Drawing on its multitalented membership, Keswick Hunt Club hosted a fun Hunt Night Show on Saturday, August 20, at its historic showgrounds adjacent to the kennels in Keswick, Virginia. Judged by Alisa Berry, the friendly atmosphere offered morning warmups over the inviting course, followed by classes ranging from Future Foxhunter for the ten-and-under set, to the traditional Family Class, to a Sidesaddle Division, and finally Hunt Pairs and Hunt Teams.
Nancy Wiley, joint MFH, approached huntsman Tony Gammell last spring with the idea of having a Keswick Hunt Night before Labor Day weekend's Warrenton Horse Show Hunt Night. He enthusiastically supported the plan, and thought Whitney Gammell, Chanda Boylen, and Jill Wilson would be the perfect team to organize it. Working along with many others, they produced an enjoyable, old-fashioned summer show for participants and tailgaters alike.
When she's not piloting horses to winning rounds in the ring, Keswick member Chanda Boylen, right, does a terrific job organizing a horse show, too. Here she sends longtime whipper-in Sandy Rives and his daughter, Lizzie, in for their Pairs Class trip. M. Drum photo.
The prize list encouraged all to attend, including Leadline, Silver Fox, and Family Classes, along with Future Foxhunter and Hilltopper Divisions featuring a hunt-field-obstacle Handy Class; Sidesaddle Division (Under Saddle, Hunter Hack, Over Fences); and Junior and regular Foxhunter Divisions, with Under Saddle, Over Fences, and Handy Hunter courses set from 2'3 to 3' with options. For the top four riders in the Over Fences and Handy Hunter Classes, the $200 Handy Stake was an exciting challenge.
Sidesaddle Champion, Earth to Echo, owned by Sally and David Lamb and ridden by Pam Cibula. M. Drum photo.
Many segments of the Keswick community helped prepare for the day's event. Numerous volunteers painted jumps, set and decorated the course, and served in the Secretary's booth. Jill Wilson assisted with planning, Cissie Meehan arranged wonderful prizes, and Noelle Stith, Shelley Payne, and Ashley Williams were regular workers. Huntsman Tony Gammell and Matt Lamb, along with new whipper-in Mike Gottier, made sure the ring was dragged and the grounds looked fantastic below the venerable grandstand.
Known as the Keswick Cubs, the club's junior members organized to assist with jump painting, and also held a bake sale of homemade cookies at the show. Proceeds from these sales benefited the Brooke, a well-regarded charity working to improve the lives of working donkeys and other equines in the third world. Melissa Zeller, along with Nancy Wiley, joint Master, coordinated the children's contributions.
Keswick's Honorary Secretary, Shelley Payne, earned Reserve Champion in the Hilltopper Division aboard Jeanne Izzo Joslyn's Ajax. Photo by proud husband, George Payne.
Along with the class ribbons and division tricolors, two special awards were presented. The Noel Twyman Judge's Choice Award, in memory of longtime Keswick member and outstanding Virginia horseman, Noel Twyman, was sponsored by the Payne family. Jordann Sipe, who heads off to Hollins College this fall, was visibly moved to receive this honor aboard Sally Lamb's lovely En Vogue.
The Noel Twyman Judge's Choice Award went to Jordann Sipe and En Vogue, owned by Sally Lamb. M. Drum photo.
Another special recognition was earned by Farmington Hunt member, Stephanie Guerlain. Accruing the greatest number of points overall in her division and the stake class, she was presented the Hugh Motley High Point Rider Award, given in memory of the former Keswick MFH who passed away earlier this year. The prize was graciously sponsored by Connie and Rohn Laudenschlager. Mary Kalergis, Hugh's sister, was present as well.
Many families enjoyed tailgating at the convenient ringside spots, and the healthy number of entries - the show concluded just before 10 p.m. - promises another edition next summer.