Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Juniors Meet in Pennsylvania for 2010 Junior North American Field Hunter Championships

Gathering of First Flight juniors before their mock hunt moved off.
Gathering of First Flight juniors before their mock hunt moved off.
Lauren Giannini photo

For their first seven years, the Junior North American Field Hunter Championships took place in Virginia, mostly at Old Whitewood, part of Orange County's country in The Plains. However, after Alex Matz won the First Flight (12-and-Under) championship in 2009, the notion of staging the next finals in Mr. Stewart's Cheshire country came to fruition. Blue Ridge Hunt's David Pawlak partnered with the indubitable Paris to ace the individual test in the First Flight and claim their second consecutive 13-18 championship. Makayla Benjamin (Loudoun West) and Butterfly Painting went home with the reserve tri-color.

Blue Ridge Hunt Point-to-Point

brh11.zoeZoe Valvo and Questioning win the Junior Field Master's Chase.              Douglas Lees photoThe Blue Ridge Hunt Point-to-Point races were held Saturday, March 12 under lovely spring skies...for a change! Despite the rains of the previous week, Woodley Farm’s limestone soil drained well and the mature turf held up to make the going as perfect as the weather.

Zoe Valvo on Questioning won the Junior Field Master's Chase in the Horse Division, and Kellie Witte won the Pony Division easily on Annabelle.

Just One More Chase

Practice_favoriteJudy Harris yearns for "Just One More Chase" on her favorite mare, Practice.    Bonnie Smith photoI remember the pounding of her strong heart

In sync with mine, she was ready to start.

It was our first morning, a dream come true

Out in the hunt field, alert for a view.

Excitement, adventure and thrills abound

Observe and listen and follow the hounds.

So we kicked on for ten years or more

A bond, a friendship a lasting rapport.

Many years later, she’s fought the good fight

but can no longer carry a rider in flight.

She whinnies from pasture upon my return

Eagerly waiting the day’s story to learn.

Oh, how I wish she were a bit stronger

To carry the saddle, just one day longer

To ride to the hounds, the wind in my face

with my very best friend, just one more chase.

Leica: Horse of a Lifetime

thumb_Leicaeventing
Leica eventing at age 24. She placed third because she was too fast cross country.

Leica was a remarkable horse whose career took her from incorrigible youngster with a vicious buck to an impressive third-place finish at age twenty-four in the grueling MFHA Centennial Field Hunter Championship. She was still hunting and showing at age twenty-seven, when she had to be humanely euthanized as the result of a pasture injury.

With her bloodlines and dazzling good looks, Leica was primed to be an outstanding dressage horse. An imported bay with touches of white, she was registered Hanoverian (by Lindberg, out of St. Pr. Kari) who was also entered in the main stud book of the RPSI (Rheinland Pfalz Saar International) and Holsteiner registries.

But after abuse from trainers who pushed her too far too fast, Leica had other ideas, says owner Julie Whitlock McKee of Grantville, Georgia. McKee acquired the hard-headed mare at age four after the trainers gave up on her. The pair did not get off to an auspicious start, with Leica rearing the first time McKee threw a leg over her. Rearing and bucking would become a regular occurrence.