Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Horses in NYC: Mayor Against, Police Commissioner For

The Mayor
In 2013, mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio promised if elected to remove all horse-drawn carriages from the streets of New York “on Day-One” of his administration. As mayor, he has not yet been able to make good on that promise, despite having benefited from hundreds of thousands of dollars donated by an animal rights lobby group to a political action committee formed by the group to politically destroy his strongest campaign rival, former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.

The PAC did their business under the name, “Anybody But Quinn.” Despite the fact that Quinn was leading in the polls at the time, her refusal to back the animal rights agenda of banning the carriage horses devastated her campaign. The animal rights lobbying group that financed the PAC was later fined for violating campaign finance rules.

Fast-forward two years and de Blasio is still trying, but has reduced his ambitions. His latest attempt, recently announced as a compromise proposal, is to ban horse carriages from the city’s streets and confine them to Central Park only. The mayor’s plan would eliminate two-thirds of the horses and move the remaing third—seventy to eighty horses—to new stabling within Central Park.

That brings us to the other faction that wants the horse carriages to disappear—hungry real estate developers. Seeing money to be made in developing the current horse stabling premises right there in the heart of the city, real estate developers also contributed large donations to de Blasio’s mayoral campaign under the guise of animal rights. It would appear that the mayor’s new compromise proposal would fully satisfy that group by freeing up the real estate for development.

The carriage drivers? They say, No way. That will destroy our industry.

The Police Commissioner
Meanwhile, on another city front, nationally-respected NYC Police Commissioner Bill Bratton sees value in horses on the streets, according to CBS News.

With the city still on high alert as a result of recent terrorist activities in Europe, the NYPD ramped up security for the huge annual Thanksgiving Day Parade by deploying police on horseback as a prominent adjuct to the overall effort. While many security measures are meant to blend in on the streets, officers on horseback—also known as “ten-foot cops”—are highly visible and are able to quickly and clearly communicate with crowds in an emergency.

Ironically, as the Mayor’s office tries to remove horses from the city’s streets, New York remains one of the few cities in the country where police horses continue on active duty. In fact, the NYPD just recently unveiled a new thirty-million dollar state-of-the-art facility for their elite mounted squad on the west side where a short trot will bring them to busy sites like Times Square, Penn Station, and Central Park. According to Deputy Inspector Barry Gelbman, “[Horses are] one of the greatest tools we have."

Posted November 27, 2015

Carol Easter, MFH, Farmington Hunt (1938–2015)

Mrs. Peter (Carol) Easter, MFH for twenty years of the Farmington Hunt, Charlottesville, Virginia, passed away on Tuesday, November 3, 2015, after a battle with lung disease.

Carol served the MFHA from 2006–2012 as District Director of the Virginia District. In addition to foxhunting, she competed in horse shows. She became active in long distance trail riding, winning several 50- and 100-mile rides sponsored by the Virginia Trail Riders, Inc., which organization she served as president for more than twenty years.

Carol was a devoted Labrador Retriever owner for more than fifty years and trained her two dogs, Bagel and Triscuit, to become Therapy Dogs. Carol and her dogs voluntarily visited patients at Charlottesville’s Martha Jefferson Hospital for many years.

She is survived by her husband of fifty-six years, Peter Easter; her children, Deborah Easter of Charlottesville, Douglas Easter and his wife Page of Charlottesville, and Brooke Maley and her husband, Dave, of Chattanooga, Tennessee; and her grandchildren, Owen and Elly Easter of Charlottesville, and Will and Emily Maley of Chattanooga, Tennessee.

A memorial service and reception in Carol’s honor will be held at 1:00 p.m. Saturday, December 19, 2015, at the Easters’ Springhaven Farm. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the MFHA’s Hunt Staff Foundation, which provides grants to retired professional huntsmen in financial need. Mail donations to MFHA, Box 363, Millwood, VA 22646. Donations may also be made to Therapy Dogs International, 88 Bartley Road, Flanders, NJ 07836.

Click to send condolences to the family.

Posted November 18, 2015

Hunt Members, Family Stunned by Murder of Senior Master’s Wife

Members of the Golden’s Bridge Hounds and the entire community of North Salem, New York, are shocked and in mourning over the slaying of Lois Colley, wife of senior Master Gene Colley and mother of Bruce Colley, MFH. She was found dead in her home on Monday, November 9.

Police believe that Mrs. Colley was bludgeoned to death by a small fire extinguisher, the only object missing from the house. They have asked for help from the community in their search for the suspected murder weapon and other information, but beyond that have not identified a suspect. For a fuller account, see Lisa Foderaro’s article in the New York Times.

Lois Colley was warmly regarded by the community, and was a regular presence at hunt meets, many of which were held at the Colley’s Windswept Farm. She was recently featured in a photograph in Foxhunting Life along with her husband and the Golden’s Bridge mounted field in front of the house.

We extend our sincere sympathies to the Colley family at this terrible time.

Posted November 12, 2015

Soar: America's Most Wanted Thoroughbred

Soar, trained and ridden by Lindsey Partridge, captured this year’s title of “America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred” at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington.

The competition, sponsored by the Retired Racehorse Project’s Thoroughbred Makeover program, demonstrates what Thoroughbreds can do after their racing career ends. Competitors vie in a variety of disciplines—polo, show hunter, barrel racing, dressage, eventing, foxhunting, showjumping, working ranch, and competitive trail. The top three competitors chosen by the judges from each division are invited to compete in the finale. One horse is chosen as “America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred.”

Soar, a 2007 Canadian-bred mare, competed in both the Competitive Trail Division and the Freestyle Division. The latter division was offered as a catch-all for those horses that didn’t fall into any of the nine disciplines offered. Although Soar was shown in the Competitive Trail Division, the Freestyle really allowed her to show off her exceptional talents. Click to watch the video of this sweet, unflappable horse and her talented trainer performing their Freestyle ride.

All the competing horses showed their talents for their new jobs after less than one year’s training. This year’s competition hosted nearly two hundred horses, all of them required to possess a Jockey Club tattoo, to have been raced or in race training after January 1, 2013, and not to have had any significant training for anything other than racing prior to January 15, 2015.

Click to see Sarah Coleman’s complete article, video, and photos in HorseChannel.com.

Posted November 6, 2015

Book Launch at NSL: The Great Hound match of 1905

The National Sporting Library in Middleburg, Virginia will be the venue for the launch of Martha Wolfe’s new book, The Great Hound Match of 1905: Alexander Henry Higginson, Harry Worcester Smith, and the Rise of Virginia Hunt Country, on Sunday, November 8, 2015 from 2:00 to 4:00 pm. Martha will speak and sign copies of her book.

In November 1905, the peak of foxhunting season across the Midlands of England and up and down the east coast of North America, two tiny towns in Virginia’s Piedmont, poor and nearly forgotten after the Civil War and a recent depression, saw the coming of illustrious and wealthy foxhunters to raise their hopes. There was to be a contest, a Great Hound Match, between two packs of foxhounds, one English and one American. This book, the story of an audacious contest between men cut from very different cloth and their hounds carved from very different stock, chronicles a metaphorical battle in America’s coming of age—her psychic independence from Britain’s lingering shroud at the turn of the 20th century.

Admission is $5, free to NSLM members. Please RSVP to Anne Marie Barnes at the National Sporting Library or call 540-687-6542, extension 25.

Posted October 23, 2015