Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Piedmont Fox Hounds

piedmont

Loudoun County, Virginia

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steppenwolferNina Siepel on Steppenwolfer, out with the Cheshire hounds this year

Consider the happy life of Steppenwolfer (by Aptitude out of Wolfer): lots of treats; a big field with clover and buddies; and, from September to March, running around the countryside with a lot of other horses chasing a pack of hounds. A far distance from running third to Barbaro (by Dynaformer out of La Ville Rouge) in the Kentucky Derby and second in the Arkansas Derby in 2006.

Gelded and purchased by Gail and Dixon Thayer as a steeplechase prospect, his short steeplechase career wasn’t as stellar as hoped for. But he’s one happy puppy now. And Nina Siepel, who hunts him with Mr. Stewart’s Cheshire Foxhounds (PA), always wears a big grin, as if she still can’t really believe her good fortune. I’m not sure who is the luckier of the two.

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steppenwolferNina Siepel on Steppenwolfer, out with the Cheshire hounds this year

Consider the happy life of Steppenwolfer (by Aptitude out of Wolfer): lots of treats; a big field with clover and buddies; and, from September to March, running around the countryside with a lot of other horses chasing a pack of hounds. A far distance from running third to Barbaro (by Dynaformer out of La Ville Rouge) in the Kentucky Derby and second in the Arkansas Derby in 2006.

Gelded and purchased by Gail and Dixon Thayer as a steeplechase prospect, his short steeplechase career wasn’t as stellar as hoped for. But he’s one happy puppy now. And Nina Siepel, who hunts him with Mr. Stewart’s Cheshire Foxhounds (PA), always wears a big grin, as if she still can’t really believe her good fortune. I’m not sure who is the luckier of the two.

Read More

DSC 3334Judge Barbara Batterton presents the championship trophy to Elizabeth Green, riding Gold for Glory. / Liz Callar photo

Elizabeth Green, representing the Piedmont Fox Hounds (VA), rode Shelby Bonnie’s Gold for Glory to victory in the Theodora Randolph Field Hunter Championships of America. The trials, founded in 1989, are named for the late Master of the Piedmont, so it is particularly fitting when a Piedmont horse and rider win the championship.

The week-long event attracts foxhunters from across North America. Entries ride with up to four different area hunts over a five-day period, and horse and rider pairs are selected to compete in the final tests and mock hunt by a team of mounted judges. The finals were held on October 7, 2012 at the Glenwood Park Race Course in Middleburg as part of the Virginia Fall Races weekend program.

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junior nafh champ.2011(l-r) Lauren Gibson and Landmark Cracker Jack, winner of the Hilltopper Division; Iona Pillion; and Douglas Wise-Stuart, MFH / Liz Callar photoThe tenth annual Junior North American Field Hunter Championship competition is in the offing with this year’s finals scheduled for Sunday, November 4, 2012 at the Radnor Hunt in Chester County, Pennsylvania. What started in Virginia has now spread to neighboring mid-Atlantic states and the number of participating hunts continues to grow.

More than a competition, the main purposes are to expose foxhunters eighteen years of age and younger to a variety of hunting countries, to instill in their young minds the importance of open space preservation if our sport is to continue beyond their lifetimes, and to stress suitability of mount to rider. The concept was hatched ten years ago by Douglas Wise-Stuart, MFH and Iona Pillion, both renowned for their junior foxhunting programs.

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kennel_copy_21914 photograph of Huntsman Charlie Carver (front), Master Joe Thomas, and hounds  /  Courtesy of Karen L. MyersThis year marks the one hundredth anniversary of the completion by Joseph B. Thomas of the stables and kennels at his historic estate in Middleburg, Virginia, aptly named Huntland.

On September 18, 2011, current owner Dr. Betsee Parker marked the anniversary with a luncheon for members of both the Piedmont and Middleburg Hunts. Newly uncovered photographs of the original structure were displayed, and people were free to wander through the stables and kennels.

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kennels5A youthful Joseph B. Thomas at Huntland / Courtesy of Karen L. MyersJoseph B. Thomas, MFH came to Middleburg, Virginia via Boston and New York in the early part of the twentieth century and built Huntland—house, stables, and kennels.  Thomas was a founding member of the American Foxhound Club, Master of the Piedmont Fox Hounds, and author of Hounds and Hunting Through the Ages, the first comprehensive book on hunting with hounds ever written by an American.

Thomas became the largest breeder of foxhounds for mounted packs in North America and helped to define the American foxhound breed. He has been a subject of great interest to all serious scholars of North American foxhunting, and much has been written about him. However, available images of Thomas (and his famous huntsman Charlie Carver) to grace all that published text have been sparse.

Now, just in time for the present owner and restorer of Huntland, Dr. Betsee Parker, to celebrate the hundredth anniversary of her famous home, we have a treasure trove of recently discovered old photographs of Thomas, Carver, hounds, and kennels.

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