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Horses

Junior Field Hunter Championships Just Keep Growing

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.

Erin Bartle Dominates in Maury River Hunter Trials

bartle-mrht 120407 2735Erin Bartle and her field hunter Firestorm are ranked ninth in the country in the Novice Division by the U.S. Eventing Association.  /  Beth Sutton photoErin Bartle rode her USEA nationally ranked Novice horse Firestorm to the First Flight Championship, the Melvin Poe Cup, and boosted the Rockbridge Hunt to the Clifford Hunt Championship—most points by a hunt—at the Maury River Hunter Trials, Virginia Horse Center, Lexington on April 7, 2012.

The 116th Maryland Hunt Cup

mhc12.stretchTwill Do (left) wins in one of the closest Maryland Hunt Cup finishes ever.One after the other, the two favorites tumbled from contention, paving the way for one of the closest finishes ever in the 116th running of the Maryland Hunt Cup on Saturday, April 28, 2012. Twill Do ridden by James Stierhoff and Battle Op with Connor Hankin aboard battled down the stretch with Twill Do doing it by a head at the wire. It was the second Hunt Cup win (2010) for Twill Do, who is coming back this season from an injury.

Old Dominion Hounds Point-to-Point

odh12.mischiefAfter winning three consecutive Amateur/Novice Hurdle Races and placing second in four starts, Annie Yeager and Mischief wind up in the turf at Old Dominion.The Amateur/Novice Hurdle team of Annie Yeager and her brilliant gray horse Mischief experienced a frightening moment at the Old Dominion Point-to-Point on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at Ben Venue Farm in Flint Hill, Virginia. With three consecutive wins and a second place finish in four starts in the division, Mischief went down with Yeager, who was airlifted from the course.

The good news is that the horse is fine, and Yeager was released from the hospital the following day with a concussion and a broken collar bone. Those who witnessed the fall close up, including this reporter, expected a far worse outcome, and that expectation clouded the rest of the day’s racing.

Orange County Hounds Point-to-Point

och12.open hurdleOpen Hurdle winner Old Timer and Chris Read (right) lead Robert Walsh on Better Than Ever.The Orange County Hounds Point-to-Point Races were held at Locust Hill Farm in Middleburg, Virginia on Sunday, April 1, 2012. Trainer Neil Morris made the most of his home turf by saddling both the win and place horses in the Open Hurdle Race. Kinross Farm’s Old Timer ridden by Chris Read jumped to the lead at the last fence and beat second-place finisher Humdinger to the wire by two lengths.

Piedmont Fox Hounds Point-to-Point

piedmont12.ownerridertimber(l-r) Jeb's Crowner (Bart Poole up) in the Foxhunter Timber Division catches Incaseyouraminer (Ben Swope) riding in the Owner Rider Division. Both were winners of this timber race in their respective divisions.

Considering the superb weather we have been enjoying this season, Piedmont Fox Hounds drew the short straw for their point-to-point races as Douglas Lees’s great photos clearly illustrate. It was a wet day!