with Horse and Hound

An Unforgettable Field Hunter

Our writer/foxhunter friend Martha Woodham from Georgia has sent us a touching memorial about the life and times of one of the best field hunters in North America. I realize that’s a bold claim, but Martha is telling us about a mare that, at the age of twenty-four, came to Morven Park as the oldest of the sixty top qualifiers from all over the country and placed third in the MFHA Centennial Field Hunter Championship. I watched all those horses go, and they were truly the cream of the crop.

But I have another stake in this story. I had the good fortune to ride that mare with the Bear Creek Hounds (GA) in her twenty-third year, and it was an experience to savor. My visit to Bear Creek constitutes Chapter 18 in my book, Foxhunting Adventures: Chasing the Story, and here’s an excerpt:

“I was exquisitely mounted on a twenty-two-year-old Hanoverian mare. Leica was totally uncomplicated, loved her hunting, and would go anywhere with confidence. She was sound, fit, fast, and completely adjustable.

“She’s a tough mare,” said Julie McKee, her owner…. “And talented. My husband took her in two combined training events last summer, and she won both of them.”

Read Martha’s story. Leica’s gone but not forgotten. And making her wasn’t all fun and games for Julie McKee. She paid a price in broken bones on a regular basis before Leica became the hunter I rode! Post your comments if you are so moved. And, with Leica’s story as a kickoff, how about other horses around the country that would qualify as “An Unforgettable Field Hunter”? Let’s tell them here!
July 27, 2010