The Live Oak Hounds - United States Pony Clubs Foxhunting Challenge Award is presented to the six Pony Clubs which regularly take the greatest percentage of their members out hunting. Blue Mountain Pony Club was the top recipient for 2018. The award is made possible through the generous support of Mr. and Mrs. C. Martin Wood, III, joint Masters of Live Oak Hounds (FL) and past MFHA presidents. Its goal is to encourage Pony Club members who do not regularly hunt to try the sport, and to reward those who do hunt on a regular basis and act as mentors to their younger and less-experienced peers.

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Blue Mountain Pony Club. Photo courtesy of Maryann Cully.

Blue Mountain's members include Brady Cully, age 15; Ellery Cully, 12; Madelyn Dietrich Cochran, 12; Brooklyn Shives, 12; Maddy Luhrs, 10; Adrianna Byers, 9; Isabella Mentzer, 10; and Marley Mentzer, 8.

Maryann Cully, MFH, Rose Tree-Blue Mountain Hunt (PA) and the club's leader, said, "Our members have all participated in hunt clinics and hound exercising. Brady, Ellery and Madelyn have shown hounds at Bryn Mawr. All of the kids have also participated in an overnight camp we do in the summer at our house, which focuses on riding lessons with our DC Emily Dietrich, but usually also includes trail rides with puppies, puppy play time and leash walking, lessons on whip cracking, and hound exercising. Some years we have a mock hound show, with the kids showing the hounds."

2018 is the twelfth year the Challenge Award has been presented. Children are encouraged to increase the number of hunts in which they participate as they gain experience. A total of $10,000 is distributed among the top six clubs. According to a press release from USPC, "A total of 74 Pony Club members competed this year, accounting for more than 560 days in the hunt fields. Ten hunt clubs from across the country welcomed the participating Pony Club members to participate in the hunts: Arapahoe Hunt (CO), Rose Tree-Blue Mountain Hunt (PA), Elkridge-Harford Hunt (MD), De La Brooke Foxhounds (MD), Live Oak Hounds (FL), Cedar Knob Hounds (TN), Belle Meade Hunt (GA), Hillsboro Hounds (TN), Monmouth Country Hunt (NJ), and Santa Fe Hunt (CA)."

"This is very exciting for the Blue Mountain Pony Club!" Cully added. "The first place prize money, provided so generously by the Woods, is a huge boost to our club. This money will allow the club to help pay Rally and Championship fees for our members. We are very proud of each and every one of the participants. Hunting was a new and scary experience for a few of them, but they are now asking when the season will begin again! We are hoping this experience will provide them with lifelong memories and the love of a new sport!"

The additional prize winning clubs were the following: 

2nd Place: De La Brooke Pony Club (Maryland Region)

3rd Place: The Arapahoe Hunt Pony Club (Rocky Mountain Region)

4th Place: Ochlockonee River Pony Club (Sunshine Region)

5th Place: Elkridge-Harford Hunt Pony Club (Maryland Region)

6th Place: Cedar Knob Pony Club (Midsouth Region)

7th Place: Pineland Riders Pony Club (New Jersey Region)

8th Place: Poway Valley Pony Club (Southern California Region)

Covertside wishes all of these young riders many more years of good sport!

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