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Randy Rouse, MFH, Donates Middleburg Training Center to Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation

Loudoun Fairfax Hunt Master Randy Rouse has donated a well-known Middleburg, Virginia property to the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation. The transaction was completed on Thursday, December 29, the day after Randy celebrated his one hundredth birthday.

“I can take a tax writeoff,” Randy said to The Fauquier Times. “At my age, I’ve got to start thinking about the future.”

Rouse has been a successful real estate developer in Northern Virginia, a longtime Master of the Fairfax Hunt, winning amateur steeplechase rider, and president of the National Steeplechase Association.

The property, the Middleburg Training Center, was originally built by Paul Mellon as a training facility for his racehorses. It boasts a 7/8-mile track, multiple barns, paddocks, tack rooms, offices, grooms’ quarters, and house.

In 1975, a group of local horsemen purchased the facility. Over the years the track surface has resounded to the hoof beats of many good horses, among them Hoist the Flag and Spectacular Bid. Randy Rouse bought the training center in 2006 for four million dollars, but its usage has declined over the years, and, though it’s been on the market recently, there have been no takers.

The non-profit Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation (TRF), plans to continue current operations—eighty horses are now stabled there—and will renovate barns and add more fencing. As many as ninety Thoroughbreds could be retired on the property, according to Lenny Hale, TRF president and CEO.

For more details, click to read the complete article by Vicky Moon and Leonard Shapiro.

Posted December 31, 2016

Fox Eradication Program In Tasmania Lives On

No one has ever seen a live fox on Tasmania, an island state off the southern coast of Australia. Yet fifty million dollars have been spent over a ten year period to fund the fox eradication program. An occasional dead fox has been found, and fox scat has been noted, but many believe the evidence to be a hoax, planted to continue funding an un-necessary bureaucracy.

“I don't know if there are foxes in Tasmania or not,” said Tasmanian MP Andrew Wilke. “I don’t know if there’s been misconduct in the task force or not, but I tell you what—there is so much evidence on the table now I suspect we’ve got a real problem.”

Tasmania has long been the only federal Australian state thought not to have an established fox population. Apparently, it appears so important to keep it that way that the fox eradication program has a life of its own, impervious to governmental questioning.

Doubts have been raised as far back as 2011 whether or not the program is a hoax. Wilke met with Federal environment minister Greg Hunt in 2014 to raise his concerns, but Hunt has not responded. Tasmanian MP Ivan Dean asked police to investigate alleged misconduct or fraud within the eradication program, but Police have been unable to lay criminal charges. The Tasmanian Integrity Commission is considering whether to launch an inquiry.

For more details see Dominique Schwartz’s complete article, published by ABC, Australia.

Posted December 16, 2016

Free Market Funds Largest Purse In Thoroughbred Racing

Florida’s Gulfstream Park is offering a new race—the Pegasus World Cup—featuring a twelve million dollar purse, the largest in Thoroughbred racing. The first running will be on January 28, 2017.

The mouth-watering purse, funded by a free-market concept, has attracted an international scramble just for a place in the starting gate. Each of the twelve gates costs entrants one million dollars.

Not all the buyers are owners with outstanding horses. Some gates were bought by swinging sportsmen and women to be sold, shared, or leased to other owners, under any number of business-like arrangements.

According to the Wall Street Journal, “The gambit has attracted people like longtime race fan Dan Schafer, a 33-year-old entrepreneur who owns pizza shop franchises in the Midwest and a free daily fantasy sports site. He purchased a spot in the gate without so much as a horseshoe because he saw the race as an innovative way to be involved in racing—rather than the well-trod path of buying a young horse and praying it has Kentucky Derby potential."

“‘I believe in the industry,’ he said. ‘To grow the sport, we need to grow the fan base. There are a lot of skeptics, but skeptics are going to be our biggest watchers.’”

Billionaire Frank Stronach, eighty-four, founder of an auto parts empire in Canada, devised the format of the race. His Stronach Group controls topnotch race tracks such as Gulfstream, Santa Anita, and Pimlico.

Stronach’s daughter Belinda is chairman and president of the Stronach Group. Their aim is to make racing cool and exciting. All gates are sold, and the purse is full.

California Chrome, 2014 Horse of the Year, with record-setting earnings of over fourteen million dollars, has a spot. Arrogate—who won the Travers Stakes at Saratoga, setting a new track record, then went on to beat California Chrome in the Breeders Cup Classic last fall—is not yet committed. However, trainer Bob Baffert has had inquiries from gate owners.

For more details, see Pia Catton’s complete article.

Posted December 15, 2016

Foxhunting Issue Erupts Again in Bucks County, PA

Jim and Judy Cox, a Warwick, Pennsylvania couple who live in the vicinity of Dark Hollow Park, are once again campaigning to ban foxhunting in the park. Four years ago the couple sued the Huntingdon Valley Hunt and huntsman Richard Harris, MFH, claiming that hounds knocked Judy Cox down while walking her dog and bit them both.

Foxhunting in the park was suspended briefly, then allowed to continue. The Coxes (Jim is a township supervisor) now claim that the hunt has not conformed to the terms of the 2012 agreement.

Supervisors Chairwoman Judith Algeo agrees with the Coxes, voicing her “concerns that the continuance of these fox hunts are a safety risk to the residents.” Town Manager Gail Weniger says the township is no longer “quite as rural as it used to be.”

The hunt has scheduled ten hunts in the 770-acre park and claims it has followed the rules.

Foxhunting permits are issued by the county Parks and Recreation Department. For more details, click for Justine McDaniel’s story in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.

Posted December 2, 2016

Farmington and Windy Hollow Hunts Top Winners at Penn National

PA national horse show1Windy Hollow Hunt Tops Hunt Team Competition. / Al Cook photo

Traditionally, Monday night is Hunt Night at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show in Harrisburg. This year, twenty-two hunt teams from thirteen hunts showed up in formal hunting attire on October 17, 2016 to compete in the evening’s highlight event.

As usual, the course featured a series of single fences to be jumped by each team with the emphasis on maintaining an even pace and equal spacing between the three horses, culminating with the last fence approached on the diagonal to be jumped by the three team members in unison. The winning team was from the Windy Hollow Hunt (NJ)—team members Holly White and sisters Emily and Jane Wiley earning the blue ribbon.

“We did not even realize we won. We couldn't believe it when we walked in and saw them holding up the blue ribbons,” said Jane Wiley. “We are dedicating the win to our pony, Bear, who died last night. He was thirty-one years old and was leased out to a young girl with special needs.”

The team didn’t have much time to practice. White has only been in the United States for a short time because she works for the United Nations and is based in Africa. “We are so thrilled! We have only been able to practice for a month because of my job,” said White. “I think we won because of our overall presentation. We really thought about the beginning and the end, and our horses jumped in good form. I think the combination of the two really helped us out.”

Emily Wiley, Jane’s older sister, was grateful to the Horse Show for dedicating a night to the Hunt Teams. “It's great that the Horse Show supports the sport of foxhunting and the great riders who participate. People should come try it!”


The overall Hunt Night Championship, based on points accumulated over all the classes for field hunters, went to the Farmington Hunt (VA), whose riders traveled four-and-a-half hours to participate.

“We were very surprised to win. We just came to ride and have a good time with our horses, and we won! How exciting is that!” said Elizabeth King, MFH and spokesperson for the hunt. “Last year we had one team, but this year we thought it would be great fun to have two. We've got great riders and we had such a great time. We'll be back again next year!”
 
The two teams from Farmington included King, Karen Bull, and Jeanette Fellows (Team 1) and Stephanie Gurlain, Elizabeth Uffleman, and Jennifer Daly (Team 2).

Now in its seventy-first year, the PNHS is one of the most historic horse shows in the U.S., featuring the best in the sport of hunters and jumpers and is the launching ground for many future Olympians. Fifteen thousand spectators, and a million live feed viewers enjoy ten days of top national competition as 1,400 top Junior and Adult competitors vie for eight national championships—including the prestigious Pessoa/US Hunter Seat Medal Final and the Neue Schule/USEF National Junior Jumper Individual and Team Championships. The top jumping riders and horses are expected to compete in the $100,000 Prix de Penn National Grand Prix on the final day of the show (October 22), presented by The Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund.

Since the show’s inception in 1947, the PNHS has donated $1.68 million dollars to the Harrisburg Kiwanis Youth Foundation and has donated $350,000 to local therapy and equine groups since 1999. Applications for grants are accepted throughout the year with action upon requests awarded in September.

Other Winners of Hunt Night, sponsored by Kinsley Construction were:  
Leading Lady Rider:
Molly Green of the Green Spring Valley Hounds (MD), Team 1

Field Hunters for Riders 35 Years of Age and Under, sponsored by the Hempt Bros, Inc:
Elizabeth Uffleman, Farmington Hunt, Team 2 riding JT

Field Hunters for Riders 36 Years of Age and Over, sponsored by Horseshoe Trail Farm, LLC:
Jennifer Daly, Farmington Hunt, Team 2 with Prize
 
Hunter Under Saddle - Gentleman, sponsored by Roundtop Mountain Resort:
 Dr. Csaba Magassy, Potomac Hunt (MD) riding Thunderbride
 
Hunter Under Saddle - Ladies, sponsored by Carol Copeland:
Molly Green, Green Spring Valley Hounds, Team 1 riding Co-Dependent

Posted October 29, 2016

pa national2Huntsman John Dean parades Radnor foxhounds to the delight of the crowd. / Al Cook photo