginia Field Hunter Champions in 2012 and again in 2015. This year he was, finally, the bride. And the Champion.

Reserve Champion honors go to Marilyn Ware, Deep Run Hunt. The annual Virginia Field Hunter Championship is noted for the quality of the competing horses. The Masters of every Virginia hunt receive an annual invitation to nominate up to two horse and rider combinations which have been hunting regularly with that hunt. Chosen by the Masters, twenty-one riders from eleven hunts competed. They were:

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