Rappahannock, Culpeper and Madison counties, Virginia
Rappahannock wisely and prominently promoted the rain date for their first-of-the-season race day, knowing all too well the vagaries of Virginia weather in early March. Fortunately, on March 5, 2022, the scheduled date was a highly pleasant day to spend outdoors at the new steeplechase course on Larry Levy’s Hill Farm just outside Culpeper, Virginia. A week later, as I sit filing this report, snow is still falling on three inches of the stuff already on the ground.
Seven races were carded: three pony races on the flat―Small, Medium, and Large―and two Timber Races followed by two flat races. Of a total of twenty-eight entries for all seven races, nearly half―sixteen entries―were ponies. I hope the strong showing of pony entries interests other race planners looking forward.
Middleburg Brings a Lovable Veteran; Blue Ridge Shows Depth
The fourth Foxhound Performance Trial of the 2021/2022 season was hosted jointly by the Bull Run Hunt and the Blue Ridge Hunt in Virginia. Hounds hunted on Saturday, October 23, 2021, in the Bull Run hunting country of open farmland, fields, and woods, followed by dinner and first-day awards. On Sunday, October 24, hounds hunted in the Blue Ridge country by the western banks of the Shenandoah River through open flood plains, over scarcely negotiable cliffs above the river, through woods, and across open farmland.
Hounds from eight hunts competed: Blue Ridge Hunt, Bull Run Hunt, Deep Run Hunt (VA), Farmington Hunt (VA), Marlborough Hunt (MD), Middleburg Hunt (VA), Rappahannock Hunt (VA), and Thornton Hill Hounds (VA).
Larry Leon LeHew, ex-MFH of the Rappahannock Hunt (VA) and later the Thornton Hill Hounds (VA), passed away at his home, Bel Air, in Front Royal, Virginia, on Friday, October 23, 2020. He was eighty-three.
Born February 14, 1937 in Front Royal, Larry was a direct descendant of Peter LeHew, accredited with the founding of LeHewtown, which later became Front Royal. The LeHew family at one time owned much of the land which includes modern Front Royal.
When the COVID pandemic and executive orders from the Governor of Virginia forced cancellation of Orange County Hounds’ primary annual fund raising event—the barn party held at Board President Jaqueline Mars’ legendary home—OCH Board leaders Jane Bishop and Emily Hannum put their heads together and scheduled instead a Vixen’s Meet. Given the strong showing October 15, 2020 at Stonehedge in The Plains, Virginia, the ladies like it.
Ladies from a dozen hunts turned out in support of Orange County: Belle Meade Hunt (GA), Mr. Stewart’s Cheshire Foxhounds (PA), Cloudline Hounds (TX), and De La Brooke Foxhounds (MD). From Virginia were ladies of the Blue Ridge Hunt, Casanova Hunt, Loudoun Fairfax Hunt, Middleburg Hunt, Piedmont Fox Hounds, Rappahannock Hunt, and Snickersville Hounds.
Saturday, March 7, 2020 marked the return of the Rappahannock Point-to-Point Races to the spring schedule after a twelve-year absence. Larry Levy had a brand new racecourse ready for entries at The Hill in Boston, Virginia, and, except for the two-horse Lady Rider Timber race, all races were well filled.
Of six races, Irish-bred horses won five! And in two of those races they finished one-two. In the First Division of the six-horse Open Flat race, Irish-breds placed first through fourth. Just saying.