Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Ewbank Clothiers Gutted by Fire

ewbank fire

The fire that consumed Ewbank Clothiers in Berryville, Virginia on Thursday, August 13, 2015 couldn’t have come at a worse time for proprietor Karen Ewbank. Her custom tailoring shop was full of hunt coats and other foxhunting attire either being repaired or built in preparation for the upcoming hunting season.

"I woke up at three in the morning that night, counting red coats," she recalls.

In addition to the loss of clothing and fabrics, perhaps even more serious is the loss of her meticulously cut pattern drafts—now ashes—used to trace shapes onto fabrics. The patterns will have to be re-plotted on brown Kraft paper from client measurements and re-cut—a process that takes about five hours for each client’s hunt coat. As of the date of this article, Karen doesn’t yet know whether her client measurement charts survived. They’re in steel filing cabinets in the front of the shop, and she has hopes that they were spared.

“I’m kicking on,” Karen told me today, the first workday of a new week. “I’m moving everything to my house and will work from here until the shop is rebuilt. That could take months, even though the structure is still sound.”

Cleveland Bay Day in Maryland to Hack, School, Visit

Cleveland Bays and their owners will have a day together to trail ride, school over fences cross country or in a large sand ring, or on the flat in a dressage arena, or just hang out and chat with other Cleveland bay enthusiasts.

The event will be held Sunday, July 19, 2015 at Woodstock Equestrian Park, Route 28, Poolesville, Maryland, starting at 9:00 am with lunch at about noon. Arrive when you can, and stay as long as you like. The event is free, but you are asked to bring a dish and your own beverage for the potluck lunch.

There is a water complex, some small ditches, and a selection of varied cross-country jumps with the majority at beginner novice or novice level. If you plan to school cross country, please bring a protective vest.

The wooded trails are even suitable for carriages. Non-Cleveland Bay horses and friends are welcome as well.

Woodstock Equestrian Park is just slightly beyond the intersection of Route 28 and Route 109, heading toward Dickerson. Ample trailer parking is available.

For more information or to RSVP, contact Marcia Brody (

Posted July 13, 2015

A Plan to Modify England's Hunting Act

With Prime Minister David Cameron now leading a majority government, pro-hunting Conservatives are looking to him to make good on his pledge to bring a free vote to the floor in Parliament to repeal the despised Hunting Act of 2002. Despite his majority, however, Cameron is loath to risk a free vote. Too many members of his own party, not to mention the Liberal opposition, have pledged to oppose him on the issue. But the natives are restless, and he must do something.

A potential solution has been announced that would, rather than produce a protracted battle for repeal, require only a statutory change in the existing law. This approach would involve only ninety minutes of debate as opposed to weeks.

The proposal, if passed, will make it legal once again to use a full pack—as many hounds as deemed necessary for wildlife management—to flush a fox to a gun, rather than the current limit of only two hounds. This, pro-hunters will argue, will help farmers who need predation control and will also help sick and mangy foxes to a speedier and kinder demise. Such a change will also bring the English Hunting Act more in line with Scottish law, thus rendering the plan less objectionable to members of the Scottish National Party than would an outright attempt to reverse the Act.

Cameron’s plan is to put the idea to the Conservative party this week. If approved, the statutory instrument could be debated in Parliament as early as next week.

Click for more details in Melissa Kite’s article in The Spectator.

Posted July 8, 2015

Rachel Gray, Whipper-In, Former Jockey, Killed in Motorcycle Accident

rachel grayDouglas Lees photoRachel Lynne Gray, 31, died early Thursday morning, June 25, 2015, at the scene of a motorcycle accident around midnight.

Born in Warrenton, Virginia, Rachel was a skilled horsewoman. She whipped-in to her husband, Spencer Allen, huntsman of the Piedmont Fox Hounds (VA), and she was a former jockey at Charles Town and other racetracks.

She is survived by her parents—her father, Butch Gray, is a former Piedmont huntsman—three children, four sisters, and extended family and friends.

A celebration of her life will be held on Wednesday, July 1, 2015 at 12 pm at Trinity Episcopal Church in Upperville. Interment to follow at Bright View Cemetery, Warrenton, with a reception from 3-6 pm at Black Horse Inn.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to a Memorial Fund for the benefit of her children. Details to follow.

Click for more information provided by the Moser Funeral Home.

Posted June 29, 2015

Janet Hitchen Estate Sale Scheduled

Items from the estate of Janet Hitchen will be available for purchase at her home, 102 Tilthammer Mill Road, Boyce, Virginia 22626 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Friday and Saturday, June 12 and 13, 2015. Items to be sold include garden art, birdhouses, metal art, old country worktable, hand painted screen, unique chests, chairs, tables, lamps, paintings, and, of course, Janet’s sporting photographs.

Posted June 1, 2015